Narcolepsy

You are going to learn more about the overview and definition on what is meant by narcolepsy and the related risk factors, symptoms and treatment options towards the same

Overview and Definition of Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a kind of a neurological disorder that affects the way you control your sleep and impacts your ability to stay awake all through the day. Just in case you are diagnosed with narcolepsy, you tend to sleep excessively during the day and these uncontrollable sleeping episodes occur any time of the day, while you perform your day to day activities. This neurological disorder therefore prevents you from carrying on your day to day activities in a precise manner.

In a typical sleeping cycle, you initially enter the early stages of sleep, followed by deeper sleep and after approximately 90 minutes you have fallen into a deeper slumber, follows the Rapid Eye Movement sleep or REM sleep. This is the third and the final stage of sleep. It is during REM sleep you experience dreams.

But in patients diagnosed with narcolepsy, this REM sleep occurs immediately the movement they close their eyes. It also occurs periodically during the waking hours. Narcolepsy is a sleeping disorder that requires medical intervention. Though itmainly occurs in people who are in the age group of 15-25 years, it can still impact a person of any age.

Causes and risk factors that can trigger the impact of narcolepsy

These are the risk factors or causes that can incidentally trigger or maximize the occurrences of narcolepsy

Genes

Just in case, you have genes connected with this particular disorder or in other words either of your parents or relatives have suffered from narcolepsy in the past, then there is a likelihood of you getting impacted by this particular sleeping disorder.

Deficiency of a chemical in the brain

Apparently these genes control the production of chemicals in the brain that signal sleep and wake up cycles. The deficiency in production of a chemical named hypocretin, in the brain, leads to, or maximizes the impact of Narcolepsy.

Inability to regulate or control REM

Abnormalities in the portion of your brain regulating or synchronizing REM sleep. These abnormalities can trigger symptom development. In other words, for a person suffering from narcolepsy the third layer or thefinal stage of sleep or the Rapid Eye Movement sleep happens the movement your eye lids close. In other words, you barely understand or realize what is happening around you.

Symptoms of Narcolepsy

These are the symptoms associated with Narcolepsy

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Mental cloudiness
  • Physical Exhaustion
  • Memory lapses
  • Barely able to decide on what needs to be done
  • Lack of energy
  • Depressed mood
  • Very evidently visible or extreme mood swings
  • Slurred speech
  • Cataplexy- weakness or loss of voluntary muscle control
  • Loss of reflexes or muscular paralysis
  • Emotional feelings of surprise, anger or laughter are expressed in a very strange manner
  • Sleep paralysis- i.e. trying to suddenly wake up, talk or move, while you are falling asleep

In totality, a person who is impacted with narcolepsy is hardly able to lead a happy and a comfortable social life.

Treatment options pertaining to Narcolepsy

  • You do not have any lengthy sequence of treatments in terms of hospitalization, for a complete remedial cure for narcolepsy. Extreme symptoms like cataplexy or abnormal REM sleep pattern can be minimized if you approach medical help. Your doctor can prescribe the right kind of drugs or medicines to reduce the severity of symptoms.
  • There is a drug namely the amphetamine. These are nerve stimulants which can control your sleepiness or drowsiness during the day time.
  • Your doctor can also suggest effective drugs to control abnormal REM sleep movements.
  • Recent medical advancements have brought about a new drug named Xyrem. The drug helps a person diagnosed with narcolepsy give a better level of sleep during the night. And the day time sleepiness syndrome can considerably be reduced.
  • Significant life style changes need to be advocated by you, if you are suffering from narcolepsy.
  • Avoiding caffeine, nicotine, drugs or alcohol
  • You can maintain a sleep diary and note the duration where you fall asleep during the day. You need to make a conscious effort to avoid afternoon naps.
  • You can go gymming, or for a vigorous session of swimming. Exercising or work out sessions can elevate your mood. And you will not feel depressed or dejected all the time.
  • You also need to take care of your diet especially if you are diagnosed with Narcolepsy.
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