NarcoplepsyNarcolepsy is a condition that causes patients to fall asleep uncontrollably throughout the day for periods lasting less than a minute to more than half an hour. These "sleep attacks" occur even after getting enough sleep at night. The unusual sleep pattern that people with narcolepsy have can affect their schooling, work, and social life. Falling asleep during activities like walking; driving, cooking, or talking can have dangerous results, both professionally and personally.
People with narcolepsy may also have one or more of the following signs and symptoms : -
- Sudden loss of muscle tone and control (muscle weakness) over parts or all of the body while awake (cataplexy)
- Sudden inability to move or speak while falling asleep or waking up (sleep paralysis)
- Vivid dreams while falling asleep or waking up (hallucinations)
Narcolepsy usually is a genetic (inherited) disorder, although it may be associated with brain damage or neurological disease
Diagnosis Of Narcoplepsy
- Epworth Sleepiness Scale : - During the test, you will be asked to answer 8 questions using a scale from 0 (not at all likely to fall asleep) to 3 (very likely to fall asleep). The resulting total score is between 0 and 24. Scores of 0 to 10 are normal. Total scores above 10 generally warrant further investigation.
- Nocturnal polysomnogram : - This test will measure the electrical activity of your brain (electroencephalogram) and heart (electrocardiogram), and the movement of your muscles (electromyogram) and eyes (electro-oculogram), and usually requires an overnight stay at a sleep clinic for observation purposes.
- Multiple sleep latency test (MSLT): - This test measures how long it takes for you to fall asleep during the day, plus the kind of sleep you get during such a nap. Sleep specialists analyze your brain waves (EEG), heart rate (EKG), muscle activity, and eye movements
- Spinal fluid analysis : - The lack of hypocretin in the cerebrospinal fluid may be a marker for narcolepsy. Examining spinal fluid is a new diagnostic test for narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is usually treated with amphetamine or amphetamine-like stimulants and a couple new pharmacologically different drugs. The most common amphetamine-like drugs are dextroamphetamine, pemoline methamphetamine, and methylphenidate.
In addition to drug therapy, an important part of treatment is scheduling short naps (10 to 15 minutes) two to three times per day to help control excessive daytime sleepiness and help the person stay as alert as possible. Daytime naps are not a replacement for nighttime sleep.
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