FAQs about Narcolepsy
posted: Sep. 12, 2016.
Have you been diagnosed with narcolepsy? You probably have questions you need answered. Turn to us!
Just like sleep apnea, narcolepsy is another sleep disorder that people often don’t even know they have and, as a result, may go undiagnosed; however, narcolepsy can affect a person’s professional and personal life. If our Portland, OR sleep medicine specialists have just diagnosed you with this condition chances are you are doing some research on your newfound condition. We answer some of your most popular questions about narcolepsy!
Q. What causes narcolepsy?
A. Unfortunately, the root cause of narcolepsy is unknown. However, that doesn’t mean that scientists aren’t hard at work trying to identify certain genes that may be linked to this sleep disorder. While there are hypotheses out there about which chemical deficiencies might be to blame for this condition, nothing is known yet.
Q. What are the symptoms?
A. Common symptoms of narcolepsy include:
Extreme daytime fatigue: Those with narcolepsy are often extremely tired throughout the day. You may feel “brain fog” or a loss of energy, as well as an increase in mood swings (e.g. irritability; depression).
Cataplexy: You may also notice muscle weakness or you may find that you don’t have control over your muscles at times. This can lead to issues such as slurred speech.
Sleep paralysis: This prevents the narcolepsy sufferer from being able to move or speak while waking up or before falling asleep. Sleep paralysis can last anywhere from a couple seconds to a few minutes.
Q. How is this sleep disorder diagnosed?
A. In order to determine whether you have narcolepsy or not you will need to undergo an overnight sleep study so we can study your symptoms and determine if your sleep interruptions are due to narcolepsy. This sleep study will also help us rule out other sleep disorders like sleep apnea.
Q. How will my Portland, OR sleep doctor treat my condition?
A. Even though there is no cure for narcolepsy there are are multiple ways to treat this condition. If you experience extreme fatigue during the day an amphetamine medication may be recommended. If you have trouble with REM sleep an antidepressant may also be prescribed.
Besides medications, there are also certain lifestyle modifications that can be made to reduce the severity of your symptoms including staying away from alcohol and caffeine, adopting a regular sleep routine, exercising regularly and getting in 10-15 minute naps throughout the day.
If you are having problems sleeping and it’s affecting your waking life, it’s time to call Pacific Sleep Program in Portland, OR to get a sleep study. Let’s make bedtime enjoyable again!