Posts for tag: Narcolepsy
Learn more about this sleep disorder that affects nearly 3 million people worldwide.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that is believed to affect around 1 in every 2,000 people in the US. Unfortunately, it’s believed that only about 25 percent of people with this condition have actually been diagnosed and properly treated. From the office of our Portland and Astoria sleep medicine physicians, Dr. Radhika Breaden, and Dr. Jennifer Kim, here’s what you should know about this sleep disorder.
What are the symptoms of narcolepsy?
The most obvious symptom of narcolepsy is excessive daytime sleepiness. Those with narcolepsy will experience daytime drowsiness even after getting adequate total sleep time on a regular basis.
Unlike stereotypical portrayals of narcolepsy in the movies and on the internet, patients with narcolepsy do not typically fall asleep while talking or suddenly slump in the middle of an activity unless their narcolepsy is severe, which is very rare. Instead, most patients with narcolepsy live with their excessive daytime sleepiness during the day and try to control it with caffeine and brief naps whenever they can. However, despite these measures, the sleepiness affects their daily life and function.
Other symptoms of narcolepsy can include sleep paralysis (waking up during the night with the body feeling paralyzed), hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations (seeing visions or hearing things that are not there as you are falling asleep or waking up) although these symptoms may also be noted with other sleep conditions including sleep deprivation and obstructive sleep apnea.
Some patients may also have cataplexy. The term cataplexy describes the loss of muscle control in the head, neck or shoulders or buckling of the knees during a time of intense emotion, such as laughter or surprise. Not all patients with narcolepsy have cataplexy. However, the presence of cataplexy can suggest that narcolepsy is present.
When should I see a sleep medicine specialist for consultation?
If you are dealing with the above symptoms and suspect that narcolepsy may be present, it’s important that you turn to our sleep specialists in Portland and Astoria, OR, to find out what’s going on.
How is narcolepsy diagnosed?
In order to be diagnosed with narcolepsy, our sleep doctors will need to perform certain tests. After a careful history, we may recommend a combination sleep study called a Polysomnogram with Multiple Sleep Latency Test (PSG with MSLT). During a sleep study, we will apply electrodes to the body to record everything from breathing patterns and movement to brain activity while you sleep. If the overnight polysomnogram does not show a clear explanation for the excessive daytime sleepiness, we proceed with the daytime napping test (MSLT) the next day. During the MSLT, a patient will attempt to nap every 90-120 minutes. By observing how rapidly a patient falls asleep and what stages of sleep are noted, Dr. Kim or Dr. Breaden will then determine whether narcolepsy is likely to be present.
The preparation for a PSG with MSLT follows a standardized protocol which includes adequate total sleep time for the weeks prior to testing, the absence or complete treatment of other sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, the elimination of medications which may affect testing as well as the elimination of caffeine in the two weeks prior to testing.
How is narcolepsy treated?
Your treatment plan will often include medication and lifestyle modifications to help manage your symptoms and help you get more restorative sleep. Dr. Kim and Dr. Breaden will work with you to find the right medication and treatment options to alleviate your symptoms.
You may be prescribed medication to control sleepiness and REM sleep intrusion (sleep/wake cycle). In addition to many traditional wake promoting agents, there are several newer medications that may be helpful in promoting more restorative sleep.
If you, a friend or a family member is displaying symptoms of narcolepsy or any other sleep disorder, a consultation with our sleep medicine team may help to determine the next steps in evaluation and treatment. Call Pacific Sleep Program in Portland at (503) 228-4414 or in Astoria at (503) 325-3126.
Narcolepsy affects up to 200,000 Americans according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. It is a neurological condition that prevents many people from living normal lives. It’s difficult for patients to conduct daily work, social, or personal activities when they’re prone to falling asleep at inopportune moments. A doctor at Pacific Sleep Program in Astoria and Portland, OR, can assist you with your case of narcolepsy.
What Is Narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that causes patients to fall asleep throughout the day—sometimes without even knowing it. The symptoms often start in childhood and the cause of this neurological problem isn’t clear. It could be related to an issue with the immune system or a brain injury. This may be a challenging and possibly dangerous condition to manage because the patient could fall asleep while working or when driving a car.
Besides the obvious symptom of narcolepsy of excessive daytime sleepiness, there are a few other symptoms that may lead to a diagnosis of narcolepsy. Talk to your sleep doctor if you have any of these issues:
- A desire to take frequent naps throughout the day.
- Muscle weakness (cataplexy) with laughter or strong emotion.
- Sleep paralysis (inability to move or wake up)
- Seeing visions or hearing sounds as you are falling asleep or waking up (hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations)
- Fragmented or poor quality sleep during the night.
- Microsleep episodes (performing automatic actions or being on "autopiilot" without being consciously aware).
Treating Patients with Narcolepsy in Astoria and Portland
Narcolepsy can be treated by a sleep specialist at the Pacific Sleep Program and requires specific testing. Talk to your doctor about the appropriate testing for you.
Possible treatment options include:
- Medication to stimulate the nervous system and make you more alert throughout the day.
- Nighttime sedative.
- Taking scheduled naps throughout the day and committing to going to bed at the same time every night.
Getting Back to Normal
A sleep doctor at Pacific Sleep Program in Astoria and Portland, OR, can help you get back to a normal routine if you struggle with narcolepsy. Call (503) 325-3126 or (503) 228-4414 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Radhika Breaden, Dr. Jennifer Kim, Debra White NP or Mariah Franclemont, PA.
Are you worried that your sudden bouts of sleepiness could actually be narcolepsy?
Do you or someone you love suddenly fall asleep throughout the day, usually in the midst of your daily routine? Are you worried that these sudden attacks of sleep could be something more serious? Our Portland and Astoria, OR, sleep medicine doctors - Dr. Gerald Rich, Dr. Radhika Breaden and Dr. Gregory Clark - are here to provide a little insight into the signs and symptoms of narcolepsy.
What is narcolepsy?
This neurological condition impairs how your brain regulates sleep and wakefulness. Those who suffer from narcolepsy are prone to extreme bouts of sleepiness and will often fall asleep suddenly throughout the day. This can happen at any time. You may suddenly find yourself asleep at your desk or you may find yourself prone to these attacks while eating or exercising.
What are the symptoms?
One of the telltale signs of narcolepsy is extreme fatigue during the day. This symptom is one of the most common symptoms of narcolepsy. You may feel sleepy without warning. You may fall asleep for only a few seconds or a few minutes throughout the day. You may find it difficult to concentrate or you may feel like you’re in a brain fog right before your narcoleptic attacks.
You may also experience sleep paralysis, in which you are unable to move or talk for a few seconds before falling asleep or when first waking up. Even though your body may still be in REM sleep, you will still know that you are awake but unable to move or speak. This can often be unnerving to some and may cause them to come into our office for help.
Narcoleptics may also have trouble sleeping at night. While they are prone to sudden sleep sessions during the day, this can lead to interrupted sleep at night. As a result, you may suffer from insomnia or find yourself waking up several times a night.
What are my treatment options?
Even though there is no cure for narcolepsy, your symptoms can easily be managed through lifestyle changes and medications. Our Portland and Astoria, OR, sleep specialists may prescribe stimulants or antidepressants. Certain lifestyle modifications include:
- Staying away from caffeine or alcohol a few hours before bedtime
- Maintaining the same sleep schedule every night
- Getting regular physical activity
- Taking small naps during the day, as needed
- Finding a support group
Pacific Sleep Program is helping those in Portland and Astoria, OR, get a better night’s sleep. Isn’t it time you got the quality, restorative sleep you’ve been looking for? We are here to help.
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!
Unexpectedly dozing off at a boring meeting at work, or during a movie after a long weekend of merriment is completely normal, and almost always a side effect of regular exhaustion and sleep deprivation. While many people might associate narcolepsy with simple exhaustion and random bouts of sleepiness throughout the day, it is actually a rare neurological sleep disorder that affects an average of 3 million people around the world, and roughly 200,000 in the United States.
How Does it Work?
A healthy sleep pattern starts with a phase known as NREM (non-rapid eye movement), where the brain waves slow down and gradually shift into the REM (rapid eye movement) phase, where most of the fun and creepy dreaming we do takes place during the night, or a long nap. Narcolepsy causes the brain to skip the NREM phase and jump straight into REM sleep, either at night when the person is trying to fall asleep, or unexpectedly at any point during waking hours.
Other side effects of the condition include a condition called cataplexy, which results in the loss of muscle control, as well as sleep paralysis and hallucinations. Because the onset of sleepiness is uncontrollable and can occur at any point in the day with little to no warning, it can significantly disrupt a person's routines and quality of life.
What Causes Narcolepsy?
An exact cause for the onset of narcolepsy is unknown, but deficiencies and lower levels of a neurochemical calledHypocretin that regulates REM sleep may play a role, as well as exposure to the H1N1 (swine flu) virus, or genetics.
Narcolepsy Diagnosis and Treatment in Astoria
Many people suffering from narcolepsy can be unaware of their condition for some time, delaying diagnosis and treatment. If you are suffering from symptoms or suspect that you may have a sleep disorder, contact the Pacific Sleep Program in Astoria, OR at (503) 325-3126 to schedule an appointment today.