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Overview

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to regulate a normal sleep-wake cycle. People with narcolepsy have severe daytime sleepiness which is uncontrollable. They can often fall asleep unexpectedly at any moment, during any activity.

About 70 percent of the affected people also experience cataplexy, a condition in which a strong emotional stimulus causes you to suffer physical collapse though remaining conscious. If narcolepsy occurs with cataplexy, it is called Type 1 narcolepsy. Type 2 is narcolepsy without cataplexy.

What are the symptoms of narcolepsy?

The signs and symptoms of narcolepsy include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Cataplexy
  • Hallucinations
  • Disrupted sleep (because of breathing problems, or body movements, for example)
  • Sleep paralysis

What are the risk factors for narcolepsy?

Age: Narcolepsy usually begins between the ages of 10 and 30.

Family history: If you have a family history of narcolepsy, your risk of getting it is 20 to 40 times higher.

How is narcolepsy diagnosed?

Your primary care physician can use the following to diagnose narcolepsy and determine its severity:

  • Physical exam and medical history
  • Ask you to keep a detailed diary of your sleep patterns for a week
  • Polysomnography
  • Multiple sleep latency test

How can narcolepsy be treated?

Although there is no definite cure for narcolepsy, there are certain treatments that can ease your symptoms:

  • Avoid taking stimulants such as coffee, alcohol, and tobacco
  • Do not eat heavy meals
  • Control your sleep schedule
  • Exercise regularly
  • Stimulant drugs such as amphetamines can be used to treat excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Cataplexy, hallucinations and disrupted sleep can be treated with sodium oxybate

Treatment at Manhattan Medical Arts

If you or any of your loved ones is suffering from narcolepsy and would like a consultation with one of our Board Certified Physicians, please call Manhattan Medical Arts at 645-454-9000. We believe in providing accessible, cost-effective and efficient care that meets the expectations of our clients and strive to maintain the highest standards of safe and quality health care in all our facilities, for all our patients.