What Is Narcolepsy?
It is A chronic sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime drowsiness and unexpected sleep attacks. People with Narcolepsy frequently struggle to stay awake for extended periods, regardless of the circumstances. Narcolepsy can seriously disrupt your daily routine.
Narcolepsy is sometimes accompanied by a sudden loss of muscle tone (cataplexy), triggered by intense emotion. Narcolepsy associated with cataplexy is referred to as type 1 narcolepsy. The absence knows the Type 2 narcolepsy of cataplexy.
What causes Narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy’s exact cause is unknown. Low levels of the chemical hypocretin are found in people with type 1 narcolepsy (hi-Poe-KREE-tin). Hypocretin is a neurochemical found in the brain that helps regulate wakefulness and REM sleep.
Cataplexy patients have particularly low hypocretin levels. The exact cause of the loss of hypocretin-producing cells in the brain is unknown, but experts believe it results from an autoimmune reaction.
Genetics is also likely to play a role in the development of the disease. However, the risk of the child inheriting the disease from parents is very low.
Research also suggests a possible link between swine flu (H1N1 flu) virus exposure and a type of H1N1 vaccine currently used in Europe, though the reason for this is unknown.
1. feeling tired on a routine basis.
Daytime sleepiness can be a symptom of many things, including a lack of sleep, mental fogginess, memory problems, difficulty focusing or paying attention, or lack of energy
which can appear to be typical signs of sleep deprivation that can come with having a busy schedule or being stressed.
Cataplexy is a sudden, uncontrollable loss of muscle tone and control. When a person feels a strong emotion such as excitement, happiness, stress, surprise, anger, or fear, cataplexy attacks can range from mild, such as drooping eyelids, to losing muscle control in the knees, hands, or, in some cases, the entire body.
Cataplexy may cause your head to nod, your hand to drop something, your speech to become slurred, or your facial muscles to relax — or you may fall or collapse. As a result, depending on which part of your body is affected.
3. Sleep Paralysis
When we enter the REM phase, we dream, and our bodies naturally paralyze our muscles to stop us from acting out our dreams and potentially injuring ourselves while we sleep. However, in people with Narcolepsy, the paralysis occurs at the wrong time, either while they are awake (cataplexy) or falling asleep, or just waking up. This latter episode is referred to as “sleep paralysis.” The symptom is usually brief, lasting only a few seconds or minutes, but it can make you feel helpless and frightened. “This sensation of being awake but unable to move can be broken by someone touching you,” Dr. Olson explains.
While this symptom is not unique to people with Narcolepsy, it is expected, according to Dr. Hershner. These vivid, lifelike dreams are hypnagogic if they occur while one is falling asleep and hypnopompic if they occur while waking up. When hallucinations arise in conjunction with sleep paralysis (when you are awake but unable to move), they can be terrifying. People have reported seeing a demon on their chest, a person in the room, or shadows looming nearby, and being unable to move or cry out. In addition to these visual perceptions, people suffering from Narcolepsy may believe they can hear, smell, or even taste things they cannot.
5. Abnormal Breathing
There are numerous causes of abnormal breathing patterns while sleeping.
-Excessive daytime sleepiness is caused by low muscle tone and strength and excessive pituitary gland secretion of natural analgesics such as endorphins.
-Excessive daytime drowsiness is caused by the brain’s overproduction of sensory compounds such as acetylcholine.
6. Rapid Eye Movement
Sleeping during the night or having rapid eye movement is unusual because a typical sleep cycle consists of three phases: light, stage, and non-stage.
Because these rapid eye movement (REM) sleep cycles are not found in non-narcoleptics, this could indicate Narcolepsy.
7. Physical Symptoms:
During their waking hours, narcoleptics experience severe headaches, weakness, dizziness, and sweating.
Some people have vivid and unusual dreams while sleeping.
Furthermore, people with Narcolepsy always have forgetfulness and have a decrease in attention span, even when they have a lot of awake time.
Narcoleptics are unable to concentrate on daily tasks and activities.
Sleep attacks in narcoleptics may occur as a result of depression or anxiety disorders.
Anxiety is a primary symptom of Narcolepsy that should be addressed because it can lead to more severe issues. A psychiatric professional should also evaluate narcoleptics to rule out mental illness.
10. Loss Of Muscles Coordination:
Loss of muscle coordination is the most common symptom of Narcolepsy.
Cataplexy can cause narcoleptics’ legs or arms to fall asleep and move their bodies from side to side.
How to treat Narcolepsy?
Although there is no cure for Narcolepsy, medications and lifestyle changes can help you manage the symptoms.
-Stimulants are substances that are used to stimulate the body. The primary treatment for Narcolepsy is to use drugs that stimulate the central nervous system to help people stay awake during the day. For Narcolepsy, doctors frequently start with modafinil (Provigil) or armodafinil (Nuvigil).
-Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are medications that inhibit the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine (SNRIs). These medications, which suppress REM sleep, are frequently prescribed by doctors to help relieve cataplexy symptoms, hypnagogic hallucinations, and sleep paralysis.
Tricyclic antidepressants are a type of antidepressant. Although older antidepressants like protriptyline (Vivactil), imipramine (Tofranil), and clomipramine (Anafranil) are effective for cataplexy, many people report side effects like dry mouth and lightheadedness.
-Sodium oxybate is a chemical compound (Xyrem). This medication is highly effective in treating cataplexy. Sodium oxybate aids in the improvement of nighttime sleep, which is frequently inadequate in people with Narcolepsy.
If you have other health issues, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, consult your doctor about how medications for those conditions may interact with those for Narcolepsy.
Certain over-the-counter medications, such as allergy and cold medicines, can make you drowsy. If you have Narcolepsy, your doctor will probably advise you to avoid taking these medications.
Emerging treatments for Narcolepsy include drugs that act on the histamine chemical system, hypocretin replacement, hypocretin gene therapy, and immunotherapy, but more research is needed before any of these treatments are available in your doctor’s office.