Narcolepsy causes overpowering drowsiness during the day that makes you suddenly fall asleep no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Pramil Vaghasia, MD, and Ruchi Bansal, MD, at Prime Pulmonary & Sleep Center offer comprehensive care for this challenging sleep disorder, including personalized treatment that reduces your symptoms and gets your daytime sleep attacks under control. To determine if narcolepsy is the cause of your daytime tiredness, call the office in Bakersfield or Delano, California, or book an appointment online today.
Narcolepsy occurs when your brain doesn’t regulate your sleep-wake cycle. In people who have narcolepsy type 1, a problem with low levels of a brain chemical that controls wakefulness and REM sleep is the cause. If you have narcolepsy type 2, you have normal levels of brain chemicals, and the cause of your sleep disorder is usually unknown.
Many people with narcolepsy don’t sleep well during the night due to the disruption in REM sleep. Beyond sleep problems, narcolepsy causes four primary symptoms:
Everyone with narcolepsy has daytime sleepiness. Your sleepiness is worse when you’re sitting or relaxing, but you can have a sleep attack and suddenly fall asleep while you’re active. You may fall asleep while eating, talking with friends, or driving.
Cataplexy only occurs in people with narcolepsy type 1. If you have cataplexy, your muscles suddenly weaken or become paralyzed, usually in response to strong emotions.
Sleep paralysis refers to a temporary loss of muscle control as you fall asleep or wake up. You may be conscious, but you can’t move or speak for a few minutes.
These hallucinations appear when you’re falling asleep or as you wake. Most people have vivid and sometimes disturbing hallucinations, such as seeing someone in their bedroom.
In addition to a physical exam and lab work to identify or rule out other health conditions, you may have one or both of the following sleep studies:
You stay overnight in the sleep lab at Prime Pulmonary & Sleep Center. While you sleep, electrodes collect information about your brain waves, breathing, blood levels of oxygen, and eye, nerve, and muscle movement. They may also record your heart’s electrical activity.
Your MSLT test happens in the sleep lab during the day. You stay awake for two hours and then get the opportunity to sleep, repeating this pattern throughout the day. How fast you fall asleep and how quickly REM sleep begins helps to diagnose narcolepsy.
Narcolepsy treatment includes behavioral therapies and medications. Several medications are available to reduce problems like daytime sleepiness, nighttime sleep disturbances, and cataplexy.
During behavioral therapy, you learn daily habits that reduce your symptoms. For example, getting in the habit of taking naps and avoiding alcohol can improve daytime sleepiness and sleep attacks.
If you fall asleep during the day, call Prime Pulmonary & Sleep Center, or book an appointment online so you can get treatment and return to leading an active life.
8305 Brimhall Rd.,
Bakersfield, CA 93312
1205 Garces Highway,
Delano, CA 93215
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