For many people, the term “narcolepsy” brings visions of individuals falling asleep mid-sentence. While not impossible, that isn’t exactly an accurate picture of the disease. So, what is narcolepsy? In a nutshell, narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder where the brain can’t properly regulate sleep and wake cycles.
I’m tired all the time. Do I have narcolepsy?
People with narcolepsy experience excessive daytime sleepiness. While they can seemingly sleep anytime and anywhere throughout the day if they stop moving around, they often lack the ability to fall asleep at night. Most days they feel like they haven’t slept for 2-3 days at a time.
Another big indication of narcolepsy is something called cataplexy, or sudden loss of muscle tone. Your knees may buckle, or your head may drop suddenly. You might even lose the ability to stand or sit. This is typically brought on by strong emotions like sadness, happiness, nervousness, etc. These episodes are unpredictable and can happen daily, or as infrequently as once a year.
Sleep paralysis is another symptom of narcolepsy that can be scary. You may be in the process of waking up or falling asleep, but lack the ability to move or speak. Essentially, your mind is awake, but your body is not.
These are the three primary symptoms of narcolepsy. Other symptoms may be present, and usually begin in teenagers and young adults, affecting both sexes equally. It can be a tough problem to diagnose as it can sometimes be mistaken for other disorders. A diagnosis for narcolepsy usually occurs after visiting a sleep specialist and undergoing several types of diagnostic tests.
If you or someone you love suffer from narcolepsy, research studies are enrolling for potential new treatment options in your area. Study participants are seen by doctors and medical professionals, and may receive compensation for time and travel expenses. To learn more and to find out what you can do to help Clinical Trials of Florida advance the future of medical treatments, click HERE.