Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that has lacked public attention for a long time. The common misunderstanding is that if one is not falling asleep at odd places or in odd circumstances one may not have narcolepsy. This cannot be further from the truth. The most common symptom of narcolepsy is non-refreshing sleep. Most often in the beginning of this condition, waking up tired and feeling nonrefreshed is perhaps the only symptom. Gradually, as the condition progresses (worsens), increasing disruption to sleep at night or excessive sleepiness in the daytime becomes apparent. The first peak of occurrence of narcolepsy in the general population is in a person's early-to-mid teens. The sleepiness or difficulty waking up can be apparent as early as 3 to 4 years of age. In school-age children, there can be a deterioration in school performance. However, narcolepsy can also present late in life, most commonly around 40 to 50 years of age.
There are other symptoms that can alert the patient that something is wrong with his or her sleep. He or she may wake up feeling paralyzed or have vivid hallucinations while falling asleep. These can occur even during naps, and naps become more frequent. Recollecting dreams during naps is another common symptom.
There are various forms of narcolepsy. Some include episodes of muscular weakness in the middle of an intense emotional experience during the day. Some serious conditions such as brain tumors, brain trauma, sleep apnea, and strokes, to name a few, may cause symptoms of narcolepsy. It is quite important to seek help from a sleep physician to differentiate between all the forms of narcolepsy, diagnose any neurological condition that may be causing narcolepsy, and treat the narcolepsy.
There are sleep tests that can help confirm a narcolepsy diagnosis. Our sleep physician, Dr. RV Ghuge, can recommend the appropriate tests, which can be performed at the Sleep Medicine Institute of Texas. Dr. Ghuge has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating narcolepsy in adults and children. Please call us at 903-787-7533 or click HERE to begin the process of scheduling a personalized consultation with us.