What is Narcolepsy


Narcolepsy is one of the sleeping disorders which are not commonly present among the population. Narcolepsy includes episodes of hallucinations, sleep paralysis, total or partial loss of muscle control, excessive sleepiness and cataplexy. There is equal ratio of men and women who suffer from the sleeping disorder of narcolepsy and according to the research studies almost 1 in every 2000 people suffer from narcolepsy. The signs or symptoms of narcolepsy starts appearing from the childhood or adolescence, but the actual treatment begin only after a proper diagnosis of the sleeping disorder. The people suffering the disorder of narcolepsy might also go through paralysis as they start falling asleep and experience day-dreaming or hallucinations. There is also a possibility of having vivid nightmares and disruption of nighttime sleep, which ultimately affects the quality of life of a person.

The most common symptom of narcolepsy disorder is that the people experience excessive sleepiness almost all the day and start falling asleep involuntarily during the day while performing the normal activities of their routine. In the patients with narcolepsy there is blurring of a normal boundary between wakening up and falling sleep and for this reason there is a possibility of sleeping while a person is awake. Moreover, when the narcolepsy relates to cataplexy or even arises due to cataplexy then there is sudden loss of muscle control and tone which might lead to weakness of arms, trunk or legs. Cataplexy is the condition in which there is paralysis of the muscles which usually occurs during the waking hours of the patient.

1Main Narcolepsy Symptoms

Sudden loss of muscle tone

Narcolepsy is a chronic disorder of sleep in which a person experiences overwhelming day time sleepiness and there are sudden attacks of sleep. The patient of narcolepsy often suffer from the difficulty to stay awake for longer periods of time regardless of the current situation this sleeping disorder can greatly disrupt the daily routine of the patient. The signs and symptoms of narcolepsy might get worse for the first few years of life and then continue to develop. People having narcolepsy might have other sleeping disorders such as insomnia, restless legs syndrome and even obstructive sleep apnea which is a condition involving the stopping of breathing throughout the night. During the brief episodes or attacks of narcolepsy some people might experience autonomic behavior. For instance, a person might fall asleep while doing a task he normally performs such as driving, typing or writing. A lot of health risks involved in the condition of narcolepsy because the person falls asleep and continues to perform the task he was doing before. Narcolepsy also interferes with other cognitive functions of the brain such as memorizing. The patient cannot remember what he did when he wakes up from the narcolepsy episode. Some of the main signs and symptoms of narcolepsy include:

Sudden loss of muscle tone

Sudden loss of muscle tone or medically known as cataplexy is a condition which can cause several physical changes from complete weakness of a lot of muscles to slurred speech. The cataplexy episode of loss of muscle control is usually sudden and might last for up to a few minutes. Intense or strong emotions can trigger the condition of cataplexy in the patients of narcolepsy and is usually uncontrollable. Some of the strong emotions which are typically positive such as laughter and excitement can trigger the condition of cataplexy. While for some others other emotions like anger, fear or surprise can also stimulate the condition of cataplexy. For instance, when a person laughs, the head might droop uncontrollably or the knees might suddenly buckle. For some patients having narcolepsy might experience only one or two episodes once a year while the other people have numerous episodes in a day. It is possible that not every person with narcolepsy experience cataplexy.