Do you ever feel an overwhelming amount of daytime drowsiness or find it difficult to stay awake for a long period of time regardless of the situation? If so, you may have narcolepsy...
Narcolepsy is a severe sleeping condition marked by excessive daytime drowsiness and unexpected sleep attacks. People with narcolepsy often fail to remain awake for prolonged periods of time, regardless of the circumstances. Narcolepsy will seriously interrupt your everyday life and make you feel worse as your day goes on... Its primary symptom - excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) - happens when the brain is unable to control alertness and sleep properly.
People who don't suffer from narcolepsy, they will join the early phase of sleep, then the deeper stages, and eventually (after about 90 minutes) rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Unfortunately, people with narcolepsy enter REM sleep almost instantly in the sleep period, and occasionally sometimes when they're awake.
Type 1 narcolepsy induces a sudden lack of muscle tone, resulting in fatigue and inability to regulate the muscles (cataplexy). Type 2 narcolepsy is characterized by a lack of cataplexy.
Unfortunately, in certain cases, narcolepsy is not diagnosed and still untreated.
Narcolepsy symptoms may have a major impact both during the day and at night. The following are the most common symptoms of narcolepsy:
EDS is the primary symptom of narcolepsy, affecting anyone who has it. EDS is characterized by an irresistible need to sleep, which occurs most often in monotonous conditions. Severe drowsiness sometimes results in concentration lapses. Narcolepsy may result in “sleep attacks,” which are episodes of falling asleep without warning. People with narcolepsy typically feel temporarily revived following brief naps.
In general, EDS makes it impossible to do regular chores, even if you have enough sleep at night. When having this condition, you have concentration lapses which make it impossible for you to focus and work normally.
Cataplexy is characterized by a rapid, fleeting lack of voluntary muscle tone caused by intense emotions. These are typically the positive ones, such as laughter or joy, but they can also be anxiety, surprise, or rage. When you laugh, for example, your head may droop uncontrollably or your legs may abruptly bend.. Cataplexy happens during the day and a mild attack can cause a barely noticeable weakness in a muscle, such as drooping eyelids. Depending on the muscles involved, this will result in anything from slurred voice to complete body collapse.
Cataplexy is often misdiagnosed as a seizure disorder, despite the fact that it is a distinct disease. Cataplexy has no solution, but it can be treated with medication.
Not everyone with narcolepsy experiences cataplexy, however, some patients have only one or two episodes of cataplexy a year, while others may have several episodes every day.
These hallucinations can occur at any time and are often dramatic and disturbing. They are mainly visual, but may also include some of the other senses. When you are falling asleep, they are known as hypnagogic hallucinations. When you're waking up, they are known as hypnopompic hallucinations!
People suffering from narcolepsy often experience a sudden failure to act or talk while falling asleep or waking up. These episodes are normally short, lasting just a few seconds or minutes, but they can be terrifying. And if you have no influence of what was happening to you, you would be mindful of the situation and have no problem remembering it later.
This form of sleep paralysis is similar to the type of intermittent paralysis that happens over a time of sleep known as REM sleep. This temporary immobility during REM sleep can prevent your body from carrying out dreams.
Sleep fragmentation is normal in narcolepsy patients, who can awaken many times during the night. Other troubling sleep issues, such as excessive physical movements and sleep apnea, are more frequent in narcoleptics.
People with narcolepsy can have trouble sleeping at night due to things like vivid dreaming, respiratory issues, or body movements.
Narcolepsy's exact origin is unclearbut many forms of narcolepsy are believed to be exacerbated by a deficiency of hypocretin (also known as orexin), a brain chemical that controls sleep. The deficiency is believed to be caused by the immune system unintentionally targeting brain regions that contain hypocretin. However, hypocretin deficiency is not always the cause.
Your age is one of the risk factors for narcolepsy. Narcolepsy generally occurs between the ages of 15 and 25, but it can occur at any age.If you have a family history of narcolepsy, the chances of developing it are 20 to 40 times greater.
Normally, your body releases antibodies to kill disease-carrying pathogens and poisons. An autoimmune reaction occurs when antibodies incorrectly target healthy cells and tissue. In 2010, Swiss researchers discovered that certain people with narcolepsy develop antibodies to a protein known as trib 2.
Trib 2 is formed by the same brain region that produces hypocretin. As a result of the absence of hypocretin, the brain is less able to control sleep cycles. These findings may help understand the cause of narcolepsy in many cases, but they do not explain why certain individuals with the disease appear to emit near-normal levels of hypocretin.
A variety of factors can increase a person's risk of narcolepsy or cause an autoimmune reaction.
Here are few examples:
The diagnosis of narcolepsy necessitates close examination by a psychiatrist who is familiar with the condition. Narcolepsy may go undiagnosed for several years because it is rare and symptoms could be wrong due to other causes.
While there is no treatment for narcolepsy, there are medication and lifestyle changes that you can pursue that will help you overcome the symptoms.
The aims of narcolepsy therapy are to increase patient safety, minimize symptoms, and improve one's quality of life. Most patients with narcolepsy find that their condition improves over time. So far, scientists haven't figured out why the illness manifests differently in different individuals.
Those were some symptoms of narcolepsy and how you can try to treat it! We hope you were able to learn more about narcolepsy from our blog, and hopefully, we are able to help some of you who may suffer from it!
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