Narcolepsy is a condition that can dramatically affect the quality of your life. Our Columbia, SC, sleep consultants, Drs. Richard Bogan and Laura Herpel of Bogan Sleep Consultants offer effective treatments that can improve your symptoms.
What is narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy occurs when your brain has difficulty maintaining normal sleep and wake cycles. The neurological condition may affect as many as 200,000 people in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, although the actual number may be much higher due to undiagnosed cases.
What are the symptoms of narcolepsy?
If you have narcolepsy, you may experience one or more of these symptoms:
- Sleepiness During the Day: Daytime drowsiness is one of the most common symptoms of narcolepsy. In some cases, you might fall asleep suddenly and without warning. Sleep periods may only last a few moments but can be dangerous if they occur when you're driving, walking, cooking or operating machinery.
- Cataplexy: Cataplexy can be particularly frightening. It occurs when you have difficulty moving or controlling your muscles when you're awake. It can be as mild as a little weakness in an arm or can involve your entire body.
- Sleep Paralysis: Are you unable to move for a few seconds when you first fall asleep or wake up? You may have sleep paralysis. The condition can also be accompanied by hallucinations.
- Other Symptoms: Insomnia, sleep apnea, periodic leg movements can also occur if you have narcolepsy.
How is narcolepsy treated?
Your Columbia sleep consultant may recommend a sleep study if you have narcolepsy symptoms. The test measures brain activity, oxygen levels, blood pressure, eye movements and heart rate while you sleep and provides valuable information that will help your sleep consultant make a diagnosis.
If you are diagnosed with narcolepsy, your doctor may prescribe medications that decrease drowsiness during the day or reduce cataplexy and sleep paralysis. They may also recommend lifestyle modifications that can help, such as exercise, changing your sleep schedule, reducing stress, and avoiding alcohol and foods or beverages that contain caffeine before sleeping.
Do you need help dealing with narcolepsy? Call your Columbia, SC, sleep consultants, Drs. Richard Bogan and Laura Herpel of Bogan Sleep Consultants, at (803) 251-3093 to schedule an appointment.