Do you have trouble staying awake during the day, even if you've had a good night's sleep? Narcolepsy, a chronic neurological disorder, may be to blame for your symptoms. Sleep doctor Dr. Richard Bogan of Bogan Sleep Consultants offers treatment for narcolepsy and other sleep disorders in his Columbia, SC, office.
Is it general sleepiness or narcolepsy?
If you're tired because you didn't sleep well, you'll probably feel fatigued the entire day. Despite feeling a little sleepy, you'll still be able to function. If you have narcolepsy, sleepiness tends to occur suddenly. One minute, you're alert, the next you're overcome with an irresistible urge to sleep. In some cases, you may fall asleep in the middle of a conversation or while walking or driving.
Other symptoms of narcolepsy may include:
- Cataplexy: Cataplexy occurs when you lose control of your voluntary muscles. Episodes can be triggered by stress, laughter, anger or other strong emotions. The attacks only last a few seconds to a few minutes and may only cause minor weakness in some cases. If you have a severe attack, you may collapse due to your inability to control your muscles.
- Sleep Paralysis and Hallucinations: If you have sleep paralysis, you may experience temporary paralysis when you first drift off to sleep or wake up. Sleep paralysis can be accompanied by hallucinations.
- Insomnia: People who have narcolepsy may find it harder to stay asleep during the night or may suffer from periodic limb movements that make sleeping difficult.
How can a sleep doctor help me?
Your Columbia sleep doctor will review your symptoms and medical history and may recommend a few tests, such as a sleep study or a multiple sleep latency test, that will help him make a diagnosis. If you're diagnosed with narcolepsy, he may recommend medications that improve alertness, reduce drowsiness and control cataplexy. He may also recommend that you make a few changes to your lifestyle, such as taking naps at the times when you tend to fall asleep, following a consistent sleep schedule, and limiting the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume.
Are you concerned that you or a family member may have narcolepsy? Call Columbia, SC, sleep doctor Dr. Richard Bogan of Bogan Sleep Consultants at (803) 251-3093 to schedule an appointment.