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3 Best Tips To Treat Narcolepsy

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Even if you get enough sleep, you may feel drowsy the next day. There are cases of this type of drowsiness due to chronic form of fatigue, but if you suddenly fall asleep or have excessive drowsiness, you may have narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a type of sleep disorder, and it refers to a disease that accompanies various symptoms such as sleep attacks and sleep paralysis, in which sleep flows in an abnormal form even after getting enough sleep at night. According to research, it is known to occur in about 0.02 to 0.18% of adults. The main cause of narcolepsy is not clearly known, but it is known that it is caused by abnormalities in the sleep mechanism, especially the REM sleep suppression mechanism. The transmission of hypocretin, a neurotransmitter that is located in the central nervous system and is involved in sensory and arousal of the body, has been known to be the main cause of its occurrence. Narcolepsy is generally assumed to be caused by the autoimmune destruction of hypocretin cells that occurs in adolescence, and it is often reported that onset occurs in adolescence and early adulthood. Now, let’s learn about the main symptoms of narcolepsy, as well as various information on treatment and management.

The main symptoms of narcolepsy

When narcolepsy occurs, there are four characteristic symptoms: narcolepsy, cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and hypnotic hallucinations. Among them, the most characteristic symptom is narcolepsy. In the case of a sleep attack, excessive sleep during the daytime, you fall asleep without knowing it, and you wake up with a clear mind after sleeping for about 15 minutes, but after an hour or two, you will show signs of sleepiness again. In addition, various symptoms such as cataplexy in which strong emotional changes and sudden loss of muscle tension result in collapse, sleep paralysis in which muscle strength is lost, and elevation hallucinations that feel like vivid dreams when the patient falls asleep or when waking up are also known as narcolepsy. It can be considered as the main characteristic symptom of Narcolepsy is known to be a rare and incurable disease that is difficult to cure for a lifetime. However, it is known that a normal life can be maintained if medication and behavioral therapy are combined, so continuous treatment and management are important.

How to treat and manage narcolepsy

1. Diagnosis and examination

In order to diagnose narcolepsy, daytime test and nighttime polysomnography test are performed consecutively in a sleep laboratory for 2 days and 1 night. The daytime test objectively identifies severe daytime sleepiness and REM sleep anomalies, while the nocturnal polysomnography identifies other sleep disturbances that may cause daytime sleepiness. As a result of the test, it usually takes about 80 to 90 minutes for dreaming REM sleep to come out after changing from light sleep to deep sleep in normal people, but narcolepsy patients often go to sleep within 15 minutes after falling asleep.

2. Treatment according to the diagnosis result

Narcolepsy is treated with modafinil, stimulant drugs such as pemoline and methylphenidate depending on the diagnosis result. In addition, some antidepressants are used to control symptoms caused by abnormal expression of REM sleep and symptoms such as cataplexy and sleep paralysis. In addition, an integrated treatment approach, such as psychological counseling and drug withdrawal to reduce drug tolerance, is also important.

3. Regular sleep habits

It is important to maintain a regular sleep habit to manage the symptoms of narcolepsy. It is said that it is very helpful to have a sleep habit that maintains a constant wake-up time and bedtime, and to take a nap at a certain time of the day. It is also recommended to refrain from high-carbohydrate meals that cause drowsiness before driving, and it is recommended to avoid factors that interfere with sleep, such as night exercise or alcohol, before sleeping.

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