Narcolepsy

The sleep doctors of Sleep Medicine Associates of Texas recognize that people suffering from narcolepsy pose a risk to themselves and to others. That’s why our sleep disorder center offers narcolepsy treatment based on the insights we receive from thorough sleep studies and in-depth consultation. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder defined by constant sleepiness and a tendency to fall asleep at inappropriate times. It is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and disturbed nocturnal sleep. Other narcolepsy symptoms include muscular weakness when angry or laughing, sleep paralysis and overactive dreams during the onset of sleep. These symptoms can develop suddenly or over many years. Typically, a person with narcolepsy has sleepiness during the day that is not relieved by any amount of sleep. If not treated and appropriately managed, narcolepsy can degrade the quality of a person’s life.

Narcolepsy Treatment

The first step in diagnosing narcolepsy is to conduct an evaluation by a sleep doctor. After a thorough review of your medical history and a complete physical examination, if the sleep doctor suspects narcolepsy, you may be asked to undergo testing at our sleep study center. Although there is not yet a narcolepsy cure, its symptoms can usually be controlled with medication and adjustments to your lifestyle.

Narcolepsy Sleep Study

An overnight sleep behavior polysomnogram and a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) are performed to confirm the diagnosis of narcolepsy and determine its severity. During a polysomnogram, you spend the night at one of our sleep study centers in a private and comfortable room. Small electrodes are attached to your skin, while the electrodes record brain waves, muscle activity, heart rate and eye movement. This procedure is completely painless and allows you to sleep normally. Our sleep study testing is thorough and scientific. This testing will determine whether you have narcolepsy or another sleep disorder.

Upon completion of the polysomnogram sleep test, an MSLT is performed the following day. With the electrodes still in place, we monitor you while you take 4-5 20-minute naps at two hour intervals. This procedure further monitors your sleep patterns. With narcolepsy, dream sleep (REM) often begins shortly after falling asleep, so these two sleep study tests will help the sleep specialist determine if your symptoms are caused by narcolepsy or by another disorder that shares some of the same symptoms.

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