Narcolepsy Disrupts night time Sleep And sleep attacks during the day and sometimes muscle weakness. With the condition interfering in so many ways in your life, you want to do everything you can to avoid anything that triggers your symptoms.
Narcolepsy is chronic, meaning it will be with you for a long time. Although it is not a progressive disease Multiple tissue hardening disease, Its symptoms may change over time. And some of the things you do or don’t do can lead to more sleep attacks.
“It can worsen or improve depending on a person’s sleep behavior,” says MD Sogol Zawahiri, a sleep medicine physician at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “For example, sometimes people with narcolepsy may find that they don’t sleep during the day. It can be a big mistake because sleep can never be replaced.”
What causes narcolepsy?
Experts thought that narcolepsy was from an autoimmune disorder. Most people with narcolepsy have low levels of hypocretin The brain That will help you stay awake. That’s a problem Of the immune system This causes the cells to produce hypocretin. Lack of this chemical causes sleep attacks.
Hypocretin collapse is a part of narcolepsy with cataplexy, where strong emotions, especially laughter or surprise, trigger a sudden loss of muscle tone. In the movies, the characters who have Cataplexy suddenly become lame, fall and fall to the ground. In reality, the symptom is usually not dramatic, says Michael Awad, chief of the Sleep Surgery Division at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago and chief medical officer of Peak Sleep.
“It comes gradually,” he says. “Often there are no warning signs. As a person begins to feel strong, they begin to yawn and then they begin to lose tone in their muscles.
Cataplexy does not first appear for months or years after other narcolepsy symptoms. Low-dose Antidepressants Can help with this symptom.
Is the virus to blame?
One theory about the origin of narcolepsy is that the virus or other infection causes the immune system to attack the cells that produce the hypocretin. “The onset of narcolepsy symptoms is usually seen at the end of the spring thaw, indicating that the infection can be triggered by a winter infection,” says Zawahiri.
Approximately two-thirds of people diagnosed with narcolepsy develop a positive test for antibodies against Streptococcus Streptococcus infected throat. Cases of narcolepsy increased after 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza The virus epidemic in China. And in many European countries, many children who have received pandemics Vaccine, Which protects against the H1N1 virus, has been identified as narcolepsy.
Infections do not cause narcolepsy on their own. Many people who develop narcolepsy after receiving the Pandemrix vaccine also carry a gene called GDNF-AS1. “This suggests that a combination of genetic predisposition, young age, and specific immune stimulants may increase the risk of narcolepsy,” says Zawahiri.
You can test for gene changes linked to narcolepsy. But if you don’t have to Family history The status quo, it’s not worth it, she adds.
Avoiding Sleep Attack Triggers
The problem with regulating normal sleep-wake cycles in narcolepsy is the sudden onset of sleep. “We do not believe that it has much to do with environmental factors,” says Awadh. But, he says, “people can do a lot of things to improve the symptoms of narcolepsy.”
Sticking to a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Try to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night. Make any sleep you miss during the day with naps. “It’s really important to schedule naps,” says Zawahiri. “Try to nap time in the day before you hit the wall or really sleep.”
To avoid Alcohol And Caffeine, Especially before bedtime. “Alcohol causes sleep disruption, which means it breaks our sleep,” says Avad. Alcohol disrupts restoration REM sleep The point is, even when you think you have a full night’s sleep, you can fall asleep the next day.
There is some evidence that nicotine in cigarettes improves the symptoms of narcolepsy. But other health problems have been linked Smoking, “The risks outweigh the benefits,” says Avad. “There is also concern, especially when people smoke in the afternoon or evening, which can lead to burns or fires if they have a sleep attack.”
When to see your doctor
Narcolepsy is a chronic condition. It never goes away completely, but once you get the right treatment, “you’ll be able to function,” says Zawahiri. “If your quality of life is significantly affected, it is an indication to consult your doctor.”
She says symptoms such as over-sleeping or staying awake at school or working in a person who has not been diagnosed with narcolepsy are reasons to see a doctor for evaluation. The symptoms of narcolepsy can overlap Mood disorders Do Depression And Anxiety, And with Sleep disorders For example Obstructive sleep apnea. As a result, it can sometimes take years to get a proper diagnosis.