The habit of unreasonable daytime sleepiness can produce a great influence on person’s social, personal and professional life. Narcolepsy is uncommon but certainly severe brain disorder related to sleep. Nearly about 3 million people are diagnosed with this illness. Both men and women are equally affected in the ratio of 1 per 2000 people. In some instances, a sufferer shows attentiveness with the encompassing environment, for example, he or she can hear the sound produced in surrounding and try to restore them. Sometimes, the person is in a deep sleep and not much aware of the surroundings.
Behind Arousal of Sleep
Narcolepsy is mainly considered as an autoimmune disorder. A dominant cause behind this sickness is an insufficiency in one of the brain chemical named as “Hypocretin” which regulates the sleep cycle, and inhibition of this chemical result in upsetting the balance between the wake cycles and sleep cycles. Such impairment causes the narcolepsy. Some other factors are also responsible for narcolepsy.
If parents are having any health complaints then there are possibilities of getting the same type of disease in their child via genes. Genes carry the information from parent to their offspring.
Hormonal shifts occur at various stages of life such as adolescence or menopause. This may affect the sleep time.
Physical Insanity and Medications
In the stressful situation, it is impossible to get proper rest. Also, some infectious illnesses and prescriptions used to treat them alter the sleep patterns of that person.
Brain Injuries and Tumors
An accident can be the main reason behind the brain injuries. It injures the portion of the brain which is involved in the production of hypocretin which then causes the malfunctioning. Some brain tumors hamper the sleep patterns of that person and create situations like narcolepsy.
Manifestations of Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy can be seen in the persons belonging from the age of 15 to 25 years. But the patient manifests symptoms some years before its actual diagnosis. In some cases, the person continues the activity unknowingly while napping and some may fall asleep quietly for short period.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
When you sleep enough at night and still feel sleepy on next day then it is fine for some time. But if this continues for a longer period, then it is a sign of narcolepsy. It is difficult to control sleepiness. There is impairment in wake cycle which makes the patient fall asleep after taking a good nap after every one or two hours.
Abrupt Nighttime Sleep
Many of narcolepsy victims are unable to take absolute sleep due to the miscommunication between the wake cycles and sleep cycles.
Sleep paralysis is temporary and last only for few seconds or minutes. Sometimes brain loses organ control and hence disturbs the organ functioning and body goes into the state of paralysis. In this case, the individual temporarily fails to perform involuntary muscle activities such as movement of jaws or moving muscles while falling asleep and while waking up. After the completion of sleep session, the person comes into the normal stage and can perform normal actions. Not every patient suffering from narcolepsy shows this symptom. At some extent, it is like that of the cataplexy.
Lost Muscular Control
We can call this as “Cataplexy”, means the sudden loss of muscle tuning. This is because of weakness in muscles such as arms, legs, jaws, etc. Due to weakness, the sufferer fails to perform involuntary muscle activities such as movement of jaws, movement of legs while sleeping.
Daydreaming or Hallucinations
In Daydreaming or Hallucinations, may observe the things which are not actually present. A lot of people are there who can smell, hear various sounds, taste the things or touches the things which are not present in reality we call this as hallucinations.
The brain has control over the memory. Little changes can also cause the memory problems. Some of us may forget many things due to lack of wakefulness while listening.
Ways to Investigate the Syndrome
Proper evaluation of disease can help the patient to recover fast. Various methods are present which can be used to check whether the individual is having narcolepsy or not. Simple physical observations can help to cross-check whether the symptoms are due to narcolepsy or because of some other disorders.
One can make the diagnosis based on the sleep patterns by using sleep diaries. The sleep diaries contain the data related to the various sleep patterns, drugs and alcohol habits, and some other habits that keep the person awake for a long period of time. By taking such kind of information for 2 to 3 weeks can help to identify the sleep syndrome.
Sleep Studies in Laboratory
Polysomnogram is a test performed in the sleep laboratory in which, the machine transmits the signals and records the various body actions such as breathing rate, muscle movements, and brain activities. These records help the experts to identify the sleekness.
Past Medical and Family Histories
Use of certain sleep-inducing medications continuously can cause the daytime sleepiness and drowsiness, which are not because of narcolepsy. Some incidents that happened in past may cause for triggering of the disease in the present. The person’s medical history gives an idea to identify the cause of disease.
Few Practices to Defeat Narcolepsy
“Every problem has the solution.” Due to advancement in technology and medical field now it becomes possible to overcome any kind of problem. And diseases are not the exception for that. Various treatment options are there which can help the patient for disease recovery. This includes the use of medications, use of therapies including gene therapy, Hypocretin replacement therapy, or change of certain habits. By combining of all options, we can help to achieve patient’s recovery.
Antidepressants or stimulants can perform well in controlling the daytime sleepiness. But the use of these medications can help to cure the disease at the certain extent and it does not give any certainty for its complete cure. Various pharmaceuticals are engaged in the production of drugs which are beneficial for the narcolepsy. But these drugs can not cure the disease completely. So, the doctors are looking for some other ways to treat the disorder.
As we all know, some bad habits are the cause for arising of certain diseases. If we mend such bad habits then it will help to recover from the disease to some extent. Some adjustment with the routine life such as adjusting the sleep times, fixing the proper nap schedule, and simple physical exercises can do well to control the daytime sleep. Gene therapies or hypocretin replacement therapies also perform a beneficial role in treating the disease.
Demand for fast recovery is increasing day by day, so, this is a great opportunity for pharmaceuticals to introduce new medicines into the market. The number of cases suffering from sleep disorders is increasing rapidly across the globe and hence it will give great future for those companies producing therapeutics.
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