Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that causes patients to experience excessive daytime sleepiness and intermittent episodes of uncontrollable sleep during the day. These sudden sleep attacks may occur during any type of activity and at any time of day. People who suffer from narcolepsy may experience REM sleep immediately in the sleep cycle and periodically during the waking hours. Narcolepsy usually starts between the ages of 15-25 and, in many cases, goes undiagnosed and untreated for years.
Though scientist are unsure of the exact cause of narcolepsy, they have identified genes that have a strong association with the disorder. A deficiency in the production of a chemical in the brain called hypocretin can also be responsible. Additionally, if there are abnormalities in the area the brain that contributes to the regulation of REM sleep, patients may experience narcolepsy symptoms. Experts hypothesize that patients most likely develop narcolepsy due to a combination of several factors.
Symptoms of narcolepsy may include:
Narcolepsy treatment focuses on controlling the symptoms. Most of the disabling symptoms of the disorder can be diminished with medication therapy. For instance, excessive daytime sleepiness can be treated with alertness promoting agents or stimulants, and the symptoms of abnormal REM sleep sometimes respond well to antidepressant drugs. Lifestyle adjustments also prove beneficial. These include things like regulating sleep schedules; scheduling daytime naps; and establishing a normal exercise and meal schedule.
At Santa Monica Sleep Disorders Center, we are in-network with many major PPO plans, and are Medicare providers. Please check with us to see if our practice is included in your health insurance network. Please be sure to provide your insurance information prior to your first visit, and update us if your insurance status changes so that we can check benefits and process claims in the most efficient manner.
"Most wonderful caring MD. Very involved with his patients well being and will tell you the truth"
"He's very nice, knowledgeable and offered me the right solutions for better sleep and adjustments of my CPAP machine."
"f you need a sleep study. This is the place. You won't be disappointed. Thank you Dr. Norman"