The best way to determine whether you have narcolepsy is based on your sudden loss of muscle tone in combination with excessive daytime sleepiness. The idea is to reach your physician that will conduct a few tests to see whether you have this problem or not.
The next step after the diagnosis is to conduct another series of tests with sleep specialists so that he/she can evaluate the severity of your condition and provide you proper medications that will help you handle the issue.
In most cases, you will have to stay overnight at a sleep center so that they can analyze your deep sleep cycle and see whether you have issues or not. The diagnostic methods for narcolepsy include:
- Checking Your Sleep History –The doctor will ask you a specific set of questions regarding your sleep history. One of the most important ways to present your account is by filling out Epworth Sleepiness Scale, which includes a series of questions that will determine the levels of sleepiness you have on daily basis. For example, you have to indicate based on the number scale how likely is for you to doze off in some situations such as after lunch or while in public transportation. In here, you will be able to check out the review of best narcolepsy treating drug on the market.
- Sleep Records – You will have to keep and maintain the diary of your sleep pattern for at least a few weeks so that the doctor can create a comparison between your alertness and sleep pattern. Apart from creating a sleep log, you will need to wear actigraph, which is a device you place on wristwatch, and it measures your activity periods as well as rest periods so that doctors can see the number of hours you spend sleeping throughout the day.
- Polysomnography – This particular type of test will measure signals by using electrodes that will be on your scalp while sleeping. Therefore, you have to spend a night in a medical facility, and the specialists will measure the electrical activity of your brain as well as movements of muscles, heart, and eyes.
- Sleep Latency Tests – This particular type of examination determines the amount of time you need to fall asleep during the day. You will have to take a few naps, and each one of them will be a few hours apart. By observing your sleeping patterns, they will determine the progression of your condition, since people with narcolepsy tend to enter REM sleep quicker than healthy people. At the same time, these tests will allow your doctors to rule out all symptoms, signs, and causes that happen during your sleep and check whether you have additional sleep disorders such chronic sleep deprivation, sleep apnea or misuse of sedating meds that reduce your attention and cause the sleepiness throughout the day. Check here to learn everything about this particular testing method.
How To Treat Narcolepsy?
We have to state the most important fact you should remember when it comes to narcolepsy: there is no cure. However, you will be able to consume medications that will modify your lifestyle and help you manage the severe symptoms and even slow their progression.
The most common meds for narcolepsy are:
- Stimulants – Doctors tend to prescribe drugs that stimulate and affect the central nervous system because it allows patients to remain awake throughout the day. On the other hand, Modafinil is not considered stimulant but wakefulness promoting agent, which means that it is efficient choice for maintaining the focus while working and handling daily tasks. Even though Modafinil is not stimulant per se, it features psycho stimulant features and effects on brain by boosting your attention as well as focus without severe consequences and side effects related to other stimulants based on amphetamines that are commonly prescribed for narcolepsy. Since it is not addictive as other stimulants, you will not experience lows and highs that are common among different types. You may experience mild side effects when you start using Modafinil, such as headache and nausea, but that will stop in a few weeks. When it comes to amphetamines, these meds are useful, but highly addictive and come with severe side effects such as heart palpitations and nervousness among other things.
- SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) – The standard way of treating narcolepsy is through SSRI and SNRI. The doctors tend to prescribe them because they tend to suppress REM sleep and alleviate symptoms of sleep paralysis, hypnogogic hallucinations, and cataplexy, which are common among narcolepsy patients. We are talking about generic meds such as fluoxetine in the form of Prozac, and venlafaxine in the form of Effexor XR. The most common side effects are insomnia and weight gain that may happen during the first month of consumption.
- Tricyclic Antidepressants – Even though they feature old formula for treating various forms of depressions, they are highly effective when it comes to treating cataplexy. However, the side effects are universal which means that you can experience lightheadedness and dry mouth.
- Sodium Oxybate – If you wish to treat cataplexy, this particular type of meds is highly effective. It will help you improve overnight sleep, which is weak with people with narcolepsy. It can help you control daytime sleepiness, which means that you have to take it one at bedtime and the next one a few hours later. Have in mind that these meds come with side effects such as bed-wetting and nausea, while they can lead to sleepwalking issues if you had these problems in the past. If you decide to take these pills with other sedatives or sleeping meds or alcohol, it may lead to coma or even fatality. Understand everything about this particular drug by visiting this link: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a605032.html.
Note: When you start with the treatment, you should avoid consuming cold and allergy meds because they can lead to drowsiness and sleepiness. Therefore, if you have issues with narcolepsy, you should use alternative meds that will help you with the problems.
Have in mind that the future will bring new generation of drugs that will affect histamine levels, but the research is still in progress.