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Narcolepsy

Synaptrx Sleep

Sleep Medicine Specialists & Pulmonary Medicine located in St. Paul, MN & West St. Paul, MN

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that often gets misdiagnosed or goes undiagnosed for many years. Jagdeep Bijwadia, MD, and the highly trained professionals at Synaptrx Sleep are experts in diagnosing and treating narcolepsy at their sleep medicine practice in St. Paul, Minnesota. If you struggle with excessive daytime sleepiness, call the office or book an appointment online today for an evaluation.

Narcolepsy Q&A

What is narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that interferes with your brain’s ability to manage sleep-wake cycles. This condition may lead to uneven, interrupted sleep that leaves you feeling drowsy during the day. 

Narcolepsy can make it challenging to stay awake for long periods and lead to sudden sleep attacks.

What are the symptoms of narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a lifelong disorder, but the symptoms usually don’t worsen as you age. Symptoms may lessen partially but never go away entirely. The most common narcolepsy symptoms include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) regardless of how much sleep you get at night
  • Cataplexy, or sudden loss of muscle control that may be triggered by strong emotions
  • Sleep paralysis, or the inability to move or speak before falling asleep or after waking up
  • Hallucinations before falling asleep or after waking up
  • Difficulty staying asleep at night, or insomnia

Narcolepsy may also cause changes in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Typically, you enter REM sleep within 60-90 minutes of falling asleep. 

People with narcolepsy usually enter REM sleep within 15 minutes and may also experience muscle weakness and dream activity of REM while they’re still awake.

How is narcolepsy diagnosed and treated?

First, your provider at Synaptrx Sleep reviews your symptoms and medical history. If they suspect you have narcolepsy, they may order tests to confirm the diagnosis. Tests for narcolepsy include:

Sleep study (polysomnogram)

A sleep study uses equipment to record your brain and muscle activity along with breathing and eye movements while you sleep. This data can help determine if you enter REM sleep rapidly and rule out other conditions, like sleep apnea.

Multiple sleep latency test (MSLT)

This test requires you to take 4-5 naps spaced two hours apart during the day. MSLT measures how long it takes you to fall asleep in the daytime. 

Though narcolepsy has no cure, the compassionate team at Synaptrx Sleep offers treatments to help you manage your symptoms and regain control of your life. Treatment for narcolepsy may include medications and lifestyle changes, like getting regular exercise at least 4-5 hours before bedtime.

For professional diagnosis and treatment of narcolepsy, call Synaptrx Sleep or book an appointment online today.