Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that affects 1 out of every 2,000 Americans. Although it is possible for narcolepsy type 1 to cause sudden falls, it is estimated that only 10% of people with narcolepsy have these episodes. Let’s look at some common myths about narcolepsy.
Common Myths About Narcolepsy
This is just one example where the public view of narcolepsy has been manipulated, leading to a widespread misunderstanding of the condition. These are some other common myths about narcolepsy.
Narcolepsy Has No Warning Signs
Most people with narcolepsy actually experience a number of warning signs that lead to a diagnosis long before there are any serious consequences. You should speak to your sleep doctor in New York City if you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following:
- Excessive tiredness for periods during the day alternating with periods of normal function
- Loss of muscle control, including drooping eyelids or physical collapse
- Hallucinations, especially while tired or going to sleep
- Difficulty sleeping through the night
- The inability to move or talk while waking up or falling asleep
All of these are classic symptoms of narcolepsy. Given that there are two types of narcolepsy, there may be some symptoms that you never experience. A professional diagnosis will help to determine what is causing your symptoms.
Narcoleptics Collapse All the Time
Cataplexy is the medical term for the sudden collapses that popular media associates with narcolepsy. In reality, only a small percentage of people with narcolepsy actually experience this.
In addition to sudden collapses not being the norm, cataplexy is not caused by the person suddenly falling asleep. Rather it’s caused by a sudden loss of muscle control. This is associated with type 1 narcolepsy, and it can be very dangerous.
People with type 1 narcolepsy have to avoid situations that may put them in danger when they experience cataplexy. Fortunately, medications and specially trained service dogs can help to improve total quality of life.
They Just Need More Sleep
We have all been in situations where we ignored our body’s needs and fell asleep unexpectedly. This is not the same as narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a physical condition that requires specialized treatment.
Your narcolepsy treatment in NYC will have two parts. The first thing your sleep doctor is going to do is try a stimulant. Stimulants can help some patients lead very normal lives, while others may have to use different medications such as antidepressants and sodium oxybate.
In addition to your medications, your sleep doctor in NYC will ask you to make certain lifestyle changes. These changes will center on your sleep schedule and evening habits. Regulating your sleep will not treat your narcolepsy alone, but it can help to improve your overall experience with treatment.
Children Can’t Have Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy isn’t something that crops up overnight. In reality, most people with narcolepsy do begin experiencing the symptoms as children. In most cases, signs start appearing before the age of seven.
Fortunately, children with narcolepsy can also receive treatment. The only change is that you may want to work with a pediatric sleep doctor. Having a doctor who is familiar with pediatric care can make the entire process better for your child and your family as a whole.
Narcolepsy Isn’t Serious
This is a dangerous myth. Narcolepsy may not be directly life threatening, but the symptoms can terrorize affected patients and put them in life threatening situations.
It is common for people with narcolepsy to experience sleep paralysis and hallucinations during the transition into or out of sleep. These hallucinations can be frightening, and the person has no ability to move or speak despite being semi-conscious.
For those with type 1 narcolepsy, cataplexy is overtly dangerous, as they may collapse at any given time. The only good news: it can usually prove managed with medication and other protective measures.
Narcolepsy is much more complex than most of us know, but it has the ability to be dangerous in the wrong circumstances. If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms associated with narcolepsy, you should seek medical attention from a qualified sleep doctor.