While narcolepsy, an affliction that causes overwhelming, excessive daytime sleepiness, is a serious disease, the long-term effects are actually quite minimal. The residual problems are more incidentally related to the symptoms of the disease itself. For example, falling asleep at the wrong time, or the wrong place, may cause embarrassment, the loss of employment and so on. It can also interfere with learning and physical activity.
Is there a Cure for Narcolepsy?
The most troubling aspect of narcolepsy is the fact that there is currently no proven cure. However, various methods can mitigate some of the long-term effects. Stimulants that can be used to help keep patients awake include dextroamphetamine sulfate, odafinil, methylphenidate hydrochloride and methamphetamine hydrochloride. There are also some anti-depressants that can be effective as well. The good news is that when properly treated with medication, the long-term effects of the disease can be heavily controlled.
Can Everyone Be Treated for Narcolepsy?
Narcoleptics who suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart ailments may not be able to take some of the ideally prescribed medications. Pregnant women also are obviously not advised to try to treat narcolepsy during the time of pregnancy and childbirth. Non-medical treatments of narcolepsy are also worth trying first. These include napping; adjustments in a person's lifestyle; and improvements in sleep hygiene.
How Do I Know If I Suffer from Narcolepsy?
Someone who thinks they have narcolepsy may also want to undergo tests of sleep latency and-or polysomnogram. In some cases, it may be determined that another issue is causing the daytime sleepiness, such as inadequate amounts of nighttime sleep, or the consumption of certain substances in quantities that are not commensurate with a person's specific metabolism. A polysomnogram is conducted overnight and measures a person's heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, brain activity, muscle and eye movements. If it is found that the rapid eye movement (REM) occurs at abnormal times, it can help confirm the presence of narcoleptic causes.