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Posts for tag: Narcolepsy

By Jeremy D McConnell, MD
May 20, 2021
Category: Sleep Disorder
Tags: Narcolepsy  

Your sleep specialist in Bradenton, FL, can help if you have a sleep disorder.

Narcolepsy is somewhat rare, but it still affects hundreds of thousands of people in this country, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Fortunately, your sleep specialist can help with diagnosing and treating narcolepsy. Dr. Jeremy McConnell at Florida Sleep Specialists in Bradenton and Sarasota, FL, offers comprehensive sleep care services for sleep disorders like narcolepsy.

So, what is narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder during which your sleeping and waking processes are disrupted. Narcolepsy causes rapid eye movement or your REM sleep cycle to begin within minutes of falling asleep. The REM cycle normally occurs much later after falling asleep. As a result, normal sleep patterns are disrupted.

Narcolepsy can cause the following symptoms:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness is the main sign of narcolepsy
  • Automatic behaviors are actions the narcoleptic is unaware of doing
  • Nighttime sleep disruption like waking up several times during the night
  • Sleep paralysis is a feeling of inability to move
  • Sleep hallucinations including seeing vivid images when waking up or fall asleep
  • Cataplexy is a sudden loss of muscle control
  • Irritability or restlessness is most often seen in children with narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a potentially dangerous condition, especially if you are driving or operating machinery when a drowsiness episode occurs. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, narcoleptics are 3 to 4 times more likely to be in a car accident.

If you suspect you or someone you know might have narcolepsy, the first step is contacting your sleep specialist. Your doctor will take a full medical history, including your signs and symptoms, date of onset, and other factors. Sleep studies are often part of the initial diagnosis.

If narcolepsy is diagnosed, treatment can begin. There is no cure for narcolepsy, so the goals of treatment are to ensure patient safety, reduce symptoms, and improve quality of life. Treatment options include:

  • Behavioral modification, including taking short naps, developing a healthy exercise regimen, developing a sleep schedule, and avoiding alcohol and sedatives
  • Medication therapy, including medications to reduce daytime sleepiness, and reduce cataplexy

To find out more about the signs and symptoms of narcolepsy and how it is treated, talk with your sleep specialist. Call Dr. McConnell of Florida Sleep Specialists in Bradenton and Sarasota, FL, at (941) 792-8383. Get some relief from narcolepsy by calling today!

By Jeremy D McConnell, MD
October 06, 2020
Category: Medical
Tags: Narcolepsy  

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder. One of its primary symptoms is excessive daytime sleepiness. Someone with narcolepsy can fall asleep without warning. A person with narcolepsy can fall asleep during any kind of activity. He or she may suffer from frightening hallucinations as well. If you live in Bradenton, FL, and believe you may have narcolepsy, visit Dr. Jeremy McConnell of Florida Sleep Specialists. He can help you with narcolepsy as well as other kinds of sleep disorders. Keep reading to learn more about treatment for narcolepsy.

Prescription Medication to Treat Narcolepsy

Although there is no cure for narcolepsy, your doctor can use prescription medication to treat it. The medication used for treatment depends on your symptoms. For example, some narcolepsy sufferers experience cataplexy. Cataplexy occurs when you have sudden weakness in the knees, face, or neck. You may also experience slurred speech. Cataplexy is triggered by anger, laughter, or surprise. Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants to suppress abnormal REM, also known as rapid eye movement.

If you suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, also known as EDS, your doctor in Bradenton, FL, will prescribe stimulants to keep you awake. Dexamphetamine, modafinil, and methylphenidate are common prescription stimulants that doctors give patients who suffer from narcolepsy.

Lifestyle Changes to Treat Narcolepsy

Lifestyle changes are another important way to treat narcolepsy. Cultivating healthy sleep habits may help decrease narcolepsy symptoms. Scheduling daytime naps and eating a healthy diet can also help you combat narcolepsy. Other common lifestyle changes include:

  • Striving to get at least seven hours of sleep each night.
  • Avoiding alcohol consumption.
  • Avoiding caffeine consumption during the late afternoon or at night.
  • Avoiding large meals in the evening.
  • Creating a relaxing and quiet environment in your bedroom.

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that interferes with every facet of your life. It negatively affects your general health, school, work, your social life, and your emotional wellbeing. If you live in Bradenton, FL, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jeremy McConnell of Florida Sleep Specialists to learn more about narcolepsy and how you can overcome it. Contact our office by calling 941-792-8383.

By Jeremy D McConnell, MD
February 25, 2020
Category: Medical
Tags: Narcolepsy  

Narcolepsy is basically a lifelong disorder of the nervous system that results in abnormal or irregular sleep patterns that could negatively impact your quality of life and general health. According to the Stanford Medicine Center for Narcolepsy, it’s a rare disorder that is estimated to affect approximately 1 out of 2,000 individuals. Narcolepsy symptoms typically start to present themselves around the ages of 10 to 25, but it’s usually not recognized immediately.

Narcolepsy causes severe sleep attacks and daytime sleepiness. In most cases, it likewise causes temporary and unexpected muscle control loss, commonly called cataplexy. While narcolepsy isn’t fatal, episodes could result in life-threatening circumstances, injuries, and accidents. Here at Florida Sleep Specialists in Bradenton and Sarasota, FL, Dr. Jeremy McConnell, MD, can diagnose narcolepsy and recommend the best treatments suited to your case.

Causes of Narcolepsy

Unfortunately, no one really knows what causes narcolepsy up to this day. However, studies have shown that most individuals who suffer from cataplexy and narcolepsy have a reduced amount of hypocretin, which is a brain protein. One of the primary functions of this protein is regulating the sleep-wake cycle.

That said, studies state that low levels of hypocretin may be the result of various factors. One factor is a gene mutation that causes low hypocretin levels and attacks healthy cells in the body. Other factors including infections, toxin exposure, and stress may likewise contribute to developing narcolepsy.

Common Symptoms of Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy symptoms are typically attributed to improperly regulated REM or rapid eye movement sleep. The intensity and frequency of the symptoms vary from one person to another and can include the following:

  • Muscle loss control or cataplexy
  • Severe daytime drowsiness and sleepiness
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Hallucinations when trying to fall asleep

These symptoms might occur regardless of whatever you’re doing or the time of day. When this occurs, your REM sleep happens spontaneously and uncontrollably. In addition, take note that narcolepsy could be related to other sleep disorders including insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and obstructive sleep apnea.

Concerned? Give Us a Call

Schedule an evaluation with Dr. Jeremy McConnell, MD, here at the Florida Sleep Specialists in Bradenton and Sarasota, FL. Dial (941) 792-8383 for more details.