The Sleep Disorder Institute of Riverside Medical Center can diagnose and treat narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a chronic, neurological sleep disorder with no known cause. This genetic disorder involves the body's central nervous system, and is caused by a deficiency in the production of a neuropeptide called orexin.
The main characteristic of narcolepsy is excessive and overwhelming daytime sleepiness, even after adequate nighttime sleep. A person with narcolepsy is likely to become drowsy or to fall asleep at inappropriate times and places, and sleep attacks may occur with or without warning.
Attacks can occur repeatedly in a single day, drowsiness may persist for prolonged periods of time, and nighttime sleep may be fragmented with frequent awakenings.
How is narcolepsy diagnosed?
Riverside's Sleep Disorder Institute uses a combination of medical history, physical examination and laboratory tests to confirm a narcolepsy diagnosis. These tests include:
- Overnight polysomnogram (PSG) - A sleep test to monitor various parameters during an entire night of sleep.
- Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) - Measures sleep onset and how quickly rapid eye movement REM sleep occurs.
- Genetic blood test - To test for a genetic mutation often found in people who have a predisposition to narcolepsy.
How is narcolepsy treated?
The treatment goal of narcolepsy is for the patient to remain as alert as possible during his or her waking hours and to minimize any recurring episodes of cataplexy, while using a minimal amount of medication. Other treatment options include
- Nap therapy
- Proper diet
- Regular exercise
- Behavioral therapy