Causes and treatment
Causes of narcolepsy are still not fully understood. With many patients suffering under narcolepsy smaller amounts of hypocretin (orexin) in their brain- and spine-fluid have been determined. Thus, medics assume that due to an autoimmune disease the cells responsible for hypocretin-production become destroyed. Hypocretin is a sleep-wake-rhythm and eating-behavior influencing hormone.
When suspecting having narcolepsy consult a specialist. For diagnosis, neurologists and sleep medics use sleep questionnaires and sleep diaries as well as specific examinations in a sleep laboratory.
Most of the time, the treatment of narcolepsy consists as well of a drug- as a non-drug-therapy. The doctor prescribes drugs that need to be taken long-term. Here, regular control visits at your doctor are important.
Sleep hygiene is important in the non-drug therapy. Sleep hygiene consists of lifestyle and behaviors supporting healthy sleep. These include:
- Regular sleep-wake-cycle
- Make a schedule to avoid injuries and accidents. For example cook, when the probability to stay awake is highest.
- One or two naps during the day when feeling tired.
- To avoid misunderstandings or conflicts inform family and friends about your narcolepsy. Often, the disease is misinterpreted and many assume that people concerned or just lazy or suffer under depressions.
Receive further information in our sleep-healthy-guidebook “sleep yourself young, fit and successful”, free of cost.
Image source: @fotolia
This post is also available in / Diesen Beitrag gibt es auch in: German