Have you ever been extremely sleepy during the day? Yes, we all feel sleepy while trying to work, study, or stay focused. However, some people experience excessive daytime sleepiness, which could be an indicator of an underlying issue, such as narcolepsy. Falling asleep with no control over your sleep is a major red flag of this sleep-wake disorder. You may be wondering what even leads to narcolepsy in the first place; is it genetic or develops later in life? In this blog, we will address your query and answer this question: can narcolepsy be developed?
What is Narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy, in simple terms, is a sleep disorder where the affected individual cannot stay awake during the daytime. They have an uncontrollable, strong urge to sleep that they cannot help but doze off, regardless of anything. This can be dangerous because one moment, you could be working or driving, and the next, you’re asleep. Those who experience narcolepsy have trouble staying awake for a long time.
If you suspect you have narcolepsy, it is important to seek immediate medical help before any harmful consequence takes place.
Can You Develop Narcolepsy Later In Life?
Yes, you can develop narcolepsy at any point in your life. However, during the teenage years and middle age, this sleep-wake disorder is more prominent.
Hypocretin is a chemical responsible for keeping you awake. When the levels of hypocretin decrease, your body attacks the cells in charge of producing the chemical. This could cause an imbalance in your sleep schedule. Additionally, this can lead to narcolepsy, and you may have trouble staying awake.
Signs of Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy can develop at any time, and anyone can fall victim to this disorder. You should keep an eye out for the following symptoms if you think you may have this disorder:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Experiencing sudden muscle weakness
- Constant sleep paralysis episodes
- Drifting to REM sleep quicker than usual
- Hallucinations during the day prior to falling asleep
Ways to Treat the Sleep-Wake Disorder
Though narcolepsy affects your life in many ways, one downside of this condition is: it can't be completely cured! You can treat it and manage the symptoms, but it stays with you throughout your remaining life. Generally, sleep specialists prescribe medications to reduce the severity of sleep episodes. Moreover, some lifestyle changes can also help manage your condition.
You can fight the urge to fall asleep anywhere by maintaining a consistent schedule for falling asleep. If you set consistent sleep habits and a specific time to take a nap, it can help you damper the desire to fall asleep anywhere, anytime. That’s not all! Physical activity can remarkably reduce the symptoms since it keeps your body from being constantly tired.
Regular appointments with the physician can also help you keep your narcolepsy in check. This way, even if your condition is severe, you will not have to worry about it becoming worse. Cutting back on alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco consumption is also a good initiative to keep your body healthy.
Narcolepsy is a sleep-wake disorder that can develop at any age, especially during teenage and middle age. You can ensure your condition is well-maintained and under control by seeking treatment from our Sleep & Headache Solutions team. Talk to us now at 832-688- 8886 or give us a visit at 13114 FM 1960 West, Ste 105B, Houston, TX 77065.