October 03, 2022
Being constantly sleepy or sleeping several times during the day can go beyond just having a bad night or having accumulated tired days. When these episodes become frequent and endanger people’s lives by altering their daily routine, it can be related to narcolepsy, a chronic disorder characterized by the normal interruption of the wake and sleep cycles. It usually manifests with excessive daytime sleepiness accompanied or not by cataplexy. On this occasion, Dr. Frank Villarreal, a neurologist at Clinica Ricardo Palma and a specialist in sleep disorders, provides us with more information.
Most frequent symptoms
First, the specialist searches with the patient for common causes of daytime sleepiness. Then, an overnight sleep study is done, followed by a multiple latency test, which measures how easily a person falls asleep and how long it takes to initiate rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Other studies can also be performed depending on the specialist.
Currently, narcolepsy does not have a definitive cure. However, there are different treatments that improve the patient’s quality of life. Among these is pharmacological treatment, which seeks to reduce daytime sleepiness and episodes of cataplexy, in addition to other multidisciplinary interventions aimed at managing other comorbidities that may appear.
As important as the prescription of drugs is the orientation of the patient and his environment for the adaptation of schedules and nap schedules that allow him to fully develop.
Dr. Frank Villarreal
Neurologist at Clinica Ricardo Palma and a specialist in sleep disorders