You’ve seen the comedy “Deuce Bigolow” of a woman dropping like a fly and sleeps with no unexplained reason. Active one minute, the next thing you know she collapses into a sleep attack. Sure it may seem funny, but thinking twice of what an actual person inflicted with this condition is not humorous. What you have seen is a neurological condition-narcolepsy- as you may of well heard of.
How well do any of you know anything about narcolepsy and the four classic symptoms? Probably not unless you are going through it.
1)EDS-Excessive Daytime Sleepiness 2)Cataplexy 3)Sleep Paralysis 4)HHE-Hypnogogic Hallucination Experiences.
As a person who experiences (isolated) sleep paralysis and HHE, I do know that I have a isolated case of SP and not narcolepsy. Accordingly to Dr. Jorge Conesa, six percent inflicted with ISP – isolated sleep paralysis- get SP often. In making a distinction, the sleep paralysis which I blogged is in the sleep paralysis to best describing the analogy of narcolepsy. All narcoleptics have sleep paralysis; not all people with SP are narcoleptics. Narcolepsy on the contrary, is a never ending disability via neurological disease taking on the toll about 200,000 Americans, while Stanford University reports 1 out of 2,000 individuals have it, while only 50,000 are diagnosed.
The primary symptom of narcolepsy is Excessive Daytime Sleepiness called sleep attacks, yet is generally experienced as a overwhelmingly sense of sleepiness like you have not slept in a few days, several times a day. EDS is the only symptom required for one to have narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is diagnosed by a MSLT-Multiple Sleep Latency Test, a daytime sleep test where your brainwaves are measured by an EEG during four or five naps 2 hours apart. If you go immediately into REM sleep at least 2 of the naps, you get diagnosed with narcolepsy.
Cataplexy – A part or complete muscle tone loss and paralysis, resulting in a extreme emotion such as laughter, anger — fighting off a sleep attack. Cataplexy is a major symptom of narcolepsy. Research indicated 80% – 90% have cataplexy at least once in their life.
Hypnogogic Hallucination Experiences are dream like imagery and sensations intertwined wiht the consciousness of the physical world: the five human senses. Only the HHE are accompanied with seeing shadows, aliens/greys, hearing strange noises from beeping to loud buzzing sounds.
Sleep Paralysis. This is common in all narcoleptics and people inflicted with ISP. SP occurs when the sleeper is about to go into sleep(hypnogogic) and awakening(hypnopompic). It is similar to cataplexy since there is completed loss of muscle tone, or muscle atonia. There is no permanent paralysis in atonia though the sensation of the inability to move starts from a few moments to a long period of time as in some people I have corresponded in the past who suffer from narcolepsy.
Dr. William Dement, one of the pioneers in sleep research, at Stanford University asserts there is a link between very low sodium in the genetic cells of dogs that triggers these canines to slump in cataplexy. Researchers had been testing suspected narcoleptics by taking a small amount of spinal fluid from the cerebral and then studied to determine if any deficient levels of hypocretin is present. Hypocretin is also known as orexin; it contains sodium, sugar, protein levels in your brain that needs also to function.
Furthermore if you have a member of your family that is narcoleptic, in a 200-fold there is a chance of you getting this condition. The average age set where narcolepsy begins is around 12 but is unusually to get it no later than 21.
When a person goes into slumber and ploops into sleep frequently this is what the rest of society stigmatizes as laziness. There are misunderstood facts on this condition and lack of public awareness needs to be addressed.