Living With Narcolepsy

When you suffer from the chronic neurological disorder of narcolepsy, you deal with a variety of complex symptoms related to your brain’s ability to control your sleep-wake cycles. 

The symptoms of narcolepsy, including unwillingly falling asleep and sudden muscle weakness, can challenge your ability to live a full and happy life. But with professional support and attentive management, you can deal with your narcolepsy and live your life the way you want to. 

At Arizona Institute of Neurology & Polysomnography, our expert care team led by Dr. Habib Khan supports patients with narcolepsy and other sleep disorders to achieve their personal, professional, and lifelong goals. Here's what you need to know about narcolepsy and how to live with it.

Recognizing narcolepsy symptoms

Having narcolepsy isn't as simple as just not sleeping well. You may even wake feeling fully rested in the morning, but then deal with extreme feelings of sleepiness later in the day. But interrupted and inconsistent sleep is definitely connected to the condition of narcolepsy.

In addition to sudden sleep and interrupted sleep, narcolepsy sufferers also sometimes deal with symptoms like:

While potentially frightening, all of these narcoleptic symptoms are caused by disruptions in your sleep cycle. Narcoleptics do not enter rapid eye movement (REM) sleep after about 60 to 90 minutes of resting time, as is typical for most people when sleeping. Instead, patients with narcolepsy enter REM sleep right away, as rapidly as 15 minutes after loss of wakefulness.

Planning for daily life

If you're not careful, your narcolepsy can dramatically impact your daily life activities. If you fall asleep in the middle of important activities like talking or driving, you can risk your relationships and even your life. However, with the right support, nearly everyone with narcolepsy can live a full life.

Some of the things you can do to protect yourself when living with narcolepsy include:

You can be diagnosed with narcolepsy at any point in your life, although symptoms often begin to appear during childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood. And narcolepsy is underdiagnosed, which means many people don't realize they have it and fail to seek treatment that would help them successfully adjust to living with their disorder.

One key to living with narcolepsy is remembering to reach out. Stay flexible and communicate with your loved ones about your needs. With support, you can keep living the life you want even after your narcolepsy diagnosis.

If you're worried about sleep issues or potential narcolepsy, contact Arizona Institute of Neurology & Polysomnography today. Dr. Khan can diagnose your condition through a noninvasive sleep study and determine the right medications and supports for your needs. 

If you have commercial licensing issues relating to sleep disorders, Dr. Khan can also advise you on your next steps. To schedule your initial consultation appointment, contact our Casa Grande, Arizona, office over the phone, or book using the online tool.

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