Narcolepsy - Causes, Symptoms , Treatments


1. Causes of narcolepsy

2. Symptoms of the disease

3. Diagnosis and treatment of narcolepsy

Narcolepsy - a disease of the nervous system that is characterized by a disorder of REM (rapid) sleep and manifests itself excessive sleepiness and sudden "attacks" of sleep.

Causes of Narcolepsy Narcolepsy Causes

long remained unsolved.Put forward different versions of the origin of the disease, up to amazing (a German neurologist thought that the cause of narcolepsy - teen masturbation).Some neuroscientists have talked about the origin of psychosomatic diseases, while others considered it a manifestation of schizophrenia, others considered the cause of violations of neurochemical brain balance.

real reason of narcolepsy has been clarified recently, in the late twentieth century, it is the "failure" of the system that runs the REM (REM) sleep.

Our brain is very complicated "mechanism".Even in Pavlov's laboratory it has been proven that it has the underlying structure responsibl

e for sleep.There are also biologically active chemicals that facilitate the conduction of nerve impulses along neurons - neurotransmitters (neurotransmitters).When the human nervous system is functioning correctly, thanks to these substances, we are in is not dormant.But in the case of a lack of excitation pulses do not reach the neurons and the person falls asleep.Thus, large-scale studies have established the most plausible cause of narcolepsy, which lies in the lack of certain neurotransmitters - orexin A and orexin B orexin function is to maintain the waking state, and their shortage is the cause of narcolepsy.

The breakdown of REM sleep system and, accordingly, the lack of orexin provoke:

  • brain injury;
  • infections of the brain;
  • excessive fatigue;
  • pregnancy;
  • unstable emotional state, psychological trauma;
  • malfunction of the immune system;
  • hormonal imbalance;
  • diabetes;
  • genetic predisposition.

In many cases, the cause of narcolepsy, it is a factor which has provoked disorder of REM sleep remains unclear.

Symptoms of the disease

There are two mandatory symptom of narcolepsy:

1. Falling asleep "on the fly" when a person falls asleep suddenly without any apparent reason.This occurs most often when monotonous work, but perhaps completely unexpected fall asleep during conversations, while walking, while watching a movie or in any other situations.This dream usually last a few minutes, but in severe forms of narcolepsy can last for hours.

2. Sudden involuntary relaxation of all muscles of the body (cataplexy), which occurs when a person is experiencing vivid emotions (laughter, surprise, rage, vivid memories, anxiety, a certain period of sexual intercourse).Cataplexy (loss of muscle tone) is rarely the first symptom of narcolepsy, more often it develops over the years.

In the first case braking captures the cerebral cortex, but does not reach the brain lying below, so a person falls asleep, but immobility does not occur.So if he had fallen asleep while walking, you can still 1-2 minutes to go dormant and then wake up.

In the second case, the opposite occurs.When properly stored consciousness comes immobility.Human muscles are relaxed, it simply falls, but still manages to find a place to fall, for example, sits on a chair.

These are not all the symptoms of narcolepsy, many patients have the full range of features, including:

  • sudden falling asleep and cataplexy (of them mentioned above);
  • vivid dreams up to the hallucinations that occur on falling asleep or spillage;
  • immediately after waking up a few seconds the person can not move (this state is called the "paralysis" of sleep);
  • there is an urgent need for an afternoon nap.

In addition, due to the lack of slow phase (deep) sleep, there are cases when patients with narcolepsy sleep poorly at night, their sleep surface, they often wake up.

narcolepsy symptoms can develop over many years or occur all at once.Nevertheless, we should not assume that if you have any symptoms listed above, then you are sure to narcolepsy.These symptoms are also symptoms of many other diseases, but most can be just temporary disorders of the stress, chronic fatigue, lack of sleep, etc.

Diagnosis and treatment of narcolepsy

diagnosis is very important for any disease, narcolepsy is no exception.The symptoms of narcolepsy are similar to symptoms of other disorders of the nervous system, so before you start the treatment of narcolepsy, it is necessary to make sure whether it is, and to exclude, in the first place, the likelihood of such diseases as epilepsy.Epilepsy treatment of narcolepsy and diametrically opposite, thus posing correct diagnosis in this case is vital.

and diagnosis, and treatment of narcolepsy should be administered under the strict supervision of a doctor, a neurologist.

disease diagnosis is quite complex and lengthy, it includes: polysomnography and the MSLT-test.Polysomnography somnological conducted in the laboratory, where a person has to spend at least one night.By special electrodes attached thereto, which are registered via brain wave activity of the muscles, heart rhythms, eye movement.After polysomnography carried MSLT-test, it provides a so-called sleep pattern, which is different in patients with narcolepsy and healthy people.

Narcolepsy - a serious disease, it can significantly reduce the patient's quality of life.Treatment of narcolepsy rather difficult task.Unfortunately, there is no treatment schemes, by which it would be possible to eliminate the disease completely today.But there are two groups of drugs that the doctor picks up individually for each patient, and at that time, relieve symptoms of narcolepsy:

1. Drugs that stimulate the brain to work.

2. Drugs that weaken the inhibitory effect of the sleeping area in the brain.

Although the treatment of narcolepsy is mainly symptomatic, the patient himself can make an effort to adapt and make the most lives for the current situation.It is necessary to normalize night's sleep, and establish a daily routine of waking and most importantly - set aside some time for naps.

narcoleptic strictly prohibited from engaging in potentially harmful to themselves and people around them lessons, including: driving a car, working at heights, working with other moving machinery, night work, etc.

new step in the treatment of narcolepsy issues made by American scientists.They developed a special nasal spray, which includes orexin (substance, the lack of which is the cause of narcolepsy).Animal experiments have confirmed the effectiveness of tools, so it is likely that soon the theory of narcolepsy remains incurable in the past.


This article is available exclusively in the educational purposes and is not research material or professional medical advice.

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