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Narcolepsy is such a neurological disorder, the impact of which affects the ability of a person to control his own state of wakefulness and sleep. Narcolepsy, the symptoms of which are accompanied by excessive drowsiness and uncontrollable sleep attacks, manifested during the day, is in some way a dangerous disease, because a sudden onset of sleep can occur at any time and in the performance of any action.
As a rule, narcolepsy develops in young people (15-25 years old), mainly in men, although narcolepsy is possible at any other age. As the main putative factor contributing to the development of this disease, heredity is considered, combined with the impact of certain external factors, as one of them can be designated, for example, viral diseases.
In general, the causes of this disease are not fully understood. A number of specialists are of the opinion that the cause of narcolepsy is the lack of such a biologically active substance, through which the processes associated with falling asleep and awakening are regulated in the brain, as such a substance is considered oroxine (hypocretin). The attack of falling asleep during narcolepsy is accompanied, as it is understandable, by a sudden falling asleep, combined with instant loss of muscle tone. Narcolepsy is accompanied by constant drowsiness and fatigue, and these conditions are relevant regardless of the total duration of sleep of the patient. Again, as is understandable, narcolepsy can become a serious hindrance, affecting the quality of life, especially if it is an uncontrolled and unrecognized form of life. Concerning the prevalence of narcolepsy, there are data indicating the frequency of its diagnosis on average in 20-40 people out of 100,000. The current methods of therapy are aimed at correcting this disease, but not getting rid of it.
As noted, there are no precise reasons for explaining the nature of this disease at the moment. The main options are the results of a number of studies. So, according to one data, the causes of narcolepsy lie in the identification of genes closely related to the sleep disorder that we are considering. Due to these genes, control is provided over the formation in the brain of signals associated with falling asleep and awakening. According to other sources, narcolepsy is caused by the hypocretin deficiency already noted in the brain. In addition, such anomalies of various regions of the brain have been identified, due to which participation in the regulation of fast sleep phases is ensured.
These anomalies act as the main influencing factor in the development of symptoms that are relevant to narcolepsy. When combined factors accompanying the personal life of patients with a factor of gene disorders may, respectively, develop this disease. Somewhat later, on the basis of a number of studies, in addition to the listed features of the development of the disease, it was found that there may be a link between the development of narcolepsy and certain disorders in the functioning of the immune system, which can also be considered as a factor accompanying the development of this disease. It is important to note that neither psychological problems nor the scale problem of the psychiatric cause of narcolepsy are not.
Excessive drowsiness during the day. Due to excessive drowsiness during the day, the problems accompanying normal activities throughout the day are determined. In this case, as already indicated, drowsiness is a factor accompanying the general condition of the patient, manifested regardless of how long it takes to sleep at night. Thus, narcolepsy is not a condition provoked by a shortage, for example, a night sleep - the patient can sleep any amount of time, narcolepsy in its manifestations with this condition is not related. Also, patients who seek the doctor's help regarding excessive daytime drowsiness have complaints about blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, and lack of energy. In addition, they develop depressive conditions, develop excessive "squeezing" and exhaustion of the general condition.
Development of cataplexy. Under this condition is understood a state in which there is a sudden loss of muscle tone, because of which, respectively, sudden fatigue develops and control over the state of muscles is lost. Against the background of this state, in turn, a whole complex of manifestations develops, which can manifest as if only in the form of speech indistinctness, reproduced by the patient, and in the form of a state of absolute exhaustion of the organism caused by a specific group of muscles, etc.
Occurrence of hallucinations. Mostly this includes illusory experiences, the nature of their appearance in patients they are quite vivid and realistic, even frightening. Hallucinations can manifest themselves in certain variants of their own species, being, for example, hypnagogic, that is, appearing immediately before falling asleep, as well as hypnopopic, that is, hallucinations that accompany the patient's awakening state in its own generation. Thus, when hallucinations occur unusual phenomena, sounds are heard. Hallucinations in general can cause the development of anxiety in patients due to the peculiarities of their manifestation.
Development of sleep paralysis. This symptom is accompanied by the development of temporary disability, that is, the lack of ability to speak or move, which is caused by the sleep of patients or, conversely, their awakening. The duration of manifestation of these episodes is short and is of the order of several minutes or even seconds. As a rule, the disappearance of signs of paralysis occurs when you touch the patient. The end of the attack is accompanied by the restoration of the ability to reproduce speech and to move, depending on which of the functions, respectively, was "blocked."
In general, the picture of the manifestation of the disease can be supplemented by the fact that the symptoms of narcolepsy can manifest themselves as immediately in full, and be accompanied by their gradual development and aggravation, marked over many years.
The diagnosis of narcolepsy is accompanied by an assessment of the general condition of the patient at the doctor's admission, which may exclude or, conversely, confirm other diseases characterized by a narcolepsy-like symptomatic manifestation. In the conditions of the somnological laboratory, the specialist studies the general medical history of the patient who has appealed to him, which is also accompanied by a physical examination of a complex scale. Predominantly in the diagnosis used two basic testing options, this MSLT test and polysomnography. Polysomnography consists in conducting a study in which the patient remains in a separate room, small electrodes are attached to his skin, their fixation is provided by an adhesive iron substance. Attached electrodes record a number of parameters, such as heart rate, the features of muscle activity, intracerebral waves, eye movements. Based on the results of this test, you can determine whether other disorders accompanying narcolepsy are relevant, which allows you to get a better idea of the specific features of the course of the disease in each specific case. As for the MSLT test, it is carried out the next day after polysomnography.
Here the patient needs to fall asleep when the electrodes are fixed on the body, the duration of sleep is about 20 minutes. For this, several attempts are made, with an interval between them of 2-3 hours. On the basis of these two tests, it becomes clear whether the symptomatology that worries the patients is triggered by narcolepsy or whether there is another pathology accompanied by the listed symptoms. With regard to treatment, it, as already indicated initially, is more symptomatic. These symptoms can be alleviated or controlled to some extent, but it is not possible to cure the disease yet.
Due to the possible impact, narcolepsy can be reduced, which, in turn, allows the possibility of a normal life. To treat drowsiness, various types of stimulants (amphetamine analogs) can be used. To eliminate the symptoms accompanying the anomalies of the phase of the onset of fast sleep, antidepressants are used. Relief of the symptoms accompanying narcolepsy can also be achieved through a change in lifestyle. In particular, this implies the need for a withdrawal from nicotine, alcohol, the exclusion of caffeine and the consumption of heavy food. In addition, it is important to observe the regime of day and night sleep - night sleep should be long, daytime, on the contrary, reduced (within 10-15 minutes). Welcome in this matter physical exercise, adherence to diet.