The ABC'S of narcolepsy
The most common symptom of narcolepsy is the sudden desire to fall asleep. Drowsiness is so present that a person cannot help but fall asleep. Although the extreme desire to sleep is more frequent when the person is idle, it can also occur during physical exertion or a period of stress.
Other symptoms of narcolepsy
Cataplexy • Cataplexy is characterized by the sudden loss of muscle tone associated with REM in a fully awakened person. This is caused by intense emotion such as: surprise, emotion, fear, anger or laughter. Cataplexy can cause the full collapse of the legs of the person and can lead to a fall.
Sleep paralysis • this occurs just before the person falls asleep or wakes. It is manifested by a paralysis for a few seconds.
Hypnagogic phenomena • these also occur when a person falls asleep and wakes up. They are intense dreams that extend after waking up. Given that these dreams occur in awakened people, sometimes they are called hallucinations.
The association between narcolepsy in sleep paralysis situations and hypnagogic phenomena should be considered only if the person indicates the most common symptom of narcolepsy, namely the sudden need to fall asleep.
The diagnosis and control of narcolepsy are essential to prevent accidents from occurring if the person falls asleep, for example at work or on the road.
A diagnostic test to detect narcolepsy