Narcolepsy Specialist

Texas Pediatric Specialties and Family Sleep Center

Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine & Pediatric Neurologists located in Shavano Park, San Antonio, TX & Lockhill-Selma, San Antonio, TX

Narcolepsy isn’t a terribly common sleep disorder, but it’s an extremely disruptive one. At Texas Pediatric Specialties and Family Sleep Center, the team of sleep specialists understands the impact that narcolepsy can have on your life and they work with you to find solutions. To get the right amount of sleep at the right time, call one of the three San Antonio-based clinics in Nix Alamo Heights, Shavano Park, and Lockhill-Selma, or the office in New Braunfels, Texas. You can also make an appointment using the online scheduling tool.

Narcolepsy Q & A

What is narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder in which you’re unable to control your sleep patterns or cycles, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness and fitful sleep at night. There are two types of narcolepsy, including:

Type 1 narcolepsy

This form of the sleep disorder is accompanied by cataplexy, a condition in which you suddenly lose control of your muscles (see the full description of cataplexy below). People with this type of narcolepsy also have low levels of hypocretin, which is a brain hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness.

Type 2 narcolepsy

If you display the symptoms of narcolepsy, but your hypocretin levels are normal and you don’t display cataplexy, your narcolepsy falls under this type.

What are the symptoms of narcolepsy?

The symptoms of narcolepsy include:

Excessive daytime sleepiness

This is the most common symptom of narcolepsy, no matter which type you have. Excessive daytime sleepiness, as the name implies, means you may struggle to get through your day, often experiencing the sudden urge to sleep.

Cataplexy

This symptom of narcolepsy comes in varying degrees (if at all). Cataplexy describes a loss of muscle control, which is often triggered by the sudden onset of emotions. 

The loss of muscle control can be total, leaving you temporarily paralyzed, but conscious, or it can only mildly affect a certain muscle group (your eyelids, for example). 

No matter their severity, the attacks typically last only minutes and simply dissipate on their own. People may experience only a couple of episodes during their life or suffer cataplexy many times a day.

Sleep paralysis

This is a condition in which you lose muscle control as you fall asleep or when you wake up.

There are other symptoms, such as difficulty staying asleep at night or hallucinations during sleep paralysis, but the ones above are the hallmarks of narcolepsy.

How is narcolepsy diagnosed and treated?

To properly diagnose your narcolepsy, the team at Texas Pediatric Specialties and Family Sleep Center turns to sleep studies, as well as multiple sleep latency tests. 

If they diagnose you with narcolepsy, there are a number of treatments and lifestyle modifications that can improve the condition. 

If you have low levels of hypocretin, there’s no way of restoring those levels, but the team has a number of tools that can better manage the symptoms.

For more information about narcolepsy, please call Texas Pediatric Specialties and Family Sleep Center or request an appointment using the online scheduler.