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Author Topic: Narcolepsy  (Read 8151 times)
klaradeb
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Posts: 216


« on: March 24, 2012, 1:38:52 PM »

I have been referred to a sleep center to evaluate whether narcolepsy might explain my sleep attacks. I have mixed feelings about this, but I see how it would be good to have a formal diagnostic in case I ever fall asleep in an inappropriate professional situation (e.g. during a talk - thankfully it hasn't happened yet, but I've been very close several times.) Is anyone familiar with this condition? Is there an effective treatment against daytime sleepiness that doesn't involve taking stimulants? I already sleep well at night (8+ hours) and have a relatively healthy lifestyle, but taking naps in my grad student office doesn't seem a realistic option.
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scampster
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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2012, 8:10:54 AM »

Are you sleeping well during those 8 hours? I believe people with sleep apnea are often "sleeping" for enough time, but not getting quality sleep. Or even other things like sleeping with a pet, where you don't even really realize you are waking up throughout the night. I just moved and my new bed is NOT good, and although I am technically sleeping through the night, I am much more tired during the day than I used to be and sometimes can't keep my eyes open, and I think I might be tossing and turning a lot more.

Are you actually falling asleep at inappropriate times? Have you come close to falling asleep while you are the one giving the talk?

I'm assuming that if your doctor is referring you to a sleep clinic that this is just more than drowsiness, but I also wanted to say that plenty of people take short naps during the day in their office, so there is nothing wrong with that, unless you are doing it lots of time during the day.
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When you are a scientist your opinions and prejudices become facts. Science is like magic that way!
klaradeb
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« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2012, 9:37:22 AM »

Thank you, scampster. Yes, my doc looked at other symptoms as well, and he thinks that sleep apnea is unlikely.

That said, I'm really not trying to convince anyone that I have a condition I haven't been diagnosed with, and it might indeed be that I'm simply not getting quality sleep for whatever reason. I was just wondering if anyone had experience dealing with uncontrollable sleep attacks (particularly in the workplace.) For me this is different than just being tired because it happens very suddenly - one moment I feel just fine (i.e. not tired), and the next I'm falling asleep and can't fight it.
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profreader
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« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2012, 11:58:30 AM »

Thank you, scampster. Yes, my doc looked at other symptoms as well, and he thinks that sleep apnea is unlikely.

That said, I'm really not trying to convince anyone that I have a condition I haven't been diagnosed with, and it might indeed be that I'm simply not getting quality sleep for whatever reason. I was just wondering if anyone had experience dealing with uncontrollable sleep attacks (particularly in the workplace.) For me this is different than just being tired because it happens very suddenly - one moment I feel just fine (i.e. not tired), and the next I'm falling asleep and can't fight it.
I had something like that going on at one point, but it was blood sugar related. I didn't connect the dots for some reason-- but I'd get these crashes where I knew I had about a minute before I was going to be unconscious.
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salsa6
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« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2012, 8:27:51 PM »

I have this condition.  I have every one of the weird symptoms, but falling asleep at inappropriate times is not a major issue for me.  If I'm at a conference and getting drowsy, I'll stand for a lot of the talks and claim that the hotel bed hurt my back.  As far as getting drowsy at my desk, if I notice it happening, I go outside and do a lap around the building.  That usually helps.  I'm not taking meds for it, though, because the drugs treat the sleepiness and apparently don't do all that much for the other symptoms.  It was the other symptoms that sent me to the doctor, not the sleepiness.

You should definitely get the sleep eval.  Part of the reason why many narcoleptics are drowsy during the day is that there are disturbances to the sleep at night as well.  You may not be getting the rest you need.  A lot of people take a sleep aid at night and a stimulant in the morning.

The "other symptoms" (google them if you like) can be nothing but narcolepsy.  I'm sure you've figured this out, but if you have the other ones, there isn't really another explanation for your symptoms.  It's tough to get info from communities on the internet, because so many of the people out there are dealing with a very high level of disability.  I'm glad they are able to talk to one another, but they weren't too helpful to me.

Good luck!

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