“How do I describe something to them that I don’t even understand myself?”– Nicki

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Advancements in the understanding of narcolepsy are happening. Sign up now »

Recognizing Ongoing Signs and Symptoms of Narcolepsy

Ongoing symptoms can compromise daily functioning and quality of life, but patients are not always aware of them.1-4

Managing narcolepsy in the clinical setting can be difficult.1-3 People do not always report their symptoms because they may be embarrassed by them or unaware of their impact.3,5 Knowing what to look for when evaluating your patients for ongoing symptoms is important.

ASKING YOUR PATIENTS ABOUT THE IMPACT OF NARCOLEPSY

Understanding the impact of sleepiness and other symptoms on patient functioning and quality of life is important for improving clinical outcomes.3,4

Use this discussion guide to help evaluate the impact of narcolepsy on your patients’ quality of life.

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ASKING YOUR PATIENTS ABOUT THE IMPACT OF NARCOLEPSY

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Ask your patients about possible manifestations of EDS.

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Cataplexy and other symptoms of narcolepsy are not always obvious.

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  1. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. International Classification of Sleep Disorders. 3rd ed. Darien, IL: American Academy of Sleep Medicine; 2014.
  2. Overeem S. The clinical features of cataplexy. In: Baumann CR, Bassetti CL, Scammell TE, eds. Narcolepsy: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment. Springer-Verlag New York; 2011:283-290.
  3. Thorpy MJ, Dauvilliers Y. Clinical and practical considerations in the pharmacologic management of narcolepsy. Sleep Med. 2015;16(1):9-18.
  4. Thorpy M, Morse AM. Reducing the clinical and socioeconomic burden of narcolepsy by earlier diagnosis and effective treatment. Sleep Med Clin. 2017;12(1):61-71.
  5. Overeem S, Reading P, Bassetti C. Narcolepsy. Sleep Med Clin. 2012;7:263-281.

Performance of routine tasks without awareness.

Sudden and brief loss of muscle tone, often triggered by strong emotions or certain situations. Narcolepsy with cataplexy is known as narcolepsy type 1.

Complete collapse to the ground; all skeletal muscles are involved.

Only certain muscle groups are involved.

Biological clock mechanism that regulates the 24-hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings. It is controlled in part by the SCN in the hypothalamus and is affected by the daily light-dark cycle.

Frequent awakenings and inappropriate transitions between states of sleep and wakefulness during nighttime sleep.

The inability to stay awake and alert during the day.

A neurotransmitter in the brain that supports wakefulness.

Vivid, realistic, and frightening dream-like events that occur when falling asleep.

A neuropeptide that supports wakefulness and helps suppress non-REM sleep and REM sleep.

Primary brain region for regulating the timing of sleep-wake states.

Unintentionally falling asleep due to excessive daytime sleepiness. Also known as “sleep attacks.”

Brief, unintentional lapses into sleep, or loss of awareness.

A validated objective measure of the tendency to fall asleep in quiet situations.

People with narcolepsy type 1 have low levels of hypocretin.

Narcolepsy without cataplexy; the cause of narcolepsy type 2 is unknown.

A state of sleep characterized by slower-frequency, more synchronized neuronal activity and decreased muscle tone. Deep stages help to restore the body.

A multiparameter test that monitors physiologic signals during sleep; used as a diagnostic tool in sleep medicine.

A state of sleep characterized by low-amplitude, fast-frequency EEG, vivid dreams, and loss of muscle tone. Normally occurs 60-90 minutes after sleep onset. Also known as “paradoxical sleep.”

Brief loss of control of voluntary muscles with retained awareness at sleep-wake transitions.

Sleep-onset REM period.