Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How is a narcolepsy evaluation performed?"
How long is the person kept in the hospital?
A narcolepsy evaluation is typically done in a doctor's office, not inside a hospital. The disease rarely requires hospitalization. I will explain. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder which is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness. This causes a person to fall asleep very often during inappropriate times during a day and sometimes suddenly. Narcolepsy can, and is often associated with another syndrome called cataplexy. This is a sudden loss of muscular tone brought on by an emotional trigger often laughing. If you have ever seen someone fall to the ground after laughing, this is cataplexy. Often times narcolepsy is diagnosed by history. In other words is someone comes to the doctor and says I'm falling asleep 10 times per day and I lose my muscle tone when I laugh, then this is enough to make the diagnosis. A sleep study or multiple sleep latency test can help if the diagnosis is not certain. Both of these tests can be done as an outpatient and do not require hospitalization. I suggest that if you are concerned that you have narcolepsy, that you schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist. This is a pulmonary doctor (lung doctor) that has done extra training in sleep. He or she will be able to listen to your story and perform the appropriate testing to get you a diagnosis and treatment.