What do doctors look for during a narcolepsy evaluation?
Can certain things trigger narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder which has the principle characteristic of excessive daytime sleepiness. People that suffer from narcolepsy often fall asleep during the day. These episodes of sleep often come at in-opportune times. Sometimes people will fall asleep while driving, while sitting at the dinner table, or while working. Narcolepsy is often associated with a different syndrome called cataplexy. Cataplexy is the sudden loss of muscle tone (often causing someone to collapse) that is triggered by an emotional state (often laughter). During a narcolepsy evaluation, a physician that specializes in sleep will ask you questions about your symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam. Often the diagnosis of narcolepsy is apparent just with this simple evaluation. If there is any question about the diagnosis, the doctor will administer a sleep study and a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT). Narcolepsy is thought to be a disease that is genetically based, though there is still much to learn about it's cause. For now, I must say that we do not know exactly what triggers it. If you have symptoms that sound like narcolepsy, then I suggest that you schedule an appointment with a pulmonary doctor that specializes in sleep. The two of you can discuss you symptoms and can proceed with a workup and treatment ASAP.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.