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What is the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Narcolepsy?

by Eric Martin
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What is the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Narcolepsy?

Suppose you suddenly feel the urge to fall asleep in the morning daily; then, do you know that you are suffering from a sleeping disorder? If you are not aware thus far, you must understand that you suffer from a disease that affects sleep known as Narcolepsy. This medical condition occurs in a human being because of problems arising in the neurological system. If you are diagnosed with it, you will likely suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, severely disrupting your daily routine. Therefore, you need to know about Narcolepsy, especially the types of this medical condition and their differences.

The Types of Narcolepsy: Type 1 and Type 2

Narcolepsy is a sleeping disorder that is available in two forms. They are as follows:

  1. Type 1, which is known as Narcolepsy with Cataplexy
  2. Type 2, also known as Narcolepsy without Cataplexy

Besides, in rare cases, you can also suffer from another type of this sleeping disorder called Secondary Narcolepsy. This form usually involves serious injury to your brain, especially in the hypothalamus region, an area that controls our sleep cycle. You need to note, though, that every type of Narcolepsy eventually leads to Excessive Daytime Sleepiness or EDS. When you experience a narcoleptic episode, in all likelihood, you will experience a severe ‘Sleep Attack’ that lasts from about a few seconds to about several minutes. A few sleep disorder specialists also claim that 10 to 25% of people having Narcolepsy also tend to exhibit other symptoms.

What are the Differences Between Type 1 vs Type 2 Narcolepsy?

In Type 1 Narcolepsy, the symptoms tend to be more severe and include the following:

  1. Insomnia is a condition in which you will struggle to find sleep
  2. Hallucination is a sensory experience in which you see vivid images during sleep or while you wake up.
  3. Sleep paralysis occurs when you suddenly, while falling asleep or waking up, temporarily lose the ability to speak or move.

Meanwhile, suppose you suffer from Type 1 Narcolepsy. In that case, you do not experience a sudden muscle tone (weakening of muscles) in your body on waking up from sleep, which means you have a condition called Cataplexy.

The muscle weakness in Type 1 Narcolepsy is similar to that seen during Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep at night.

On the other hand, if you are suffering from Type 2 Narcolepsy, you will probably suffer from symptoms that are far less severe than Type 1 Narcolepsy. Besides, you must understand that Type 2 Narcolepsy does not cause Cataplexy.

Causes that Trigger Type 1 and Type 2 Narcolepsy:

Research studies suggest that lowering hypocretin (a neuropeptide that controls the sleep cycle) levels in the body can lead to primarily Type 1 and Type 2 Narcolepsy. Also, a few factors trigger the fall of hypocretin levels. They are as follows:

  1. Serious Brain Injury
  2. The medical condition arising due to the Autoimmune system malfunctioning
  3. Role of genetics history

There are, however, many other factors that can trigger Type 1 and also Type 2 Narcolepsy in an individual. They are as follows:

  1. Alteration in your regular sleep schedule
  2. Acquiring infections such as swine flu
  3. Stress due to severe psychological problems
  4. The effect of hormones during puberty and menopause stage in men and women

How Do You Treat Type 1 and Type 2 Narcolepsy?

There is no medical procedure that you can use to diagnose Type 1 and Type 2 Narcolepsy thoroughly. You can use especially medical therapy in the treatment of this sleeping disorder in the following manner:

  1. Consumption of central nervous stimulants or CNS medications such as Provigil, Nuvigil, or Modafinil.
  2. Use of Xyrem, a central nervous system depressant
  3. Intake of tricyclic depressants such as Vivactil, Tofranil, Anafranil
  4. Usage of a serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI as well as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor or SNRI such as Prozac or Effexor

Besides taking medicine, your doctor may also recommend changing certain lifestyle habits, such as taking short naps and maintaining a regular sleep schedule.

It is essential to consult your doctor if you consistently experience symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness. Since it means that you are suffering from Narcolepsy, by notifying your physician about this sleeping condition as soon as possible, you can diagnose whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 Narcolepsy quickly and drive away all your sleeping woes to live an everyday life once again.

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