Narcolepsy diagnosis is relatively easy when all the symptoms of narcolepsy are present but if the sleep attacks are isolated and cataplexy is mild or absent, diagnosis is more difficult.
A clinical examination and exhaustive medical history are essential for proper narcolepsy diagnosis. However, none of the major symptoms is exclusive to narcolepsy.
Several specialized narcolepsy diagnosis tests, which can be performed in a sleep disorders clinic, usually are required before a diagnosis can be established. Two narcolepsy diagnosis tests that are commonly used in diagnosing narcolepsy are the polysomnogram and the multiple sleep latency test.
Usually a sleep specialist performs these narcolepsy diagnosis tests. The polysomnogram involves continuous recording of sleep brain waves and a number of nerve and muscle functions during nighttime sleep.
When tested, people with narcolepsy fall asleep rapidly, enter REM sleep early, and may awaken often during the night. The polysomnogram also helps to detect other possible sleep disorders that could cause daytime sleepiness.
The MSLT is performed during the day to measure a person's tendency to fall asleep and to determine whether isolated elements of REM sleep intrude at inappropriate times during the waking hours.
As part of the narcolepsy diagnosis test, an individual is asked to take four or five short naps usually scheduled two hours apart. Observations are made of the time taken to reach various stages of sleep.
This narcolepsy diagnosis test measures the degree of daytime sleepiness and also detects how soon REM sleep begins. Again, people with narcolepsy fall asleep rapidly and enter REM sleep early.
Due to Narcolepsy you may experience serious problems in both the professional and personal parts of your life. Narcolepsy can affect close relationships. Excessive sleepiness may cause impotence or low sex drive.
The problems caused by sexual dysfunction may be further complicated by emotional difficulties. Sleep attacks may result in physical damage to people with narcolepsy. You're at increased risk of a car accident if you have an attack while driving. Your performance may suffer at school or work