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How Are Sleep Apnea And Narcolepsy The Same

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Kim Song Kim Kim Um Oh Cho And Hong: Comorbidity Of Narcolepsy And Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Case Report

What is Narcolepsy?

Sleep Medicine Research 2018 9: 124-127.

1Sleep Disorders Clinic, Department of Psychiatry, St. Vincents Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Suwon, Korea

2Department of Psychiatry, St. Vincents Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Suwon, Korea

Sleeping With Obstructive Sleep Apnea And Narcolepsy

Although sleep is as important to health as nutrition and exercise, many of us shortchange this critical physiological need. Most adults tend to get 30-60 minutes less of the sleep needed to be well-rested. This deficit is further complicated by circadian rhythm disruption due to shift work, pandemic-related life changes, and even the semiannual clock shift required by daylight savings. Even more concerning is the inability to get adequate rest due to chronic sleep disorders.

Dozens of sleep disorders have been identified, almost all of which can be improved with treatment. Many sleep issues, such as short-term insomnia, can be resolved on their own or with a bit of attention to sleep hygiene. Severe or persistent symptoms, including daytime sleepiness, snoring, and movements during sleep should be discussed with a primary care provider. Certain sleep disorders are best evaluated and treated by a sleep medicine specialist who often requires a sleep study for diagnosis. Although many people are reluctant to seek medical attention in fear of being exposed to COVID-19 in offices, inconvenient sleep laboratory tests, or uncomfortable treatments, testing and treatment alternatives are available. It should be noted that the risk of seeking care is minimal compared to the health risks of untreated sleep disorders.

What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Sleep Disorders

  • What kind of sleep disorder do I have?
  • How severe is my sleep disorder?
  • Do you think my sleep disorder will go away on its own, or will I need treatment?
  • How can I improve my sleep hygiene?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Do I need a referral to see a specialist?
  • Do you recommend any medications to help with my sleep disorder?
  • How often should I return to see you?
  • Are there medicines I should take?
  • Are there medicines I should stop taking?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Sleep disorders may not be deadly, but they affect your quality of life so often and so severely that they can disrupt your thinking, weight, school/work performance, mental health and your general physical health. Common ones like narcolepsy, insomnia, restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea prevent you from getting the long, deep sleep you need to function at your best.

If youre struggling with your sleep, dont hesitate to see your healthcare provider. Your health, and therefore your quality of life, depends on good sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene and follow your healthcare providers instructions.

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Suffering From Both Narcolepsy & Sleep Apnea

A 2009 study explored the relationship between sleep apnea and narcolepsy. Researchers studied 133 patients with narcolepsy and found that:

  • 10 patients were first diagnosed with OSA, delaying their narcolepsy diagnosis.
  • 23 patients were diagnosed with OSA and narcolepsy at the same time.
  • OSA occurs more frequently in patients with narcolepsy than in the general population.

The study also found that treating sleep apnea with a CPAP device only improved excessive daytime sleepiness symptoms in a handful of patients who also had narcolepsy. Overall, both sleep disorders need to be treated in order to alleviate symptoms and see consistent improvements.

What Causes Narcolepsy And Sleep Apnea


More research is required to understand the exact cause of narcolepsy. It is believed to be a complex combination of genes and triggering environmental factors. In contrast, the cause of obstructive sleep apnea is usually physiological. This can make OSA easier to identify and treat than narcolepsy.

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Get Your Va Disability Rating For Sleep Disturbances

Sleep disturbances can have a serious impact on every area of your life, from your relationships to your career. Getting the right VA disability rating for sleep disabilities can help get you the compensation you deserve. Talk to your doctor about getting a diagnosis and start the process of applying for VA disability.

If youd like help submitting or appealing a VA disability claim, get in touch with us at Woods and Woods, The Veterans Firm. We fight for veterans every day, and you dont pay unless we win. Contact us today to start getting the compensation you deserve.

What Are Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders are conditions that impair your sleep or prevent you from getting restful sleep and, as a result, can cause daytime sleepiness and other symptoms. Everyone can experience problems with sleep from time to time. However, you might have a sleep disorder if:

  • You regularly experience difficulty sleeping.
  • You are often tired during the day even though you slept for at least seven hours the night before.
  • You have a reduced or impaired ability to perform regular daytime activities.

There are more than 100 million Americans of all ages who are not getting an adequate amount of sleep. Sleep is very important. Not getting enough sleep can have untoward consequences on school and work performance, interpersonal relationships, health and safety.

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What Is Narcolepsy Eye Drop

Narcolepsy eye drop is a medicine doctors use to treat the excessive drowsiness associated with this condition. It would help if you tried using them before going to work because they will help you stay awake and avoid sleeping during the day. If you feel like you cant control your urge to fall asleep during the day, ask your doctor about these medicines and read more information on their official website:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea And Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy Symptoms Can Include Sleep Paralysis, Hypnagogic Hallucinations

According to the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine CDME Training Course Syllabus and FMCSA Frequently Asked Questions :

  • A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of a respiratory dysfunction likely to interfere with his/her ability to control and drive a commercial motor vehicle safely.
  • The guidelines recommend disqualifying a Commercial Motorized Vehicle driver with a diagnosis of Narcolepsy, regardless of treatment because of the likelihood of excessive daytime somnolence.
  • Drivers should be disqualified until the diagnosis of sleep apnea has been ruled out or has been treated successfully.
  • A driver with a diagnosis of sleep apnea or a driver who has Excessive Daytime Somnolence should be temporarily disqualified until the condition is either ruled out by objective testing or successfully treated.
  • As a condition of continuing qualification, it is recommended that a CMV driver agree to continue uninterrupted therapy such as CPAP, etc. monitoring and undergo objective testing as required.
  • The examiner should consider general certification criteria at the initial and follow-up examinations:
    • Severity and frequency of excessive daytime Somnolence .
    • Presence or absence of warning of attacks.
    • Possibility of sleep during driving.
    • Degree of symptomatic relief with treatment.
    • Compliance with treatment.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Also Check: Va Rating For Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    What Are The Criteria For Diagnosing Narcolepsy

    Taking all of the information your symptoms, physical exam, and results from sleep studies and other tests into account, the doctor can determine whether your situation meets the established criteria for narcolepsy.

    Narcolepsy type 1 and type 2 have distinct criteria. One important differentiating factor between the two disorders is whether or not you have cataplexy, which is a sudden and temporary loss of muscle tone that commonly occurs with positive emotions. Cataplexy only occurs in NT1.

    A comparison of the diagnostic criteria is listed in the following table:

    Narcolepsy Type 1
    The patient must meet both of the following criteria:

  • EDS that persists for at least three months
  • At least one of:
  • Cataplexy symptoms and results from PSG/MSLT that show quick sleep onset and early start of REM sleep periods
  • Low levels of hypocretin found in the CSF
  • The patient must meet all five of the following criteria:

  • EDS that persists for at least three months
  • PSG/MSLT results that show quick sleep onset and early start of REM sleep periods
  • No cataplexy symptoms
  • Accessing Your Military Records

    During your VA disability application, youll need to get hands-on several of your military records. Youll need your service record at the least to prove your service connection or that you meet qualifications for a presumptive condition. You may also need to get your military medical records to prove that your condition started while you were in the military.

    The first place to start retrieving your military documents is through your eBenefits account. Many of these documents can be accessed through the records portal in this account. If you cant get the records you need there, you can always visit your local VA office for help.

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    Do You Suffer From Sleep Apnea

    Untreated sleep apnea can lead to other health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and depression. Our sleep apnea quiz evaluates risk factors like snoring, breathing pauses during sleep, fatigue and obesity and gives you an idea of what to do next based on your results.

    Total Disability For Sleep Disorders


    Depending on how severe your condition is, you may be able to get a total disability based on individual unemployability rating from the VA. In essence, this rating declares that your sleep disturbance is so severe that you cannot work at all. A TDIU rating is the equivalent of a 100 percent disability rating.

    In addition to up to $3,332.06 per month from the VA, depending on how many dependents you have, a 100 percent rating can get you a number of other benefits. You may be able to get a housing grant, an automobile allowance, or a clothing allowance to help you cover your expenses. You may also be able to get space available travel benefits and a free pass to all national parks.

    Here one of our VA disability lawyers goes over the questions Woods and Woods, The Veterans Firm, is often asked about veterans disability claims and appeals.

    Read Also: Sleep Apnea And Veterans

    Sleepy All The Time: What Sleep Apnea And Narcolepsy Feel Like

    With some sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or periodic limb movement disorder, patients may not realize why or even if their sleep is disturbed throughout the night. They might blame their frequent waking on another issuebad dreams or a weak bladder, for exampleor may not even arouse from slumber long enough to realize they’re awake.

    Chances are, however, they’re not staying asleep for the time it takes to go through the deep, restorative stages of sleep needed to feel refreshed in the morning. That’s why, in many cases, how you feel during the day is the best indicator of whether you might have a problem.

    “I’ve learned not to rely on the question, ‘How do you sleep,'” says Ralph Downey III, PhD, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, Calif. “Because the group that has the real problemthe ones who nod off whenever they’re sedentarythey always say they sleep great. Well, it’s just that they sleep everywhere, including at work and behind the wheel.”

    This was the case with Virginia Arguello, 44, a medical transcriptionist in Hayward, Calif. In her mid-30s, Arguello began falling asleep during her morning drive to work, even after a full night’s sleep.

    Luckily something else tipped off her doctor: Arguello had recurring nightmares of being underwater, unable to swim up and reach the surface. “I would wake up gasping,” she says. “My husband complained that I snored and gasped for air.”

    Sleep Disorders The Va Covers

    There are three basic classes of sleep disorders the VA covers for disability compensation: sleep apnea, insomnia, and narcolepsy. Well talk more in-depth about each of these conditions in a moment. But it is important to note that a wide variety of more specific conditions can fall under these three categories.

    You can get three different kinds of service connections for sleep disorders. These include direct service connections, secondary service connections, and presumptive service conditions. Which kind you get will determine how much evidence you need to provide for your disability claim.

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    National Congenital Anomaly And Rare Disease Registration Service

    If you or your child has narcolepsy, your clinical team will pass information about you or your child on to the National Congenital Anomaly and Rare Disease Registration Service .

    The NCARDRS helps scientists look for better ways to prevent and treat narcolepsy. You can opt out of the register at any time.

    What Is Restless Legs Syndrome

    What is Narcolepsy?

    Restless legs syndrome is a sleep disorder that causes an intense, often irresistible urge to move the legs. This sensation is brought on by resting such as lying down in bed, sitting for prolonged periods such as while driving or at a theatre. RLS typically occurs in the evening, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. It can be associated with problems with daytime sleepiness, irritability and concentration. Often, people with RLS want to walk around and shake their legs to help relieve the uncomfortable sensation.

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    What Causes Sleep Disorders

    Sleep problems can be caused by various factors. Although causes might differ, the end result of all sleep disorders is that the body’s natural cycle of slumber and daytime wakefulness is disrupted or exaggerated. Eight factors include:

    • Physical .
    • Have difficulty controlling your emotions?
    • Need to take naps almost every day?

    Va Ratings For Sleep Apnea

    There are four different tiers on which the VA rates sleep apnea. The lowest of these is a 0 percent rating, in which you have a diagnosis of sleep apnea, but no symptoms. If this is your only rated condition, you will not receive any monthly compensation from the VA.

    If you have chronic daytime sleepiness due to your sleep apnea, the VA will give you a base rating of 30 percent. If you have to use a CPAP machine to manage your sleep apnea, you will receive a rating of 50 percent. If you have chronic respiratory failure or have to have a tracheostomy due to your sleep apnea, youll get a rating of 100 percent.

    Here one of our VA disability lawyers talks about sleep apnea VA disability ratings.

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    Comorbid Obstructive Sleep Apnea Can Interfere With Narcolepsy Diagnosis

    Posted by Sree Roy | Sep 6, 2017 | Narcolepsy, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Sleep & the Body | 2 |

    Some people diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea also have narcolepsy, but soldier on for years without knowing that they have both sleep disorders, studies show, leaving these patients unsure as to why they continue to feel excessive sleepiness during the day even after their apnea is treated.

    The knowledge gap that occurs due to a delayed diagnosis of narcolepsy was highlighted recently by researchers who studied how the presence of OSA can interfere with the diagnosis of narcolepsy.

    According to a study that surveyed almost 1,700 people with narcolepsy, two-thirds had multiple health problems and about 24% had OSA as a comorbid condition. Overall, those who were surveyed revealed that they were often treated for OSA and other common comorbid symptoms for up to 10 years or more before receiving a proper narcolepsy diagnosis.

    In fact, the presence of OSA is often a key contributor to this delayed diagnosis, the research shows. In their study, those with OSA found that a narcolepsy diagnosis was delayed by 6 to 7 years.

    Our recent study on delayed diagnosis in narcolepsy showed that children and adolescents have double the odds of having a delayed diagnosis than adultsthis could be because of low awareness of narcolepsy among pediatric health care providers but also because of misdiagnoses as other conditions such a mood disorders and ADHD, says Maski.

    The Differences Between Sleep Apnea And Narcolepsy

    Narcolepsy Treatment in Waukesha County

    Narcolepsy affects how well a person can control their sleeping patterns while sleep apnea is caused by breathing issues. Sleep apnea can be medically treated with devices like a CPAP machine but narcolepsy usually requires lifestyle changes.

    One main difference is in the side effects of sleep apnea and narcolepsy.

    Sleep apnea usually results in feeling unrested, snoring, and irritability. Narcolepsy symptoms are often more dangerous because a person can fall asleep or have the inability to control their muscles while driving. Narcolepsy can also result in vivid and terrifying hallucinations.

    If you think that you have any kind of sleep disorder, you should get help and consider doing a sleep study.

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    Whats The Difference Between Narcolepsy And Sleep Apnea

    Earlier, we mentioned the difference between narcolepsy and sleep apnea symptoms, so now lets look at the difference between sleep apnea and narcolepsy conditions:

  • Narcolepsy has nothing to do with obstructive breathing
  • The main problem is falling asleep
  • Narcolepsy followed by sleep attacks an incredible urge to sleep as well as the sudden loss of muscle control known as cataplexy.
  • Narcolepsy with cataplexy is caused by the lack of the chemical hypocretin in the brain.
  • Narcolepsy occurs equally in men and women.
  • Its essential to compare narcolepsy and sleep apnea as you become more aware of different types of sleep disorders. The more you know, the faster you can detect and treat the problem, and the better your sleep will be.

    What Is Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea happens when there are repeated pauses to a persons breathing during their sleep. If you snore loudly during your sleep or feel unrested after a full nights sleep, you might have sleep apnea.

    There are different types of sleep apnea:

    • Obstructive sleep apnea: the most common form of sleep apnea that happens when throat muscles relax
    • Central sleep apnea: happens when the brain doesnt send the right signals to the muscles that control breathing
    • Complex sleep apnea syndrome: which is also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea and occurs when someone has obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea

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