Narcolepsy Prevention: Can You Sidestep This Illness?

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  • While the factors that heighten the risk of developing narcolepsy have been established, its primary pathology has not yet been determined
  • While narcolepsy itself cannot be prevented, the onset of its symptoms can be reduced through different techniques

While the factors that heighten the risk of developing narcolepsy have been established (age, infections and genetics), its primary pathology has not yet been determined, making it nearly impossible to prevent, especially in people who have a genetic predisposition to it.

How to Prevent Secondary Narcolepsy

Unlike idiopathic narcolepsy, however, the cause of secondary narcolepsy has been related to physical trauma, which makes it a much easier type to prevent. Some of the things that you should remember to prevent developing secondary narcolepsy include the following:

Steer clear of influenza vaccines.  There have been numerous instances wherein influenza vaccines have caused an increase in narcolepsy numbers in both children and adults. This was linked to the protein found on the virus' surface, which supposedly triggered an autoimmune response in the body, leading to the destruction of the hypocretin neurons.

Aside from this, vaccines can present other health repercussions through the numerous toxic chemicals added to them. They have also been noted to cause febrile convulsions in children.1

Avoid extreme activities. Brain injuries have been observed to trigger narcolepsy in initially asymptomatic patients. There is a higher chance of developing narcolepsy when the hypothalamus is directly damaged because this is where the neurons are located. If you have a genetic predisposition to this condition, it would be best that you avoid activities that can lead to head injuries, even mild ones.

Remember These Tips to Help Prevent Narcolepsy Symptoms

While narcolepsy itself cannot be prevented, the onset of its symptoms can be reduced through different techniques. To mitigate some of the symptoms of narcolepsy, here are a few tips and recommendations:

Try to avoid or minimize exposure to emotional triggers. Narcoleptics have noted a decreased amount of cataplexy episodes once they've managed to dampen strong emotions. Avoiding emotional or stressful environments can also lessen the symptoms of this condition.

However, some narcolepsy patients have noted that their fear of cataplexy episodes have also affected their social relationships, because of their inability to express feelings or emotional reactions during moments when they are expected.2

Get adequate sleep at night. Excessive daytime sleepiness can be minimized when you get adequate sleep at night. Disturbed sleep or sleep deprivation can aggravate this narcolepsy symptom and worsen sleep attacks and microsleep incidents in the daytime.

Avoid sleeping in a supine position. Sleep paralysis is one of the symptoms that cause fear in patients. This inability to move is caused by the mistimed paralysis that accompanies REM sleep, which is responsible for stopping people from moving when dreaming.

Studies show that increased incidents of sleep paralysis happen when you sleep on your back. One of the tips given to people who suffer from sleep paralysis is to sew a tennis ball to the back of their pajamas to prevent them from changing positions and ending up on their back during the night.3

Explaining your condition to your family members, workmates and friends can also help in preventing injuries and accidents. Adequate knowledge about narcolepsy can help them recognize the triggers and assist you during attacks. It can also minimize fear and panic when these symptoms happen.4

MORE ABOUT NARCOLEPSY

Narcolepsy: Introduction

What Is Narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy Symptoms

Narcolepsy Causes

Narcolepsy Test

Narcolepsy Treatment

Narcolepsy Prevention

Narcolepsy Diet

Narcolepsy FAQ

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