All about cataplexy: Meaning, causes, symptoms and treatment
Here's a disease that is often triggered by feel-good emotions. Yes, you read that right! Cataplexy is a condition that involves sudden muscle weakness or paralysis for a brief period. While some merely have an episode or two of this disease in their entire lifetime, others may experience it multiple times in a day! From causes and symptoms to treatments here's all about cataplexy.
Feel-good emotions like laughter, surprise, and joking triggers cataplexy
Much opposed to several other health conditions, cataplexy is often triggered by strong feel-good emotions like laughter, pleasant surprise, and joking. Although negative emotions including anger, fear, stress, tension, and frustration can also set it off, the chance is way less. A cataplexy sensation may only last for a few minutes before going away on its own.
People with narcolepsy are more prone to this health condition
Cataplexy also joins the bandwagon of diseases, the causes of which are still unknown and under research. However, it has been discovered that people who are down with narcolepsy are more prone to this ailment. Patients suffering from both conditions of narcolepsy and cataplexy lose brain cells called orexin or hypocretin, which are responsible for the sleep-wake cycle.
It is possible to have cataplexy without narcolepsy
Cataplexy can occur in people who have no signs of narcolepsy. Factors like strokes, brain tumors, insomnia, medication side effects, and genetic disorders including Prader-Willi syndrome, Niemann Pick type C disease, and Angelman syndrome can contribute to cataplexy in all age groups.
Half-closed eyes, tongue slightly out are very noticeable in cataplexy
The symptoms of cataplexy can span from mild to severe. Mild symptoms generally show up as slurry speech, muscle weakness in the face, neck, or arms, and drooping of eyebrows. A more severe cataplexy condition can lead to the inability to walk, talk, or keep eyes open for longer. Children may experience half-closed eyes, tongue sticking out, a slack face, and a wobbly walk.
Medications may help people with mild symptoms
When affected by this ailment, it is best to seek professional advice. Doctors may diagnose cataplexy based on your symptoms, intensity, and frequency. There are some medications including antidepressants that are helpful for people showing mild symptoms of this disease. Personally, you can learn about your triggers, take naps, avoid alcohol and caffeine, and exercise daily to feel better.