Ginari Gibb Price is a psychiatrist who practices in Atlanta, Georgia. She has conducted much research during her career and has presented papers on various topics, including a paper called “Narcolepsy in the Elderly.”
As she knows, narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that is manifested in daytime sleepiness and sporadic and uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep in the daylight hours. It is not a fatal condition, but it can be very debilitating and can have a serious negative impact on the quality of life for the sufferer.
Narcolepsy, as Ginari Gibb Price knows, most often affects people between the ages of fifteen and thirty and is seldom reported in people after the age of fifty-five. But she says that cases of narcolepsy have been reported in people older than seventy. In common with cases in younger patients, narcolepsy in the elderly typically begins with daytime sleepiness and disrupted sleeping patterns at night. It is often accompanied by weakness in the muscles, known as cataplexy, which can be brought on by emotional events like laughter. Diagnoses of narcolepsy must be made in a sleep lab so that other causes of sleepiness can be ruled out. Other tests follow.
If a diagnosis of narcolepsy is confirmed, then Ginari Gibb Price says that treatment is important in order to alleviate mental and social impairments. Narcolepsy in older patients, however, does not always have to be as aggressive as it needs to be in younger patients because in most cases they do not have the same occupational or parental responsibilities.