People often assume sleep disorders are easily diagnosed. After all, you’ll know if you lie awake all night or struggle to stay awake at your desk during the day. But surprisingly, many doctors misdiagnose sleep disorders because symptoms often mimic other medical problems. Patients diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) might want to undergo a maintenance of wakefulness test. 

Medical Definitions

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the parts of the brain responsible for sleep/wake cycles. When left undiagnosed and untreated, narcolepsy can substantially disrupt a person’s daily routines. It can inhibit normal social, emotional, and cognitive function. Chronic fatigue syndrome causes a person to suffer from extreme fatigue, despite an apparent lack of an underlying medical cause. This fatigue is not relieved by rest. The specific causes of both narcolepsy and chronic fatigue syndrome remain puzzling for researchers. 

Common Signs & Symptoms

The primary reason why narcolepsy and chronic fatigue syndrome are often mixed up is because they present the same symptoms. The symptoms they share include: 

  • Forgetting what you’ve just done
  • Losing track of what you were going to say 
  • Slurring your words 
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness, not relieved by rest 
  • Feeling the knees buckle

Unique Signs & Symptoms

There are some symptoms that differ, however. People with narcolepsy may experience cataplexy, which is the sudden loss of muscle tone. This can cause problems as minor as temporarily slurred speech or as major as a complete collapse to the ground. Some individuals with narcolepsy might also experience vivid dreams and hallucinations while falling asleep or waking. People with chronic fatigue syndrome can experience other symptoms, as well, including the following:

  • Sore throat 
  • Enlarged lymph nodes, especially in armpits and neck 
  • Unexplained musculoskeletal pain
  • Headaches

Unmanaged chronic fatigue syndrome and narcolepsy can lead to depression, work absenteeism, and social isolation. 

How We Can Help

When you become a patient at Sleep Dynamics, you’ll work closely with a specialist to get to the bottom of your symptoms, and develop an effective treatment plan. We’re a trusted source of medical guidance for central New Jersey’s patients with CFS, narcolepsy, and other sleep disorders.

Call us today at (848) 217-0240 or send us a message.