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Narcolepsy screening refers to testing people for narcolepsy even though they may not have symptoms of the disorder. At this point, a routine, effective screening test for narcolepsy has not yet been developed.

An Overview of Narcolepsy Screening

Narcolepsy screening involves testing people for narcolepsy even though they may have no symptoms. At this point, a routine, effective screening test for narcolepsy has not yet been developed. However, there are tests that can be used to help make a narcolepsy diagnosis if a person is experiencing narcolepsy symptoms.
 

Narcolepsy Screening: When to See a Doctor

You should be checked for narcolepsy if:
 
  • You often feel excessively and overwhelmingly sleepy during the day, even after having had a full night's sleep
     
  • You fall asleep when you do not intend to, such as while having dinner, talking, driving, or working
     
  • You collapse suddenly or your neck muscles feel too weak to hold up your head when you laugh or become angry, surprised, or shocked
     
  • You find yourself briefly unable to talk or move while falling asleep or waking up.
     

Narcolepsy Screening: What Will the Doctor Do?

If a person has possible narcolepsy symptoms, the doctor will do a physical exam and ask about the patient's personal and family medical history. The doctor will also recommend additional tests in order to make a diagnosis of narcolepsy.
 
Two tests that are commonly used in diagnosing narcolepsy are the polysomnogram and the multiple sleep latency test. These tests are usually performed by a sleep specialist.
 
(Click Diagnosing Narcolepsy for more information about these tests and other ways that a narcolepsy diagnosis is made.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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