PHOENIX - Most of us take the luxury of sleep for granted. Imagine what your life would be like if you were incapable of achieving the proper amount of sleep every night.
Nearly 10 years ago, Elliott started having trouble functioning during the day, even though he was getting over 12 hours of sleep. He was having trouble staying awake and concentrating in school, participating in athletic events and doing homework. With his symptoms worsening, Elliott’s pediatrician recommended scheduling an appointment at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Elliott was seen by Matthew M. Troester, DO, pediatric neurologist and co-director of the Sleep Medicine Program at Phoenix Children’s. Earlier this year, Dr. Troester co-authored safe sleeping guidelines for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to help doctors better identify sleep disorders in children.
He diagnosed Elliott with narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder resulting from the brain's inability to regulate sleep/awake cycles. Children with narcolepsy can experience cataplexy, an unpredictable loss of muscle control as a result of a powerful surge of emotion. In Elliott’s case, he would laugh uncontrollably before going limp and falling to the ground.
Elliott is now a 16-year-old sophomore in high school. He excels in school and is currently taking classes at a local junior college with the goal of graduating with a high school diploma and an Associate in Science (A.S.) degree ... a huge difference from the 7-year-old who could barely keep his eyes open and concentrate.
The Sleep Medicine Program at Phoenix Children’s is dedicated to treating a variety of problems that compromise healthy sleeping habits and keep children and their parents from having a comfortable night’s rest. Call (602) 933-0985 for more information or to schedule an appointment.