For as long as he can remember, Max Murray has loved one thing: wrestling. But growing up, Max experienced a bunch of symptoms which sometimes made wrestling difficult. He felt overly fatigued and dizzy. In the middle of a match, his body would suddenly feel weak, making it difficult to continue. According to a recently published article at WNEP, Max and his family visited numerous doctors, receiving different diagnoses – including leukemia – and treatment options. But it wasn’t until 2021 that Dr. Anne Marie Morse finally gave Max an accurate diagnosis: narcolepsy.
Now, 17-year-old Max is learning how to best manage his narcolepsy so he can get back to the sport he loves. As discussed in the article, this rising Pennsylvania high school senior has had to make some life changes. For example, he must be more careful about his diet – so as not to cause any trouble with his meds – and must stick to a stricter sleep schedule.
At the same time, Max is excited to finally have a diagnosis and to be able to work towards change within his own life. He hopes not only to learn more about managing his condition, but to raise awareness on a greater scale.
Read more about Max and see an interview with him over at WNEP.
Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological and sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and sleep-wake cycle disruptions. Scientists have found that people with narcolepsy do not have enough hypocretin, a type of neurotransmitter which plays a role in the sleep-wake cycle. This causes EDS and can cause “sleep attacks,” where people may fall asleep for a few seconds or a few minutes. Other potential factors which could play a role in narcolepsy development include autoimmune disorders, a family history of narcolepsy, infections, environmental toxins, or brain injuries. In many cases, this condition may go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years.
When symptoms appear, these can (but do not always) include:
- Cataplexy (sudden and uncontrollable muscle weakness or paralysis, often triggered by a strong emotion)
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Sleep paralysis
- Changes in REM sleep
- Automatic behaviors (continuing to perform normal behaviors while sleeping)