Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy occurs in both men and women and can start at any age. Narcolepsy Narcolepsy

About 200,000 people are affected from this condition. People who have this disease experience such overwhelming daytime sleepiness that even after a dequate sleep at night, they become drowsy or fall asleep at inappropriate times and places during the day. Those kinds of “sleep attacks” may occur repeatedly during the day and may come on without warning.

A classic symptom of Narcolepsy is cataplexy (sudden episodes of loss of muscle function that cause the person to collapse unexpectedly or his or her neck to go limp). This condition often occurs, preventing the affected person from moving while falling asleep. Narcolepsy may seriously disrupt the life of the person affected and limit their activities. Some people also have vivid hallucinations while falling asleep.

This medical disease is often underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed as epilepsy, depression or as a side effect of a medication. Doctors believe that a disturbance in the normal order of sleep stages can lead to Narcolepsy.

To diagnose this disease, doctors usually perform 2 tests – the multiple sleep latency test and polysomnography. These tests are performed at a sleep center or at the person’s home. No cure has been found for Narcolepsy. Certain treatments can releieve the symptoms. Such drugs like Modafinil, Dextroamphetamine or Methylphenidate may help manage the excessive daytime sleepiness caused by Narcolepsy.

Some people with this condition find help by joining a support group where they learn how to deal and cope with this serious disease.

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