Narcolepsy is a chronic
neurological disorder that impairs the ability of the central nervous
system to regulate sleep. It is the second leading cause of excessive
daytime sleepiness (after obstructive
sleep apnea). It is a serious condition requiring medical
usually from a sleep disorders specialist.
Warning symptoms of narcolepsy
People with narcolepsy experience excessive daytime sleepiness, and intermittent, uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime. Someone who has narcolepsy is prone to falling asleep while engaged in conversation, driving, eating dinner, or at other inappropriate times. The sleepiness occurs in spite of a full night's sleep and may persist throughout the day.
Other narcolepsy symptoms include:
Narcolepsy usually begins
in the teens or early twenties. The
Epworth Sleepiness Scale is often used to
help identify excessive daytime sleepiness and this condition and other
conditions of excessive sleepiness.
Narcolepsy can be very serious. For example, falling asleep while driving, using machinery, cooking, etc. can be dangerous or even fatal. Narcolepsy also affects:
Treatments for narcolepsy
Typically, a combination of
medication and lifestyle treatments are used to treat narcolepsy.
Ideopathic hypersomnolence is
similar to narcolepsy, except that sleepiness is often milder and more
chronic. Adjunct symptoms of narcolepsy (e.g., cataplexy and sleep
paralysis) are absent. Treatment is often similar.
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NOTE: Sleep health information discussed at this website is for educational purposes. Each individual is different and may have varying symptoms, diagnosis and treatments. If you are having sleep health problems, obtain professional medical advice.