What is Narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy is a chronic (lifelong) neurological (brain-related) condition. Excessive daytime sleepiness is its most common symptom. If you have narcolepsy, you do not need more sleep than other people. Rather, you are not able to maintain normal sleep and wake states. The resulting irregular sleep patterns can make you extra sleepy during the day. These patterns can also keep you from getting the quality sleep you need at night. In most cases, narcolepsy symptoms first appear when patients are between the ages of 10 and 25. But they can appear at any age and in any order. Many patients find that symptoms get worse as they get older. Other patients find that symptoms lessen over time, although they never go away completely.
Do you have it?
Are you often very sleepy during the day? Do you sometimes fall asleep by accident? Is your nighttime sleep disrupted or not restful? Do you wake feeling unrefreshed? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have narcolepsy, a sleep-wake disorder that can affect you 24 hours a day. There is no cure for narcolepsy. But with proper care, its symptoms can be reduced.
Why it is a problem
Many people don’t understand narcolepsy. Some may think your sleepiness is due to laziness or lack of attention. Others may think falling asleep during the day is not a big problem. But Narcolepsy is a serious medical disorder that can affect you in many ways. It can keep you from getting the nighttime sleep your body needs to stay healthy. It can cause emotional and social difficulties. And it can lead to mistakes and accidents that can endanger your health and even your life. So it’s important to get proper treatment.
Is it hereditary?
Narcolepsy patients do not fit any specific profile. The disorder is found in all types of people around the world. Males and females, have it in equal numbers. Although there is a genetic component to narcolepsy, most narcolepsy patients have no known relative with the disorder. Research has found that if a person. has certain genes, he or she is more likely to have narcolepsy, However, having these genes does not always mean that narcolepsy will result.