Reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP on June 2, 2021
Test your Knowledge!
- Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder: True or false?
- Narcolepsy is very common. True or false?
- What causes narcolepsy?
- Excessive daytime sleepiness is the main symptom of narcolepsy. True or false?
- What are complications of narcolepsy?
- How is narcolepsy diagnosed?
- How is narcolepsy treated?
- Narcolepsy can be managed with lifestyle chanes. True or false?
- There is a no cure for narcolepsy. True or false?
- Improve your Health I.Q. on Narcolepsy
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Q:Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder: True or false?
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder in which the brain is unable to regulate wakefulness and sleep.
Q:Narcolepsy is very common. True or false?
Narcolepsy is fairly rare, affecting about 1 in 2,000 people in the general population. However, the disorder is often unrecognized or misdiagnosed so the incidence may be higher.
Narcolepsy affects men and women equally, and it can affect both children and adults. Narcolepsy can occur at any age, but it is commonly diagnosed in one of two peak time periods, around 15 years of age and 36 years of age.
Q:What causes narcolepsy?
A:Narcolepsy may have several possible causes.
Most people with narcolepsy along with cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle control) have very low levels of a naturally occurring chemical called hypocretin (also called orexin), that helps regulate wakefulness and sleep.
Narcolepsy is thought to result from a combination of factors including:
Q:Excessive daytime sleepiness is the main symptom of narcolepsy. True or false?
The predominant symptom of narcolepsy is excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), which is characterized by an irresistible urge to sleep, and patients may experience “sleep attacks” in which they fall asleep suddenly and without warning.
Other symptoms of narcolepsy include:
Q:What are complications of narcolepsy?
A:Narcolepsy can significantly impact a person's overall health and well-being. "Sleep attacks," in which patients with narcolepsy may fall asleep suddenly, drowsiness, and cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle control) can lead to motor vehicle accidents.
The excessive daytime sleepiness caused by narcolepsy can interfere with work, school, and relationships. The stigma attached to narcolepsy can lead to social withdrawal.
Narcolepsy also increases a person's risk of other health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, and psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Q:How is narcolepsy diagnosed?
A:In addition to a patient history and physical examination, a diagnosis of narcolepsy is made using:
Q:How is narcolepsy treated?
A:Symptoms of narcolepsy can be treated with medications and lifestyle changes.
Medications used to treat narcolepsy include:
Q:Narcolepsy can be managed with lifestyle chanes. True or false?
Lifestyle changes that can be used along with medications to help manage narcolepsy symptoms include:
Q:There is a no cure for narcolepsy. True or false?
There is no cure for narcolepsy. The goals of treatment are to reduce symptoms and to improve quality of life and patient safety.
Symptoms of narcolepsy tend to gradually worsen over time and then reach a point where they remain stable. Some symptoms, such as excessive daytime sleepiness, may on occasion worsen and require additional medication. Other symptoms may improve as patient ages. In rare instances, some patients may experience a sudden remission of symptoms. It is unknown why this occurs.
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