Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder. If you have narcolepsy, you may suddenly, uncontrollably fall asleep at any point during the day. Typically, these “sleep attacks” last between 3-30 minutes. While these episodes of sleep may be brief, they can be very dangerous. For example, if you’re driving or doing other potentially risky activities, narcolepsy can be quite dangerous. Furthermore, narcolepsy can be hard on your social life and can interfere with your occupation.
Unfortunately, no one knows exactly what causes some people to have narcolepsy. Research focuses on some genetic markers that many people with narcolepsy share. It appears, however, that there are also some unidentified environmental factors that are involved in the development of this disorder. Other research is examining whether narcolepsy might be an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system accidentally attacks and destroys a specific area of the brain. The area in question controls sleep and wakefulness. However, some as yet unidentified factor may be causing the brain’s sleep control center to degenerate.
Researchers estimate that 200,000 Americans are affected by narcolepsy, although less than 50,000 have actually been diagnosed. This is because narcolepsy is often ignored or mistaken for other disorders, such as
, or side effects of medication.
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provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a