What is narcolepsy?

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What is narcolepsy?

 

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder in which the sleep times intrude into wakefulness time and vice versa, so the patient of narcolepsy is mainly manifested with the following:

1. Frequent daytime sleepiness.

2. Hypnagogic auditory or visual hallucinations (immediately before falling asleep).

3. Sleep paralysis (the patient is unable to move for 1-2 minutes immediately before falling asleep or immediately after waking up).

The exact cause of narcolepsy still unclear, but many studies showed that decreased level of Orexin (neurotransmitter produced by the hypothalamus and helps in regulation of sleep and wake times) tends to be the main cause of narcolepsy. On the other side, other risk factors of narcolepsy may include the following:

· Genetic cause.

· Brain tumors.

· Cerebral stroke.

· Autoimmune diseases.

Initial management of narcolepsy includes applying a sleep study, treatment of the cause (if present) as well as modification of life style (setting times for day naps, caffeine intake…etc.). Also, the doctor may prescribe some medications that can help in staying awake during the day as well as improving the quality of night sleep.


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