Narcolepsy is the most widely complaint in the hypersomnia class. It develops in 1 out of 2000 persons. Narcoleptics go through really serious daytime sleepiness and uninterrupted, concise (10-to 15-minute) daytime fall asleep sequences. Narcoleptics typically sleep only nearly an hour per day more than the average. It is the inappropriateness of their sleep program that most indeed defines their state. Nearly all of us occasionally fall asleep in front of the television or sleep-promoting sizable talk hall. But narcoleptics fall napping in the mid of a dialogue, while eating or still even while driving.
The next common symptom of narcolepsy is cataplexy. Cataplexy is characterized by repetitive losses of muscle tone in the course of wakefulness. It is often triggered by an emotional encounter. In its mild form, the patient may sit down for a few seconds until it subsides. In its serious form, the victim loses to the ground, for a minute or two.
Simultaneously daytime sleep incident and cataplexy, narcoleptics normally undergo two another conditions: sleep paralysis and hypnogogic hallucinations. Sleep paralysis is the lack of ability to move when falling asleep or waking up. Hypnogogic hallucinations are dream-like occurrences during wakefulness. Having said that, sleep paralysis and hypnogogic hallucinations are occasionally encountered by many individuals.
Research implies that narcolepsy results from an problem in the mechanism that triggers REM sleep. Different from normal people, narcoleptics quite often go directly into REM sleep at which instance they fall asleep.
A couple of sleep-disorders are certain to REM-sleep. It could be that narcolepsy can also be regarded to be a REM-sleep-related problem. Occasionally, affected individuals are identified who have tiny bit or no REM-sleep. This dysfunction is rare. A individual who has prevailed a brain problem involving damage to REM-sleep controller in reticular formation could have these types of difficulty.
Who Gets Narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy affects both males and female equally and appears throughout the world. It most often starts in childhood or adolescence, and is lifelong. Narcolepsy is not rare, but it is an underrecognized and underdiagnosed condition. Narcolepsy with cataplexy is estimated to affect about one in every 3,000 Americans. More cases without cataplexy are also likely to exist.
Most cases of narcolepsy are sporadic, meaning the disorder occurs in individuals with no known family history of the disorder. But clusters in families sometimes occur—up to 10 percent of individuals diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy report having a close relative with the same symptoms. Genetics alone is not sufficient to cause narcolepsy. Other factors such as infection, immune-system dysfunction, trauma, hormonal changes, and stress may also be present before the disease develops. While close relatives of people with narcolepsy have a statistically higher risk of developing the disorder than do members of the general population, that risk remains low when compared to diseases that are purely genetic in origin.
What are the Symptoms?
People with narcolepsy experience various types of day- and nighttime sleep problems that are associated with REM sleep disturbances that tend to begin subtly and may change dramatically over time. The most common major symptom, other than excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), is cataplexy, which occurs in about 70 percent of all people with narcolepsy. Sleep paralysis and hallucinations are somewhat less common. Only 10 to 25 percent of affected individuals, however, display all four of these major symptoms during the course of their illness.
Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)
EDS, the symptom most consistently experienced by almost all individuals with narcolepsy, is usually the first to become clinically apparent. Generally, EDS interferes with normal activities on a daily basis, whether or not individuals had sufficient sleep at night. People with EDS describe it as a persistent sense of mental cloudiness, a lack of energy, a depressed mood, or extreme exhaustion. Many find that they have great difficulty maintaining their concentration while at school or work. Some experience memory lapses. Many find it nearly impossible to stay alert in passive situations that include sitting and listening to lectures or watching television. People tend to awaken from such unavoidable sleeps feeling refreshed and finding that their drowsiness and fatigue subsides for an hour or two.
Involuntary sleep episodes are sometimes very brief, lasting no more than seconds at a time. As many as 40 percent of people with narcolepsy are prone to automatic behavior during such “microsleeps.” Automatic behavior involves performing a task during a short period of sleep but without any apparent interruption. During these episodes, people are usually engaged in habitual, essentially "second nature" activities such as taking notes in class, typing, or driving. They cannot recall their actions, and their performance is almost always impaired. Their handwriting may, for example, degenerate into an illegible scrawl, or they may store items in bizarre locations and then forget where they placed them. If an episode occurs while driving, individuals may get lost or have an accident.
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Prof. F M Sahoo :A reputed professor of psychology and management, is a renowned author of several books on Human Behavior. To Learn More Please Visit: What is Narcolepsy ?
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