Sleep Disorders Center of Santa Maria
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WHAT ARE SOME SYMPTOMS OF NARCOLEPSY?
Narcolepsy is a neurologic sleep disorder that makes you feel sleepy most of the time. People with narcolepsy sometimes fall asleep all of sudden, even when they don’t expect to. They can even fall asleep while they are in the middle of activities, such as eating, talking, or driving.
Approximately 1 in 2,000 people in the United States have narcolepsy. Many people with narcolepsy are unaware of the condition and are undiagnosed. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder which causes irregular patterns in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and significant disruptions of the normal sleep/wake cycle. The cause of narcolepsy is not completely understood, our current understanding is that narcolepsy is caused by damage to a small group of neurons in the brain. The damaged neurons normally make a neurotransmitter (hypocretin/orexin) which is important in alertness. New research points to a combination of genetic and environmental factors that influence the immune system and damage these neurons.