Narcolepsy is a disorder by which a person develops an irregular sleeping pattern, usually caused by the long sleeping hours during the daytime. It can also cause injuries to the brain, autoimmune disorders or family history. In the US, it is said that around 0.05% of people are suffering from narcolepsy. It is also said that 1 out of every 2000 people in the world are suffering from this disorder.
Narcolepsy is usually of 2 types- one that is associated with cataplexy and the other one that is associated without cataplexy. Cataplexy is a disorder in which a person loses control of the voluntary muscles. It is usually caused by the strong emotions of laughter, sadness or stress because of which a sudden physical collapse happens.
What are the symptoms of narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy can affect a person in many ways and the result can be seen in their personal and professional life of the patient as well.
- Due to lack of proper sleep in the night, one is sleepy throughout the day because of which they are unable to concentrate on the work. This affects the working potential of the individual resulting hindrance in their career.
- Irregular sleeping patterns also result in various mental health issues. One should take proper care of their sleeping pattern.
- Excessive sleeping in the daytime can cause sleep paralysis and also decrease the quality of sleep because of the fragmentation in the night. Sleep paralysis is a disorder in which the affected person loses control of his voluntary muscles during the sleeping and waking up time.
- A few cases have also come to light where people are suffering from hallucinations as well.
How can narcolepsy be treated?
No proper cure has been found to eradicate narcolepsy yet but sleeping pattern can be controlled and improved by some medications like amphetamines, methylphenidate, and dextroamphetamine which help in making the person alert and attentive, therefore, reducing the daytime sleeping.
As narcolepsy is a modern problem, it requires a modern solution as well and that is why many types of research are being conducted to find ways to cure this disorder. Studies are being conducted to find new narcolepsy treatment that can cure it completely.
- They are planning to transplant cells in the hypothalamus region of the brain which could result in controlling the sleeping desire during the day time.
- Studies are also being conducted on the replacement of peptides present in orexin as it could help in reversing the effects caused by narcolepsy.
- Scientists are also considering gene replacement therapy and immunotherapy as a new narcolepsy treatment.