Health Encyclopedia

 

 

Narcolepsy

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important

It is possible that the main title of the report Narcolepsy is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Synonyms

  • Gelineau's syndrome
  • narcoleptic syndrome
  • paroxysmal sleep
  • hypnolepsy

Disorder Subdivisions

  • narcolepsy with cataplexy
  • narcolepsy without cataplexy

General Discussion

Narcolepsy is a neurological sleep disorder characterized by chronic, excessive attacks of drowsiness during the day, sometimes called excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). Attacks of drowsiness may persist for only a few seconds or several minutes. These episodes vary in frequency from a few incidents to several during a single day. Nighttime (nocturnal) sleep patterns may also be disrupted. Three additional symptoms often associated with narcolepsy are sudden extreme muscle weakness (cataplexy), a specific type of hallucination that occurs just before falling asleep or upon awakening, and brief episodes of paralysis while waking up. Narcolepsy also may be associated with "automatic behavior", i.e. doing something automatically without any memory afterward. The incidence of narcolepsy is approximately 1 in 2,000 and most researchers believe that the disorder remains undiagnosed or misdiagnosed in many cases.



There is increasing evidence that narcolepsy is an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune disorders are caused when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue or cells. In narcolepsy, the immune system destroys certain brain cells that produce a peptide called hypocretin. Hypocretin impacts on many brain functions, but the details of its actions are not yet understood. Why the immune system attacks healthy cells in narcolepsy is unknown and additional environmental and genetic factors may play a role in the development of the disorder.

Resources

National Sleep Foundation

1010 N. Glebe Road

Suite 310

Arlington, VA 22201

Tel: (703)243-1697

Email: nsf@sleepfoundation.org

Internet: http://www.sleepfoundation.org



Narcolepsy Network, Inc.

129 Waterwheel Lane

North Kingstown, RI 02852

USA

Tel: (401)667-2523

Fax: (401)633-6567

Tel: (888)292-6522

Email: narnet@narcolepsynetwork.org

Internet: http://www.narcolepsynetwork.org



American Sleep Association

1610 14th Street NW

Suite 300

Rochester, MN 55901

Tel: (507)287-6006

Fax: (507)287-6008

Email: asda@millcomm.com

Internet: http://www.sleepassociation.org/



Tri-State Sleep Disorders Center

1275 E. Kemper Rd.

Cincinnati, OH 45246

Tel: (513)671-3101

Fax: (513)671-4159

Tel: (800)838-4322

TDD: (311)111-6111

Email: ggaz@tristatesleep.com

Internet: http://www.tristatesleep.com



Narcolepsy Institute

Montefiore Medical Center

111 East 210th Street

Bronx, NY 10467

Tel: (718)920-6799

Fax: (718)654-9580

Email: MGoswami@NarcolepsyInstitute.org

Internet: http://www.narcolepsyinstitute.org



NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

P.O. Box 5801

Bethesda, MD 20824

Tel: (301)496-5751

Fax: (301)402-2186

Tel: (800)352-9424

TDD: (301)468-5981

Internet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/



MedicAlert Foundation International

2323 Colorado Avenue

Turlock, CA 95382

USA

Tel: (209)669-2401

Fax: (209)669-2456

Tel: (888)633-4298

Email: Inquiries@medicalert.org

Internet: http://www.medicalert.org



Center for Narcolepsy, Sleep and Health Research

College of Nursing, Suite 215

University of Illinois at Chicago

845 South Damen Avenue (M/C 802)

Chicago, IL 60612

Tel: (312)996-5176

Fax: (312)996-7008

Email: CNSHR@listserv.uic.edu

Internet: http://www.uic.edu/orgs/cnshr/



Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126

Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126

Tel: (301)251-4925

Fax: (301)251-4911

Tel: (888)205-2311

TDD: (888)205-3223

Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/



For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

Last Updated:  3/2/2012

Copyright  1986, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2012 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.