Because the symptoms of narcolepsy vary from one individual to individual (it is estimated that only 20-25 percent of people with narcolepsy experience all four of the classic symptoms), this disorder is frequently misdiagnosed.
There is strong evidence that narcolepsy may run in families; 8-12 percent of people with narcolepsy have a close relative with the disorder.
Further compounding the problem is the fact that other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, also can produce spells of marked daytime drowsiness.
Narcolepsy is not particularly dangerous problem, unless one experiences a sleep attack while operating a motor vehicle or other machinery. It can, however, be embarrassing and extremely inconvenient.
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In healthy individuals, sleep begins with the NREM phase. After 60 minutes or so of NREM sleep, REM sleep begins. A short time later, the entire cycle begins again. In a narcoleptic sleep attack, in contrast, researchers have found that REM sleep begins almost instantly, with no introductory NREM sleep…
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Narcolepsy is a rare neurological sleep disorder…It is most characterized by Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS)…
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Source: Phyllis A. Balch, CNC; Prescription for Nutritional Healing, p. 590