Myths about Narcolepsy Debunked

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Playing Narcolepsy Myths Debunked

Could you suffer from narcolepsy – and not even know it!? Learn the truth about a disease that affects about 200,000 people in the U.S. Sufferers can experience excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep paralysis, muscle weakness, hallucinations when falling asleep or waking up, and disrupted sleep.

Sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta joins The Doctors to bust common myths about this disorder:

• Do people with narcolepsy sleep all the time? With narcolepsy you have trouble staying awake and the urge to sleep can be overwhelming, but it's a myth that people with narcolepsy sleep all the time.

• Do I have depression, insomnia, anxiety? The disorder is frequently misdiagnosed as another condition. It can take an average of 10 years to get the appropriate diagnosis!

How do you know if you have narcolepsy? The exact cause of narcolepsy is unknown, but it’s linked with low levels of a brain chemical known as hypocretin, which regulates wakefulness and sleep. Patients who suspect they have narcolepsy need to see a sleep specialist for testing, but there are five symptoms to watch for:

• Excessive daytime sleepiness

• Sleep disruption

• Cataplexy – the sudden weakening of muscles triggered by intense emotions

• Sleep paralysis

• Hallucinations

We all feel tired from time to time, but if it's ALL the time, talk to your doctor. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, visit – there you’ll find a narcolepsy symptom screener as well as a physician finder to help you find a specialist. Sleep Awareness Week runs from April 23 to April 29.

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