Narcolepsy

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Narcolepsy is not the name you expected.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

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.

Supporting Organizations

American Sleep Association

1002 Lititz Pike #229
Lititz, PA 17543
Email: asda@millcomm.com
Website: http://www.sleepassociation.org/

Center for Narcolepsy, Sleep and Health Research

College of Nursing, Suite 215
University of Illinois at Chicago
Chicago, IL 60612
Tel: (312)996-5176
Fax: (312)996-7008
Email: CNSHR@listserv.uic.edu
Website: 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
Website: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

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
Website: http://www.medicalert.org

NICER Foundation

4002 Brookhill Road
Baltimore, MD 21215
USA
Email: info@nicer.ngo
Website: https://nicer.ngo

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

Narcolepsy Institute

Montefiore Medical Center
111 East 210th Street
Bronx, NY 10467
Tel: (718)920-6799
Fax: (718)654-9580
Email: MGoswami@NarcolepsyInstitute.org
Website: http://www.narcolepsyinstitute.org

Narcolepsy Network, Inc.

129 Waterwheel Lane
North Kingstown, RI 2852
USA
Tel: (401)667-2523
Fax: (401)633-6567
Tel: (888)292-6522
Email: narnet@narcolepsynetwork.org
Website: http://www.narcolepsynetwork.org

National Sleep Foundation

1010 N. Glebe Road
Suite 310
Arlington, VA 22201
Tel: (703)243-1697
Email: nsf@sleepfoundation.org
Website: http://www.sleepfoundation.org

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, 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.

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.

Last Updated:  7/15/2015
Copyright  2012 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.