Narcolepsy Essay, Research Paper
What is narcolepsy? Narcolepsy is a severe and incredibly disabling sleep disorder. It is a serious, lifelong condition that affects the nervous system. Narcoleptics lack a chemical called Hypocretin that regulates sleep. Narcolepsy causes nerves to carry and deliver ?sleep messages? to the brain at the wrong times, making life awkward and often embarrassing for anybody that has this disease.
Although studies have been conducted on narcolepsy, there is little known about it. Scientists are unsure of how a person obtains the disease, but studies have shown that narcolepsy is very common in families. Some scientists say that narcolepsy is a neurological disease, but others argue that it is a psychological disorder and believe that narcoleptics are mentally ill.
There are four major symptoms of narcolepsy that usually appear in the adolescent ages. The first symptom is excessive daytime sleepiness. This is a dangerous problem for narcoleptics because they often fall asleep during routine activities such as walking and driving. The second symptom is cataplexy, the loss of muscle control. Cataplexy is often triggered by emotions like laughter. The third symptom of Narcolepsy is sleep paralysis, the condition of temporarily being unable to talk or move when awaking right after falling asleep. The fourth symptom is hallucination. Narcoleptics often have vivid and scary visions or dreams.
There is currently no cure for Narcolepsy. Medicines and therapy are recommended for narcoleptics. Therapy can control and reduce the major symptoms of Narcolepsy. Medicines are usually stimulants or wake-promoting medications. Therapy and medicines will help make a narcoleptic feel less drowsy and lighten the four symptoms, but they cannot fully control or defeat them.
Narcolepsy is one of the more common genetic disorders, affecting about one in 2000 Americans. Besides affecting humans, Narcolepsy has been observed in dogs and various other animals. Victims of Narcolepsy have a hard time doing daily activities. Statistics show that Narcoleptics have ten times the rate of auto accidents than non-affected people.
Clearly, Narcolepsy is a serious disease that needs more attention and care than it is currently being given. Often ignored, narcolepsy is a serious disease and hampers the life of people from all backgrounds. Further studies need to be conducted so that the millions of people affected by this debilitating disease can live their lives normally.