Here are some key points about narcolepsy.

  • 40 million Americans each year suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders.
  • Although highly prevalent, common sleep disorders are infrequently identified by primary care providers.
  • Narcolepsy is the second leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness after obstructive sleep apnea.
  • The average time from the onset of narcolepsy to diagnosis is about 10 years.
  • Symptoms typically begin to occur between the ages of 10 and 30.
  • Narcolepsy is caused by the loss of the two brain chemicals called hypocretins.
  • Researchers have identified a gene that is linked to narcolepsy.
  • The main symptoms of narcolepsy are excessive daytime sleepiness and abnormal rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
  • The medical community first recognized narcolepsy in the late 19th century.
  • Approximately 1:2000 people have the disorder.
  • It is equally common in men and women.
  • Narcolepsy can be treated with medications and adjustments to lifestyle.