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Narcolepsy is a complex neurological disorder that is often miscategorized as “lack of sleep.” However, the excessive sleepiness that comes with narcolepsy can’t simply be cured by sleeping for 8 hours every night. In fact, it can be quite a dangerous condition to deal with.

Untreated cases of narcolepsy can give way to sudden loss of muscle tone, hallucinations, and even severe sleep paralysis. But one of the most confusing aspects of narcolepsy is its essence. Often, people wonder if narcolepsy can be categorized as an autoimmune disease, and even though it is still under research, in this blog, we will break down everything you need to know about narcolepsy.

What is Narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a neurological condition that also ties up as a sleep disorder, as it tends to disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. It can also trigger uncontrollable bouts of sleep during the day, leaving you incapable of staying awake.

Cataplexy, commonly known as type 1 narcolepsy, is a form of narcolepsy that involves sudden muscle weakness. This is typically brought on by strong emotions like laughter or anger, leaving you incapable of socializing or experiencing life to the fullest. Not to mention, people with narcolepsy also report having hallucinations and temporary paralysis upon waking up or falling asleep. If you relate to either of these symptoms, it is crucial to get immediate medical help.

Is Narcolepsy An Autoimmune Disease?

There is no conclusive result stating whether or not narcolepsy is an autoimmune disorder. However, according to recent studies, narcolepsy can be considered an autoimmune disease. This is because people with type 1 narcolepsy, or cataplexy, tend to have low levels of hypocretin, a chemical that is in charge of the wakefulness factor in the brain. For people with narcolepsy, hypocretin neurons are destroyed, which leads to a deficiency. Additionally, some researchers have also found a connection between narcolepsy and certain vaccines, further proving that it could be linked to your immune system.

Can Narcolepsy Be Treated?

While narcolepsy cannot be cured, there are numerous treatment options that help manage some of its symptoms, especially the severe ones. Prescribed medications such as mood stabilizers, stimulants, and antidepressants can boost wakefulness during the day and reduce narcolepsy episodes. Additionally, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding naps, and steering clear of caffeine as well as alcohol can be of help.

Final Takeaway

While it is not easy to completely classify narcolepsy as an autoimmune disorder, certain studies and research do point toward the two being related. However, before seeking treatment or medications, it is important to keep in mind that having a medical professional’s guidance is crucial. If you have any doubts, queries, or concerns, feel free to get in touch with the experts over at Sleep and Headache Solutions by scheduling an appointment today. All you have to do is give us a ring at (832) 688-8886, and we will do our best to guide you towards the treatment and care you need.

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