Public misunderstanding of the condition
Narcolepsy may cause serious problems for you professionally and personally. Others might see you as lazy, lethargic or rude. Your performance may suffer at school or work.
Interference with intimate relationships
Extreme sleepiness may cause low sex drive or impotence, and people with narcolepsy may even fall asleep while having sex. The problems caused by sexual dysfunction can be further complicated by emotional difficulties. Intense feelings, such as anger or joy, can trigger some signs of narcolepsy such as cataplexy, causing affected people to withdraw from emotional interactions.
Sleep attacks may result in physical harm to people with narcolepsy. You're at increased risk of a car accident if you have an attack while driving. Your risk of cuts and burns is greater if you fall asleep while preparing food.
People with narcolepsy are twice as likely to be overweight. The weight gain may be related to inactivity, binge eating, hypocretin deficiency or a combination of factors.
Oct. 24, 2012
- Ahmed I, et al. Clinical features, diagnosis and treatment of narcolepsy. Clinics in Chest Medicine. 2010;31:371.
- Narcolepsy fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/narcolepsy/detail_narcolepsy.htm. Accessed Sept. 9, 2012.
- What is narcolepsy? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/nar/. Accessed Sept. 9, 2012.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Sept. 1, 2012.
- Cao M. Advances in narcolepsy. Medicine Clinics of North America. 2010;94:541.
- Overeem S, et al. Narcolepsy. Sleep Medicine Clinics. 2012;7:263.
- Silber MH (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 10, 2012.
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