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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
Welcome to Ask Dr. Kennedy. We encourage you to post your comments and questions here. We look forward to challenging questions as they are an education for us as well as for you. Please consider the following guidelines when posting:

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narcoleptic?
Posted by: Kay
Date: May 9, 2001 12:46 AM

Is there any cure or valuable information out there for narcolepsy?

RE: narcoleptic?
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, M.D.
Date: May 9, 2001 3:39 AM

There is no known cure for narcolepsy. Treatment is aimed at control of the symptoms. Lifestyle adjustments and learning to cope with the emotional and other effects of the disorder may improve functioning in work and social activities. Planned naps and sleeping may help to regulate daytime sleep and reduce the number of unplanned, sudden sleep attacks. Eat light and/or vegetarian meals during the day, avoid heavy meals prior to important activities because heavy meals often provoke an attack of narcolepsy. If possible, schedule a brief nap (10 to 15 minutes) after meals. Naturally, other factors which decrease alertness should be identified and handled, for example heavy metal toxicity, thyroid dysfunction, hypoglycemia, brain tumor, and many others. For those of our readers who do not know about narcolepsy, here is a brief description: it is characterized by episodes of frequent, uncontrollable daytime sleeping, usually preceded by drowsiness. The episodes usually occur after meals but may occur while working or driving a vehicle, having a conversation, or in any sedentary or boring situation. There is a brief period of sleep and the person awakens feeling refreshed. However, they may again become uncontrollably sleepy a short time later. The classic case of narcolepsy involves going to sleep during "important" meetings. (If yo do this, you better have narcolepsy.) Narcolepsy may be accompanied by cataplexy - the sudden loss of muscular tension, accompanied by falling, when under emotional stress.



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