Archive | April 2023


Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that causes unintended or uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination. Symptoms usually begin gradually and worsen over time. As the disease progresses, people may have difficulty walking and talking.  While virtually anyone could be at risk for developing Parkinson’s, some research studies suggest this disease affects more men than women. It’s unclear why, but studies are underway to understand factors that may increase a person’s risk. One clear risk is age since most are over 60 y/o.”

NIH National Institute on Aging (

Part I What is Parkinson Disease (PD)?

Parkinson's Disease1 

Parkinson Disease (PD) is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. Nearly one million people in the US are living with Parkinson’s disease. The cause is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage its symptoms.

Parkinson’s involves the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. Parkinson’s primarily affects neurons in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra. Some of these dying neurons produce dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. As PD progresses, the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases, leaving a person unable to control movement normally.

There are three types of Parkinson’s disease and they are grouped by age of onset: 

1-Adult-Onset Parkinson’s Disease – This is the most common type of Parkinson’s disease. The average age of onset is approximately 60 years old. The incidence of adult onset PD rises noticeably as people advance in age into their 70’s and 80’s.

2-Young-Onset Parkinson’s Disease – The age of onset is between 21-40 years old. Though the incidence of Young-Onset Parkinson’s Disease is very high in Japan (approximately 40% of cases diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease), it is still relatively uncommon in the U.S., with estimates ranging from 5-10% of cases diagnosed.

3-Juvenile Parkinson’s Disease – The age of onset is before the age of 21. The incidence of Juvenile Parkinson’s Disease is very rare.

Impact of the disease:

Parkinson’s disease can significantly impair quality of life not only for the patients but for their families as well, and especially for the primary caregivers. It is therefore important for caregivers and family members to educate themselves and become familiar with the course of Parkinson’s disease and the progression of symptoms so that they can be actively involved in communication with health care providers and in understanding all decisions regarding treatment of the patient.


According to the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, there are approximately an estimated 1 million Americans living with Parkinson’s disease and more than 10 million people worldwide.  That number is expected to rise as the general population in the U.S. ages. Onset of Parkinson’s disease before the age of 40 is rare. All races and ethnic groups are affected.


Knowledge is Critical when Dealing with a Life-Altering Condition such as Parkinson’s Disease and being able to make the changes to last longer and at your optimal level of functioning! First step is accept you have it!

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, it’s critical to learn everything you possibly can about this condition so that you can make informed decisions about your treatment. That’s why we created the Medifocus Guidebook on Parkinson’s Disease, a comprehensive 170 page patient Guidebook that contains vital information about Parkinson’s disease that you won’t find anywhere in a single source.

The Medifocus Guidebook on Parkinson’s Disease starts out with a detailed overview of the condition and quickly imparts fundamentally important information about Parkinson’s disease, including:

Possible factors that could impact someone in being diagnosed with this disorder:

1-Genetic Factors

In some patients, genetic factors could be the primary cause; but in others, there could be something in the environment that led to the disease. Scientists have noted that aging is a key risk factor. There is a 2-4% risk for developing the disease for people over 60. That is compared to 1-2% risk in the general population.

2-Environmental Factors

Some scientists believe that PD can result from overexposure to environmental toxins, or injury. Research by epidemiologists has identified several factors that may be linked to PD. Some of these include living in rural areas, drinking well water, pesticides and manganese.

Some studies have indicated that long term exposure to some chemicals could cause a higher risk of PD. These include the insecticides permethrin and beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (beta-HCH), the herbicides paraquat and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and the fungicide maneb. In 2009, the US Veterans Affairs Department stated that PD could be caused by exposure to Agent Orange.

We should remember that simple exposure to a single toxin in the environment is probably not enough to cause PD. Most people who are exposed to such toxins do not develop PD but could be a risk.

The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation notes that even after decades of intense study, the causes of Parkinson’s disease are not really understood. However,they agree in saying that many experts believe that the disease is caused by several genetic and environmental factors, which can vary in each person.


“When you’re over age 65, your immune system isn’t as strong as it used to be. Seniors make up the bulk of the people who die or are hospitalized for flu-related problems like one being pneumonia to sepsis.  Getting older can be a triple whammy. You lose muscle as you age. That makes it harder to keep the pounds from creeping up. You also become less active. At the same time, your body burns fewer calories for the same physical activities as when you were younger.  Our nutritional needs change as we age. Many of us don’t eat as well. Plus, older bodies can more easily lack certain vitamins and nutrients.  Also, bones become less dense and more prone to breaks and fractures.  Did you know that age is the single biggest predictor of your chances of getting cancer? It jumps up after you hit age 50. Half of all cancers happen in people over age 65. For lung cancer, the median age is 70.  Still getting older doesn’t mean you’re destined to get cancer. You can adopt healthy habits proven to help you lower the odds.”.

WebMD (

Senior Wellness/Health and how to help it especially in the Spring continuing into the future!

Common Health Challenges That Affects Older People
  • Arthritis. Arthritis is more common among adults aged 65 years or older, but it can affect people of all ages, including children. …
  • Diabetes. …
  • Oral Health. …
  • Hypertension. …
  • Dementia.
  •  hearing loss
  • cataracts and refractive errors
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • depression

Older adults are disproportionately affected by chronic conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. Nearly 95% percent have at least one chronic condition, and nearly 80% of have two or more.

More than one out of four older adults falls each year.  3 million adults 65+ are treated in emergency departments for unintentional fall injuries each year.

People worldwide are living longer. Today most people can expect to live into their sixties and beyond. Every country in the world is experiencing growth in both the size and the proportion of older persons in the population.

By 2030, 1 in 6 people in the world will be aged 60 years or over the World Health Organization states.

What can you do about this?

1-Stay Active:

Exercise lowers your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers, and that powerful effect leads to something experts call “compression of morbidity.” It essentially means you stay healthy longer in your late years, as compared with someone who spends the final five or 10 years of life battling chronic illness.

Exercise is also one of the best things you can do to help prevent dementia and other cognitive changes. You don’t have to kill yourselt in a workout environment for a long time or in anything.  Once you’re cleared by your doctor, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.


We can always improve our diet.  There are all sorts of plans out there to help you lose weight, but it’s not only about dropping pounds. There is the Mediterranean-style diet for anyone hoping to avoid dementia as well as minimize other health risks. It’s high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and fish, and low in meat, sugar and processed foods—all to help your cells function better.

Spring is the season of new life, and this includes many fruits and vegetables that come back into season in springtime. Produce like asparagus, cucumbers, radishes, peppers, sweet potatoes, and strawberries, just to name a few, all are in season in the spring. As so many varieties of fruits and greens are available again, this makes spring the perfect time to easily find fresh and organic foods to incorporate into your diet. Making changes to your diet can have long term positive effects on your overall health. Consider swapping out processed foods for fresh ingredients, limiting red meat, and incorporating sources of healthy fats like avocado or fish. Making these changes and eating seven to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day can help reduce your risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia.

Always check with your doctor about changing your diet and activity changes you want to make!

Now spring has arrived!  It is especially important to stay hydrated. With aging, the ability to notice thirst may begin to decline. This means that it can be difficult for seniors to drink enough water and prone to dehydration. Drinking water throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated, but this can be difficult to remember to do or for those who prefer flavored beverages. A couple of tricks to make it easier for you to increase your water intake are to carry a water bottle with you and try adding fresh or frozen fruit to add a boost of flavor. Dehydration can make you more vulnerable to fatigue as well as memory loss or poor concentration. You can further boost your daily water intake by eating foods that are rich in moisture, like watermelon or cucumber.

A simple way to calculate how much water you need to drink each day is to take half your body weight and drink that amount in ounces of water.

Ex. Let’s say the weight is 185lbs and that divided by 2 is 92.5 lbs and now x 16 oz=1480ml of water a day. 1.5 ml/day and you always check with you primary doctor!

3 Good Sleep:

Lack of sleep impacts your memory, emotions, weight and even your appearance. The older you get, the harder it can be to fall and stay asleep, but you still need the same amount of hours.

Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as all adults—7 to 9 hours each night. But, older people tend to go to sleep earlier and get up earlier than they did when they were younger.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, most sleep problems are a result of snoring, medication side effects and underlying medical conditions, such as acid reflux, depression and prostate problems. Addressing those issues with your doctor is a good start. You can also enjoy more satisfying sleep by creating a calming space, dedicating enough time for sleep and practicing relaxation techniques.

Breaking the old habits can be hard, what can you do?

Breaking old habits and creating new ones can be hard, but health changes are key to continue healthy and independent living. Consider quitting smoking, drinking alcohol less and eating more nutrient-dense foods to improve physical health.  You need to prioritize what your goals are.  To either loose more weight, get more active, or whatever the key is disciplining yourself with rewarding yourself in return at first which is reaching closer to your goal=SUCCESS.  If you need to loose weight change your diet for the better.  Increase your activity with exercise and daily activities of living increase. Exercise can be 30 minutes a day.  It probably won’t happen over night but don’t expect results over night, like most things it takes some time. Stress and mental health also largely impact health and quality of life. Try picking up a new hobby, being more social and keeping an organized and tidy living space to boost your moods and encourage calmness. In order to help you stay consistent and create new habits, set clear goals for yourself and practice consistency. Try sharing your goals with a caregiver, friend or family member to cheer you on and hold you accountable and help push you.  In time these changes will be something you want to do.  When you loose the weight treat yourself now and than as a reward!

You may just love the results in what you find in time; your goal achieved and your in better health lessening your chance of disease!!

Remember to always check with your MD when you make changes in diet or activity that the MD approves who knows your health status better than anyone else!





“The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers in the United States are for 2023:

  • About 54,540 new cases of oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer
  • About 11,580 deaths from oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer

The average age of people diagnosed with these cancers is 64, but they can occur in young people. Just over 20% (1 in 5) of cases occur in people younger than 55.”.

American Cancer Society (

Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer Month Awareness!





Most oral, head, and neck cancers begin in the cells that make up the moist tissues (mucosal surfaces) of the head and neck, including in the mouth, nose, and throat. Like other cancers, oral, head, and neck cancers occur when abnormal cells begin to grow and divide uncontrollably and form a mass, called a malignant tumor.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that 85 percent of oral, head, and neck cancers are linked to tobacco use. Men (age 50 or older) who use both tobacco and alcohol are at the highest risk.

Cancers of the brain, eye, thyroid, as well as the skin, bones, muscles and nerves of the head and neck are not included under the heading of “oral, head and neck” cancer.

Doctors identify oral, head, and neck cancers by the area in which the cancer begins:

Lip and oral cavity cancer occurs on the lips, the front two-thirds of the tongue, the gums, the lining of the cheeks and lips, the floor of the mouth under the tongue, the palate, and the area behind the wisdom teeth.

Where does oral cancer affect:

Oral cancer (mouth cancer) is the broad term for cancer that affects the inside of your mouth. Oral cancer can look like a common problem with your lips or in your mouth, like white patches or sores that bleed. Oral cancer (mouth cancer) is the most common form of head and neck cancer. It typically affects people age 60 and older. Oral cancer affects your lips and the first parts of your tongue, mouth roof and floor. It also affects your oropharynx — the last part of your tongue and roof of your mouth, your tonsils, the sides and back of your throat that can include your sinuses, and pharynx (throat). The difference between a common problem and potential cancer is these changes don’t go away. Left untreated, oral cancer can spread throughout your mouth and throat to other areas of your head and neck. Approximately 63% of people with oral cavity cancer are alive five years after diagnosis.

 It can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.

When it is caught early, like other cancers is much easier for doctors to treat when caught early. Yet most people get a diagnosis when their condition is too advanced to treat effectively. If you see your dentist or doctor regularly and learn how to spot suspicious changes, you’ll have a much better shot at an early diagnosis.

Overall, about 11 people in 100,000 will develop oral cancer during their lifetime. Men are more likely than women to develop oral cancer. People who are white are more likely to develop oral cancer than people who are Black.

Risk factors in developing oral cancer include:

  • Smoking. Cigarette, cigar, or pipe smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancers.
  • Smokeless tobacco use. Users of dip, snuff, or chewing tobacco products are 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the cheek, gums, and lining of the lips.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol. Oral cancers are about six times more common in drinkers than in nondrinkers.  Using alcohol and tobacco together increases your chances even more.
  • Family history of cancer.
  • Excessive sun exposure, especially at a young age. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can cause lip cancers.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV). Certain HPV strains are etiologic risk factors for Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC). Almost everyone who’s sexually active will get HPV at some point in life. A specific type of this virus is causing a growing number of otherwise healthy men under 50 to get cancers in the back of their mouths and throats from oral sex. The more people you and your partners have sex with, the bigger your risk.
  • Age. Oral cancers can take years to grow. Most people find they have it after age 55. But more younger men are getting cancers linked to HPV.
  • Gender. Men are at least twice as likely as women to get oral cancer. It could be because men drink and smoke more than women do.
  • Poor diet. Studies have found a link between oral cancer and not eating enough vegetables and fruits.

It is important to note that over 25% of all oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke and who only drink alcohol occasionally.

The overall 5-year survival rate for patients with an early diagnosis of oral cavity and pharynx cancers is 84%. If the cancer has spread to nearby tissues, organs, or lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate drops to 65%.

How it is diagnosed?

As part of your routine dental exam, your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening exam.  Your dentist knows what a healthy mouth should look like and probably has the best chance of spotting any cancer. Experts recommend getting checked every year starting at age 18, and sooner if you start smoking or having sex.

More specifically, your dentist will feel for any lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, face, and oral cavity. When examining your mouth, your dentist will look for any sores or discolored tissue as well as check for any signs and symptoms mentioned above.

A biopsy may be needed to determine the makeup of a suspicious-looking area. There are different types of biopsies and your doctor can determine which one is best.


It varies from person to person depending on the stage of oral cancer the person has and how advanced the cancer is.

Whether a patient has surgery, radiation, and surgery, or radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy, you need to remember it depends on the stage of cancer development. Each case is individual.

Patients with cancers treated in their early stages may have little in the way of post-treatment disfigurement. For those whose cancer is caught at a later stage, the results of surgical removal of the disease may require reconstruction of portions of their oral cavity or facial features. There may be needed adjunctive therapy to assist in speech, chewing of foods, the problems associated with the lack of salivary function, and the fabrication of dental or facial prostheses.



“Overall, about 1 in 2,000 people in the United States may have narcolepsy. The actual number of people who it affects may be higher. This is because the symptoms can be similar to other sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea.

Narcolepsy develops as a result of changes in the hypothalamus region of your brain, basically. This small gland is located above your brain stem.

The hypothalamus helps regulate the release of hormones that affect numerous parts of your body. For example, it’s responsible for releasing hypocretins, which help regulate sleep.

Hypocretin neurons help regulate your sleep-wake cycles. These chemicals in your brain are at their highest levels when you’re awake. They naturally decrease during your normal bedtime.

But when you have narcolepsy, hypocretin releases are low. This causes disruptions during the daytime, such as excessive sleepiness and fatigue. You may also tend to take more naps during the day.

Reduced hypocretins are strongly linked to narcolepsy type 1. This type of narcolepsy includes:

  • disrupted sleep cycles
  • daytime fatigue
  • cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle control)

A rare form of narcolepsy can develop as a result of   damage to the hypothalamus from a brain injury. This is known as secondary narcolepsy.

Secondary narcolepsy is a severe neurological condition that can lead to irregular sleep cycles as well as memory loss and mood disorders.   If you have type 2 narcolepsy, you may experience issues with sleep cycle regulation but don’t   have issues with cataplexy.  The cause of type 2 narcolepsy is unclear.”

Healthline (


Part II Narcolepsy – Risk Factors, Complications, Diagnosing, Treatment & more!

Risk factors”

There are only a few known risk factors for narcolepsy, including:

  • Age. Narcolepsy typically begins between ages 10 and 30.
  • Family history. Your risk of narcolepsy is 20 to 40 times higher if you have a close family member who has it.


  • Public misconception of the condition. Narcolepsy can cause problems at work or in your personal life. Your performance may suffer at school or work. Others might see people with narcolepsy as lazy or lethargic.
  • Effects on intimate relationships. Intense feelings, such as anger or joy, can trigger cataplexy. This can cause people with narcolepsy to withdraw from emotional interactions.
  • Physical harm. Falling asleep suddenly may result in injury. You’re at increased risk of a car accident if you fall asleep while driving. Your risk of cuts and burns is greater if you fall asleep while cooking.
  • Obesity. People with narcolepsy are more likely to be overweight. Sometimes weight rapidly increases when sleepiness symptoms start.


Your health care provider may suspect narcolepsy based on your symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden loss of muscle tone, known as cataplexy. Your provider will likely refer you to a sleep specialist. Formal diagnosis requires staying overnight at a sleep center for an in-depth sleep analysis.

A sleep specialist will likely diagnose narcolepsy and determine how severe it is based on:

  • Your sleep history. A detailed sleep history can help with a diagnosis. You’ll likely fill out the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. The scale uses short questions to measure your degree of sleepiness. You’ll answer how likely it is that you would fall asleep in certain times, such as sitting down after lunch.
  • Your sleep records. You may be asked to write down your sleep pattern for a week or two. This allows your provider to compare how your sleep pattern may relate to how alert you feel.Your health care provider also may ask you to wear an actigraph. This device is worn like a watch. It measures periods of activity and rest. It provides an indirect measure of how and when you sleep.
  • A sleep study, known as polysomnography. This test measures signals during sleep using flat metal discs called electrodes placed on your scalp. For this test, you must spend a night at a medical facility. The test measures your brain waves, heart rate and breathing. It also records your leg and eye movements.
  • Multiple sleep latency test. This test measures how long it takes you to fall asleep during the day. You’ll be asked to take four or five naps at a sleep center. Each nap needs to be two hours apart. Specialists will observe your sleep patterns. People who have narcolepsy fall asleep easily and enter into rapid eye movement (REM) sleep quickly.
  • Genetic tests and a lumbar puncture, known as a spinal tap. Occasionally, a genetic test may be performed to see if you’re at risk of type 1 narcolepsy. If so, your sleep specialist may recommend a lumbar puncture to check the level of hypocretin in your spinal fluid. This test is only done in specialized centers.

These tests also can help rule out other possible causes of your symptoms. Excessive daytime sleepiness could also be caused by sleep deprivation, the use of sedating medicines and sleep apnea.


There is no cure for narcolepsy, but medicines and lifestyle changes can help you manage the symptoms.


Medicines for narcolepsy include:

  • Stimulants. Drugs that stimulate the central nervous system are the primary treatment to help people with narcolepsy stay awake during the day. Your health care provider may recommend modafinil (Provigil) or armodafinil (Nuvigil). These medicines aren’t as habit-forming as older stimulants. They also don’t produce the highs and lows associated with older stimulants. Side effects are uncommon but may include headache, nausea or anxiety.Solriamfetol (Sunosi) and pitolisant (Wakix) are newer stimulants used for narcolepsy. Pitolisant also may be helpful for cataplexy.Some people need treatment with methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, others) or amphetamines (Adderall XR 10, Dexedrine, others). These medicines are effective but can be habit-forming. They may cause side effects such as nervousness and a fast heartbeat.
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medicines suppress REM sleep. Health care providers prescribe these medicines to help ease the symptoms of cataplexy, hallucinations and sleep paralysis.They include venlafaxine (Effexor XR), fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft). Side effects can include weight gain, insomnia and digestive problems.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants. These older antidepressants can treat cataplexy. But they can cause side effects such as dry mouth and lightheadedness. These medicines include protriptyline, imipramine (Tofranil) and clomipramine (Anafranil).
  • Sodium oxybate (Xyrem) and oxybate salts (Xywav). These medicines work well at relieving cataplexy. They help improve nighttime sleep, which is often poor in narcolepsy. They also may help control daytime sleepiness. It’s taken in two doses, one at bedtime and one up to four hours later.Xywav is a newer formulation with less sodium.These medicines can have side effects, such as nausea, bed-wetting and sleepwalking. Taking them together with other sleeping tablets, narcotic pain relievers or alcohol can lead to trouble breathing, coma and death.

If you take medicines for other health problems, ask your health care provider how they may interact with narcolepsy medicines.

Certain medicines that you can buy without a prescription can cause drowsiness. They include allergy and cold medicines. If you have narcolepsy, your doctor may recommend that you don’t take these medicines.

Researchers are studying other potential treatments for narcolepsy. Medicines being studied include those that target the hypocretin chemical system. Researchers also are studying immunotherapy. Further research is needed before these medicines become available.

Other recommendations with treatment seeing a doctor specializing are:

Lifestyle and home remedies (check with you MD):

Lifestyle changes are important in managing the symptoms of narcolepsy. You may benefit if you:

  • Stick to a schedule. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends.
  • Take naps. Schedule short naps at regular intervals during the day. Naps of 20 minutes during the day may be refreshing. They also may reduce sleepiness for 1 to 3 hours. Some people may need longer naps.
  • Avoid nicotine and alcohol. Using these substances, especially at night, can worsen your symptoms.
  • Get regular exercise. Plan for moderate, regular exercise at least 4 to 5 hours before bedtime. It may help you sleep better at night and feel more awake during the day.

Coping and support

Dealing with narcolepsy can be a challenge. Consider these tips:

  • Talk about it. Tell your employer or teachers about your condition. Then work with them to find ways to adjust to your needs. This may include taking naps during the day. Or you might break up repetitive tasks. You might record meetings or classes to refer to later. You also might find it helps to stand during meetings or lectures, and to take brisk walks during the day.The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against workers with narcolepsy. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified employees.
  • Be safe while driving. If you must drive a long distance, work with your health care provider to find ways to make a safe trip. Create a medicine schedule that is most likely to keep you awake during your drive. Stop for naps and exercise breaks whenever you feel drowsy. Don’t drive if you feel too sleepy.   Better don’t drive at all. Check with your MD first recommended!

Support groups and counseling can help you and your loved ones cope with narcolepsy. Ask your health care provider to help you locate a group or qualified counselor in your area.

Check out doxins with narcolepsy on youtube or facebook!


“Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that causes persistent sleepiness and additional symptoms such as brief episodes of muscle weakness known as cataplexy, vivid, dreamlike hallucinations, brief episodes of paralysis when falling asleep or upon awakening (sleep paralysis), and fragmented nighttime sleep. Symptoms typically develop over several months and last a lifetime.

Narcolepsy is a manageable condition, and people with narcolepsy can lead full and rewarding lives.  One cause is genetic factors clearly play a role. Most people with narcolepsy have inherited a gene that codes for the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) DQB1*06:02, which is important for immune function. This gene is found in 12–25% of the general population, and it increases the risk of developing narcolepsy 7- to 25-fold.3 Additional genes can increase or decrease the risk of developing narcolepsy, and, like HLA-DQB1*06:02, most of these affect the functions of the immune system. Normally, the immune system kills off bacteria and viruses. These discoveries suggest that narcolepsy is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system accidentally kills off the hypocretin-producing neurons. “.

Harvard University (


Part 1 Narcolepsy – What it is, symptoms and the possible causes!

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that makes people very drowsy during the day. People with narcolepsy find it hard to stay awake for long periods of time. They fall asleep suddenly. This can cause serious problems in their daily routine.

Sometimes narcolepsy also causes a sudden loss of muscle tone, known as cataplexy (KAT-uh-plek-see). This can be triggered by strong emotion, especially laughter. Narcolepsy is divided into two types. Most people with type 1 narcolepsy have cataplexy. Most people who don’t have cataplexy have type 2 narcolepsy.

Narcolepsy is a life-long condition for which there’s no cure. However, medicines and lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms. Support from others — family, friends, employers and teachers — can help people cope with the disorder.

Symptoms of this disorder:

The symptoms of narcolepsy may get worse during the first few years of the disorder. Then they continue for life. They include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness. People with narcolepsy fall asleep without warning. It can happen anywhere and at any time. It may happen when you’re bored or during a task. For example, you may be working or talking with friends and suddenly fall asleep. It can be especially dangerous if you fall asleep while driving. You might fall asleep for only a few minutes or up to a half-hour. After waking, you’ll often feel refreshed but you’ll get sleepy again.You also may experience a decrease in how alert and focused you feel during the day. Daytime sleepiness often is the first symptom to appear. Feeling sleepy makes it hard to focus and function.Some people with narcolepsy continue doing a task when they fall asleep briefly. For example, you may fall asleep while writing, typing or driving. You might continue to perform that task while asleep. When you awaken, you can’t remember what you did, and you probably didn’t do it well.
  • Sudden loss of muscle tone. This condition is called cataplexy. It can cause slurred speech or complete weakness of most muscles. Symptoms may last up to a few minutes.Cataplexy can’t be controlled. It’s triggered by intense emotions. Often the emotions that cause cataplexy are positive. Laughter or excitement may cause the symptoms. But sometimes fear, surprise or anger can cause the loss of muscle tone. For example, when you laugh, your head may drop without your control. Or your knees may suddenly lose strength, causing you to fall.Some people with narcolepsy experience only one or two episodes of cataplexy a year. Others have several episodes a day. Not everyone with narcolepsy has these symptoms.
  • Sleep paralysis. People with narcolepsy often experience sleep paralysis. During sleep paralysis, you can’t move or speak while falling asleep or upon waking. It’s usually brief — lasting a few seconds or minutes. But it can be scary. You may be aware of it happening and can recall it afterward.

    Not everyone with sleep paralysis has narcolepsy.

  • Hallucinations. Sometimes people see things that aren’t there during sleep paralysis. Hallucinations also may happen in bed without sleep paralysis. These are called hypnagogic hallucinations if they happen as you fall asleep. They’re called hypnopompic hallucinations if they happen upon waking. For example, you might feel as if there is a stranger in your bedroom. These hallucinations may be vivid and frightening because you may not be fully asleep when you begin dreaming.
  • Changes in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is when most dreaming happens. Typically, people enter REM sleep 60 to 90 minutes after falling asleep. But people with narcolepsy often move more quickly to REM sleep. They tend to enter REM sleep within 15 minutes of falling asleep. REM sleep also can happen at any time of the day.

Other characteristics

People with narcolepsy may have other sleep disorders. They might have obstructive sleep apnea, in which breathing starts and stops during the night. Or they may act out their dreams, known as REM sleep behavior disorder. Or they may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, called insomnia.

The Possible Causes:

The exact cause of narcolepsy is unknown. People with type 1 narcolepsy have low levels of hypocretin (hi-poe-KREE-tin), also called orexin. Hypocretin is a chemical in the brain that helps control being awake and when you enter REM sleep.

Hypocretin levels are low in people who experience cataplexy. Exactly what causes the loss of hypocretin-producing cells in the brain isn’t known. But experts suspect it’s due to an autoimmune reaction. An autoimmune reaction is when the body’s immune system destroys its own cells.

It’s also likely that genetics plays a role in narcolepsy. But the risk of a parent passing this disorder to a child is very low — only about 1% to 2%.