Narcolepsy is often misdiagnosed and it is more serious than people know

Narcolepsy is often used as a convention to bring about laughter. Having someone fall asleep at a key moment in a movie, play or TV show can be funny.  Homer Simpson dealt with it a few years ago and narcolepsy is one of the many issues that plague Anna Flatch from Trial and Error.  However, the 200,000 Americans who suffer from this condition may not always see the humor in it.

Narcolepsy is excessive daytime sleepiness and makes it difficult for people to stay alert, even when they want to.  In fact, nearly two-thirds of people with narcolepsy also have cataplexy, a sudden and brief loss of muscle strength or tone brought on by emotions or situations. Many who have this also suffer from anxiety and depression and experience difficulty thriving in their lives.

Dr. Michael Thorpy, Director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at the Montefiore Medical Center explained the Know Narcolepsy™ Burden of Illness Survey, a new survey conducted by Versta Research on behalf of Harmony Biosciences, LLC, and in partnership with Narcolepsy Network, that helped shed some light on this condition.

Here are some fascinating findings from the Know Narcolepsy Burden of Illness Survey:

  • A majority of Americans surveyed (63 percent) admitted they knew very little about narcolepsy; nearly 7 in 10 agreed that the disorder isn’t taken seriously, with nearly 40 percent recalling funny depictions of narcolepsy on TV and in movies
  • On average, it took six years for the patients surveyed to be diagnosed with narcolepsy after experiencing their first symptoms, but over half (51 percent) of healthcare professionals surveyed report average diagnosis taking only three years or less
  • Seventy-six percent of people living with narcolepsy said the disorder has disrupted important moments in their lives
  • Almost nine out of ten people with narcolepsy (88 percent) cited excessive daytime sleepiness as the most disruptive symptom to their lives
  • Only one in eight people with narcolepsy (12 percent) said their symptoms were completely or mostly under control
  • Nearly all (93 percent) people living with narcolepsy expressed frustrations with their narcolepsy medications

Dr. Michael Thorpy was joined by patient Jessica to speak with Michelle Tompkins for The Hollywood Digest about narcolepsy, who it affects, how it is often misdiagnosed, what new treatments are out there, how can help and more.

See this informative interview here:

This interview segment is courtesy of Harmony Biosciences, LLC.

Learn more about narcolepsy here.