Do you struggle to stay awake throughout the day?
And an afternoon nap (or two!) is essential for you to function?
You may be affected by a sleeping disorder known as narcolepsy.
It is a neurological disorder characterized by extreme daytime sleepiness and uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the day. This excessive daytime sleepiness should not be mistaken for the afternoon slump, since neurological defects are responsible for narcolepsy, rather than just sleep deprivation or lack of caffeine!
Family members of an affected individual have a 20X – 40X increased risk of developing narcolepsy, indicating a strong genetic basis for the disorder. The genetic variant most closely associated with this sleeping disorder is HLA-DQB1*06:02. Individuals with this variant have a 7X to 25X increased risk, although one recent European study indicates a much higher odds ratio of approximately 250-fold! Multiple other HLA-DQB1 variants also exist, and many of these provide some protection, complicating the risk analyses.
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