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Does your child have narcolepsy?

Teens are a notoriously sleepy bunch. Left to their own devices, many will happily snooze into the early hours of the afternoon. About 28 percent of teens also report falling asleep in school at least once a week, according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation. This can make it difficult for parents to know when a teenager’s love affair with sleep might be the sign of narcolepsy or another sleep disorder. While narcolepsy is a rare condition, affecting only about .05 percent of the U.S. population, it often goes undiagnosed. It is a condition that typically develops between ages 10 and 20. “Patients with narcolepsy can also be misdiagnosed with epilepsy, a mental health problem or another sleep disorder,” says Dr. Kiran Maski, neurologist and sleep specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital. She says that a lack of awareness about narcolepsy, as well as the prevalence of daytime sleepiness due to insufficient sleep among adolescents contributes to diagnostic difficulties. On average, most people with narcolepsy have symptoms for ten years before it is diagnosed. Maski offers these tips to concerned parents of sleepy children and teens: Determine if it’s really sleepiness. The most common symptom of narcolepsy is excessive daytime sleepiness. “One key question is whether it’s truly sleepiness or more general fatigue from lack of sleep or poor sleep quality,” says Maski. “Sleepiness reflects the ability to fall asleep ea...
Source: Thrive, Children's Hospital Boston - Category: Pediatrics Authors: Tags: Diseases & Conditions Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders Dr. Kiran Maski insomnia Narcolepsy Source Type: news

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