Narcolepsy is a rare chronic neurological disorder characterized by Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS). This symptom consists of the inability to stay awake and alert during the day resulting in uncontrollable poor concentration and sudden sleep events.
In addition to EDS, patients with narcolepsy may also suffer from the following: cataplexy, disrupted night-time sleep, sleep onset-related hallucinations, and sleep paralysis.
Cataplexy is characterized by a sudden partial or complete collapse due to a severe loss of muscular tone usually triggered by strong emotions like laughter, witty conversations, a pleasant surprise, anger, but rarely by stress, fear, or physical exertion. Unlike other conditions that cause a loss of muscle control, like fainting or seizures, people experiencing cataplexy remain conscious and aware. Episodes typically last a couple of minutes and resolve on their own.
Based on the presence of cataplexy, narcolepsy can be classified into two variants:
• type I narcolepsy, recognized as NT1 (narcolepsy with cataplexy), which affects the majority of narcoleptic individuals.
• type II narcolepsy, recognized as NT2 (narcolepsy without cataplexy).
Do you experience daytime sleepiness?
Would you like to take the questionnaire? (adults only)
Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS)
The following questionnaire will help you measure your general level of daytime sleepiness. You are to rate the chance that you would doze off or fall asleep during different routine daytime situations. Answers to the questions are rated on a reliable scale called the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS). Each item is rated from 0 to 3, with 0 meaning you would never doze or fall asleep in a given situation, and 3 meaning there is a very high chance that you would doze or fall asleep in that situation. How likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the following situations, in contrast to just feeling tired? Even if you haven’t done some of the activities recently, think about how they would have affected you.
Respondents to the ESS rate their chances of having dozed off or fallen asleep in particular situations ‘in recent times’. It was a deliberate decision not to specify this recall period more accurately. It was intended to be long enough for the respondent to have experienced at least most of the activities, so they could estimate in retrospect their chances of dozing in each. Thus, ‘in recent times’ was intended to mean a few weeks to a few months, not a few hours or days.