…It all sounds so familiar.
Narcolepsy is as common as MS, or Parkinson's disease, but only 25 percent, or one in four, of people with the disorder have been diagnosed. Of the estimated 200,000 Americans with narcolepsy, only 50,000 have been identified.
Individuals do not always readily bring up their symptoms with their health care providers, and begin to see symptoms as their personal norm, because the onset is often gradual. They believe that their problems will be seen as psychological in nature and fear that their concerns might be misunderstood or will not be taken seriously.
Their concerns are not unfounded. Many people with narcolepsy were misdiagnosed with psychiatric problems or told sleepiness was due to the effect of an unrelated medication. On average they had to see five physicians before being diagnosed with narcolepsy.
The mean length of time between the onset of symptoms and the diagnosis of narcolepsy is 15 years.
“…the reality is that many clinicians are unable to identify and diagnose narcolepsy, and patients end up losing their jobs, relationships, and other important elements of their lives instead of receiving the treatment they need."
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
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