Narcolepsy type 1 is caused by a deficiency of the brain hormone hypocretin (also known as orexin), which is released by the hypothalamus and is involved in the regulation of wakefulness, sleep, and appetite. This deficiency is caused by a loss of hypothalamic neurons that produce hypocretin, which may be due to an autoimmune process.
Narcolepsy type 1 is diagnosed based on clinical history and sleep tests, such as a polysomnography (PSG) and multiple sleep latency tests (MSLT). These tests measure the amount of time it takes for a person to fall asleep during the day, as well as their sleep patterns during the night.
Narcolepsy type 1 must be distinguished from other sleep disorders, such as idiopathic hypersomnia, narcolepsy type 2, and sleep apnea.
Treatment for narcolepsy type 1 typically involves medications that promote wakefulness, such as modafinil, or stimulants, such as amphetamines. Additionally, lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, and good sleep hygiene, can help manage symptoms.
The prognosis for narcolepsy type 1 is generally good, but there is no cure. With proper treatment and lifestyle modifications, most people with narcolepsy type 1 can lead normal, productive lives.