Lupus and Narcolepsy
Like Lupus, Narcolepsy can be triggered by a viral infection (one of many suspected triggers). It has been theorized that narcolepsy may be an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system may be tricked into perceiving its own proteins to be antigens. (Antigens are foreign substances targeted for attack by immune factors in the body).
There are several autoimmune diseases that researchers feel can trigger narcolepsy. These autoimmune diseases include multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and type 1 diabetes. In such diseases, the immune system overproduces potent factors called cytokines, which cause inflammation and injury in the susceptible cells and tissues affected by the disease. Most autoimmune diseases also tend to afflict those with particular genetically determined molecules of the immune system called human leukocyte antigens (HLAs).
Some research suggests that an immune attack in narcolepsy may occur against cells containing the brain peptide hypocretin (orexin), resulting in deficiencies that are now believed to be major components of the narcolepsy process. HLAs, particularly a subgroup known as (HLA)DQB1-0602, have been strongly associated with narcolepsy and low levels of hypocretin. Narcolepsy patients who carry this HLA group tend to have a specific syndrome of symptoms that include cataplexy (a medical condition which often affects people who have narcolepsy, a disorder whose principal signs are EDS (Excessive Daytime Sleepiness), sleep attacks, sleep paralysis, hypnagogic hallucinations and disturbed night-time sleep. Cataplexy is sometimes confused with epilepsy, where a series of flashes or other stimuli cause superficially similar seizures) and periodic limb movement disorder.
I don't know if any other members here suffer from narcolepsy & Lupus, but I have a friend who suffers from both. Like you, doctors at first thought that he had sleep apnea, but later found that he had narcolepsy. There are several drugs that are used to treat this condition and they include stimulants such as: methylphenidate (Ritalin®), modafinil, dextroamphetamine, and pemoline.
I hope that this has been helpful to you. Perhaps someone with personal experience will be along to help you.
Peace and Blessings
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