Poul Jørgen Jennum, Giuseppe Plazzi, , Alessandro Silvani, Lee A.Surkin, YvesDauvilliers,
Narcolepsy type 1 (NT1) is a lifelong disorder of sleep-wake dysregulation defined by clinical symptoms, neurophysiological findings, and low hypocretin levels. Besides a role in sleep, hypocretins are also involved in regulation of heart rate and blood pressure. This literature review examines data on the autonomic effects of hypocretin deficiency and evidence about how narcolepsy is associated with multiple cardiovascular risk factors and comorbidities, including cardiovascular disease. An important impact in NT1 is lack of nocturnal blood pressure dipping, which has been associated with mortality in the general population. Hypertension is also prevalent in NT1. Furthermore, disrupted nighttime sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness, which are characteristic of narcolepsy, may increase cardiovascular risk. Patients with narcolepsy also often present with other comorbidities (e.g., obesity, diabetes, depression, other sleep disorders) that may contribute to increased cardiovascular risk. Management of multimorbidity in patients with narcolepsy should include regular assessment of cardiovascular health (including ambulatory blood pressure monitoring), mitigation of cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., cessation of smoking and other lifestyle changes, sleep hygiene, and pharmacotherapy), and prescription of a regimen of narcolepsy medications that balances symptomatic benefits with cardiovascular safety.
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