Excessively sleepy teenagers and young adults without sleep-disordered breathing are diagnosed with either narcolepsy type 1 or narcolepsy type 2, or hypersomnia, based on the presence/absence of cataplexy and the results of a multiple sleep latency test. However, there is controversy surrounding this nomenclature. We will try to find the differences between different diagnoses of hypersomnia from the results of the long-term follow-up evaluation of a sleep study. We diagnosed teenagers who had developed excessive daytime sleepiness based on the criteria of the International Classification of Sleep Disorders, 3rd edition. Each individual received the same clinical neurophysiologic testing every year for 5 years after the initial diagnosis of narcolepsy type 1 (n = 111) or type 2 (n = 46). The follow-up evaluation demonstrated that narcolepsy type 1 (narcolepsy-cataplexy) is a well-defined clinical entity, with very reproducible clinical neurophysiologic findings over time, whereas patients with narcolepsy type 2 presented clear clinical and test variability. By the fifth year of the follow-up evaluation, 17.6% of subjects did not meet the diagnostic criteria of narcolepsy type 2, and 23.9% didn't show any two sleep-onset rapid eye movement periods in multiple sleep latency during the 5-year follow-up. Therefore narcolepsy type 1 (narcolepsy-cataplexy) is a well-defined syndrome, with the presentation clearly related to the known consequences of destruction of hypocretin/orexin neurons. Narcolepsy type 2 covers patients with clinical and test variability over time, thus bringing into question the usage of the term "narcolepsy" to label these patients.
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