Fatal Familial Insomnia – Causes And Effects

This is fundamentally a hereditary disease, passed on from parents to their offspring and so far is one of the most uncommon among the various types of sleeping disorders. It has been diagnosed only in 28 families in the world till now which possess the dominant gene for it, where the chances of it occurring among the offspring of the parent is of 50% and the chances of it being cured are nil. The disease is initially prevalent among people between the age group of 30 to 60 and runs through a cycle of 17 to 18 months. The disease consists of 4 stages – The first stage is where the levels of insomnia are increased leading to hyperventilation and panic attacks which also results in a range of phobias which lasts for about 4 months. The second stage is a more prolonged period of about 5 months where the sufferer experiences hallucinations and the panic attacks turn more conspicuous. The 3rd stage secures complete lack of sleep lasting for 3 months, followed by a considerable loss of weight and the final stage is the fourth stage where the patient is subjected to dementia and is irresponsive and mute for over a period of 6 months.

The disease is associated with Alzheimer’s where there is the similarity of slow and gradual memory loss. The only difference between both is the time span which is much shorter than that of a patient suffering from Alzheimer. The sufferer deals with the disease in a time span of just a year whereas an Alzheimer patient goes through the same process but for a prolonged number of years.

Sleeping pills are of no use and neither does non-medicinal therapy help to treat the illness in any way. Doctors have not yet figured a method of treatment nor have they found a reason as to why it is fatal. Medical science continue to research for means of eradicating the problem.

Perhaps, the reason as to why the disease is not given enough importance or recognized as regular insomnia is because it is so rare. Fatal Familial disorder has not been given sufficient attention or qualified for treatment as it occurs only in very few numbers of people and therefore is not eligible for procuring treatment compared to 60 million others who suffer from similar kind of insomnia but of a more common form. This uncommon type of disorder needs to be brought to notice to the medical world and emphasis should be laid upon the ways of finding treatment such as effectively testing the genetic back round of the affected families which would be helpful to track the disease through the generations and keep a certain kind of genetic record for the offsprings who displace the genes of their parents.

Medical science is sure to find a cure to aid the affected people with the many advancements cropping up in the field. Along with extensive research, doctors will finally be able to find a cure to help all those being deprived of a peaceful good night’s sleep.