True or False? A lack of sleep can lead to death

insomnia-502559447The answer is true, but only in rare circumstances and in uncommon conditions such as fatal familial insomnia (FFI).  This genetic disorder causes affected individuals to suffer from chronic insomnia.   People who suffer from FFI often describe the disease as being in a constant state of wakefulness; it’s as if the brain has forgotten how to sleep. Symptoms that are associated with FFI are high blood pressure, episodes of hyperventilation, sexual and urinary tract dysfunction. The consistent lack of sleep experienced during this disease also leads to the deterioration of mental function and motor skills. Unfortunately there are no treatments available and the disease ultimately causes premature death.  Death can occur within a few months to a few years.

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