WEB DESK: Laughing too hard can make 44-year old Tracy Herring collapse.
She suffers from a rare disease called cataplexy which causes sudden muscle weakness triggered by strong emotions. Laughter causes her neck to weaken which causes her limbs to lose control and the left side of the body to paralyze.
“It usually lasts a few seconds, but is terribly terrifying,” said Herring, a resident of Shefield in the United Kingdom.
Herring’s cataplexy is so severe she banned herself from hearing or watching anything funny.
As a result she has not enjoyed watching a comedy film since 2003, when she was first diagnosed.
‘I’ve missed out on lots of the big hits,’ she admitted. ‘It’s annoying when friends are saying, “Have you seen this film?” Of course I haven’t.’
Miss Herring, who is unable to work full-time currently because of cataplexy, first began having the episodes aged 32.
She was at a friends party, having fun and laughing, when her body went rigid and she fell. Initially, she thought she was suffering from brain tumor. But her doctor told her otherwise.
Herring regularly sees a specialist to try and keep her condition under control.
‘It’s been getting worse. I just hope there’s something I can do to stop this,’ she said.
A spokesperson from Narcoplexy UK said: ‘Cataplexy is an episode of muscular weakness triggered by strong emotions such as laughter, anger and surprise.
‘The loss of muscle tone ranges from a just-perceptible weakening of the facial muscles through weakness at the knees, to total collapse on the floor.
‘Speech is slurred, eyesight impaired (double vision, inability to focus) but hearing and awareness remain undisturbed.
‘Attacks often last less than two minutes and they may only last a few seconds. Some people have repeated attacks of cataplexy which persist for up to 30 minutes.’
Source: Daily Mail