The 4 ways laughing too hard can actually KILL you – from exploding aneurysm to asphyxiation | The Sun
WHO doesn't enjoy a good giggle?
Countless studies have highlighted its wondrous health benefits, which include improving the immune system and reducing anxiety.
One study even seemed to suggest that laughter can help increase a woman's fertility.
Women undergoing in-vitro fertilisation who were entertained by clowns had a 36 per cent chance of becoming pregnant versus a 20 per cent control group.
Laughter really is the best medicine.
But as with so many things in life, it turns out it might be possible to have too much of a good thing.
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In fact, there have been several reported cases of people laughing themselves to death in one horrible way or another.
Experts believe there is probably a limit to how much laughing is good for you.
"We don’t have the foggiest idea how much chuckling is safe,” Professor Robin E. Ferner of The University of Birmingham told The New York Times.
"There’s presumably a U-molded bend: laughter is great for you, however, enormous amounts are awful, maybe.”
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Here are the disturbing ways laughing could prove fatal, in rare cases:
1. Ruptured brain aneurysm
It's all fun and games until something explodes in your brain.
According to medics, laughing too hard can trigger a brain aneurysm to burst.
A brain aneurysm occurs when there is a bulge in a weakened blood vessel, according to the NHS.
They usually only cause noticeable symptoms if they burst.
Some experts believe as many as one in 20 people have unruptured aneurysms – most unknowingly.
As Dr James Hamblin, a public health expert in the US, pointed out in an essay for Splitsider in 2011: "If you happen to be walking around with an aneurysm in your brain, a single laugh could cause that aneurysm to rupture."
2. Asthma attack
Extreme emotional states like heavy laughter or intense crying can prompt an asthma attack.
This is because your body’s response to different emotions changes the way that you breathe, according to the charity Asthma and Lung UK.
"When you’re feeling emotional, you might start to take fast and deep breaths.
"This is called hyperventilating and it can make your airways narrow, causing asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, breathlessness, or a tight chest," it says on its website.
In a 2009 study, researchers surveyed 105 patients with asthma and found that more than 40 per cent experienced laughter-induced asthma.
In severe cases, asthma attacks can be fatal if someone does not have access to their inhaler.
3. Gelastic seizure
In rare instances, laughter – specifically the uncontrollable kind – can be a sign of an underlying condition called gelastic epilepsy.
Around one in every 1,000 kids is affected.
Most people don’t feel happy or a sense of well-being during a gelastic seizure. The opposite may happen – they may feel scared or a loss of control.
According to Epilepsy Action, the most common cause of gelastic epilepsy is a small tumour in the hypothalamus.
Laughing too hard can, in some cases, interfere with your breathing – meaning you don't get enough oxygen between laughs.
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But chances of these causes of death are slim, according to Dr Megan Kamath, a cardiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, US.
"While there have been reported cases of death from laughter due to asphyxiation or cardiac arrest, it remains an overall unlikely cause of death for healthy individuals," she told Live Science.
When to see a doctor
LAUGHING too hard can cause problems in certain people.
It's important to see a doctor if you develop any of these unusual symptoms before or after a laughing fit:
- severe headache
- mental confusion
- difficulty breathing
- temporary loss of consciousness
If you develop severe symptoms after laughing too hard, go to the hospital or call 999.
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