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laughing makes me faint
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laughing makes me faint

Sounds weird, but often when I laugh I can feel myself losing consciousness, and have to stop myself from laughing before I black out. It's almost as if there's sudden rush of blood to my head. My blood pressure is in normal range. I've put on quite a bit of weight recently and wonder if that has something to do with it. I also get ringing in my ears all the time - have had that for years. Getting a bit worried about the laughing thing though. Any thoughts?
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149081_tn?1242401432
Do a search on narcolepsy - it might be a possibility.

   good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
omg, I have the same thing.  It started with the ringing in the ears and now i am afraid to laugh and breath heavy for the same head rush feeling.  I doubt narcolepsy cause I don't fall asleep.  Narcolepsy is when you totally fall into a slumber.  I went to an ent and he said that i must grind my teeth at night for the ringing ( i have been told i do not grind) so I dunno what to make of it except maybe allergies cause i do feel better when i take allegra.  
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Avatar_m_tn
Sunnieraez you're the first person I've heard to also experience it - not that I go around asking people. heh.

The ear ringing I think may be tinnitus, and there's apparently not much that can be done about it, unfortunately. Sometimes it really gets to me. I've had the ringing in the ears for years, although it does seem to be gradually worsening over time. The laughing and going faint as a result is relatively new though - maybe the last few months or so?

I don't grind teeth, and definitely don't have narcolepsy - actually I don't see how narcolepsy is even related. I don't take any medications whatsoever - even avoid basic aspirin / tylenol unless I have a really bad headache ..don't drink or smoke either.  I like to laugh! this sucks :(
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Avatar_m_tn
Was hoping I would find an answer here. Thanks anyway.
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Avatar_n_tn
I felt the same thing tonight as I watched a funny movie. It happened to me a month ago as well. I started laughing real hard. It was a deep belly laugh. It then felt like I stopped breathing, pressure increased within my head, and then I felt like I was going to faint. Any ideas?
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466303_tn?1207742932
Same symptoms with me too.

I get light-headed when I laugh hard.

I have experienced the ringing in my ears every now and then since I was a child.  I heard on a TV commercial that it may be caused by high blood pressure.  I've always been a heavy person and had borderline high blood pressure, so I figured this was probably true.  I also get bloody noses when I eat too much sugar and salt, and alcoholic beverages.

I really don't know about narcolepsy, but I often feel like I don't get enough sleep and often catch myself nodding off while driving.

Anyone ever get a diagnosis on this light-headed condition?
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Avatar_n_tn
Mgh321, I have exactly the same symptom as you.    When laughing, I sometimes feel so faint as to near unconsciousness.    I, like you, have to force myself to cut short the laugh so to avoid going under.    I just saw your old posting today.    Like you, I also have been putting on a little weight lately.    Were you ever able to find out what causes this?  
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Avatar_n_tn
I get a pain in the back of my head if I laugh for some time. It reduces when I stop laughing, it will reach unbearable if I won’t stop.
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724069_tn?1230876924
There are documented cases of Laugh Syncope which is what you seem to be describing. It's been associated with vascular disease and its risk factors.  Laughing is similar to a valsalva maneuver where thoracic pressure is increased.  Syncope has been known to be precipitated by coughing, sneezing, or even blowing horns in some people.
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Avatar_n_tn
The reason for the mention of Narcolepsy is because one of the main "symptoms' or "effects" of Narcolepsy is called Cataplexy - which has a definition of: a sudden muscular weakness brought on by strong emotions, is a medical condition which may also affect narcoleptics. Often manifesting as muscular weaknesses ranging from a barely perceptible slackening of the facial muscles to the dropping of the jaw or head, weakness at the knees, or a total collapse. Usually only speech is slurred, vision is impaired (double vision, inability to focus), but hearing and awareness remain normal.

If your issues ONLY happen while LAUGHING, then, chances are it's something totally different, but if it happens EVERY time you have a strong emotion (mad, happy, excited, etc) then you may have Cataplexy.

That was a GREAT call by Scarlet37 - Narcolepsy & Cataplexy are issues that are always passed over for something else.
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Avatar_n_tn
I just came across these postings.  I've had the :"fainting while laughing" problem for some years until last night I finally completely lost consciousness for the first time.  Until now, it's only been like a twilight consciousness or "seeing stars".  I did some research on the web and it appears it could be due to what they call vegal syncope.  It has to do with the vegas nerve and not enough blood flow to the brain at the time of the laughing.  In any case, it could also be the beginning of some heart issues so I'm going to be seeing a doctor.

Just thought I would pass this info on.  Oh, and btw, I did see a doctor about 18 mos ago and told him about these symptoms.  He looked at me and smirked and told me not to worry about it and to stop laughing so hard.  Needless to say, you need to find a doctor who will find your symptoms credible, OR, bring some backup information from the web with you.
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Avatar_n_tn
This is due to either your laughing producing stimulation of the carotid sinus in your neck, or a left ventricular arrythmia. You should see your doctor for a check-up.
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Avatar_n_tn
hello I was looking this up and I found your comments on this I must say I dont have the ringing in my ears! But today when I was laughing I actually did pass out! Not Fun  Well iam going to ask the doc on thursday ill let ya know!
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Avatar_n_tn
I'll be very interested in what your doctor has to say.  I've been waiting for my Medicare to start up so I can actually get to see a doctor.  Being without any medical insurance and having this kind of symptomology is very scary.  That's why I reached out in the first place.  I don't have the ear ringing either, but I have passed out from laughing and frequently get dizzy and almost lose consciousness when I laugh.  I have to abruptly stop my laughing to catch myself before I totally go blank.  

I have three daughters and they all have the vegus nerve syncope.  I'm wondering if what I have is also related to that.

I'll be waiting to read your post.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am a respiratory therapist. I would guess that what is happening is that you are blowing off your CO2 or carbon dioxide. Kind of like when you blow up a baloon or take ten really fast breaths. In head injury patients, we "hyperventilate" them while on life support in order to knock their PH down. Cerebral arteries then constrict thus reducing bleeding and swelling. Co2 is our bodies main acid and our PH is rapidly increased when we hyperventilate. This in turn will cause a tempoary decrease in the blood flow to the brain and we will feel faint or light headed. Anxiety can provocke the same responce. BTW: our kidneys play a vital role in our bodies balancing of it's PH. Kidneys retain Bicarbonate, our bodies main base. That is why diabetics have respiratory symptoms when they are in crisis. Normal PH is about 7.35 to 7.45. Hope this makes sense.
  Other thoughts might be a venous malfunction or heart weakness but not the most probable.
  Someone posted that a valsalva manauver could be the cause. Valsalva is when you hold your breath and push your abdomen. Like straining to have a bowel movement. In the elderly this can cause the heart to stop. Never strain :-). Eat enough fiber.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your posting.  I'll be seeing my doctor, finally, on Jan. 7, 2010.  I plan on bring with me the info I've found here online in an effort to get a good diagnosis.  I'll post when I have a definitive answer and hopefully that will help the others who have this problem as well.

To all a very happy holiday season and let's have some good health in the new year.
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Avatar_m_tn
This evening I was having a hearty laugh at a joke and got this sudden head rush feeling (I was seated) and felt like I was going light headed. It's never happened to me before. Like several of the other posters in this thread, I too have put on quite a bit of weight over the past several months and I also have what I think is tinnitus (ringing in the ear).

I wonder if it's pure coincidence that several posters report similar symptoms. Surely there's some explanation?
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Avatar_m_tn
I am amazed to read that others have similar symptoms as mine. It used to be that if I would get up to fast, like jumping up from a sitting position to cheer a touchdown or goal, I would faint or nearly faint. I have only fainted twice and it was only for a very brief duration. I have nearly fainted many times. Recently I have had the same thing happen to me while sitting at a poker table, but had not stood up at all. I was laughing both times. Now that I am 37, I'm starting to worry about it and hoping it isn't getting any worse. I've always been very active except for the last two years. I had a work accident and destroyed my ankle and am unable to exercise like I used to. Thanks for everyone posting this information.  
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Avatar_n_tn
i am 51 y/o and I have fainted at least 4 times now.  It seems to be getting worse and based on the postings here, I am no longer afraid of mentioning this to my doctor.  the postings will help me to clarify what is actually happening.  In my case, i was always laughing.  I;m sure I will need to see a specialist so I will be looking for one in Atlanta.  Please post any reccomendations.
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Avatar_n_tn
The reason I had to google ''Laughing and fainting is because it happened to me way back when I was quite young.We were walking from a poshomill with my brother Samuel. He kept making alot of jokes then and I was laughing out of the jokes. I laughed so much that I fainted and passed out completely,when I came to,I had urinated on my pair shorts.This worried my brother very much.We didn't however tell anyone.Upto now my brother remembers the incident.This was in the year 1990.
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Avatar_n_tn
It's been quite some time since I last posted.  During this time I've seen my primary doctor as well as a cardiologist.  I now have a diagnosis.  Coronary Artery disease.  So, I'm not saying that everyone who faints from a hearty belly laugh has this disease, however I would strongly suggest that if you're fainting or near fainting when you laugh very hard and you're experiencing bouts of dizziness when you rise from sitting or any other unusual symptoms that may be of concern to you, get yourself to your doctor and discuss this.  I would also recommend you bring this thread with you so your doctor will understand that you're experiencing something that many others have experienced as well.  This is not something to ignore apparently.

Good luck to all.  I hope you get your diagnosis so that you can begin dealing with the symptoms rather than wondering why it's happening.
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Avatar_m_tn
Chalk me down as another with the same symptoms. Ringing in the ears, weight gain over last 5 years and I frequently get light headed and nearly pass out when I laugh really hard.

I am an EMT but still don't quite know what is causing this to occur. I contacted my doctor and she seemed surprisingly concerned. I'll reply with whatever information I get from my doctor next week.
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Avatar_m_tn
i am a 63 caucasian male. was partying last weekend with friends. started laughing so hard that I couldn't speak. few seconds later I apparently fell off my chair and was unconscious for about 10 - 15 seconds. during that short period i actually did see a good part of my life pass by in vivid colour. was a little shaky when i came to, but otherwise ok.
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Avatar_m_tn
same guy as above. i haven't had the ringing in the ears sensation. maybe 20 years ago over a period of at least 5 years I used to laugh so hard - usually at my own crummy jokes that I would feel faint and short of breath, but never actually fainted.
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Avatar_f_tn
Interesting.  I have the same thing - dizziness when I laugh hard.  Almost to fainting.  Also, I sneeze really hard and become lightheaded after every sneeze.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I do have this problem too. i've gained some weight in the past years, I feel it also when I blow a baloon. I had my checkup recently nothing special, Dr told me it's weird and to watch my weight and revisit after 5 months.
I wonder if everyone with this is a heavy coffee (dark roast and put three bags instead of one on one load) drinker like me, trying to find some comonality in habbits. It sounds like no one in this conversation is coming back with a solution or a diagnoses, I'll definitely post if I find something....
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Avatar_m_tn
Ok folks I have the same response to laughing:  I feel as if I'm going to faint.  I had to hold on to something last night during a laughing session that was not that deep.  What causes this?
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Avatar_n_tn
I too have almost fainted while laughing. Also 3 years ago I was driving and singing...  when I hit a long note...  I passed out. Thankfully no was hurt in the crash. I must have woke up soon after I fainted because the car had just slid down the guardrail, and I remember the bouncing when I went off the road, and luckily ,heading into a golf course, I hit a manhole, and it threw me 360 degrees. The windshield was covered in mud, so I had no idea what was happening. Needless to say, I do not sing while driving anymore either.
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Avatar_n_tn
It's been quite some time since I last posted.  During this time I've seen my primary doctor as well as a cardiologist.  I now have a diagnosis.  Coronary Artery disease.  So, I'm not saying that everyone who faints from a hearty belly laugh has this disease, however I would strongly suggest that if you're fainting or near fainting when you laugh very hard and you're experiencing bouts of dizziness when you rise from sitting or any other unusual symptoms that may be of concern to you, get yourself to your doctor and discuss this.  I would also recommend you bring this thread with you so your doctor will understand that you're experiencing something that many others have experienced as well.  This is not something to ignore apparently.

Good luck to all.  I hope you get your diagnosis so that you can begin dealing with the symptoms rather than wondering why it's happening.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have had the same issue now twice in my life. The first time was several years ago after a stressful incident, but afterward I had a good laugh with family at dinner.  I ended up falling off the stool while fainting!  When I came to, I was greatly disoriented, though only for a few seconds.  I researched it then but chalked it up to a "quirky thing, as some people only have it happen once in their life.  That's what I was banking on actually, until now.
I'm pretty shaken up because this second time was a few days ago while I was behind the wheel. I laughed, became lightheaded, and though normally I can stop short of getting too lightheaded and have made it a practice, this time, I was unable to control "the high" as it tingled and "climbed" to render me unconscious.  I apparently slumped against the wheel while fainting and moments later woke, disoriented and confused, to a nightmere...Me, in the driver's seat of an out of control vehicle!   I really don't want to go into more detail because of how upsetting this has been and all of the "what ifs" keep running through my mind, but fortunately everyone ended up being okay with no injuries to speak of....amazingly!  I cannot afford insurance at the moment, though I am a professional.  All I can think to do at this point, is change to my diet to more raw foods, begin excercising on my tredmill again and getting more heart healthy in the event this iS my heart... I can only hope its just one of those occasional oddities of being human....I was actually hoping for an consensus on that thought...I mean, is it possible this is just a quirk some people have with no real health message?  Just the same, I think its smart to be safe and "get on the ball" again with my health. I have gained weight over the past two years while dealing personally with the economy, picking up a second job and much less time/no time to work out regularly like I used to ..Like most of you, I have more than just me relying on me to be healthy, strong and productive...What a delima, huh?
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Avatar_n_tn
I doubt strenuously that this is just an oddity.  In addition, if this is happening to you behind the wheel of a car, you need to either stop driving or see a doctor.  You can go into any ER and they have to take you.  Diet and exercise will help you to take your weight off and that would be a good thing, but you definitely need to be checked out.  That's just my opinion.
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Avatar_f_tn
Wow, not that happy about so many people having this problem, but people think I'm crazy when I say it, they don't believe me until they see it happen for themselves.  I have blacked out more times than I can count.  I told a doctor about it some years back and he told me it had to do with my Vegus ( I know I didn't spell that right) vein.  I asked him was it dangerous, because it feels really bad when it's happening.  He told me that it wasn't dangerous(which I highly doubt after reading all the post on this site) and that I should just not laugh, and then he laughed.  Needless to say he was not my doc after that.
I didn't get the ringing in my ears, but when I laughed really hard I would feel short of breath, lightheaded, and was very conscience of the fact that I was going to faint, but could do nothing about it.  According to my daughter who witnessed it quite often, I would be out for a very short period of time.  When I would awake I would be confused, angry, and a little disoriented.  Not to be gross, but the first time it happened to me I vomited while I was blacking out.  The vomiting only happened once, but it was scary.  I just got a new doctor.  I'm going to ask her.
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Avatar_n_tn
Please share with us any information your new doc has to offer.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi,

Every one, till now I was thinking, I must be unique to have this problem, but now after reading the post I think otherwise.

I used to feel dizzy after having a couple of sneeze to gather, and one day I fainted also that made me worried, went to the doctors and they had no answer. Then I observed the same thing while laughing also.

It is dangerous as laughing you can control and stop. But Sneezing and specially is you are allergic or variation in temperature causes you to sneeze.

I some what agree with the post By by bedoubleyou, Jan 02, 2009 03:12PM

“It's been associated with vascular disease and its risk factors.”

That is what I feel to as we are laughing we are excelling air which causes a decency of oxygen in the body and it shuts down. Why I do not Know.

what is the Solution / cure


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Avatar_n_tn
Coughing, Sneezing, posture, singing, laughing, etc.........Check out Chiari Malformation,  Intracranial Hypotension and Intracranial Hypertension....CSF leaks.

Good Luck!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi - Did you get any information from your new doctor.  I have been going through this for several years.  When I finally remembered to mention it to my doctor during a routine visit - I also got the "don't laught so hard joke".  It amazes me that their can be so many insensative doctors.  I am also amazed at the number of people that are experiencing the same symptom.  I was told that it was nothing to worry about but after reading these posts I am getting concerned.  I will pursue more agressively now but I just wondered if you had gotten any more information?
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Avatar_n_tn
I too have the same problem. I feel headache while laughing, particularly in the top back side of head. If anyone have more information, please post.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am so glad to read all the info posted here.  I have a 13 yr old son who has been experiencing dizziness, and weakness in the knees to the point of collapsing, when he laughs.  He has hit his head a couple of times when collapsing.  Now he's getting so frustrated with it he'll start to cry while it's happening, knowing he can't control it.  He's worried to go back to school this August. You can't tell someone to "not laugh".  It's a God given emotion.  We'll be getting this checked out soon.  Thanks everyone for the info.
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1773054_tn?1314157151
For the last two years I have gotten dizzy when I Laugh. I have to grab onto something and stop laughing. I haven't blacked out all the way yet. I also have discovered that when I sneeze, I have bouts where I sneeze up to 20 times. If I look into bright light it makes me sneeze. I have three vertebra fused in my neck. I wonder if scar tissue is pressing on my vega nerve?
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1811615_tn?1316551456
I go see my doctor on friday this been happening to me alot i'm 27 years old.when i laugh hard or stand up i feel like i'm about to faint i want to the ER and they did blood and a scan of my brain and say it was fine but made me make a appt with the cardiologist to see about my heart thank you for letting us know i will copy what you wrote and bring it to him
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Avatar_f_tn
Same as others, laughing causes a few micro sec loss of conscious, never to the point of falling down, and however can more often reproduce effects when combining laughing when standing. Noticing a pattern with some of the comments of others and myself, long bouts of sneezing. I never had a fainting feeling from sneezing, just an unusual presentation a few seem to be experiencing.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm a 23 year old male, I don't have high blood pressure, but I'm afraid to laugh in general, when I laugh I get sharp splitting headaches where my natural reaction is to hold and squeeze my head, I also get light headed and dis orientated when I laugh, it is extremely painful please can anyone help me. With answers?
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm a 23 year old male, I don't have high blood pressure, but I'm afraid to laugh in general, when I laugh I get sharp splitting headaches where my natural reaction is to hold and squeeze my head, I also get light headed and dis orientated when I laugh, it is extremely painful please can anyone help me. With answers?
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Avatar_m_tn
Wow I'm so weird all has same issue without any solution... This is so weird... I had mention to my doctor many time and he not sure how and why this happend.. He just mention just control my self...
I just like to bring everyone notice is be careful when you DRIVING Once it's happend when I was driving and I was very lucky and safe nothing happend and now I'm always extra careful and controll my laugh. Just be safe then sorry.
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Avatar_n_tn
you know I have been looking for some thing like this for along time its random that for once I found it and I wasen't looking that hard.any ways I am 25 and I have had this alot.. I also have had ear pains and fluid in my ear no ringing tho I seem to have low blood pressure and when I get shots or blood drawn also get light headed. I have to stop myself from laughing. The latest episode was a simple walk home from the store with my friend. he said some thing funny and i started laughing very little and it was a instant omg i am light headed i need to stop and stand still until it passes type thing.. glad I am not the only one who has this prob tho
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Avatar_f_tn
Oh my gosh I thought I was crazy!!! I have lightheadedness when I laugh, I have ringing in my ears harp pain through my brain sometimes and every now and then when I stand after sitting I see black everything is black bit I can still hear everything and sometimes I feel sick like nauseas anyone help?
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1930123_tn?1323176033
Hey guys, I'm really glad I found this site!  I thought I was going crazy!!  I have the lightheadedness when laughing but haven't actually blacked out yet.  

I love to laugh and laugh a lot but I am afraid of laughing behind the wheel just in case.  I certainly do not have any sort of vascular disease which laugh syncope is related to, have been a stable weight for over a year and suddenly, 3 months ago, it all started and I'm not the same person now - I'm more grumpy and irritable.  

I saw a case study of laugh syncope in which it said only 5 cases of this have ever been documented, we ALL need to go the the doctors and get properly diagnosed - if it is laugh syncope that we all have, the more people that come forward, the more reconised it will be and more research will be put into it.  I bet there are many, many more people out there like us who haven't come forward.

Lets put Laugh Syncope on the map!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your comments.  You are the first one here to actually come up with a diagnosis that makes sense.  I have suffered all my 59 years with vasovegal syncope, so it would make sense that laugh syncope would be a related issue as well.  I've researched further on the internet and came up with good information that I've printed out and, as luck would have it, I have a cardiology appt this afternoon.  I will be presenting this documentation to my doctor with specific instructions for him to read and do whatever testing he needs to do on me to diagnose me with this laugh syncope.  If, in fact, that is what I have, then I want to be added to the list of "rare" cases across the country.  In addition, I will request that he bring this information to his next meeting of cardiologists so that they can become educated as well.

Again, thank you for this info.  I finally feel validated.
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Avatar_m_tn
I was hit in the back by a forklift 11 years ago in Sept. When I took my ex to the Veteran's hospital I was waiting in the ER room and they had this poster on the wall about the signs of a spinal cord injury. One of them was chest pains. This scared me because my chest hurt all that day and night after the accident. I haven't been able to get any 'specialist' to think this was significant, so I dismissed it. Then I started having chest pains and was put in the hospital overnight and my dr ordered an angiogram. My heart was deemed to be good. Then a few years later I again had chest pains that went into my left arm, up my neck on the left side, and I decided to go in the ER again when I realized it was my carotid artery. I was kept overnight again and set up for a stress test and again deemed to be just fine. Now, I'm sure you are wondering if it's my back. I am too, but the reason for this posting is because, as of a few days ago, I now am feeling faint when laughing and my chest feels 'tight' as well. I check my blood pressure all the time, and have always been in the normal range (120/80 most of my life). I just don't know what to think. I don't have any insurance and am unemployed, and I just don't know where to turn since I've been told my heart isn't the problem. I'm mostly concerned it's my spinal cord and will wake up paralyzed one day.

Anyway, just wanted to add my problems to the list.  
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1998581_tn?1327308928
I am 51 & 13 years ago sufferd 2 big strokes,which have left me paralyzed down my left side,I started this same thing after having my strokes & hate it,I decided to ask the doctor to be referred to a specialist for tests.iv had a camera down my throat, which showed I had a Sliding Haertus Hernia,I was then sent to the Cardiolagy where i was given a Heart Monitor to wear for 24 hours,this was to record my Heart rate and to see what happend to my heart rate when passing out with laughter,after this, I had a Tilt Table Test,I had to stand in a standing posistuion for 40 minutes and my Heart rate and Blood Preasure was monitored, I did pass out on this test,Cardology have now diognosed me with Laughter Syncope. I feel there is know treatment for this, so since my two strokes, I carnt Drink,Smoke and now carnt Laugh:( FED UP!,hope you have better luck then me,Jean
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Avatar_m_tn
I have fainted 4 times in my life while laughing, I have stopped myself many times also.

I just wanted to say thanks to the people who have posted, I too thought it was just a quirk of mine, I will be popping along to the GP now and get some tests done.
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Avatar_f_tn
Am glad to have found this site.  Thanks to all for sharing.  After reading all these comments I, too, researched about laugh syncope, and at least have a basic understanding of what it is.  In my case it's about my husband, and to add his situation to this compilation seems appropriate:

57 years old; some exercise, including adult soccer league, but not every day; no high blood pressure; on meds for high cholesterol; moderately obese (That does seem to be a common factor!); fairly healthy otherwise;  never drinks or smokes (tho, for the poster who asked about it, does drink a few cups of very bold coffee each day).  
Has only the condition of fainting while laughing heartily.  Happened for the first time two years ago when laughing very hard and fell out of a kitchen chair to the floor and was unconscious for about 10 seconds, then was fine, tho subdued.    
No other incidents until this week when he fainted while in a recliner from laughing too hard at an episode of Big Bang Theory. (There is a  recorded case of laugh syncope from watching Seinfeld!)  Didn't fall and also awoke in about 10 seconds.  Felt ok.  Two days later, again watching that dangerously funny show, his loud laughter faded and his head drooped and he muttered a few syllables, then got quiet.  When I asked if he had fainted, he said,  Almost.  I witnessed the above three episodes, but then today I did not see him, but he reported he was walking in the kitchen while laughing at something and felt light-headed, but didn't faint, though almost.  
As you all know, very disconcerting!

I want to add my observation that I think he laughs inwardly too much (don't know quite how to explain it).  He scrunches up and keeps his chin down; I'd like him to try laughing more out loud, with his mouth open wide. Of course, don't know if that would help, but I wish he'd try, especially since what I read indicated that stopping the cause of syncope is a valid solution.  I know that's akin to the insensitive, bad joke advice of Don't laugh, but in lieu of other solutions, trying to laugh a little less hard or differently seems worth a shot.  One source also suggested tightening one's arm and/or leg muscles if one has time when feeling the faintness coming on, presumably to increase blood pressure and get more blood to the brain fast.

I will also get him to talk to our doctor to check for any possible heart problems, etc.  I was encouraged when I read that "Brief periods of unconsciousness do no harm and are seldom symptoms of disease. The main danger of fainting fits or vasovagal syncope (or dizzy spells from vertigo) is the risk of injury by falling while unconscious." Or, as some have noted, from driving.

Of course, possible medical problems as the cause need to be followed up, but, unfortunately, it was also noted that doctors have a great deal of difficulty determining causes in many cases.  Weird how few are documented cases (five!?!) when we have more examples even here!

Best wishes to each of you as you seek solutions for your health.
  
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I'll add myself to the list.  59, male, only about 15 pounds overweight, normal BP.  Fainted once while laughing, fell backwards and broke the sink cabinet door.  When describing it to friends, thought of original laugh stimulus, laughed and it happened again.  2 months ago, choked on water at that same kitchen sink, passed out for milliseconds, fell back onto kitchen island and compression fractured a vertebra.  Highly inconvenient.  At present am very careful to control laughter if I hear something funny on car radio.  Occasionally see stars pushing on a bowel movement.  I kind of like the other-wordly feeling, but don't relish the loss of control and falling.  Like tinnitis, which I've had since the 70s (Rock and Roll!) there's probably not much that can be done, other than to be aware and catch yourself in time to think of something unfunny, or pull onto the shoulder.  Best of luck to all and I'll check back for any suggestions.
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I too have had 3-4 episodes of laugh syncope over the last year.  I have never had these episodes prior.  Over the last 3 1/2 - 6 years I have had many surgeries and I too have been told by 3 different cardiologist my heart is fine, my BP is normal.  Even had a cath done if some of you know what that is.  I too am overweight by about 50 lbs. I am diabetic but that is since I have gained the weight.
My first episode everything just went all gray and then I was ok. The worst episode occured in February 2012.  My mother and I were driving getting on a on ramp IN LAS VEGAS we were searching for a location and we were joking around about loosing our way around and I started laughing, well luckily I felt it coming on and stopped laughing so I didn't pass out. My mother does not drive so the entire situation could have ended badly.  This scared me something aweful as we had recently lost my father just the week before from CHF (Congestive Heart Failure).
I have been to neurologist before just told I have white matter 12 + areas and not to worry, been to the cardiologist and again told don't worry.
back in 2006 I had a spinal tap done and in 2009 I had a injection in my spine for surgery I had then. I wonder if the CSF if possible. Then again I have a bad neck. I often have pain in my carotid artery on my right side.  Not sure if any of these things are connected but I thank you all for your input as it helps me to know I am not alone with this condition.
I too am currently unemployed and uninsured. I guess state aid will be my next step if this persist.  
Good luck to you all in your quest for a diagnosis.
Addagrl
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A related discussion, Fainting while laughing was started.
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My daughter is 14 and has been healthy.  She is an athlete with barely any body fat.  We thought she was low iron.  She almost passes out when she laughs.  Gave the symptoms to our PA and she sent us to a cardiologist.  After EKG and blood tests doctor says she has pre syncope.  It does have something to do with vagas nerve but she might outgrow it.  He said in growing persons sometimes the inside workings need time to catch up.  We are watching.  She did go through a growth spurt in height. He also said that he has seen this fainting/almost fainting with sneezing, coughing and strenuous bowel movements.  It is more common than we realized.  It has so far had no effect on her running.
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A related discussion, Why is narcolepsy so misunderstood? was started.
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Please research cataplexy - it's a symptom of narcolepsy in which an individual losses their muscle tone most commonly with laughter (or other emotions like annoyance, surprise, happiness, etc). The loss of muscle tone may result in a slight buckling of the knees, jaw drooping, loss of grip in hand, neck dipping, or eyes fluttering. At it's worst, cataplexy attacks can make an individual collapse to the ground unable to move a muscle of one's body, but still conscious of one's surroundings - hearing everything around them and aware of their position. Hope this helps!
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Avatar_m_tn
I have the same thing.  When I hear something really funny I already know what's going to happen.  While laughing my breathing gets low and I know I must lean on something or else I will fall flat on the floor. I feel like I'm blacking and on the outside I look like I went unconscious but inside I am continuously laughing hard thinking about the joke or what have you and my breathing gets lower and lower I have to try, almost fight to breath in air then I can feel my consciousness and muscle control return.  
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Hi all

I too have what most of you are talking about. My doctor told me it was a syncope episode. Read here and see if this applies to you it is a perfect explanation of what happens to me both during laughing and coughing. .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syncope_%28medicine%29

Best,
Mike
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