22 April 2013

Weird but True: Laughing Too Much is Dangerous

You must have heard that laughing can help you burn calories. Scientist have discovered that laughing intensely for an hour can burn as many calories as lifting weight for 30 minutes. It's no secret anymore that the act of laughing can also keeps you young. But be warned, healthy habits can become a health risk. The old cliche, "I almost died laughing" is true. Laughing can kill you!

Laughter is not always the best medicine
Laughter is not always the best medicine

How laughing can kill you?
When you laugh too much for hours, it can be difficult to take a deep breath. This causes a drop in blood pressure and decreases the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, which can lead to fainting. According to Interesting Health Facts, this condition called laughter-induced syncope. This isn't usually fatal, but there’s the risk of injury during the faint. The good news, laughter-induced syncope is very rare.

It’s also possible that a person with advanced heart disease might experience a rapid drop in blood pressure during hard laughter that could be life-threatening, but there aren't a lot of cases of this in the literature.

Eat food in class when the teacher is not looking.
Funny: Can you relate to this? Eat food in class when the teacher is not looking.
Image from memeblender.com

"Laugh to Death" Cases
  • Alex Mitchell died after twenty-five minutes of continuous laughter while watching the "Kung Fu Kapers" episode of The Goodies On 24 March 1975. Cardiologists believe Mr Mitchell suffered from a rare heart rhythm disorder, Long QT syndrome, which can induce cardiac arrest when triggered by exertion or adrenaline.
  • Ole Bentzen, a Danish audiologist, laugh himself to death while watching the film "A Fish Called Wanda" in 1989. The scene where Ken gets the chips up his nose remind him of his joke a few years earlier with his family during dinner, where he put a piece of cauliflower up his and every family members nose as a joke and made a bet with them on who could eat up their carrots without the cauliflower falling out. He laughed so hard thinking about the dinner-incident that his heart stopped. Bentzen's heart rate went between 250-500 beats per minute and he eventually succumbed to cardiac arrest.

Bottom Line 
Extremely strong emotional states, be it sadness or happiness can be harmful to the heart, on rare occasions causing an abnormal rhythm which can be life-threatening.

When's the last time you laughed so hard you couldn't catch your breath? What happened? Leave a comment and share to me about it.

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1 comment:

  1. I almost had to go to the hospital after laughing the whole night with friends! It sparked some asthma in me and luckily I had an inhaler. Yikes!


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