Girl, 17, suffers from a rare brain condition that causes her to collapse when she laughs

Mail Online | 1/13/2020 | Connor Boyd Health Reporter For Mailonline
marikamarika (Posted by) Level 3
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A teenager with an unusual brain disorder that causes her to collapse when she laughs has cut off her funny friends.

Billie Hodgson, 17, suffers from cataplexy, which triggers sudden muscle paralysis and can strike whenever she giggles.

Ailment - Complication - Narcolepsy - Britons - Laughter

Her unusual ailment is a complication of narcolepsy, which affects around 22,500 Britons. As well as laughter, it can also be triggered by excitement, anger or even surprise.

Billie, from Sheffield, has cut down on the amount of time she spends with friends because she feels guilty they won't be themselves around her.

'I - Person

She said: 'I'm a bubbly person so to go from that to feeling like I can't laugh is really strange. I feel like I can't be me.

'My friends try not to be funny and if they make me laugh they feel like they have to apologise.

Situations - Cataplexy - Front

'When I'm with them, I tend not to be as involved in funny situations to avoid cataplexy and especially in front of those who are not as familiar with it.

'We joke about it like friends do because it's a funny thing in itself, and I have to make light of it.

Everyone - Table - Everyone - Tries - Silence

'If we're eating and everyone is laughing around the table, everyone tries to stop but then the silence makes you laugh.'

She added: 'It's so hard to explain how it feels when I collapse, it's like you have no control over your body - I don't have any control over what's happening.

'I - Anything - Thing - Things

'I can't speak or respond to anything - but the most frustrating thing is that I'm conscious. I shake, and I can't hold things.

'General excitement triggers it, and since I was diagnosed the triggers have become more sensitive.'

Cataplexy - Strikes - People - Disorder - Narcolepsy

Cataplexy strikes people who suffer from the sleep disorder narcolepsy, which affects the brain's ability to regulate the normal sleep-wake cycle.

It means patients often spend a lot of time awake in...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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