Has anyone ever really died of laughter?
It's a common enough phrase, 'We died laughing' but clearly it's a metaphor. On the other hand, I have heard some stories of people who heard a joke and died laughing - literally. Is there any truth in this or is it an urban myth? On the other hand, if you could die of laughter, what would the physiological process be that could cause 'death by laughter'?
I would think it to be a heart attack. Possibly, someone with heart problems to begin with.
A few rare instances of death from laughter have been recorded (see Wikipedia). A fit of laughter might cause cardiac arrest (the heart stops beating), or asphyxiation (inability to 'catch one's breath'). So one could literally die laughing, but that would be no laughing matter.
Gosh, indeed it would not. Cardiac arrest seems plausible but I'd have thought asphyxiation less likely? Wouldn't you pass out before you died? I don't know.
Yes it's possible but it would most likely be due to some underlying illness or health issues. This question reminds me of a few things - 1st the Monty Python "funniest joke in the world" sketch, 2nd the question "can you really die from a broken heart" and 3rd the fact that LongQT Syndrome is in my family and can cause instant unexpected death as a result of being frightened, made to jump or possibly from hysterical laughter. Great question by the way.
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