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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Freqently falling asleep and loss of muscle control.

 chicago89 - Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:48 pm

The symptoms I listed in the Subject are actually symptoms that my cousin is experiencing. She is a 19 year old female and this problem started 6-7 months back. This is going to sound odd and I assure you it is very real. Her loss of muscle control happens whenever she laughs. If she starts to laugh her muscles contract and she loses stability and falls to the ground.

She lives in Florida and I didn't realize the severity of it until she visited Chicago and I was able to witness it first hand. We went out to get coffee and when we were walking to the car something funny happened. We were laughing and then she called out my name and when I turned around she was still, but trembling. It looked like her leg muscles were contracting and I caught her before she fell.

She has told me that physically when that happens she is not in pain. Another problem she has been having is frequently falling asleep. She said it happens at work and has happened at stop lights when shes driving. She also fell asleep twice while we were at the movies and while she was in the passenger seat after the movie. She has also had a seizure twice from falling after she lost control of her muscles.

She has seen a Neurologist, gotten an MRI, and other testwork and everything came out fine. Her Neurologist dismissed her and said it must be an emotional issue. The doctor never witnessed her fall so I imagine it can be tough to understand as I didn't clearly until I witnessed it. If anyone has any idea of what it could be please help! Thank you! -Colleen
 Dr.M.jagesh kamath - Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:54 am

User avatar Hello,Your friend seems to have some features of narcolepsy characterized by daytime sleeping that occur with out warning,irregular sleep pattern at night,and sudden loss of muscle tone and strength.It is said to be an auto immune problem.Cataplexy is sudden loss of muscle tone triggered by laughter is one of the features.Stimulants and antidepressants are the form of therapy.A polysomnography in a sleep lab would help in establishing a firmer diagnosis.Best wishes.

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