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Meet The Teenage Girl Who Collapses Every Time She Laughs

Hannah Pryer suffers from a rare condition that means she falls over every time she laughs.
The A-level student has cataplexy which causes a sudden loss of muscle control. She also collapses if she gets excited or angry.
On top of excessive levels of tiredness and sleep attacks, she suffers from cataplexy – a sudden loss of muscle control which can be triggered by excitement, laughter, anger or surprise.
The 16-year-old has been prescribed medication to help deal with the symptoms but the condition continues to have a huge impact on her quality of life.
She is unable to have part-time job and spends her weekends catching up with study and sleep.

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When her family heard about a pioneering drug called Xyrem – the brand name for sodium oxybate – which has allowed some narcoleptics to lead a normal life, they asked Hannah’s medics if she could try it.

So far, their attempts have been unsuccessful, which they suspect could be down to the fact it costs primary care trusts around £13,000 per year to fund.
Hannah said: “I heard that it can be brilliant for some people, but I got rejected.”
Dad, Martin Pryer, 52, added: “Like a lot of things it seems to boil down to money.”Hannah first began suffering symptoms three years ago following a bout of the flu.
It was only when Hannah’s worried mum took her daughter to the emergency department of the local hospital that she was referred to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
Along with sleeping tests, specialists asked the Pryer family to film footage of Hannah collapsing.
Mr Pryer: “You have to jump through hoops to get a diagnosis.”
Despite the pitfalls of her condition, Hannah threw herself into school productions and passed her GCSE exams with flying colours.
She even planned out the day of her high school prom last summer to ensure she didn’t suffer a sleep attack.
Unlike some of her friends who are turning 17 this year, having narcolepsy means Hannah will be unable to drive.It even impacts on the way she stands.
“I hunch my shoulders forward and I get told to sit up straight, but I think it’s almost guarding myself against a sudden emotion which might trigger the cataplexy,” she says.

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