Extreme Dizziness

Hello All, I am an 80 year old woman with a dual lead p/m for bradycardia.  Complete (or almost) heart block.  I recently moved and am due next week to see my new EP/Cardiologist for the first time.  

I have had some rather disturbing issues these past couple of weeks which may or may not be serious or even related to my heart.  Let me run this by you and see what you think I should do.

I have been having periods of what I call "fuzziness" where it's not really dizzy but more light-headed and feeling off balance and short of breath.  These events come and go.  Yesterday, however was a whole new ball game.  I started experiencing this fuzzy feeling when I was out.  By the time I got home, about an hour or so later, I was very very dizzy.  I bent down to take off a shoe and if not for my husband, would have ended up on the floor.  He helped me to the bed and when I laid down the room started spinning and then I had this "call to the bathroom".  Getting to the bathroom wasn't easy either.  I had to hang on to things and was definitely leaning to the right a lot.  

After finally settling down in the bed for a couple of hours I felt considerably better and could navigate normally.  I thought I might just be dehyrated and it still could be that.  But then it could be a lot of things I suppose.  Another issue I experienced several days ago was a throbbing in my left temple.  I've had this come and go in the past but it never lasted for long.  This persisted for a couple of hours.  I read it could be a form of migraine headache.

I am one of these people who go to the ER only as a last resort.  When I started feeling better yesterday I was glad I didn't go but since then I've read a little on Dr. Google and realize with a history of TIA's and a stroke, maybe I should see someone.  I'd like to wait until next Thursday when I see my new Cardiologist.  

This morning I am feeling a bit fuzzy but not too bad.  Do you think I should wait til next Thursday?  Thanks for your thoughts in advance.  It is so  good to have this group to turn to.  


21 Comments

Don't wait

by Good Dog - 2024-01-30 12:02:23

If I were in your shoes I'd head over to my family Doc or the closest quick clinic. Wherever you can get in. Those symptoms are troubling and may not be anything serious, but better to be safe than sorry. 

Have you taken your pulse during an episode just to be sure it is in the normal range? Are you able to take your blood pressure at home? Also, it may sound silly, but have you been able to rule-out an ear infection. I had one last year and had those exact same symptoms (vertigo). I was unable to walk without falling. I had no idea I had an ear infection until I went to the Doc.

In any case, you obviously need someone to drive you, but you should get checked-out and regardless the outsome, you will feel better that you did.

I wish you the best!

Sincerely,

Dave

fuzzy

by new to pace.... - 2024-01-30 12:03:19

I am not a medical person, i think you should go to ER, if you do not have a GP to see to get some blood tests, done.  Then you would know what you are dealing with an to which doctor you should be seeing. 

new to pace

ER please just to be safe

by Gemita - 2024-01-30 12:09:32

Benedeni, this doesn't sound like you?   I think you should go to ER because of your stroke history and the throbbing left temple.  They can do a few blood checks to see if you have had an “event”.  They can quickly rule this in or out and hopefully give peace of mind.  They can also interrogate your device and look for any events or high rate arrhythmia episodes.

Your change in symptoms is rather sudden after being well for so long and it would concern me.  Some of the symptoms could be arrhythmia related, the need to go to the bathroom in a hurry for example is common for us AF sufferers when the heart rate increases.   Apparently, when in A-Fib, the “atrial natriuretic peptide hormone” in the atria kicks in and acts as a diuretic to lower the blood pressure and regulate the calcium and salt in the body.  Clever really.

So no I don't think you should wait til next week since you are still having symptoms and I believe these need to be quickly assessed as Dave and New to Pace also suggest.   Please take good care and let us know how things go?  

Good Dog and New to Pace

by benedeni - 2024-01-30 12:25:28

Thank you both for your suggestions.  

Dave, I did take my blood pressure at the time and it was perfect. I took it again a minute ago and it was good.  Pulse is 77 and I'm set at 65 so that's ok.  Also used my Kardia Mobile and as usual it read "undetermined".  I took your advice and called my PCP and am awaiting a call from the triage nurse.  I did think about the inner ear infection.  

So..  WIll report back after I find out what the nurse wants me to do.  

Thanks again to you both.  Think I just needed a bit of a kick to get going on this. 

Gemita

by benedeni - 2024-01-30 12:38:09

You do know me better than most, Gemita, so I will take your recommendation to heart.  I feel that the nurse will have me seen asap and now I do regret not taking action yesterday when things were happening.  It was most interesting to read about that atrial natriuretic peptide hormone.  Not sure if I was in Afib because I have this atrial bigeminy thing and my Kardia Mobile gets confused.  In any event I have now taken action.  Thank you my friend.

Tunnel Vision

by Pacer2019 - 2024-01-30 14:39:37

Sometimes as one with a heart histoy I worry any symptom is  heart realted.... I tell doctors 'let's make sure we dont get tunnel vision and start with simple explanations"

recently i had a family member exoerience diziness and even confusion- had trouble speaking.

The first assumpti was given her age and all the talk of dementia ... strokes etc was she needed to see a nureologist.  In the meantime they did a blood test - she struggles becasue of a cronic illness with low potassium which can wreak havoc! 

She was thinking TIA and all sorts of stuff assuming the worst.

When the blood work came back they called her and gave her an antibiotic..said she had a UTI.

Further reserch by her reealed as people age a UTI can ndeed cause confusion ad other such symptoms.

She had her self writen off for all kinds of stuff but got a simple answer.

Working on a broken human body islike workimg on a car .... start with a simple assumption before you pull the whole engine!  

Yes as heart patients we want to be careful and sensitive to symotoms but avoid tunnel vision!

I watched my dad once back my sisters 1976 Granada down the side of the road to the house because it woukdnt go forward.  He walked in the house and annouced " the transmission has gone out!"

The actual cause was the emergency brake was on!  he jumoed to a worst possible case scenario- he once pulled over on I-95 because he though he had a flat tire... only to see a low flying traffic copter overhead making a "flat tire sound" with its blades ! LOL

meantime..

by Pacer2019 - 2024-01-30 14:41:57

in the meantime chew an asprin just in case !

Pacer2019

by Gemita - 2024-01-30 15:46:17

Pacer 2019, I find your contributions insensitive and unhelpful at this time.  In someone of 80 who has had TIA’s and a stroke, I believe it is more important to rule out the worst case scenario first before looking for other causes that will be much easier to treat.  I specifically picked up on

“Getting to the bathroom wasn't easy.  I had to hang on to things and was definitely leaning to the right a lot.  Another issue I experienced several days ago was a throbbing in my left temple.  I've had this come and go in the past but it never lasted for long.  This persisted for a couple of hours.  Feeling off balance and short of breath.  I bent down to take off a shoe and if not for my husband, would have ended up on the floor.”

None of the above symptoms are benign for an 80 year old and need to be quickly assessed.  Indeed my cardiologist would most definitely have told me to visit ER if I presented with such symptoms.  The throbbing left temple could be significant for inflammation or blood flow problems in any case

Thanks for your input

by Pacer2019 - 2024-01-30 16:14:51

Wasnt trying to be insensitive. just offering a thought for consideration based on my experience with others in the same situation with terrible results based on an assumption. 

Pacer meant well...

by R2D2 - 2024-01-30 17:49:20

Gem, I believe Pacer meant well with what he said and I took it as a nice message about not jumping to conclusions but definitely seeking medical advice. Her symptoms do sound worrisome to me for sure, and if I had them, I would go to the doctor immediately. You can never be too careful with these things. I think Pacer just wanted to comfort her and let her know that even though we do tend to jump right to heart failure as the culprit, sometimes we are relieved to find out it was something easy after all. Just my two cents on the matter. Different perspective I think. 

Comment

by piglet22 - 2024-01-31 05:13:39

All I would add along Gemitas line is that as you get older you can begin to feel a lot more vulnerable and as the clock ticks, it becomes more significant.

Only now am I realising what my parents went through.

The problem is that all this can come late in life.

I doubt that anyone would take real offence.

I would steer clear of suggestions about aspirin though.

It's nice to read  your enthusiastic comments so do carry on.

There are many sides to arguments and we are all free to express them.

Thanks

by Pacer2019 - 2024-01-31 12:51:21

The mind is a powerful thing and the mental part of heart disease is a struggle. 

I find the mental side of heart disease more challenging than the physical at times.  

While our brain can turn on signals that make us sick it can also bring healing... It is why I say do not always assume the worst and panic... you may cause your worst fear to manifest

Good News

by benedeni - 2024-01-31 13:01:36

I'm back with some good news.  As per your strong suggestions, I showed up at my primary care doctor's office at 1pm yesterday.  I was seen by a PA whose main role is to see the patients with potentially serious issues when the doctors are all solidly booked.  She was very helpful indeed.  Sent me straight away to the hospital next door for labs and a head CT scan.  

This morning I saw my regular PCP and he said he was pretty sure I had an inner ear infection.  Dave you were right!  No stroke and he said the temple throbbing was not connectecd and was not serious.  

The PA yesterday prescribed Meclizine for vertigo and I will take that as needed for awhile.  He also wants me to think about PT for the inner ear issue, especially if it reoccurs.  That and to see my Cardiologist next week.  The EKG showed the Atrial Bigeminy.

So..  thanks to you all for your help.  I am very lucky that it wasn't a stroke.  

The really great thing about this club is that there is always suggestions and help forthcoming.  I do so appreciate you guys and gals.

!

by Pacer2019 - 2024-01-31 14:13:43

It is a strange existence for those of us with heart disease !  We celebrate when the doctor tells us we have an ear infection or some other minor treatable illness! 

Glad you had a good result and hope you feel better soon.

Everybody likes a happy ending !

by IAN MC - 2024-01-31 16:03:54

Benedeni ... You correctly identified in your opening paragraphs that " you had some disturbing issues which may ,or may not, be serious or even related to your heart " . I am delighted for you that a happy ending looks likely.

I thought that Pacer2019 made some perceptive and thought-provoking contributions  despite being wrongly labelled as "insensitive and unhelpful"

It made me look back with some embarassment on a relevant illness issue a few years back :-

I used to have a beautiful Siamese pet cat called Oscar . One day I returned from work and found Oscar writhing and kicking on the kitchen floor.

He was unable to stand up and was obviously in great discomfort.

I made a quick diagnosis of CARDIAC PROBLEMS, bundled  him into the back of the car , and headed for the local vet. My logic was impeccable, I had a pacemaker, so my cat must have cardiac problems !!!

I explained my diagnosis to the vet who listened intently before quickly solving the problem.... he removed Oscar's front paw from his elasticated collar where it had been trapped !!

The REALLY happy ending was when the vet said " There will be no charge Sir  "

Ian

Thanks Ian

by Pacer2019 - 2024-01-31 17:37:23

I really wasnt trying to be a jerk... just transparent in aknowledging a place I struggle .. a place  I have lived since I was 44 years old.. a place of fear.  Sometimes I have felt like Fred Sanford calling our for Elizabeth!! here comes the BIG ONE!

I walked on egg shells for many years and it was my thrid trip to the emergency room with "symptoms" that was basically anxiety... I was 50 years old.

One time I had my wife drop me off at the fire station where I knew EMT's were sitting around cookking chili or whatever they do between calls. If youre in a jam ... seek those guys and gals out as an "express ER"

The third time i went to the ER the Cardiologist on call said "I see you have been here a few times. All my testing says you are fine but you don't believe me. I am scheduling you for a cath and will prove to you you are fine. Once I do prove that you need to get after life!"

He went on to say ....." you are going to mke what you fear come true if you dont overcome this fear!"

THAT changed my life ... at the time I weighed 260.... My diet was mexican,chines,pzza and a couple of beers daily. over the corse of the next year i started walking, running, crossfitting, racquetballing, weight lifting, mountain biking, and was 175 pounds.

"Change your mind change your body" became my mantra.

So my comments come from a place that I do not think unusual for people with heart disease.... living in fear and assumimg every twinge is "the big one" 

Last May I was working in a gym and spent 4 hours doing required CPR training... walked down stairs and a customer was laying on the not breathing... I jumped in action with my newly learned CPR trainig - the guy survived and reqired bypass surgery.

he was a retired ER doctor who had some symptoms two weeks before he wrote it off as being dehydrated. 

Believe me when I say .... do not ignore symptoms! But... I know all to well what it means to live in fear and how the power of the mind can make yiur body fail or self fulfill a prophecy.

sound advice

by athena123 - 2024-02-01 17:41:18

I think Gemita is spot on with her comments because ive been on this panel for some time and when i have issue i can always depend on her in my time of need. She is extremely caring and cautious when it comes to any of the members here and her advice and wisdom is second to none. To me she is the backbone of this club and i will continue to seek her help in time of need. goodluck Bendeni with everything

Athena123

by benedeni - 2024-02-01 17:51:23

Yes Athena.  I cannot agree more about our Gemita.  She is indeed what you spoke about and more.  Thank you for the kind thoughts.  

Pacer2019

by Gemita - 2024-02-02 05:30:26

Pacer2019, I know you meant no harm and others will know this too.  The only thing I would say is that I always try to read the room before posting on this forum. 

I read Benedeni’s comments as being a call for help, a real concern that something bad had happened to her.  I felt that nothing less than suggesting she seek urgent assessment for a potentially serious condition was appropriate, particularly with her concerns, symptoms and history of strokes.   I was thinking more about her stroke history, “not” about her heart.  In the event, her team organised a CT scan of her head and did bloods and other checks to rule out a life-threatening condition.  This has given reassurance and is exactly what should have happened.

I accept you were trying to put another possibility across, a rather less serious one and of course that has a place here too.  However, for me personally some of your comments came across as somewhat flippant, out of place, the LOL and chew on an Aspirin remarks in particular offended me.  Sorry, but I have to tell you what I felt on reading your remarks.  Taking Aspirin isn't always the answer for everything or indeed safe in the absence of a confirmed diagnosis.

As a carer to an older person, I know how quickly the elderly can get into trouble which is why I am so sensitive about these matters.  My husband, 85, developed sepsis from a UTI last year and symptoms of confusion, dizziness, disorientation can be early signs of a worsening UTI requiring urgent hospitalisation and intravenous antibiotics to prevent organ failure.  Severe symptoms in the elderly need to be assessed quickly - always. 

Please continue to post Pacer2019. Despite my comments, your contributions are always welcome and valuable.  You sound as though you are in firm control of your anxiety now and this is so reassuring.

Athena and Benedeni

by Gemita - 2024-02-02 05:45:41

I don't always get it right, but thank you for your continued support.  Perhaps I need to learn to be less anxious about these things but my nature is difficult to change.

Hope you are both doing better now 

I wouldn't change a thing.

by athena123 - 2024-02-02 18:38:14

Never change my dear friend

You know you're wired when...

Your kids call you Cyborg.

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