Vasovagal attacks.

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Vasovagal attacks.

Postby lizbet » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:12 am

For the past 5 weeks I have been having really weird episodes. I thought they were something to do with anxiety as I have been really bad with that lately but this is different to anything I usually have. I was in a cafe with my sister and at the time I was very breathless due to
anxiety but all at once I felt like I was falling into the table (although I wasnt)my head felt massive and full of pressure. My eyes went really dim like all the lights had been turned down. I began to sweat profusely and shake a lot. My heart was thumping and I felt like I was
going to faint. Very powerful pins and needles shot down the left side of my tongue and my right arm and hand. That only lasted for seconds tho. I felt very very sick and dizzy and got this feeling of dread like I was going to have a stroke and die.
The feelings started to calm down a bit after about 5 mins but I felt completely spaced out and my head was weird till about 9pm that night. I had the funny 'do' about 1230. Shortly after I started to feel more normal my lips started to go numb and then tingle. I can tell you it scared me to death.
I saw the doc later on that week for bp check and told him and he said it was a typical vasovagal attack and that a lot of people actually do faint and the best thing is to lie down. What in the middle of a cafe in a busy shopping arcade??
Apparantly we have two major nerves called the vasovagal nerves running from the base of our brains down thru to our abdomens and these are responsible for our autonumus nervous systems looking after the things we dont think about like breathing and blood pressure and a lot of other things. There is a glitche in the system when the nerve has been damaged and it stops working for a few seconds resulting in a massive drop in blood pressure and other symptoms. This is why a lot of people faint. Its called vasovagal syncope. syncope is the medical term for faiinting apparantley.
I have had four of these attacks in the last 5 weeks and I really dont want any more. You feel like you're going to die, theyre awful.
Doc said you can have loads of them and they will go sometimes wont come back for ages if at all.
I was wondering if anyone else has them and how the hell you cope with them. (pardon my french :oops: ) xxxxx
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Re: Vasovagal attacks.

Postby denys » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:50 am

Hi Lizbet that sounds awful, I get really bad dizzy spells that can last for a while but nothing on the scale that you describe. :fingerscrossed: they go away and dont come back :hugs:

If I remember rightly (and thats doubtful) someone else mentioned vasovagal attacks so hopefully they will be on shortly and can offer you some constructive advice

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Re: Vasovagal attacks.

Postby Tricia_TD » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:41 pm

It sounds a bit like you're hyper-ventilating, which I get with anxiety/panic attacks. I did the Scottish Mental Health First Aid Course, and was taught a fantastic method to help with this.

When you get an anxiety attack, you start to breathe more quickly and this is called hyper-ventilating, which causes the symptoms you describe in your post. The old way of counter-acting this, was to breathe into a paper bag, but this can lead to some people getting dependent on the bag, and getting anxious if they don't have one to hand! The new method needs another person to help you, which can be awkward if you're out on your own, I agree.

Anyway, the 2nd person should, preferably, be eye level with you. They slowly raise their hand for a count of 10, and lower their hand for the count of 10, and you watch their hand. At the same time as they raise their hand they say breathe in, and as they lower their hand they say breathe out. They have to make sure that you keep watching their hand, which is why it's preferable that they're eye level with you.

It's worth getting family members and friends to practice with you, so that none of you feel silly doing it, and you all get used to it. I found this relaxing in itself!

I hope this helps, and that you stop getting these attacks.

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Re: Vasovagal attacks.

Postby lizbet » Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:03 pm

Thanks for your replies. The first one I had followed a bout of overbreathing due to anxiety and thats why I thought it was an enxiety
attack but the rest of them have started when Ive been feeliing ok (well as ok as you can be wiht fibro!). Wasnt feeling anxious at all.
Most of them have happened when Ive been out in town and one happened when I was at home just watching tv. They are similar to
anxiety attacks but different and in my experience much worse. The thing that they last and you dont feel back to normal for many hours also makes them different.
Ive been looking up on the net and it said that you can damage your vasovagal nerve with a head injury and it is one of the most common
causes of vertigo. Years and years ago I fainted outside and ended up in hospitl with concusion and can honestly say I have never been the same since. That was when my vertigo and headaches started. Also my arthits started at the same time so it looks to me that its
all connected and maybe has just got worse like everything else. Makes me wonder tho why none of the doctors over the years have come
up with this before.
Just one more horrible thing I'll have to learn to live with I suppose. Hope you're all as well as you can be and thanks.xx :-) xx
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Re: Vasovagal attacks.

Postby shazq » Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:08 pm

Hi Lizbet

I go through stages of feeling dizzy but nothing like what you have described, after a lay down my passes.

Hope the tips Tricia gave will help. :hugs:
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Re: Vasovagal attacks.

Postby kolakube » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:32 pm

i'm a fainter! it sounds familiar, i hear a high pitched noise and my vision goes white. I have to sit down/lie down (if i feel it coming, if i ignore it i will just pass out). i sometimes get the feeling happen when i smoke a ciggerette after not smoking for a while. If you suffer from it regularly you have to let the dla know. (which was a really scary thought), but i was advised to make sure i wasn't dehydrated, and to check my blood pressure.

my blood pressure hovers at the very low end of normal, but when i'm dehydrated ( i now can see since its been pointed out) i do feel faint more often. my doc was going to start medication to raise my blood pressure. but now i'm more mindful of how hydrated i am, i don't feel faint, or when i do, I can see that i had forgot to drink, or not drunk water. so there was no need. and no need to give up my lovely shiney motorbike. :)

speak to your doc, but for me, i was very pleased for one stupid symptom to go away by just drinking more water! x
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