I am a 45 year old female and have been in excellent health my entire life. (With the exception of cervical dysplasia and a LEEP procedure 3 yrs ago).
I have been under some significant stress over the past few years - - (job loss, divorced an alcoholic/abusive husband, and saw a loved one suffer a traumatic brain injury and never recover). But I've gotten my life back together - have a job I love, and all has been going well in the last 9 months.
After getting my period on June 2 and feeling pretty wiped out by it that weekend I went to work on June 6 and was sitting at my desk and I began to feel very lightheaded and dizzy. This was not 'room spinning vertigo' but rather just a dizzy, weak feeling. I had also been feeling like my calves were swollen and I attributed it to water retention from my period. I now think the sensation in the calves might be cramping but I am not certain. I felt almost like maybe my blood sugar was down - which has happened to me on occasion. I drank juice and ate lunch and got some air - took a walk with a friend and felt better - but very wiped out by end of day.
I saw a doctor (that takes 'walk ins') that Wednesday who ran blood work and the only 2 abnormalities were a high ALT of 48 (ref range is 0-40) and a high urine pH of 8.5 (ref range is 5.0-7.5). I told him my complaints - feeling generally tired and about the dizzy feeling. He said I was fine - BP was normal and that I should do what I like (exercise etc.)
Well by that Friday I decided to go see a new internist who was recommended to me as I did not have a primary care doctor I was comfy with. But I never made it there - I was driving to the doc and got very dizzy sensations, tingling in hands, cramps in legs and heart RACING. (Yes - it sounds like a panic attack.) I was taken to the hospital and admitted - they ran catscan of brain/sinuses - normal. Echocardiogram of heart and doplar of legs - normal. Tons of bloodwork - all NORMAL.
Followed up with Neuro who said this is not neurological - could be anxiety. He said no MRI of brain required - he said NO this is not multiple sclerosis. He did order a MRI of my neck as I do have some neck pain. That MRI came back with a slightly bulging disk and some arthritis - - all 'age' related. Finally saw the internist who ran a TON of bloodwork - and said return in one week.
This past week I went to work every day. I experienced some mild dizziness but went and exercised and did fine. I returned to the Internist on June 23. He said ALL my bloodwork was good. No lymes, no thyroid issues, blood chem perfect - no liver enzymes elevated, cholesterol perfect, folic acid perfect, urine perfect, WBC/RBC etc all perfect. He even ran a test for VD and Multiple Myeloma - negative. The tests he ran were very extensive. And they were fasting blood work.
BUT he said something IS going on with your body. You have to see a Rheumatologist - you have a "collagen vascular" disease. Don't worry - it is NOT serious. There are tons of autoimmune disorders that are treated, if I thought you were seriously ill I'd get you in to see him NOW. Make an appointment with him, and go get an MRI of your brain to rule out MS once and for all.
My test results show:
Vitamin D is low
ANA screen; positive
Anti-smooth muscle: 1:20 (HIGH)
Anti-mitochondrial Ab <1:20 (normal)
ANA Titer (IFA): 1:160 (HIGH)
ANA pattern: speckled
I left his office and went home to discuss with family. I was relieved to know this was not in my head but scared at same time and was THIS associated with these bizarre dizzy spells I've been getting? When I explained all this to my family - my body began to just ache. I have had some minor, very minor aches and pains in my lower back and neck. Nothing that even requires an Advil though!
The next day I returned to work and told a few people and by 12:30 I was VERY VERY dizzy, nauseated and weak and shakey. My hands were cramping and tingling. I went to the ER and they examined me - and ran an MRI of my brain - NORMAL. They all believe that I am experiencing panick attacks. Also - I am early for my period and think I might be pre-menopausal.
I ask all this to see if anyone else has had these symptoms. Ofcourse I am frightened about what is happening to me. Could this be autoimmune hepatitis? I know that is a disease that comes back with a positive ANA and ASM. BUT my liver enzymes are normal now. I've read it can also indicate cancer or cirhosis but I am not a heavy drinker - I am a social drinker, but that is about it!
Hi Jennifer, first off relax. You sound like your anxiety is running a bit high. You've had some really great tests and nothing major has been found. It's possible that you may have an autoimmune disorder, and as your doctor said, it's mild and not something he's worried about. Then again it may all be just one of those things where it all goes away and no one ever knows what you had. I've had the experience with the dizziness more then once, in fact three times over twenty years and each time nothing could be found. I think the dizziness makes you anxious and that accounts for the rapid heart rate and a cascade of anxiety symptoms follows. Think calmly and positively about this and remember how healthy you've been and still are. Then with the security that nothing is seriously wrong with you get all the details, step by step about what the internist you saw found EXACTLY. What does he mean by a conditions he's not worried about and what the symptoms of that conditions are and what you can do about it. In short, center yourself a bit and don't jump to conclusions. Please forgive me if I sound like your dad. I'm not trying to be condescending. Just trying to provide some help. Allow for the clinical facts and the symptoms to provide the answers. And please let us know what the outcome is. It truly matters to us. All the very best of luck, Awlright.