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Old 10-31-2009, 03:29 PM   #1
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Julius2009 HB User
Exclamation Brain fog, sinus & ear pressure, lethargy... for over a decade

Hi everyone,

I just joined the board after a Google search led me to these forums.

I've been chasing my tail for more than 10 years about a series of symptoms that started in 1997, soon after I moved to the North East region (Boston, New York). Before that time, I've lived in California, Arizona, and some countries in southern Europe. As I mentioned, I never experienced this constellation of symptoms before I moved to the North East.

These symptoms started on-and-off in 1997, and then they stayed for good, and happen every single day. Here's the list:
  • Severe brain fog, lethargy, feeling like my brain is in molasses. I never pursued my doctorate because this affliction makes me feel like an imbecile, unable to mentally function as I used to.
    Also, no diabetes.
  • Sleep disorders: never get a good night of sleep. Always wake up exhausted, beat up.
  • Shortness of breath and palpitations upon waking up.
  • Frequent headaches, intense and debilitating.
  • Pressure behind the eyes and inside the ears (like I'm under water)
  • Visual disturbances: floaters (like TV noise), blinking lights, sensitivity to light.
  • Sinus congestion, but the nose is dry.
  • Creaking and popping noises in the inner ear. Very noticeable upon chewing, yawning, swallowing. Tinnitus at night.
  • Dizziness and nausea.
  • Extremely dry skin and scalp. The scalp flakes horribly, and it's quite embarrassing. Not a single product helps.

Since these symptoms started, they never quite went away. I met with different doctors over the years, which studied my case from different angles and directions, but never got anywhere. On occasion they found some minor indication of something, but never conclusive.

Among the battery of tests requested by doctors in the last decade, here's some from my recollection:
  • Internal medicine: can't find anything conclusive. No diabetes either.
  • Neurology: can't find anything conclusive. Was prescribed various types of antidepressants, which made no difference.
  • Sleep studies: mild apnea, small enough to warrant these symptoms. Used a c-pap machine with no positive results.
  • Infectious diseases: all negative. One doctor thought of Lyme disease, but all tests came out negative (plus I don't have any joint problems). Since I used to be very active outdoors, another doctor gave me the Lyme vaccine, but it didn't make a difference.
  • Sinus problems: ORL specialist noticed inflamed sinus and turbinates. Suggested this could be the culprit for my problems. Four years ago I underwent surgery to widen the nasal passage. The result: negative. It made no difference.
  • Allergies: Not much luck. Allergy tests show I have mild reactions to pet dander, and higher reaction to dust and mold. Doctors prescribed me every allergy medication under the sun, with no positive results. The nasal sprays (Nasonex, Mucinex, etc) actually made me more congested (bad reaction to those). One allergy doctor gave me injections for 6 months to immunize me against dust and mold. No results.

I started to think this was my fate. Then, in the last couple of years discovered a very interesting and dramatic fact: when I travel to drier or higher regions, these symptoms go away. Allow me to explain.

In the last three years I had the chance to travel a lot because of work, and discovered that, when I was on assignment for a week or more to places like California, Arizona, Texas, Spain or Italy, the vast majority of these awful symptoms slowly go away. Within a few days, the mental clarity comes back, I sleep like a baby, sinuses clear, I can focus on tasks without the dreaded lethargy, skin stops scaling.

Then, within days of coming back to New York, all of these symptoms come back. I've been able to measure it a 2-3 days. Within that time, the constellation of symptoms come back to take claim of my body. How bizarre!!!

I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't know what else to do. I would really, really appreciate it if someone could point me in the right direction. There are a few things I have not yet researched:
  • Inner ear disorders, infections, or Mennieres disease.
  • Exposure to toxins or neurotoxins?
  • Mineral poisoning?
  • Other allergies that doctors are missing?
  • The opposite of "altitude sickness", known as "sea level sickness"?
  • Thyroid problems?

I'm puzzled, tired, and depressed over this situation. I see my life wasting away, unable to enjoy life because I'm too ill and spaced out. I live in terror of losing my job and not being able to have a successful career because I'm too lethargic and brain-fogged to move ahead. I don't know what to do.
  • Can anyone point me to a good doctor in NYC that would go the extra mile to get to the bottom of this? Any good doctors specialized in difficult diagnoses?

  • I've researched that some of these problems could be caused by undiagnosed allergies, or severe reactions to regional things. Can anyone recommend me a great allergy specialist in NYC that could look into why I'm so sick all the time?

I'm desperate. Any help would be much appreciated.

Last edited by Julius2009; 10-31-2009 at 04:03 PM.

 
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Old 10-31-2009, 07:02 PM   #2
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Greenjuice HB User
Re: Brain fog, sinus & ear pressure, lethargy... for over a decade

"* Severe brain fog, lethargy, feeling like my brain is in molasses. I never pursued my doctorate because this affliction makes me feel like an imbecile, unable to mentally function as I used to.
Also, no diabetes.
* Sleep disorders: never get a good night of sleep. Always wake up exhausted, beat up.
* Shortness of breath and palpitations upon waking up.
* Frequent headaches, intense and debilitating.
* Pressure behind the eyes and inside the ears (like I'm under water)
* Visual disturbances: floaters (like TV noise), blinking lights, sensitivity to light.
* Sinus congestion, but the nose is dry.
* Creaking and popping noises in the inner ear. Very noticeable upon chewing, yawning, swallowing. Tinnitus at night.
* Dizziness and nausea.
* Extremely dry skin and scalp. The scalp flakes horribly, and it's quite embarrassing. Not a single product helps."



To me it sounds as though your extremely dehydrated. I'd cut down on the caffeine and sugar intake. Now, I'm not diagnosing all your problems, but dry scalp, congestion, dry nasal passages, all can be dramatically helped with increase in water.

Try this: Once a day drink hot green tea with cayenne pepper (3 shakes of the jar). I can't tell you how much this has helped clear the mucous from my sinuses. It also makes me very calm and relaxed. My promise to you is that it will bring relief.

Also get a netti pot and rinse twice a day to help open and clear your nasal passages, if not once a day. This too I promise relief.

I have chronic sinusitis and wake up with sinus infections frequently. When I completely cut sugar and caffiene out, I'm always better in the morning and less puffy. Never eat any carbs before bed, either. My worst puffiness and sleep happen then.

A good fish oil and magnesium supplement will help with the heart palpitations as well decrease inflammation of sinus tissue

A change in diet can bring an abundance of relief, not to mention self-empowerment. I'm still getting sinus surgery, but will carry on my healthy ways. Hope this can provide you with relief. I'm confident it will

Last edited by Greenjuice; 10-31-2009 at 07:16 PM.

 
Old 11-09-2009, 11:52 PM   #3
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Mikey27 HB User
Re: Brain fog, sinus & ear pressure, lethargy... for over a decade

You both are right on the money for migraine associated vertigo all the symptoms you described fit the category very well. you have to go on a migraine diet and preventative medication and hopefully you will start feeling better i'm going through the same thing but i'm not feeling better yet.

 
Old 11-21-2009, 05:37 PM   #4
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MissMeliss777 HB User
Re: Brain fog, sinus & ear pressure, lethargy... for over a decade

I'm sorry you've been dealing with these symptoms for so long. I have been dealing with these lately as well. Fed up with doctors I went to a naturopath who diagnosed it as Candida. I've been taking colloidal silver, both orally and up my nose, a lot of probiotics, colonic irrigation, and cutting out all carbs and sugar. I feel a lot better. Good luck

 
Old 11-21-2009, 09:14 PM   #5
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gizmo71 HB User
Re: Brain fog, sinus & ear pressure, lethargy... for over a decade

Some swear by using a neti pot to clean the sinuses.

I found for me my sinusitis was especially bad after waking up (dust mites in mattress and pillow?) and cleared up a lot since i wrap my pillow and mattress.

Have you had the skin scratch type 'allergy testing'? They can check for dust and mold allergy.


HTH.

 
Old 11-21-2009, 09:16 PM   #6
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gizmo71 HB User
Re: Brain fog, sinus & ear pressure, lethargy... for over a decade

re:#2.

Have you had an overnight sleep study? You mention symptoms of sleep disorder, possibly (brain fog, sleep problems).

_Heart palpitations_ in sleep can be sleep apnea attacks. The shortage of oxygen during apnea drives up the HRate.

Tak to your your doctor and ask for a sleep study.

 
Old 01-22-2010, 12:25 PM   #7
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bardo HB User
Re: Brain fog, sinus & ear pressure, lethargy... for over a decade

Here's what I've done...

My situation is very similar to yours.

I pinpointed my brain fog episodes to sinus pressure. Even when the nose is clear, be aware that there are other sinuses deeper in the skull, between your eyes, for example. When they swell, they can cause not only lethargy, but even nausea!

Even though my doctor insists there is no connection between sinus pressure and brain function, (inflamed membranes squeezing nerves or blood vessels?) I insist that there is.

Changes in air pressure certainly trigger the brain fog. As well as certain foods. (Liquid Smoke, soy, MSG, gluten, milk, hydrolyzed yeast). All because they inflame the sinuses.

I don't know where in California you got relief, but Los Angeles isn't doing it for me. The weather is turbulent here too. The deserts of California are good though, as well as Nevada and Arizona.

Okay. So how to clear the sinuses.

Sinusbuster nasal spray. If it clears your brain fog in 1 second flat, you know you're on the right track. Problem is, you develop a tolerance to it and have to quit using for a few months. Jalepeno jelly beans. Same story.

Epinephrine. Or Sudafed PE.
Problem is, it gives you heart palpitations if you use it too much.

Epinephrine also naturally kicks in when you sleep and your brain detects that there is a fog. This is why you wake up with a racing heart. I also wake up with tingling hands and feet and dry mouth when this happens.

If your body is continually releasing epinephrine to combat the brain fog, you might also get attacks out of the blue where the heart races out of control and you think you will faint. You didn't mention that, but if it does apply, let me know and I'll tell you how I stopped those cold.

Provigil has also changed my life. Find a doctor that will prescribe it to clear your brain fog. It lets you take short naps throughout the day if necessary, when the sinuses are acting up, but then the adrenaline kicks in, and after a 5 minute doze, I'm good as new!

I also tried NeilMed Sinus Rinse, but since it didn't reach the really deep sinuses, it didn't do anything for me. Certainly wouldn't hurt though.

Hope some of this helps.

 
Old 01-28-2010, 02:16 AM   #8
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fortyxevna HB User
Re: Brain fog, sinus & ear pressure, lethargy... for over a decade

I had very similar to what you had and after years of research and effort I fixed it -
turns out that your body can be very sensitive to the airflow through your nose and if it's restricted it can affect your sleep and lead to feeling extreme fatigue.
To fix it I got a rapid protocol immunotherapy program for all of my allergens. My nasal swelling went down, I started to breath better and all my health problems started to fade away. SO fantastic. Give it a try and let me know.

Last edited by fortyxevna; 01-28-2010 at 02:17 AM.

 
Old 02-20-2010, 12:50 AM   #9
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LeslieR35 HB User
Re: Brain fog, sinus & ear pressure, lethargy... for over a decade

Hi. I dont know if this wil help you but all you symptoms are exactly like mine. When seeing yet another doctor after my right ear plugged up completely they found a cyst on my thyroid. So far blood work has come back normal but they are doing a biopsy soon. I really believe all these issues are related to under the radar thyroid issues. I have had my thyroid checked before with all negative results.
I hope you like me find the answer to this because I know what you are living thru

Leslie

 
Old 07-30-2010, 07:05 PM   #10
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Jlhn7856 HB User
Re: Brain fog, sinus & ear pressure, lethargy... for over a decade

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeslieR35 View Post
Hi. I dont know if this wil help you but all you symptoms are exactly like mine. When seeing yet another doctor after my right ear plugged up completely they found a cyst on my thyroid. So far blood work has come back normal but they are doing a biopsy soon. I really believe all these issues are related to under the radar thyroid issues. I have had my thyroid checked before with all negative results.
I hope you like me find the answer to this because I know what you are living thru

Leslie
Cyst on the thyroid? Is that dangerous? How come that wouldn't show up on any blood work?

 
Old 11-05-2010, 11:41 AM   #11
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wildmarigold HB User
Re: Brain fog, sinus & ear pressure, lethargy... for over a decade

This is amazing.... I just read your story and felt like you have described my symptoms for the past 2 years since I moved to another state, damp Bay area in Northern California in my case.
However, I discovered that the apartment where I lived had mold and all my symptoms happened bcs of the mold exposure. It was very damp and unhealthy apartment which got really worse during winter rain season and that is when I had the dramatic escalation of my symptoms.

I moved out and immediately felt better. I have more to say but I do not have time to write right now.
Write me back if you want to talk more.

Last edited by moderator2; 11-23-2010 at 01:04 PM. Reason: please do not post websites except as described in the Posting Policy

 
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