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  • HELP ! If I look up/down I pass out...

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    Old 10-27-2006, 12:03 PM   #1
    Join Date: Sep 2006
    Location: Denver, CO, USA
    Posts: 86
    rbecca HB User
    HELP ! If I look up/down I pass out...

    I am new to this board,first I guess I should back up to what started this mess I've gotten myself into.

    I started passing out for no apparent reason a little over a month ago. The first few times I was sitting on the sofa and landed softly,but then I passed out while walking downstairs to the basement- about 4 steps and my head went straight into a brick wall-. I was of obviously rushed to th ER, (backboard,c-collar and all the usual fun stuff). I had a head/neck CT, doc cleared it and I spent a few days there to look into the possible cause of these episodes.They were not able to figure it out.
    The following weekend I went down again-(backwards) onto the kitchen floor and my head bounced..., so another ambulance ride,more x-rays and CT scans- again the doc cleared them and I spent a few days there, then back home to repeat it over and over ( I won't bore you,or at least I'll try not to..).
    So after all of these hospitalizations & CT's, my neck is supposedly "clear", but ever since my head bounced off the floor if I look up or down I am OUT!! I learned the hard way by leaning my head back to use mouthwash and it was like my entire body went limp,so down I went. I have pretty much the same issue if I look down to pet a cat or whatever,everything spins and I just go limp and end up where ever gravity takes me. I try to just move about slowly and turn my body rather than my head to do/look at something,but it's getting rather old.
    I'm wondering if an MRI would be able to see something that the CT doesn't?
    I can feel a burning,stabbing pain between C-5 &6. My family doc says "don't move & call 911", I thing that is a little dramatic since I have had to have a few people call for an ambulance,go to the ER, and even stay in the hospital more times than I care to count over the last month and I never get a neuro consult,I get card's instead- it may have been cardiac related when I 1st started passing out, but now there is a totally different and predictable componant that the hospital ignores-.


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    Old 10-28-2006, 12:39 AM   #2
    Let It Bleed
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    Join Date: Nov 2003
    Posts: 41
    Let It Bleed HB User
    Re: HELP ! If I look up/down I pass out...

    Hello Rbecca.

    Sounds like you could possibly have Carotid sinus syndrome? Look into that and discuss it with your physician. You need to see a specialist to rule out other causes or a head injury since your last fall.

    Some people develop different forms of neurocardiogenic syncope. Syncope literally means to "pass out."

    Some may pass out upon urination, defication, standing upright, these are usually caused my an exaggerated respose from the parasympathetic nervous system, specifically, the vagal nerve.

    However, in a case such as yours, the problem may take place specifically in your carotid arteries, which are located on both sides of your neck. These are the blood vessels in which someone might check your pulse on your neck. I would not recommend pushing on or manipulating them if you do indeed have this hypersensitivity. Leave that to the doctor.

    Carotid sinus syndrome is a sensitivity in the receptors that receive information from the carotid arteries. When the carotid artery is "streched" or "pulled" by turning the head to the sides, or perhaps in your case, tilting, an impulse travels to the brain stem (the part of the brain that controls on involuntary functions such as breathing and blood pressure), this signal tells the brain stem to "drop" the blood pressure and dilate the blood vessels. This results in a sudden drop of blood pressure, decreased heart rate, and dilation of the blood vessels. This instantly decreases your cebreal perfusion, or in other words, the blood "drains" from your brain momentarily. Blood is under the effect of gravity. It would "pool" in the lowest parts of our bodies if the heart was constantly pushing it along and upward. Because your body temporarily loses this ability to force blood upward; it's response to this stimuli is to "flatten" you out so blood flow can return to the brain more easily, and therein you have the syncope (passing out). This entire process can take place in the blink of an eye. You should regain consciousness immediately. If you do not, I would consider some other cause as being behind your syncope.

    To my knowledge, carotid sinus syndrome is not a dangerous condition in itself. The real danger come from self-injury when falling, or, I suppose if you passed out while driving. Carotid sinus syndrome is to my knowledge partially treatable and manageable. However, this condition or any condition that causes syncope needs to be investigated by health care professionals to rule out a more serious cause.

    Last edited by Let It Bleed; 10-28-2006 at 12:47 AM.

    Old 10-30-2006, 07:12 AM   #3
    Join Date: Sep 2006
    Location: Denver, CO, USA
    Posts: 86
    rbecca HB User
    Re: HELP ! If I look up/down I pass out...

    Let It Bleed-
    THANK YOU !!!
    I had not thought of that one,but after reading your post and doing some research, it does make a lot a sense. I recently lost my health insurance, so unfortunately I can't just go see a specialist as my primary doc recomends. I however, can't seem to stay away from these wonderfull episodes of syncope-therefore I land in th ER (God willing I won't hurt myself too bad), so I will bring that up to whatever new doc I see next time.. Not to sound pessimistic, but rather realistic. I have not been driving since this started and try not to move my head up or down, but still little things,like raising my arms up to put my hair in a ponytail or something catch me off guard an down I go...

    Thx, rbecca

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