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Posted by Ken on November 10, 2000 at 19:50:12:

In Reply to: Thank you Ken--another question if you don't mind posted by Jesse on November 08, 2000 at 00:30:13:

: My mother experiences dizzy spells where she feels like everything is draining from her head and she is going to faint on a daily basis. It almost always happens right after she eats so she thinks it is related to her blood sugar and/or insulin. (However, her doctor says it's not possible for blood sugar to cause such symptoms, but he can not tell her what IS causing her symptoms.) Does anyone have any information about this or does anyone experience similiar symptoms? I greatly appreciate your help.

: : How old is your mother? One of the most common age related causes of dizziness is BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Postional Vertigo) that comes about when you move your head into certain positions, examples, lying down or rolling over in bed. One of the major reasons for this are calcium crystals that normally reside in the hair cells that detect gravity break loose and float into the inner ear. There could also be another problem with her inner ear.

: : Does she have any ringing in her ears, ear pressure, hearing loss, nausea and/or vomiting. If so, there is a possibility of Meniere's Disease.

: : Since she has this problem after eating, it could point to a blockage in one or more carotid arteries that supply blood to the brain or a possible heart problem. This would give her the fainting feeling. More blood is channeled to the stomach and digestive system after eating and along with a partial blockage of the carotid arteries or a heart problem would be more likely to bring on the fainting feeling after eating. Diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease.

: : A blood sugar fall-off from taking too much insulin can cause faintness.

: : In other words, there could be many reasons for what your mother is experiencing.

: : I would suggest you get a second opinion. If it is related to her diabetes, the best type of doctor is an endocrinologist. If it is related to blockage in the carotid arteries, then the best type of doctor is a neurologist. If it is related to her heart, then the best type of doctor would be a cardiologist. If it involves her inner ear, then an eye, ear, nose and throat doctor specialist would be the best doctor. I would start off with the endocrinologist since, yes, it could be related to how much insulin she is taking.

: : By the way, I am not a doctor although I do a lot of heart patient support work and associate with heart surgeons and cardiologists. My information comes from a medical magazine article written by a doctor that I just read this evening which deals with the possibilities of dizziness and fainting spells.

: : Ken

: Thank you so much Ken for all of the information. My mother is 56. Her dizziness doesn't seem to be related to movement and she had a carotid artery test recently-it only showed minimal blockage. In addition, she has been to a cardiologist and a neurologist--she's also hypothyroid so she has an endocrinologist. Unfortunately, no one has been able to explain her symptoms.
: My mother is not diabetic but her blood sugar level has been rising (recently up to 107) and she is very overweight--she also believes she is insulin resistant although we don't know this for sure.
: I mistakenly said that my mother almost always gets dizzy after eating--in fact she has been experiencing the most severe episodes of dizziness when she has not eaten for quite some time. She believes this is a result of blood sugar or insulin in some way. Does this seem possible to you?
: We live in NY and would be willing to travel for a doctor who comes highly recommeded. We have been extremely frustrated since we don't know what is wrong and/or if it is serious. Also if you know of any articles or books you think would be helpful I'd appreciate the recommendation.
: Thank you again for your help--it is so nice of you to take the time!

It appears the only type of doctor she has not seen that I previously mentioned is an ear, nose and throat specialist for the reasons I originally gave.

If your mother feels the reason for her dizziness is low blood sugar, have her drink at least 5 to 6 ozs of 100% orange juice when she feels this way. If she recovers within 10 to 15 minutes, it might be the result of low blood sugar. Also, take her blood glucose reading with her equipment when she feels this way. If it is below 70, then it could be low blood sugar. However, all of us are individuals, and there are some people who start to feel the symptoms of low blood sugar when they are around 80. I start feeling them if mine goes down to the high 50's. The symptoms of low blood sugar usually do not include dizziness but it does include sudden severe hunger, headache, sudden anxiety, shakiness, sweating and/or confusion and eventually unconsciousness (coma).

The fact she has seen specialists in all the areas I mentioned except ear, nose and throat would lead me to believe that low blood sugar or insulin resistance, insulin resistance would usually produce a high blood sugar level, is not the cause of your mother's symptoms.

The two medical institutions ranked very high in the world of medicine are Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins. They have web sites where you can ask their doctors questions, but no doctor can make a diagnosis without seeing the patient. Mayo Clinic is located at and Johns Hopkins is located at

That's about all the help I can give you. I wish you and your mother well.


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