DIZZYNESS and Light Headedness

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ALCapshaw2

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Mar 20, 2003
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Several of our New Members have reported Dizzyness and/or Light Headedness as one of their symptoms.

I'd like to know more about those symptoms.

Is this Dizzyness / Light Headedness continuous, or does it come and go?

If it comes and goes, has anyone been able to identify possible triggers?

Thanks in advance for any information / inputs.

'AL C'
 

Maryka

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Well, I am not new here and I had my heart surgery back in 2008, however...I have gotten bouts of dizziness for decades, seemingly tied to my sinuses/ear infectsion. Whenever my ears get clogged, I get dizzy when I move my head. I try to clear my ears, which is probably dangerous heart wise, and the dizziness resolves when my eustacian tubes seem more open. Of course, lately I get a bit dizzy and am not sure whether it is because of my heart or ears. I just try to relax and decide to ride with the sensation for awhile. It usually resolves very quickly.

I am interested in what others have to say, also!
 

ARGreenMN

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I had episodes of light-headedness for years (10+) leading up to my surgery 5 wks ago. I'd call it more light-headedness than dizzyness (feels different than spinning around in a circle for a while, for example). I believe they were getting a little more frequent/severe towards the end there, and I'd been mentioning them (but trying to downplay them) to my cardiologist at my annual echo visits. They would hit me suddenly, usually when sitting (maybe because I sit a lot more than I stand - especially at work). Some were more severe than others - feeling like I was about to pass out sometimes for a second or two. They wouldn't last very long - I'd say just 2-3 seconds or so. I tried to convince myself it was from bad posture when sitting (pinching a nerve in my neck). The reason I came up with that theory is because I'd gone in for those symptoms years ago and my regular doc told me that's probably what was causing them. So I tried to focus on sitting up straighter and tried different chairs at work over the years. When one would hit, I'd immediately try to straighten up, hoping that would make it go away, of course it'd already gone away on it's own usually by then. That still could have been the trigger all along, and it may come back when I go back to work. But I don't recall having any of that since surgery. And the other reason I now think it was probably my bad valve more than my bad posture that was causing it is because towards the end there I had a couple of them even when standing/exercising. There was twice when I was on the basketball court, when I had sudden and severe shortness of breath and I remember at least that last time (maybe the first time too - but the shortness of breath and back tightness caught my attention so much I might have ignored it) that I also had one or two of those light-headedness episodes while walking off the court. It felt like I was about to pass out - and this time I was standing. Never did pass out from any of the episodes, but many felt like I could easily if I let myself. Hope that helps...
 

youngmom

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north carolina
I had several episodes for about two months. The Doctors took me off Monopril and Cozart now I feel great. My blood pressure was dropping too low.
 

AgilityDog

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I've had light-headedness from low bp due to meds and/or heart issues.
I've had vertigo from ear congestion, inner ear barotrauma from scuba diving and/or being on a boat for days, and from otoliths getting out of position (the little rocks in your inner ear), which is ideopathic.
Most come in waves, although the inner ear barotrauma was constant vertigo for a couple weeks. The otolith problem can be sporadic, positional, or near constant.
The bp/heart issues "lightheadedness" i.e. ya think you're gonna faint feeling, usually occurs upon standing up suddenly, or remaining standing a while. positional hypotension, or attitudinal hypotension I believe they call it. I mean, hail, half of what my heart pumps falls back in 'cause my aortic valve doesn't close properly, so there's not always enough blood reaching the brain! (around my group of friends this comment would immediately trigger silly remarks, but we're being serious here)
 

pat45750

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Marietta, OH
Hi

I've had that light headedness/dizzyness for a long time. Just thought is was an inner ear type thing. If I turn quickly, I can get really dizzy. Now, while I am waiting for my AVR, I seem to be having more. I assume most of it is because my valve is much worse and partly because I am now more aware of everything since I have learned I have such a problem. It is amazing how we adapt to things that aren't quite right. I am 65, so I attributed much of the dizzy and being out of breath to being older and not being in the best physical shape. The more I pushed to walk and be active, the more tired I got. Now I know why. I can get dizzy/ light headed sitting, standing or moving. Hopefully, it will go away when I get a new valve. Sometimes I have gotten a spell where I have to sit down or I think I would just fall down. Not too often and not necessarily after being really active. Very weird.
 

Julieaka

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Jun 5, 2010
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Phoenix AZ
wow - great thread......i have had vertigo (with accompanying clear Head CTs) and they said "oh vertigo/inner ear" .........I have had dizzyness/lightheadedness and anxiety/panic..... and most recently spells like Andy just wrote about..... and thought the same thing "something stuck in my neck - just head my neck in the hairdressersbowl" - also recently thought I was having back issues/tightness in the back.......hmmmmmmmm you all have me thinking
 

lance

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Hi Al.
I've experienced brief bouts of dizzyness (can't think of a more accurate word) when something suddenly occurs causing loss of balance--I feel the need to hold something/somebody to assist me to a chair or something I can sit on. The most recent occurrence was several months ago when my leg gave way causing me to collapse into the chair I was being helped over to. Otherwise I would have hit the floor. I feel a little weak for a few minutes and then it passes. Probably TIA's--INR always in range so it's not clots. These occurrences happen every few months and I hope it's not coating particles being cast off my mechanical. What triggers them I don't know. The last one happened while I was making coffee so I was able to hold onto the counter. My feeling is what will be will be and so far I've been very lucky. When giving directions something compels me to say north which is not accurate when I know/ think south that is accurate. It's the same with left and right. I've never confused these things before. Maybe it's to do with A-fib but I don't know.
 

jax

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Right before surgery last year I was constantly light-headed. On top of that I would get waves of severe dizziness. To the extent that if I was standing up I would have to grab something to hold onto as I felt I would fall over. I still get dizzy spells every once in a while but not even close to the extent of what I got right before surgery. Now my dizziness is normally brought on by dehydration because I don't have enough time at work to drink enough or by short bouts of afib.
 

Lily

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Hope you're okay, AL. I've had a bit of it recently, unpredictible and brief moments of sudden light-headedness for no apparent reason; it was worrisome. I wondered if it could be related to poor o2 levels (because I have been having some trouble with that at high altitudes).

Began exercising again, deep breathing during, and I'm already feeling better, stronger. Haven't had the light-headedness in several weeks. But my cardio gave me instructions to exercise when I saw him for my last annual. It would be important to have a doctor's opinion on that.
 

Jeanie

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Dec 21, 2009
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Nebraska
I have had intermittent (meniere's type) vertigo due to inner ear issues, and have had dizziness/feeling lightheaded due to malfunctioning heart before surgery, and after surgery due to meds reducing BP too much. I can tell the difference, and am glad I have not had either one in awhile. At one point I was on both Lisinopril and Metoprolol. Stopping Lisonopril stopped the light-headed feeling and stopped the horrible nausea I also had at that time. (I would never take that drug again even if someone paid me!) When I was just on Metoprolol for awhile (received permission to stop it a few weeks ago, yay!) the only time I was light-headed was right after exercise and this was documented by the rehab exercise BP checks. That also has gone away, I am happy to say.

Edited to add, in case anyone does not already know, it is very, very important to have a cool down of gradually lessening activity after exercise. Do not just stop exercise abruptly unless you are having angina or shortness of breath or arrythmia. I was told that the cool down is doubly important if a patient is on beta blockers.
 

ARGreenMN

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Julieaka - I wouldn't ignore that back tightness you're talking about (like I tried to for a year or two). That was my main symptom, other than shortness of breath and the fairly infrequent, but enough to be alarming light-headedness. I'd almost always feel like my tightness would start in my back, and be centered there, then sometimes radiate to my chest, even waking up with pains in my chest sometimes that I'd try to convince myself was just my back. They always tell people to watch out for chest pain, but I haven't heard many talk about watching out for back pain/tightness (I describe it more as tightness). But... I've talked to a couple others now since my surgery who say the same thing, they're convinced (like I am) that their back tightness was a symptom of the bad valve... I'd recommend seeing if you can get them to do an echocardiogram on ya if you haven't had one recently. Or if you've been having those regularly, I'd mention that back tightness (and light-headedness) to your cardiologist and see if he thinks it's time for an angiogram. It's not something to be scared of at this point, just something to make sure you're on top of and get checked out.
 

danlo5o

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I recently started a thread called 'Surgery Before Symptoms' as I had been recommended for surgery even though I had never experienced any symptoms. HOWEVER, I have recently been experiencing occassional bouts of 'lightheadedness'. They last 10 seconds or less and they never make me feel like I'm gonna fall down or pass out. They just make me, I would say 'spacey'. I usually just blink my eyes a few times and standstill and the feeling subsides. They're sometimes brought on by exercise and sometimes occur at seemingly random times. I am attributing them to my aortic stenosis as I have no other medical conditions.

By the way, my surgery for replacement of my BAV is scheduled for July 26th. I will be a $6,000,000 Man (By On-X).

Dan
 

Julieaka

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I recently started a thread called 'Surgery Before Symptoms' as I had been recommended for surgery even though I had never experienced any symptoms. HOWEVER, I have recently been experiencing occassional bouts of 'lightheadedness'. They last 10 seconds or less and they never make me feel like I'm gonna fall down or pass out. They just make me, I would say 'spacey'. I usually just blink my eyes a few times and standstill and the feeling subsides. They're sometimes brought on by exercise and sometimes occur at seemingly random times. I am attributing them to my aortic stenosis as I have no other medical conditions.

By the way, my surgery for replacement of my BAV is scheduled for July 26th. I will be a $6,000,000 Man (By On-X).

Dan
Dan - I think this is really important, thanks for sharing! Andy - I have another echo and CT tomorrow, I promise I will not ignore "back tightness" again (I agree not pain, either!) Looking more and more like a June date for me but I could land on July 19 or July 26 with Dan - will let you know.

Everyone thanks for sharing these important details!!
 

ARGreenMN

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Dan, I'd forgotten the price of Steve Austin 'till you mentioned that! I was telling people I was gonna be the bionic man afterwards (stronger, faster, smarter, etc.). So while I trademarked the bionic man, you're free to use the $6 Million man ;) And besides, that was actually the name of the show, right? Six Million Dollar Man? Ah, the memories ;)
 

Snoviper

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Syracuse NY
I have Dizzy/Lightheaded, mostly if I get up fast. Seemed to start when I started my BP Meds, I take Metoprolol now. I think because it lowers me BP and heart rate it effects my balance. The biggest thing I have noticed since surgery is memory loss, but that could also be age.. :)
 

danlo5o

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Andy: I don't know if we can offiicially tab you the 'bionic' man since you're really a 'St Jude' man. Don't you have to be 'By On-X' to be bionic?

I'll settle for better and healthier. As for the stronger, faster, smarter stuff...not happening!

Dan
 

MarkU

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Sarasota, FL
About a year or so prior to my surgery I started experiencing ocular migranes on an increasing frequecy (double vision, gray-outs, floaters, etc). About two months pre-op I started suffering from chronic fatique and associated dizziness and light-headedness. At first it would be triggered by mild exercise or exertion, but as it got worse just getting out of a chair, or standing for a few minutes would trigger it.
In the last two weeks prior to my AVR I had a very difficult time functioning. During this time my heart rate was in the mid-80's, I had pre-hypertensive blood pressure and I would perspire heavily with any type of physical exertion. I had severe shortness of breath and fluid build-up in my lungs that forced me to sleep sitting up.

Since my surgery, the symptoms have virtually disappeared. My resting heart rate is 46bpm and my BP was 122/72 last week.

Mark
 
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