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Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: frequent lightheadedness and more....


 billneedsadvice - Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:05 am

Hello, my name is Bill and I have had a rough last year and a half.

A little history first. I am a 30 yr. old male and up until my story begins 1.5 yrs. ago I had no medical problems. I have prehypertension for the last 10 yrs right around the 130/80. Nothing too serious. I did not take medicine at the time.

It all started when I took a workout supplement called firballz from Vitamin World. It was a fat burner and also an energy booster pill. I discontinued the pill after a week as it was making me dizzy and really short tempered. The problem was that I never really recovered. Within a week later I was at work (and I have always worked in sales standing up) and it was so bad I went to the emergency room. I felt as though I was about to pass out, sweating, confused and my left arm was tingling. The e.r. took my b.p. which was 179/112 and then made me wait an hour before they took me back. I could barely stand up. My b.p. then was 160/100. They gave me salene and sent me home. Knowing what I know now about possible heart conditions etc. I can not believe they didn't even give me an ekg. I then followed up with primary physician who put me on lisinopril 20mg for b.p. I had an echocardiogram done with normal findings. They checked my blood sugar and it was fine. Blood work came back normal. Not sure what all they checked. Two weeks from first emergency room I was back in a different e.r. The entire I could not make it but 100 ft. or so before I felt lightheaded. They checked things out and kept me over night and said I was fine. However I told them while in the hospital I passed a tarry stool. They still released me. LOL. I was home for 2 hours and luckily my friend was still there when I passed another toilet full of bright red blood. As I was going out to tell him I barely remember making it to the couch before blanking out. I came to almost instantly and back off to the e.r. I went. Now they knew something was wrong. Within 30 hours I had passed so much blood 3 pints of packed r.b.c's were given to me. Tests concluded a duodenal ulcer which was not bleeding at the time. Also lower endoscopy revealed a malignant polyp that they removed. Things did get a little better after that but I never been able to stand for periods of time since. I was out for another month after leaving the hospital before I was able to return for a half day of work before leaving due to lightheadedness and fatigue. To this day I stay constantly fatigued and get lightheaded when walking the distance of 1000ft. or so or doing sufficiant talking. I just remembered they also gave me a stress test afterwards and I stopped it when I felt bad on the 2nd tier. My b.p. on the screen was 207/125. I was later told they should have stopped it after I passed 200 on the systolic.

The problem I now face is that I no longer have insurance. So I can't just go get the full work up right now looking for clues. I just recently paid off what was done to me in the past. Loads of reading on the internet and led me to believe it could be anxiety, which doesn't make sense to me, Orthostatic intolerance, which I have many of the symptoms of, or something related to my G.I. tract. I forgot to mention that I had liquidy stools for over 4 yrs. but had related it to "beer *****" as I used to bring beer 3-4 nights a week. Please excuse the expression. The liquid stools continued after I quit drinking and still persist today. I had a friend in general ultrasound who scanned my guts at her site for me on the side and she said my liver and gall bladder looked ok from an ultrasound perspective but she could not see my intestines because it was full of sludge and gas. This was done 3 weeks ago. Also around this time I was leaving work one night and as I was walking to my car my heart went into an arrhythmia. It lasted for 45 seconds. There was no pain associated but I could feel everything beating independently of each other. It scared the jeepers out of me. This has so far been an isolated incident.

As of the last 2 weeks I have noticed a small dull pain under my left armpit and a prickly sensation on the top of my left hand and on the palm side of my forarm. Similar to carpal tunnel. I have monitored my b.p. every night and morning and it has never exceeded around 145/85. My resting pulse stays around 52 b.p.m.

I just want to find the answer so I can enjoy life again. I was very active under I started taking those cursed pills. I am scared to go on vacation and I can not go places involving a lot of walking. Laying down seems lessen the symptoms and in most cases resolves them within an hour or so. My Dr. was at a loss and still trying different things when my insurance ran out. I am sorry for this long novel but I am trying to be as accurate as possible. I have included a list of symptoms I have suffered from since the pills below.

Thank you very much for your reply and time,

Bill


Symptoms:

Fatigue
shortness of breath
sweating upon lightheaded spells
lightheadedness
left arm tingling
diarrhea
the one instance of g.i. bleeding
15 pound weight loss since.
feeling of anxiety
weakness
occasional palpitations
exercise intolorance
on 3 occasions I have woke up on my back with both hands and sometimes feet numb.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:28 pm

User avatar Hi Bill -

Not a good time to lose your insurance, but it happens all the time. We just never know. The only real problem here is that while many of your symptoms could be due to anxiety, I don't think all of them are, and there is some overlap of possibilities.

One thing I find interesting is that quite often people are told they won't "feel" any symptoms with high blood pressure, but many do, and of those many, a significant number seem to feel lightheaded, as though their pressures should actually be low. This contradicts most "facts" about hypertension, except for one: anxiety. Anxiety can cause lightheadedness via other means, even as the BP goes through the roof. This is one reason I suspect part of your problem is anxiety-related. However, any person can have more than one thing going on at the same time (witness your GI bleed, which was significant, yet probably has nothing to do with your other symptoms).

By the way, I've done an extensive websearch for "firballz", "fireballz", etc., and can find nothing related to any sort of fat burner supplement, but I did find, on the Vitamin World site a fat burner called "Fireball Liqui-Fusion" which only states the following: Precision Engineered® Fireball Liqui-Fusion Designed with the purpose of creating a thermogenic, metabolic stimulator that’s as strong as they come.

While supplements containing ephedra have been mostly removed from the market due to the dangers associated with that component, Vitamin World is trying to make Fireball Liqui-Fusion sound at least as potent as ephedra, and suggest further on that it works in much the same way (by deliberately vague description of its mechanism). This was probably the catalyst for the blood pressure and (likely) anxiety problems, though I can't ascribe the GI bleed to it in any obvious way.

Your stomach ulcer seems to have healed, but thank goodness you persisted with that or you'd have, at best, wound up feeling terrible and quite possibly more than that. Keep an eye out for any future signs of GI bleeds and, as you've done in the past, go to the ER if that should recur.

As for untangling the other symptoms, this may require some additional medical detective work not possible on-line. For instance, while you seem to have your blood pressure back to roughly where it was, and may have calmed your (presumed) anxiety a good deal, you're still having some symptoms that shouldn't be happening (like the striking exercise intolerance). I could go on a rant about healthcare and insurance, but this isn't a political forum, so I'll keep that to myself. However, the inability to tolerate exercise does concern me, and I'm going to do some more looking into Fireball Liqui-Fusion, to see if it could have had any lasting effects.

I take it your stress test was normal up til the point you felt the need to stop (and at which your BP was getting rather high).

For the time being I'd suggest you continue doing what you're doing, exercise if you can, but don't push beyond what you feel is comfortable, and work on either getting health insurance or, at the least, try to find a doctor who may be willing to work with you on this, to rule out (or in) a physiogical cause for your symptoms. At the very least you might be able to be put on a beta blocking drug to help manage the blood pressure and some of the other symptoms until a more clear picture can be drawn of just what's going on.

As for the GI symptoms, I think that's a whole other thing, and of course needs to be followed as well, but not acutely, at least not at the moment. The other things you mentioned, the localized pain under your armpit and the prickly sensation in yor left hand, are things most people have from time to time, but you're noticing them because you've becomed more attuned to what your body is doing, a by-product of anxiety. This does not mean you have nothing serious going on, only that it is going to be masked, to some extent, by any anxiety you're experiencing. Then again, it could all be anxiety-related, which would be great. However, we don't know that.

I hope this is helpful to you. It sounds like you at least have the situation stabilized for now, except for that exercise intolerance. A thorough cardiopulumonary workup is definitely in order, but how you'll get that to happen will have to depend on how resourceful (or lucky) you may be.

Best of luck to you. Please follow up here as needed, and keep us updated as well.
 billneedsadvice - Wed Dec 31, 2008 4:13 pm

Well let begin first by telling you thank you very much for your reply. I did my own control study after typing this to you with a remarkable result. As I listed my symptoms at the bottom of my first post something snapped in my head. Almost all of those were side effects of the lisinopril I was taking including some rare cases of a swollen abdomen. I stopped taking the medication for the first time since I was put on it. Low and behold by day two I had NO DIZZINESS! I had energy for the first time in over a year. My general condition improved dramatically and was starting to feel normal.

However, on day 4 I had an incident. Just after reaching sexual climax a sharp intense pain arrose in the back of my head on the left posterior side. It was a pulsating pain which made me want to scream with every heart beat. Of coarse I monitored my bp and within a few minutes it went to 151/88. I do realize pain will raise your bp and I didn't see that very threatening. The pain grew and went from that spot into my left ear and jaw. Then it continued down my left carotid and I could feel the carotid was tighter than the rt. carotid. The pain was relentless. I sat up in bed trying to keep as much pressure away from my head until the pain lessened. Finally I ended up taking a lisinopril and within 30 minutes the pain went away. I did notice hearing some running water sounds in the back of my neck as the pressure subsided. I am not sure if the bp med did the trick because it is my understanding the med as a slow onset. I was wondering if that may have been due to my body adjusting from cutting out the lisinopril cold turkey?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:58 am

User avatar Well, that was mostly good news. The bloated stomach went right by me, what with all the more disturbing symptoms. I'm glad to hear the cause-and-effect between lisinopril and the dizziness has been established. As for the sudden headache (with moderately elevated BP secondary), you're probably right about it being due to the abrupt cessation of lisinopril (and again, cause-and-effect strongly suggests this), so perhaps you'll need to taper that med if you do decide to do without it. This is potentially very useful information for others who may have had similar experiences with the same (or similar) drug.

Thanks for this update. Please continue to let us know how this plays out, and for now we'll hope for the best. It seems you've solved the original puzzle and the subsequent one as well.

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