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Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Stiff Gait, Lightheaded, Shortness of breath


 blueangle - Sat May 30, 2009 8:42 am

35 years old, 5'4" 175lbs. No medical conditions,except occational extra heart beats. Sedentary life style. On no meds. I think this is weird but I have not had the flu or cold in over 5 years until Christmas has a mild cold.

Health issues started 3 years ago.

Started with heart palps when just falling asleep. Eventualy went away. Not had for over a year. I find that when excited, nervious or in a hurry I feel extra heart beats in throat or when run down tired.. After a very mild cold around Christmas got Bells Palsy for 2 weeks. All gone! Same time had an inflammed estasion tube. Took several months to clear up.

From time to time I will feel achey mostly in the area between my breast and armpit. For over a month I have been feeling lightheaded, like a wosh feeling, not spinning. I think I am going to pass out but don't. Never have. When lightheaded my gait is off. It feels stiff but I am able to walk. I feel like I am going to fall over, but I don't and walk straight. This all has gotten worse this past week and I have this happen at least 12+ times a day. I am also starting to feel shortness of breath. I can not pin point what is causing it. It seems to happen when I get up from a lying or sitting position and walk a few steps then all the symptoms apear and last a minute and pass. Then sometime I could be sitting at work and the wosh feeling comes over me.

I went to the doctors yestersay and had blood work. I do not have a Nero. apt for 2 weeks. I am getting really worried. What could it be?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:17 pm

User avatar Hi there --

The combination of symptoms you describe seem to be coincidental rather than a syndrome. The ones of most concern are not the premature heartbeats, which are absolutely normal, and Bell's palsy, while terribly annoying, has no relation to the heart issues. The "wosh" feeling, or pulsing lightheadedness, could be normal for a sedentary person but does deserve at least a look by a doctor, preferably a cardiologist, since it's possible this can sometimes be associated with an anomaly of one of the arteries in the neck or, more often, something called neurocardiogenic syncope (NCS) or dysautonomia, a problem with the autonomic nervous system and failure of the appropriate systems to regulate blood pressure (especially upon rising), resulting in these very annoying symptoms. This also is something that might possibly follow a bout of Bell's palsy. Whatever name it is given it's not a serious problem but can be very worrisome and may cause pretty acute anxiety, which only adds another layer to the problem and makes diagnosis more difficult.

Your doctor (at least a cardiologist) might want to listen to the arteries in your neck, perhaps also do an ultrasound of them; he might also want to perform a tilt table test, which can conclusively diagnose NCS/dysautonomia. If so, there are ways of treating the problem medically and/or teaching the patient how to adapt to or overcome the problem. Staying well hydrated is one important factor in managing this sort of problem.

I hope this is helpful. Please follow up with us here as needed. Good luck to you.

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