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1-month vertigo following heat exhaustion
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1-month vertigo following heat exhaustion

I'm a 37-year old male in excellent physical condition, swam in college and have been competing in triathlons for 15 years.  Exactly 1 month ago I went for a 2-hour 35 mile bicycle ride in the blazing Florida summer heat (I know, not the smartest move)  Though I've trained in the heat before and brought fluids with me on the ride, the 100+ heat index took it's toll.  I ended up with extremely severe heat exhaustion toward the end of the ride, I probably should have went to the ER following my return home.

Upon awaking the next day I had a severe, crushing headache with pressure.  Four weeks after this incident I have sensations of vertigo when moving my head side to side, up or down, or bouncing my head such as when I run.....it's as if my eyes can't follow along with my head.  Standing up after I've been sitting also creates this vertigo effect.  The vertigo also creates an unsteadiness to my balance. I've also noticed a feeling of pressure in the upper, inside corners of both my eyes and discomfort moving my eyes from side to side.  This vertigo has all but put a hold on my exercise as any head movement triggers the sensation.

Also of note, I assume as a side effect of the extreme heat exhaustion, I appear to have become heat intolerant.  Any exposure to stagnant heat, even without exercise, and my heart rate shoots the roof along with associated dizziness.  During these episodes I just can't get my heart rate to come down and must quickly get into an air condtioned building.  Almost called 911 as one time I nearly fainted.

Being I've never felt any of these symptoms before I fear the severe heat exhaustion/exertion has caused all this.  I went to a neurologist 3 weeks ago for a physical exam and MRI of the brain and all came back OK.  Neurologist just told me to "rest."  My GP did blood work and all came back normal, blood pressure was normal, he recommended I see an ENT Specialist.

Could this be something vascular that occured in the brain that wasn't picked up on the MRI?  Could severe dehydration & heat exhaustion trigger these symptoms?  Could the vertigo be due to a sinus infection or inner ear issue?  I'm concerned as I've never experienced vertigo like this before and never had a month-long headache before.  Thanks for any advice!
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4 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar m tn
Perhaps the heat is triggering BPPV. I'm being tested for BPPV today and have noticed that I only get it in the summer months of June and July (which is when the temps in AZ are consistently above 100 degrees). If you are getting the vertigo based on the position of your head, an ENT mayschedule an ENG to test for BPPV. By now your vertigo may have gone away as mine does for the remainder of the year.
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Avatar n tn
I was wondering if you ever received any treatment or were diagnosed with a particular illness??
I have expereinced the exact same symptoms and my doctors have no answers.  Their diagnosis is an inner ear problem that is not related to the heat exposure, yet on 4 separate occasions I experience the same symptoms......dizziness looking up and down or rolling over in bed......rapid heart rate about 15 times a day accompained with a few VERY STRONG heart beats.  
The first time this happened to me was about 5 years ago and I too, have noticed being less tolerant to the sun.
Any information you can provide would be very much appeciated, as I have worn out my doctors to no avail.
Thanks!
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Avatar f tn
My husband is going through something similar. This past summer, we were outside on a very hot day, and after that he felt sick and was in bed for about a week. Then he noticed he was dizzy and couldn't drive (although it wasn't constant dizziness). We went to a naturepath, regular doctor and ear/nose/throat specialist. They all said to wait it out. It's been over 4 months and he still has symptoms, although physical therapy has helped. He is now able to drive a bit. But, the ear/nose/throat doc said that it seems he had a heat stroke in his ear, which damaged his vestibular nerve (which affects balance). Once it is damaged, it will not heal. But, therapy can help the body adjust to a 'new normal'. My husband hasn't quite gotten to that point yet. But we're hoping he will. I asked the doctor if we should avoid heat in the future to prevent a relapse and he didn't really have an answer.
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Avatar f tn
My husband is going through something similar. This past summer, we were outside on a very hot day, and after that he felt sick and was in bed for about a week. Then he noticed he was dizzy and couldn't drive (although it wasn't constant dizziness). We went to a naturepath, regular doctor and ear/nose/throat specialist. They all said to wait it out. It's been over 4 months and he still has symptoms, although physical therapy has helped. He is now able to drive a bit. But, the ear/nose/throat doc said that it seems he had a heat stroke in his ear, which damaged his vestibular nerve (which affects balance). Once it is damaged, it will not heal. But, therapy can help the body adjust to a 'new normal'. My husband hasn't quite gotten to that point yet. But we're hoping he will. I asked the doctor if we should avoid heat in the future to prevent a relapse and he didn't really have an answer.
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