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Stiff neck, dizziness, swelling
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Stiff neck, dizziness, swelling


  Some time in January I experienced a bout of dizziness....more like lightheadedness. More of a floating, than a spinning.  It left after a few minutes, but continued to come and go over the next few weeks. I went to an ENT and my inner ear seemed fine.  Then, on March 1, I experienced some swelling above both my collar bones. Suddenly. It came on in one day. Both sides, equal in size (would fill a cupped hand). My dr. yelled MRI and XRAY's.  All came back stating nothing to worry about, appears to be fatty tissue.  To say the least I was relieved.  The lightheadedness is persisting.  Will last for a couple of hours some times.  Now, I'm noticing frequent stiff neck.  I've got all these things going on, and nobody seems to have a clue. All the Dr.'s say they've never seen swelling like this (so suddenly, and equal to both sides), and just say "ignore it, it's not related to the lightheadedness".  So, at this point, my symptoms are: frequent stiff neck, lightheadedness, swelling above both collar bones, elevated blood pressure, and frequent feelings of head pressure.  My Dr. has put me on 2.5 mil of a Calcium Channel blocker (been on it a week), and it hasn't changed my blood pressure a bit. Prior to January, by the way, my blood pressure was always very nice and low.  Now, it seems to hold around 125/91.  The lower number is anywhere from 85 to 101. Anyone ever hear of anything like this? I just wish I had a direction to take to get this resolved. They've taken tons of blood from me, and run a battery of blood test, and everything looks excellent. Same with urine. I sleep just fine. I've been to a neurologist in addition to my regular MD, and he said my nervous system is just fine.  I don't know whether to ignore the swelling, or where to turn next... Any help would be so much appreciated.  ***@****   Please feel free to email me.
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Dear Dirk:
The symptoms you enumerate, namely lightheadedness, hypertension, headache, neck stiffness, and new (? sudden) swelling, possibly consisting of fat, in the region of the collarbones, are rather difficult to put together under one diagnosis.
The three possibilities I can think of are:
1) Cushing's disease or syndrome: Means excessive adrenocortical hormone secretion, either from a tumor of the pituitary gland, adrenal gland, or lung, or from medication. I suspect your doctors must have been looking for it when they did all the blood tests. An endocrinologist is the right expert to consult to diagnose this condition.
2) Pseudotumor cerebri: Means unexplained high pressure of the cerebrospinal fluid which causes headaches and dizziness, and may potentially lead to major visual problems. MRI normal, and a spinal tap may be required for diagnosis. A neurologist or a neuro-ophthalmologist is the expert for this problem.
3) Somatoform disorder: This is a psychiatric problem where anxiety manifests as numerous physical symptoms.
Problems 1 and 2 are serious potentially life-threatening problems and need prompt diagnosis. I you have not done so already, you should seek opinions from the appropriate experts working in a reputed academic or referral center near you. For north-east Ohio, The Cleveland Clinic is one such.
Good luck!  





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