Today while at work I began feeling lower chest pains and soon thereafter was very lethargic. I was very cold, sweating heavily and felt as though I was going to lose consciousness. One thought was a heart attack, but my pain and symptoms reminded me of the gall stone attacked I had before my cholecystectomy. My pulse was 40 and my respirations were very slow. My BP was 120/48 at its lowest, which is a very low diastolic for me - usually closer to 80. It took all the energy I had to remain conscious. I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance and any cardiac problems were ruled out. My thoughts were an anxiety attack, but the doctor felt as though it was caused by gastric reflux. He also said the chest x-ray showed a touch of pneumonia in my right lung, but probably didn't lead to the symptoms I had today.
I'm a 36 year old female with no other health problems. When I told him my symptoms were just like those of gall stone attacks, he told me it was due to a response from my vagus nerve being stimulated during a painful episode. The ER was very busy and he didn't go into much depth, but should I have further tests to see if there could be a problem with my vagus nerve? Is this a normal response to pain for some people?
Vagus nerve is the 10th of the 12 cranial nerves. It starts in the brain stem and innervates the heart, lungs and stomach.Gastrointestinal illnesses like gastroenteritis, acute cholecystitis etc stimulate the vagus nerve.
Physical and emotional stress stimulates the sympathetic response, to overcompensate that, vagus nerve (parasympathetic stimulation) causes fall in blood pressure and slowing of the pulse rate.It is the normal reponse to pain.
It is important to maintain hydration in these situations as fainting can also occur due to vagal stimulation.
Do not worry as there is nothing wrong with your vagus nerve!
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