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Brain fog and dizziness
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Brain fog and dizziness

40 year old woman, weigh 102, 5'4". Have always been in excellent health with occasional bouts of anxiety. Have symptoms of stomach ulcer, take prevacid.  In 1996, had a mysterious, bullseye rash on each thigh, and each buttock.  I tested negative for Lyme disease, lupus, and HIV.  In 1998, I had dull, but severe pain in left arm and severe anxiety, sweating, and breath shortness for a couple hours.  I recovered and didn't see a doctor then.  Shortly after that, I developed an occasional very strong palpitation, only one at a time, about once a week.  Then, a couple times, I had long runs of them for hours.  Last August, I became very anxious and dizzy in class.  For two weeks, I was spacey, anxious, and dizzy.  The infirmiry gave me atarax and referred me to a cardiologist, who diagnosed benign PVCs, but didn't explain the brainfog, dizziness, and anxiety.  After two more weeks, the problem just lifted and I felt great, normal and continued normal activities.  While on a ski trip in January, had a long, hard run of PVCs for three days that would not let up. Cardio did stress test and said benign PVCs, but gave me Toprol to lessen them.  My BP is already low, Toprol wiped me out.  Stopped Top. in March b/c of dizziness and fatigue.  These symptoms continued tho and do not get any better. For four months, major complaint is severe brain fog and dizziness. Internist suggested autoimmune dysfunction and tilt-table test.  Evidence of mold in house.  This feels like something in my brain, but I do have occasional chest pains and shortness of breath, with anxiety.  Suggestions?
Tags: brain, lyme, test
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23 Comments
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Hey, just throwing some stuff your way - don't know if this is it but just a thought.  Have you had your thyroid checked?  I ask b/c hypothyroidism can cause palpitations if not being treated.  Brain fog and dizziness is also a possibility with this as well.  Hypo can also cause low body temp and low blood pressure.  B/C these symtpoms are attributed to so many things, doc sometimes have a hard time with diagnosis.  Sometimes they don't think of the simple stuff like thyroid...which is by no means simple in some cases (mine for example)  Just a thought...hope you get some answers soon!
Charley
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Thanks for the comments and suggestions.  My thyroid was checked a few months ago, but I was not very symptomatic at the time, and I hear that it is tricky to get an accurate diagnosis of hypothyroid, b/c it may or may not show up at any given time.  I think I will get it checked again just to be sure and go ahead with the tilt table also.  I just landed a new job with lots of responsiblity, but sadly my excitement has been tempered with a fear of feeling anxious and dizzy on that first day (you know, when you hang out with your boss all day!).  Right now, I afraid I won't make it through one day.  I hope I can get this resolved soon. This really bites.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had the same thing happen I went through all the same tests
my primary could not find anything wrong I finally went
to the emergency room and was checked into the hospital for
one night.  A cardiologist there put be on fludrocortisone
for Postural hypotension (low blood pressure when standing)
since you said your pressure was down maybe it is that just
a thought good luck I know how you feel.
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Avatar_f_tn
pchill,
A bullseye rash is a symptom of Lyme Disease.

Here is a page of rash pictures to compare with:
http://www.canlyme.com/rash.html

Carol
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Avatar_n_tn
did the doctor check for mini strokes
this can lead to multiple infarct dementia
THIS IS POSSIBLE BUT NoT LIKELY; and it doesn't fit with chest pain.
what does fit with the above symptoms is anxiety disorder
which is often misdiagnosed b/c the symptoms are so physical(attributed to the fight or flight syndrome) that you may not know you are having anxiety
while atarax/vistaril can treat anxiety- it's not as strong as other medications (but the plus side is it's non- addictive)
and it is only a bandaid
if it is anxiety disorder than you have a chemical imbalance that can easily be treated with an antidepressant. And some studies suggest that SSRI's such as prozac can help change your chemistry over time so that you may not need to take them for the rest of your life.
Good luck- I know with symptoms so vague it can be maddening getting to the right diagnosis
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Avatar_n_tn
sorry forgot to mention that anxiety disorders can cause mental fogginess, dizzyness, nausea, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, sweating, etc. and can be very fickle- coming a going randomly from hours to weeks to months- even showing up late in life for no apparent reason
luckily it is very treatable
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Thanks to everyone who has offered suggestions about my problem.  I saw an new internist who specializes in complex diagnoses and tomorrow he is doing a very comprehensive blood workup (glucose, liver, B12, electrolytes, lime titer and many other things, a bunch).  I think this is a better route than just saying, "you need a tilt table test."  The new doc says, let's start with the blood workup and go from there.  Anyway, if anyone reads this that has difficult or multiple symptoms, know that there are doctors that specialize in treating hard-to-diagnose illnesses.  And this workup will only cost me a $25 copayment, but a tilt table test (which is almost always done in a hospital) would have been $1000 out of pocket.  Thanks and I will post my results in hopes that I can help someone else.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi.  I have to say I know where you are coming from.  Except, I am 52, overweight and can't loose (even on 1100 calorie diet)  I have a jillion symptoms of hypothyroid from dizziness, brain fog, brittle hair, loss of outer eybrows, extreme fatigue, digestive issues, etc.  I have been to lots of doctors who ALL start with I think it is your tyroid, then they do the test, which comes back fine and from then, I'm just crazy in their eyes.  

Did you just pick an internest?   Referral?  I need to go elsewhere, but am afraid the new doc would wan te same tests again and again, that have been done, with no results.  

My dizziness, etc. is getting so bad I woder about strokes, but seem to be the only one worrying.  I just know it is NOT right and I don't feel normal!  I'd love to hear what you find out.

Nancy
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nancyj,
I searched the bios of the internists in my city.  I found one that specialized in "complex diagnoses".  Yesterday, I went for the initial workup and I was very impressed.  They took enough blood for about 15 different tests, gave me a baseline lung function test, then albuterol, then another lung function test, an EKG, chest xrays, and of course, urine test.  I didn't see the doc, but will go back in two weeks after he has time to review all the results. I feel so bad sometimes that I'm sure the end is near, but it's funny, because people don't realize I'm sick.  I saw an article somewhere "But you don't look sick".  These hard-to-diagnose ailments are very frustrating.  I was given atarax by one doc, that is an antihistamine that is good for anxiety.  Dries you up and puts you to bed.  I was dizzy as heck, but didn't really care (lol).  I have been surprized at the number of people that have similar symptoms to me and you and are undiagnosed.  I would cut off some fingers to feel better in the head.
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pchill God I know that foggy feeling.  I have experienced this for almost 4 years now.  I posted my case titled 'vertigo, brain lesions'.  I actually have 'multiple infarct' like lesions. (Probably congenital) ??
No one can tell me anything.  I am feeling like I have early onset dementia b/c it IS affecting my short term memory.  Sometimes I have a hard time putting my thoughts together to formulate a sentence.  Everyone says 'oh that happens to me too'.  Sometimes I can't remember what I did the day before. Please post your results.  It may shed some light for me.  Mostly I am told it's menopause.  Well I don't know anyone that gets brain lesions from MENOPAUSE.  Also, do you notice that dizziness gets worse with activity?  The more effort I put into something the worse it gets.  I also get exercis eionduce headaches and feel foggy and disoriented .  I can't exercise much but walk.  I WAS A COMPETITIVE BODYBUILDER!! Now I can't lift my 2 year old grandson without getting dizzy.  I hope you get your answer!!!
dansmomom
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PChill.  Yes, please post your results.  For the last 9 months, I have been experiencing "brain fog", some dizziness, fatigue, and ringing of the ears.  I was sick with the flu or an upper resp. ailment that put me in bed at Christmas.  One night after beginning to feel better, I went to bed and woke up with this confounded fog etc. and have had it every since.  I have exercised for years, running and weightlifting - always healthy.  I went to the Dr. and specialists and had about everything done; MRI, CAT, blood work, ENT, Opthamologist, Neurologist, and in at the end - nothing.  I have a friend who suggested cleansing.  The over-all cleansing did some good and I found that if I watch what I eat, drink, cut down on sugars then the fog isn't so bad.  All I can say is that with all that they never found out what was wrong.  It has been five months since the tests and the severity of the fog and ringing comes and goes depending on my rest, exercise and what I eat (I think??).  Right now if I had to gauge it on a scale of 1-5, then it would be a 4 but it never goes below a 1.5.  It is very annoying to say the least.  I am about to make another appointment and go through it again.  I too am going to look for a specialist that specializes in hard diagnosis.  Based on what I see in posts, I could have an anxiety disorder, Candida, Hep C, Lyme's, Meniere's, bi-polar disorder, or who knows what.  Hang in there all, and good luck PChill...I will be checking back.
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OK, so a week ago I began to have a tingling sensation on my left side.  At best, it was left fingers and toes, at worst, all left side including face.  At a staff meeting, I felt like I was going to black out, so I went out and went to the ER.  They did a CT scan and said there was a "fuzzy" place that they were worried about on the right side, so ordered a MRI.  That, they said, was normal.  Later, my internist said that "normal" to an ER doc is no tumor, no bleeding.  And all my blood screenings were normal, thyroid, glucose, B12, Albumin, liver function, everything.  But I had lost another pound since last week, down now to 99.  I eat regularly and doc says no signs of malnutrition, so he is concerned about the weight loss. He wants to rule out cancer, so has ordered some tests, colonoscopy, etc.  Also interesting, the PA noticed that I have an unusally straight back (I thought at first she was complimenting me.  But apparently, there is a thing called "straight back syndrome".  It is a lack of curvature in the upper spine, right between the shoulder blades. People with it often suffer from mitral valve prolapse, which may explain the pesky PVCs, brain fog, and dizziness.  The profile of someone with SBS is low body weight, flexible joints, neck tension,and arrhythmias. I fit them all.  The spine compresses the heart against the sternum and causes irregular heartbeats.  Weird.  Another concern is lime's disease-caused cardiac dysfunction (weak heart).  Any thoughts from anyone?
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pchill I would cut off some fingers to feel better in the head. laugh out loud same thing i was telling my friends i would loose a limb anyday to feel better in the head 3 months ago my right ear went plugged 2 wks after that i had severe headaches jaw pain wisdom teeth were killing me lump in throat blurry vision sensitive to light severe brain fog cant concentrate cant think feel like im retarded i noticed red circles around the colour parts of my eyes which came with the brain fog i have never had in my life before depression anxiety from feeling this way amongst other symptoms i cant recall atm because of this stupid brain fog i have seen my family doctor 3 times walk in clinic once ENT twice hospital once ,ct scan of my head, chest xray, bloodtests tons, hearing tests, mobiltiy tests, all clear no problems were found ahh also went to the dentist and got my wisdom teeth removed didnt help as of today i have no pain no headaches etc.. but still my right ear is plugged my eyes still have the red circles around the colour part of my eyes and i still cant think or concentrate feels like im on drugs looking through someone elses eyes spaced right out ahh and constantly tired 24/7 im only 22 year old male too feel this way really sucks :/ i lost my girlfriend i cant drive my car worried im gonna kill myself or someone else lack of perception lost my sense of time i use to drink and smoke pot i cant do either cause it just makes my brain fog 100x worst i use to have a high tolerance to alcohol now 1 beer and i need to find a bed to lay down in :/ i quit smoking as well ... my next step is an appointment with a neuroligist i figure ill tell him my right ear is plugged and the red circles around my eyes which he can see and the brain fog instead of rambling on i took 2 weeks vacation from work dreading going back but im not giving up ill do anything to feel normal again i know im not crazy though i feel that way i have symptoms ear plugged eyes have red circles around them .. anyways best of luck to all of u i feel ur pain its brutal :/
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Hi,

I also have been experiencing brain fog/fuzziness, off and on for a few months.  It started with sore muscles in my legs after a few sleepless nights, then tingling in my right foot.  I have been to see a neurologist and am going for an MRI (the second one in a year).  My biggest fear is Multiple Sclerosis.  I am 39 years old and have a baby who is 1.  It really is a horrible feeling to not be able to feel like you can fully focus.  I've also read that autoimmune diseases like fibromyalga (fibromyalgia) and chronic fatique syndrome can cause brain fog.  Hope you all can find some answers and get on the road to recovery.
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Im getting myself tested for vector borne diseases lyme disease etc.. i was bitten like 80 times this spring by mosquito's god knows what else my cat is sick im sick my roomate is sick something is going on! so i pray they find something this brain fog i cant deal with much longer im trying everything!
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Avatar_n_tn
I also plan on being tested for Lyme due to all of these same symptoms noted on this post. The most severe is head pressure, dizziness, heart palpitations and brain fog. From what I am reading from Lyme websites and forums is that most of the Lyme test that Doctors do come back as false negatives because the test are not reliable due to the way these labs test. There is a lab called Igenex that specializes in Lyme testing and the way they test is different. They do Western Blots which is suppose to be fairly accurate. You have to get your Dr to agree to accept the test kit, when it comes in He/She has to order the proper test via a form, you have to have the blood drawn and spun at a hospital and FedEx'd back to them. You will get the results in 5-10 business days. My problem is with $$$ as it is expensive but it will be worth it. I have been living with these problems for too long and have been to many doctors and they do not know what is wrong.

Good luck!
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Thanks OB Girl.  Based on my own research, I believe that I have chronic Lyme disease. The only test I have ever been given is Lyme titer and I know that can very often a false negative.  I had the classic bullseye rash, swollen lymph nodes, and fever 9 years ago.  Now I have the migrating joint pain, brain fog, lightheadedness, severe fatigue.  I think I need to go to a new internist and just say, "OK, I believe I have chronic Lyme disease based on all this, can you give me the ELISA and western blots."  That info was very helpful.
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I've been fighting a similar problem for years now.  I was going through a bout of symptoms about 3 years ago with dizziness, head pressure, heart palpitations, shortness of breath and sensitive hearing.  The doctors ran innumerous tests on me, from stress tests and MRIs to a lumbar puncture.  They found white spots on the brain MRIs, so they tested me for Lyme disease, but the results were negative.  I don't know which testing methods they used, so I wonder if they could've been a false negative.  I am now in the midst of a recurrence of these symptoms and they scare the hell out of me.  I often have episodes where I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack, but I really don't want to go through all of these tests again just for them to throw up their hands and say 'I don't know'.
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Oh, and in addition to the last post, I forgot to mention the very painful joints in my two big toes which have just come about in the last year and a half.  I know joint pain is a symptom of late stage Lyme disease.
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Often times Lyme disease is misdiagnosed. There are several strains. Insist on being tested for all types.

My husband had suffered from dizziness, vertigo and imbalance for over 20 years. He got to the point where he couldn't work, drive or walk unassisted. We finally found Dr. Carey at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore who diagnosed him with Superior Canal Dehisence. It required inner-cranial surgery, but 1 week after surgery and he is already well on his way to recovery!
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Last year around this time, I developed a nagging pain in the right buttocks, never stopping, after standing for any period of time it would get worst, at the end of the day it will always hurt more.  As the time went by I began to have a stiffness in my neck and shoulder area, again, at times it would feel very bad and sometimes it would let up some, but never leaving... I too seen my family doctor, then she advised me to see a rhumatologist, she treated me for arthritis for many months, little relief, finally she suggested an MRI, which showed nothing, then she suggested I see a neurosurgeon for council on the MRI results.. he could not find anything odd on the MRI, he suggested I go for a Lymes Disease test, which I did, results were negative, at this time I have joint pain, back pain, blurred eyesight, neck and shoulder stiffness, my feet burn and tingle, which has led me to even more depression and a lot of concern... now I have been asked by the neurosurgeon to have a lyme titer test done, it this different than the "normal" lyme disease blood test?  ALI
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Check LEAKY GUT SYNDROME! most people dont eat well and have problems with there digestive track and dont realize that could be causing multiple things. i have had brain fog, fatigue and sinus problems that include headaches. I have taken zoloft and xanax with nothing helping other than i dont feel down about my problems with brain fog. I dont get anxiety to with xanax. I have a hiatal hernia that i use to take nexium for 7 years. i thought that finally the nexium was causing the problem but stopped 4 months ago with no help. i do however have more than usual fatty tumors around my upper torso. the dr. has removed 8 in the last 8 years and all came back fine. he said my body has problems processing the bad foods and this is the bodies way of ridding them. i am hoping that my problems may be from leaky gut and i am going to try to take aloe juice and eat better to see if it helps. i also plan to go to dr. and get tested for leaky gut. i will post if any results. by the way have had ct scan and blood work done which all came back normal. dr. will wont always diagnose you right the first or second time. research until you cant anymore and try everything until you find what is wrong.  
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1108319_tn?1258296187
I am experiencing same symptoms. 32 yrs old male...past two weeks of brain fog, extreme fatigue, dizziness and nausea. I have done blood work, EKG, chest xray, H1N1....all back normal. Any other opinions would be great. Had mono ten yrs ago and diagnosed then with CFS
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Its lyme disease.
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