My 30 year old friend, who has never had health issues before, has been having chronic dizzy spells for the past few months. There can be up to 5 dizzy spells an hour. Is it likely she has a pituitary tumor, or is there another explanation for this?
When you say dizzy, to you mean like the room spinning, off balance feeling, light-headed, graying/whiting/blacking out or ? There can be a lot of reasons for dizziness, from an inner ear (vestibular) problem to anemia to brain tumor to a neck problem to a blood pressure issue, to a blood vessel issue and likely a host of other things as well. Does your friend get dizzy in certain positions, with exertion, when she moves different ways, with stressful situations, regardless of what's happening or ?
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Yes, brain tumor can be a cause if there are other neurological symptoms. In your friend’s case polycystic ovarian disease or GERD with or without H pylori infection are the two conditions to be ruled out first. Other conditions to be strongly ruled out in her case could be cervical spinal nerve compression, Meniere’s disease of the ear, wax in the ear, infection of the middle or inner ear, and benign intracranial hypertension. Hence it is important to consult an ENT specialist and a neurologist too. At times back and neck problems may persist for years before they really start giving trouble. Chances of TMJ too should be looked into. Other causes are anemia, hypoglycemia or low sugar and some endocrine problems, such as an underactive thyroid (called hypothyroidism), overactive thyroid (called hyperthyroidism), adrenal insufficiency (called Addison's disease), low blood sugar levels, and in some cases, diabetes, may lead to hypotension and hence lightheadedness and an off balance feeling. It is really difficult to comment on the net. I suggest you consult her PCP to run the basic investigations and get an insight into what could be the cause. Depending on clinical examination and tests, your PCP can refer you to the appropriate specialist. Hope this helps. Please feel free to ask anything else you may want to know. Take care!
It is more likely that she has a blood pressure problem, a blood sugar problem or Meneire's Syndrome which is caused by fluid in the ears and the equilibrium constantly being off balanced. She should see a doctor to check for these problems. Brain tumor is not always the cause of these symptoms though it could be, but a simple MRI could diagnose that. But I would check for the other problems listed above in the mean time.
When I say dizzy, I mean like spinning. She says that everything is always spinning, since she constantly gets these spells every day, regardless of what she's doing. She has had tests done and her blood sugar is normal and blood pressure fine, a little low if anything. What is GERD? I really hope it is some kind of inner ear problem, because that seems the best of all these possibilities. I'll suggest she sees an ENT doctor. Also, she should be getting an MRI soon. Thank you for your responses.
GERD is gastroesophageal reflux disease- it's when acid is abundant and goes up where it's not supposed to.
As to your answer to my question about what you meant by dizziness- then what your friend has is called vertigo and she definitely should be getting a referral to an ENT for vestibular testing. I hope she doesn't have Meneire's disease!
And it wouldn't hurt to get a ferritin check on her blod if she hasn't had one since her symptoms have been so bad to see if her iron stores are low, as this a frequent problem in women. Also, get orthostatic blood pressures taken, since her blood pressure tends to the low side and see what those numbers are..
I'd like to try to help- can you give me more information? CT scan of what? Was it of the neck, which is part of the balance system? Was it of the head to check for brain tumor? (The proper scan to search for a pituitary tumor, which you wondered if your friend has, is a dynamic MRI of the pituitary, with and without contrast, as unless it was very large, a CT scan could easily miss a pituitary tumor.)
Regarding her ears being checked- as she had a VNG test? What ways has she had her ears checked?
Regarding the tests run on her blood - what tests? Endocrine hormones? Ferritin testing?
Did she get orthostatic blood pressures and pulses taken? Has she ever had a tilt table test done by an electrophysiologist?
Thanks for wanting to help! The CT was of her head, to check for a brain tumor. I'm not sure if she's had an MRI (we are coworkers and our insurance *****). I'm not exactly sure how they checked her ears...what is a VNG test? As far as the blood tests, I know they did blood sugar and hormone levels, not sure about ferritin. Her blood pressure is normal...I would hope they took orthostatic blood pressure. Negative on the tilt table test, what exactly does that check for?
Some people, myself including, don't use that kind of language, which is likely why the bot blanked it out for us. But I got the drift you didn't care for it by the asteriks.
Anyway, when going through insurance, there would likely have to be something to trigger to get the dynamic MRI of the pituitary- whether it be a loss of peripheral vision in a field of vision test or an abnormal hormone test(s) that the pituitary has something to do with. Has your friend had a field of visiont test? What hormone tests did they get done (was every base covered)?
A ferritin (iron stores) test is very important and can be ordered by a primary care physician. Low iron can make a person feel dizzy. My doctor says the best iron indicator is ferritin. And you can have low iron with a normal CBC- I've had that in the past.
A VNG test is one an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) dr. would order to check out the vestibular system- it tracks the movement of a person's eyes during it. See PM for further explanation. A parent had this test recently, ordered by a fairly local ENT doctor.
A tilt table test would be if she had a dramatic fluctuation in pulse and/or blood pressure between laying down and standing. It is used to diagnose such things as what I have- postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). I get light-headed and sometimes my vision starts to go grey (or with arms up, it can go white) with it.
With the blood tests, did they check the electrolytes to make sure those were in balance? Is she drinking at least 6 glasses of water or other non-dehydrating liquid a day? Did they check kidney function to make sure those aren't failing, as that can cause dizziness as well?
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