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Avatar universal

chronic lightheadedness

I'm a previously healthy, 28 year old male. Last December I had a bad head cold (runny nose and sore throat) that lasted approximately 5 days. Then one day I woke up extremely dizzy lightheaded accompanied by an acute frontal headache and slight fatigue. The dizziness was so acute that I missed an entire week of work and visited my family doctor twice. He ran CBC, thyroid, and blood sugar tests which all came back normal. Unfortunately, he was clueless and completely unhelpful not even referring me to an ENT or neurologist (I had to do that on my own).

The symptoms gradually improved to the point where the dizziness and headaches sort of plateaued  to a livable level but are almost always present. However, when I wake in the morning, I usually feel fine, but as the day progresses, so do the symptoms. Interestingly, the dizziness and the headache often appear independently. The lightheadedness is more frequent and acute, while the headaches tend to be mild frontal or sore left eye.

Other prominent symptoms: fatigue, stiff and sore neck, buzzing or vibrating when I talk, "brain fog", difficulty speaking late in the afternoon when I am fatigued, ringing in the ears, muscle twitching, sudden allergy to Ibuprofen, and extremely dry and flaky skin on cheeks and nose.

Tests which have come back normal include: CT of brain, MRI w/ contrast, echocardiogram, hearing, ENT evaluation, and neurological exam. Stress levels are low, and I don't feel depressed. Neurologists and Internist don't have any good suggestions.

Any ideas?
15 Responses
Avatar universal
Sorry to hear about your symptoms, glad the workup to date has been normal. In the setting of a preceding respiratory infection (cold), the acute attack of dizziness which kept you at home for a week was probably a vestibular neuronitis or neuropathy. As in your case it does get better in a matter of days and then resolves after several weeks. Medications such as meclizine and possibly a scopolamine patch may help and vestibular therapy (special type of physical therapy for dizzy patients) has improved symptoms in a  number of our patients. Meniere's disease is also a possibility with your report of ringing in the ears. This goes away with time and is trated with meclizine. What's concerning about your case however, is the other symptoms that you;re reporting such as the stiff neck and "brain fog". A chronic meningitis needs to be considered. Consider going to a major academic or clinical center for a second opinion. A spinal tap may be necessary for further evaluation depending on the neuro exam findings. Good luck.
Avatar universal
I have been having the exact same problem for almost a year now and I have even written on this site about 5-10questions below.  I have done the same things you have and have had no success in finding a solution.  Doctors at times seem like they dont care or simply given up on me.  I just try to manage my symptoms now with moderate exercise, diet, acupuncture, and chiropractic.  Definitely give chiropractic a try.
I also found that valium helps sometimes, but makes me feel very tired and sleepy.  Good luck and if you find a solution please give me an e-mail: ***@**** and I will do the same for ya.
Avatar universal
check out the forums at
Avatar universal
I'll be very interested in hearing what the answer is on this one because your symptoms are very similar to those experienced by the man I care for.  We are currently investigating treatments for sleep apnea and asthma, since no neurological basis can be found for his symptoms.  Those may be things you could consider if no other reason for your symptoms can be found.  Do you snore?  Is there someone who can observe you sleeping and tell you if you stop breathing?  Sleep apnea is known to cause lightheadedness and consequently dizziness.  I'd definitely recommend checking out some sites that can give you some idea of whether you might have this problem going on.  You'll find a million of them if you do a search for it.  Good luck!
Avatar universal
Didn't think it was important, but I am a sleepwalker(somnambulism and pavor nocturnus) and have been since approximately age 13.

I have "episodes" 1 to 5 times a week, and they are more acute when I'm fatigued. I haven't compiled a daily log, but I have NOT noticed any correlation between sleepwalking episodes and my stated symptoms the following day.
Avatar universal
... And I'm no doctor, nor am I trying to diagnose you.  I just have been surprised by some of the things I have learned about the symptoms of sleep disorders, and thought, since no other basis is coming to light, it might be worth considering.  If you do have sleep apnea, I hope you are aware of the importance of treating it, too.  It can cause some serious health problems unrelated to any neuro symptoms it might be associated with.  As I said, good luck, and if you can, please keep us apprised here of what happens.  I'll be very interested to know your results.
Avatar universal
Would you email me at  ***@****.  I have some information on night terrors (pavor nocturnus) to share with you, but I am beginning to feel this forum should be reserved for the doctors, rather than you and I filling it up with commentary.
Avatar universal
Could these symptoms be caused by a mold allergy? We discovered a slow water leak in our house shortly before my health deteriorated. It completely damaged our tile and some drywall. The contractors who repaired it claimed they couldn't see any mold, and the insurance company doesn't test for mold unless it is visible- duh!
Anyway, is this something to pursue further or is it a red herring? I don't have any major respiratory symptoms (the occasional runny nose notwithstanding) though over the same time period my 18-month old baby has had one respiratory illness after another. He was a very healthy baby prior to this. However, my wife and 7-year old seem unaffected.
And if it is a mold allergy, why do I feel fine first thing in the morning and worsen as the day progresses when I am typically away from my house at work?
Avatar universal
We have just discovered molds(different varities) in our basement in our 10 year old home due to a sump pump back up 3 times this past winter. My husband and I(not my 25 year old daughter...no symptoms) started feeling shakey and weak and started having throat problems such as swelling along with troubled and forced breathing. My problems may be in part due to herniated cervical disks causing some of my problems but both my husband and myself do have some similarities.

We contacted an environmental agency who told us how to get rid of our mold problem which we're doing right now by taking out drywall, wood structures, etc. We had to turn off the air last week and this was a killer since it's been almot 100 degrees in Michigan. Once we are finally rid of our mold problem I'll be interested to see if our symptoms still persist.
Avatar universal
Wow, those are the exact same symptoms I have and they were also originally caused by a cold.  I constantly have brain fog which unfortunately causes short-term memory loss and a hard time thinking straight.  I've had an MRI, 2 EEGs, and a BrainSPECT scan and nothing came up.  I've been diagnosed with hypochondriasis (health anxiety) and prescribed Effexor XR and Buspar.  The Buspar helps a little bit, but it's too early in the Effexor trial to say if it works or not.
Avatar universal
I have very similar symptoms. About 6 months ago, I started having what I thought were symptoms related to sinus problems. I was given allergy medications (ClaritinD, allegra, flonase, and himibidLa), nothing has helped. I wake up feeling great and get worse as the day goes on. By the end of the day I'm really tired and all I want to do is go to bed. I feel like I
Avatar universal
Hello all. My wife recently dealt with something similar, and I found your discussion while searching for a friend, also in the same boat.  Wanted to mention diet. There seem to be many web discussion groups about debilitating symptoms which are so general that experts seem unable to diagnose. And since our medical culture seems to focus on: have a test, find the bad thing, kill the bad thing with drugs; some of the basic things like nutrition aren't even on the radar. Don't mean to offend any doctors, but few of them seem to focus on a patient's entire situation. Its good for patients to be proactive.

We all know we're supposed to eat well. But few of us realize the direct impact diet can have on daily physical well being. If you want an excellent overall view of this topic, check out Dr. Andrew Weil at drweil.com

I think that many of the symptoms in your original post could be related to Candida -a form of common yeast which gets the upper hand in your body and basically becomes a really bad parasite -draining your entire body of vitality. Candida has been linked by doctors to Labrynthitis (inner ear infection) -a vaguely understood cause of severe diziness. Having skin issues seems to be common with parasitic problems in general, but of course is related to Candida (as it's yeast -think athlete's foot, dandruff or genital yeast infection).

Give your diet a really good look. I don't mean following the food pyramid on the back of a cereal box. I mean, try a hard-core healthy diet for 2 weeks, and see if it relieves anything: tons of vegetables(especially leafy-greens), ***lots of fiber***, lighter on the meats and fats. Try cutting out virtually all ***sugar and bread***! Add a bunch of garlic, onions & ginger to the diet. Move away from vegetable oils, and towards olive oil. Cut out coffee and milk. Make some nice herbal green teas. Needless to say, eating **** (mcdonalds, quickie-mart food, frozen pies, all-you-can-eat buffets) are out all together. Eat organic -go hippy for a while. Given the junky food we're surrounded by -its not easy. But if the illness is that bad, this is worth a trial-run.

The point is not only to get the right kind of stuff into you, but to keep your digestive tract "moving." With a good diet and enough fiber, you should be having a bowel movement twice a day. This is one key to eliminating parasitic problems (of which Candida is one). In a healthy gut, food is ready to "leave you" about 8 hours after you eat it.  

One other tip -go to the local health-food store and look for an Omega-3 oil supplement. Its interesting to find here postings about sleep disorders, fatigue and skin conditions. My son has had relief from night-terrors and attention deficit disorder-like symptoms with these oils. The brain is 60% structural fat -and these fats are vital for good brain function. They are also reputed to help skin conditions that reacted to no other medicines. These oils are found in abysmally small amounts in the modern western diet.  

Altering diet has helped my wife and I re-invigorate after entering our 30's; while having to deal with the first real issues of "getting older." We have 3 kids, a very active life, and find that we really have to watch what we put into ourselves if we want to feel good. And things like dandruff, athlete's foot and fatigue have all been helped a lot by changing diet. I'm not trying to minimize the seriousness of what you're dealing with -only offering an important and often neglected part of the bigger health picture. My sincere wishes for success in your healing process.
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