Vaso-Vagal Discussion

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Chronic Unsteadiness and lightheadedness

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From: William


I am a male/46 who first passed out in 10/2004 two hours after playing flag football, with a few incidents of syncope thereafter. Prior to that time I worked out regularly (bench pressed well over 300 lbs) and had recently trained and competed in the 100 meter dash. Since that time I have been constantly unsteady while standing (like a toddler walking) and sometimes while seated (like being jostled), and lightheaded, except when lying down. I received a pacemaker in 02/2005 after undergoing a tilt table test (I fainted after 45 seconds and my heart stopped for 20 seconds). I tried Toprol but it worsened the symptoms and made me fatigued. I am slowly getting better, but still can't stand in queue for any reasonable length of time so I avoid airline travel, shopping, amusement parks, etc. I avoid large open stores and have a sensitivity to bright, florescent lights. I often fatigue when walking a flight of stairs. On rare occasions, the symptoms disappear for the day, but often are worst with a bad nights sleep (I can usually tell the day I will have upon waking in the morning). To complicate matters, I was diagnosed with vocal cord cancer in 03/2004, had six weeks of radiation, and a reoccurance in 9/05 which resulted in my left true vocal cord being removed (this type of cancer is associated with smokers/drinkers which I never did). Speaking with one vocal cord aggravates the unsteadiness and lighheadedness. The physicians sense that the cancer and manipulation of the voice box during sugery may have set off the syncope problem. Nonetheless, do any others have or experience the symptoms that I have (e.g., the chronic unsteadiness and lightheadedness), and if so, has anything helped alleviate them (other than copius amounts of water, salt, etc.)? Thanks for your assistance.

This web site is not a substitute for a thorough medical evaluation and diagnosis of your vaso-vagal type symptoms.  Medical treatment and diagnosis is the only acceptable initial response to these serious symptoms since they might present from any number of life threatening and treatable illnesses. It is for you and your physician to rule out more serious illnesses; Please don't use this online forum as an alternative to getting responsible medical attention and being under the care of a physician for the duration of any unknown, suspected or dangerous vaso-vagal syndrome symptoms.
Last changed: June 22, 2007