Vaso-Vagal Discussion

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My story

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From: Jim


Hi, I am a 37 year old male. About 3 years ago I started having the symptons. I fainted several times one night while fighting the flu and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. They thought it was just the flu. For the next month I continued having vagal problems: light-headed, dizzy, exhausted, weakness in limbs, lethargic breathing. I fainted again several times the day after Christmas. In the ER they found my heart rate dropping down to 34 beats a minute with each fluctuation of my symptons. Prior to that visit I spent the month having EKGs, EEGs, heart halters, etc. I was relieved to prove I wasn't crazy or having panic attacks. Since the first time, I've taken and passed two tilt table tests. I was awake for the full 45 minutes both times. Now, after having 3 doctors, 2 cardiologists and two neurologists all study me, the general consensus is Vaso-Vagal. My new Dr. and I believe the problem emanates from my neck. I used to work out a lot and do a very heavy shoulder workout (90 lb. dumbell presses--not trying to brag just trying to explain the catalyst). My doctor believes that my neck muscles, when built up (or if I have a stiff neck), cause these symptons. They last anywhere from several days to several months. I no longer work out because of this, but I have had a stiff neck lately from stress and a lousy new pillow. I have been woozy and the like for 3 weeks now. And the anxiety that builds does not help the situation.

If you drive a lot or work on computer all day or are stressed, this may be the cause of your vagol symptons. The nerve does run through the neck. They tell me there's no cure for this vaso vagal syncope. Sadly, in a way it is ruining my life. I have a 9 month old son. I am worried about passing out while driving or giving him a bath--among other worries. I work in NYC. I am afraid I might stumble onto the subway tracks. And I have gained 10 pounds of fat and lost all muscle tone because I just can't go to the gym anymore. Even when I jog, it sometimes exacerbates the problem. I even begin to feel it often in malls, large stores, lobbies, on the train, etc. The only positive point is that the few times I did faint, I was fighting a flu of some kind and it does take me a good 30 seconds or so to pass out and I can prepare for it.

I haven't heard how man men are suffering from this. From what I see on the board, it is mostly women. I'm glad however, and not glad, that there are others out there with the same problem. For months people didn't understand or believe me. But I wish it would stop. I need to be healthy for my family.

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