Vaso-Vagal Discussion

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vaso-vagal or agoraphobia?

From: Dawn


I only discovered this forum recently and haven't managed to read all the posts yet so please forgive me if I'm covering old ground here. I was diagnosed at the age of 20 as suffering from agoraphobia; I'm now 51 and have suffered from the same symptoms during all this time. My first attack came as I hurried to work one morning, I suddenly felt I was going to pass out and felt incredibly weak and dizzy. I managed to get to work but still felt rotten there; however, the feelings passed and that was that. This happened again though some days later and after that I began to feel afraid of a recurrence in public. The thought of passing out when surrounded by strangers or in the middle of heavy traffic was scary, and I began to avoid putting myself into these sorts of situations. I often felt quite weak and dizzy at home, but it just didn't seem to matter so much there. When I eventually sought medical help they tested me for anaemia, I don't remember having my BP taken but I suppose they must have done. They couldn't find anything wrong with my heart either, so since I had started to avoid public places the diagnosis was agoraphobia.

A number of years later I was having episodes of very fast heartbeat and was prescribed a low dose of beta-blocker to slow my heart. Trouble is, with already having low BP (which I had found out in the meantime) my BP went even lower! I still have to take this beta-blocker; if I don't take it my heart rate soars. And of course my BP is still far too low. I feel ill both at home and in public places, but I do avoid going to public places on my own so am still considered to be agoraphobic. I don not suffer from panic attacks, just these feelings of faintness and weakness. I nearly always feel faint on standing up after having been seated; I get a squeezing sensation in my stomach and sometimes in my throat which makes me feel very faint. Does anyone else here get these feelings of squeezing or pressure in their stomach or throat?

Sorry for this long post but I would like to know if anyone has the same experiences as I have. It does help to read about other people, although it sounds as though some people have been through a very harrowing time. It seems odd to me that low BP can cause many nasty symptoms, yet the medical profession seems to say ‘Nothing we can do, just live with it’ and that’s that.

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