Sunday, February 01, 2009

Low pressure front

For my entire life, I have had dizzy spells. They primarily hit me when I stand up, though not at once. I take a few steps, sometimes go twenty feet or so, and then I can feel it coming. My ears start to buzz and dots creep in around the sides of my eyes. I learned early on that the best thing I can do once it starts is to grab onto something and stay very still until it passes. If I'm not close to any support, I can usually wait it out if I don't move at all.

Stress can make the dizzy spells worse, bringing them on when I haven't changed levels. That's when I know it's time to find some quiet time.

The last time I fainted, I was about 14. I got up out of bed and started over to my closet when it hit. I had enough time to move just a bit closer to my bed and to half-lower-myself/half-fall onto the mattress. Things went dark for just a few seconds.

The last time I fainted, at least, until this week. Several nights ago, I wasn't sleeping well anyway, and then Zee started to get into some dishes. I got out of bed in order to see what he was doing, but only got as far as my dresser before the dots started. My sight went completely as I gripped the dresser, and then my knees started to buckle. Sheer will, and little else, kept me upright.

And then a couple mornings ago, I was enjoying family time in bed. I'd already gotten up a couple times, so I thought nothing of getting up again and heading to the bathroom. I got to the vanity when it started. Again, my sight was gone as I grabbed the vanity. But it didn't pass.

Next thing I knew, I was on the floor, my feet scrabbling to gain purchase again. Trillian was there within a second or two. I would say that I just sort of slid to the floor, but Trillian says it was the thud that brought her in.

Now I tend towards lowish blood pressure anyway and have long recognized this as responsible for the worst of my dizziness. Since gaining weight and having Scooter, it's been closer to normal/low-normal, so the recent severity of my dizzy spells has been worrisome.

When we got to my in-laws', I borrowed a blood pressure cuff and discovered that it was about 10 points lower (both systolic and diastolic) than the last time I had it measured. Which doesn't surprise me all that much since I get involuntarily tense anytime a professional takes my blood pressure. The lowest reading came in the morning, before I'd even sat up: 88/58, which is officially low. My pulse, too, has been sitting around 60, sometimes lower, which is what one might expect to see with an elite athlete. (Hint: I am not an elite athlete.)

So, on the off chance, I started googling the various supplements I am taking--suggested by my endocrinologist in order to fight my low-level, chronic inflammation--along with low blood pressure. Turns out that in general anything that will fight inflammation will also lower blood pressure. Omega-3s and boswellia both have a mild impact on blood pressure. The main culprit, however, appears to be the magnesium I am taking, not directly for inflammation, but to improve neural and muscular functioning. It calms down misfires and improves the efficiency of many biochemical reactions throughout the body. That first part... that's why it can be so powerful in lowering blood pressure. It is frequently used for treating pre-eclampsia.

I'll be trying to get into the doctor tomorrow--somehow the whole fainting thing has convinced Trillian I should. Not sure if I'll get any closer to an answer. But in the meantime, I've stopped taking the magnesium and boswellia and have cut the Omega-3s back to a regular dose. It would be nice to stay upright tomorrow morning.


kgirl said...

Oh yikes. I also have really low bp, which, I'm told, is good in the long run. Not so good when I'm sliding down the wall at work because something has thrown my oh-so-fragile body chemistry off.

Aliki2006 said...

Dizzy spells are *no good*--I'm glad you're going to the doctor!