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Blurred vision, rapid heartbeat, high BP, syncopal episodes, seizures

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2000
Answered : 451 Questions
I have a problem where my vision becomes blurred, my heart beats rapidly, increased blood pressure and sudden sweating/clammyness. People around me say I go very pale just before passing out. This sometimes causes a type of seizure (when out I go very rigid, clench teeth, regain consciousness after 2 - 3 minutes and will respond to people but won't become 'aware' again for another 45-60 minutes and don't remember the 'seizure'). Has gone on since in my 20s (I am now 41). I have had 5 tonic clonic type seizures during two pregnancies. Do not normally do seizure part if not pregnant (am not now). A neurologist has checked and ruled out epilepsy, recent CT scan is normal. This time the eyesight/sweating/rapid heatbeat etc went on for over 20 minutes and then kept coming back over the next two hours. Normally it is over relatively quickly. This time I have also had a tingly right arm and right side of face and lost some feeling and use of my legs for 3 days (they were heavy and I had difficulty moving them and walking which has improved slowly). Reflexes are normal in legs, except my feet do not respond to the spike thing being run up them. Have normal feeling when legs are touched and no leg pain. I am now waiting for a cardiac referral as it is believed my heart beat is becoming irregular for some reason (this eyesight/rapid heartbeat etc) is more likely to happen if I have a cold or am sick, this week I have had a virus) - is it likely to be my heart as its quite scary and after a few years of "I don't know" its a little frustrating!
Posted Fri, 13 Apr 2012 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Jagdish 9 hours later

The symptoms you describe fits into category called Syncopal episodes. It could be seizures. But you said epilepsy ruled out (To rule out seizures you need EEG and CT brain) by an expert Neurologist. Good to know that.

Syncopal attacks needs a major cardiac evaluation. All the symptoms and description of babinski's sign ( feet do not respond to spike ) are going towards inadequate blood supply to the brain. Thus brain is automatically throwing you down. It tries to get its blood supply when you fall down. The blood flow increases to the brain.

Now the question is why is there a low blood supply to the brain ( against the gravity), is it the pump failure ( pump is heart here).

Regarding the work up for Syncopy, you need EKG/ECG, 24 Holter Monitoring, and Echocardiogram. You can get these done with the help of due to vasovagal phenomenon. Vasovagal syncopy also cause increased heart rate, high BP, dizziness temporarily. It happens when you are urinating, having bowel movements, when you are hungry, and when you are afraid of some thing.

Make sure your blood work , CBC, BUN, Creatinine, electrolytes, lipid profile , and blood pressure at rest are normal. Discuss the results with General Practitioner.

I will be available to answer your follow up queries.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Blurred vision, rapid heartbeat, high BP, syncopal episodes, seizures 34 hours later
Thanks for your answer, the hospital has referred me as an outpatient and I was advised yesterday I will be having 48 hour holster and an echocardiogram. They are also discussing the possibility of a loop recorder.

Could a cold/flu/virus be a trigger? Apart from when I was pregnant and had seizures, the other episodes are usually if I am not well in some way. The latest one I had seen the doctor the day before with my neck and right arm glands slightly up, temperature, slight chest inflammation. I also tend to get cluster headaches which have been more frequent over the last year, could this also be some sort of trigger?]
Answered by Dr. Jagdish 13 hours later

Thank you for the answer.

Simple viral infections can trigger certain symptoms, may not be to an extent of seizure. I have not heard of cluster headache but migraines do cause syncope.

Hope this helps.

Wish you Good Health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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