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Headache, nausea, light headedness, chest pressure, sweaty skin, fatigue. Tests normal. What has happened?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
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Three weeks ago I xperienced the worst headache of my life. I felt like my head was literally exploding. There was a sensation where it felt like liquad was going from one side of my head to another during this episode. I experienced nauseau, light headness to the point of lmost fainting, a pressure in my chest, hot clammy sweaty skin. For 3 straight weeks prior to this incident I was extremely fatigue. Needless to say, I was admitted into the hospital where I stayed for 2 days. Nothing on the CAT SCAN, nothing on the MRI, nothing in the blood. Also cholesterol reading 130 total cholesterol--HDL 89, 22 Trigs, 19 LDL. BP on that day was 188/78. Normal for me is 110/70 without any meds. Now BP is 112/70 at last reading without any meds. Weight 152 Age 45 Height 5'5. Routine workout schedule--dress size 8. What the heck happened?
Posted Tue, 22 May 2012 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar 5 hours later

The description of worst headache in life theoretically is described in Sub Arachnoid hemorrhage (leak in the brain coverings). Since the CT scan, MRI and others are non confirmatory we can attribute this headache to the peak in the Blood pressure reading.

It is about how acutely the blood pressure rises than what is the reading. Since your recorded BP during the incident was high and an acute rise from normal reading would have caused the headache. The other symptoms that were described are consistent with this possibility. When a sudden gush of blood enters the vessels of the brain this happens. The brain is surrounded by hard skull which cannot accommodate any space for the increased flow.

The next steps to follow are monitor the blood pressure consistently. BP diary helps a lot. Though such a short rise in blood pressure in very unlikely to cause any damage, the chances of such an acute rise in the near future is high. The risk is gradually reduced over a period of time.

The reasons for an acute rise in BP are many and sometimes unexplainable. Your doctor can find out the right reason.

Let me know if I clarified your question.

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