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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

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Suggest remedy for dizziness and shortness of breath

Answered by
Dr. Benard Shehu


Practicing since :2004

Answered : 2254 Questions

Posted on Tue, 2 Sep 2014 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Question: Lately, I've been a bit concerned about my heart. About a year ago, I started getting dizzy & lightheaded very often, usually after I had been sitting for a while and got up or when I got down on my knees to pick something up and then got up. This also affects my vision, in that it gets blurry for a while and then returns to normal. If I try to walk during these "episodes", I walk like a drunk person.

Because of these episodes, I started monitoring my heart more closely with a home heart rate monitor. My blood pressure readings are constantly good, this mornings readings were 119 SYS, 73 DIA. It's the actual pulse rate that worries me. Every time I take my readings, my pulse is near 50, sometimes even below. Even when standing up, it rarely gets above 60. I guess I just might have a strong heart, but I'm not really in especially fit condition either. I'm 186cm & 90kg. I don't do any sports regularly, although I do go out for a walk / jog a few times a week when I get the chance.

My home heart rate monitor has a feature that is supposed to show heart arrhythmia. This signal shows up on the device nearly every time I take my readings. I had my sister take her readings with the device (multiple times) and she never got the same symbol. Is this something to worry about?

In addition to the dizziness, I also have shortness of breath / difficulty breathing sensations quite often (started a few years back already). I've always connected that to my reflux symptoms, but I'm not sure if that's the case or not. Also sometimes when I've been sleeping for a while, I wake up to a choking type of sensation where I feel like I can't breath and must gasp my breath for a while to get back to normal. This happens rarely and I'm not sure if it's connected to my heart or not. It has happened a few times when in bed and also in a car, when I was taking a nap lately.

I had a branch retinal vein occlusion a few years ago and they did scan my heart at that time when trying to find out what caused the clot to get to my retina. Supposedly the ultra came back clear at that time.

Should I see a specialist regarding my symptoms and if so, what tests would you recommend to get back on track with this? Thank you!
Answered by Dr. Benard Shehu 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
Yes,should go back and track with this immediately

Detailed Answer:
Hi Jlliikala,

I have through your query carefully and I think you should get back and track with all you experience. Your symptoms are suggestive for vasovagal presyncope and needs immediate evaluation by cardiologist. I also suggest to run further diagnostic tests:
- Holter monitoring
- cardiac echo
- Tilt Test

Hope it helped!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Shanthi.E
Follow up: Dr. Benard Shehu 47 minutes later
Thank you for the answer!

I recently (3 months ago) wore XXXXXXX 2 Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor ( for 24-hours. The results of that test were normal according to my doctor. Is this similar to holter monitoring or is that a different test?

In the past 5 years, I've fainted 2 times that I recall. The other one came on suddenly almost 5 years ago after standing in a queue for over an hour. The other happened 2 years ago when I was at doctors office, during blood test. However, I have felt "almost about to pass out" feelings quite often, but never actually fainted.

I've also had my vertebral arteries (neck) MRA'd to rule out Vertebrobasilar insufficiency. The results were normal.

I've read about vasovagal presyncope and can confirm that it does sound a lot like what I've been going through.

I'll make an appointment at my local hospital and talk with my cardiologist about this.

Thank you for your help!
Answered by Dr. Benard Shehu 5 hours later
Brief Answer:
Various types of syncope...

Detailed Answer:
Hi back,

Thank you for following up.

Vasovagal presyncope is one of the neural-mediated syncope. There are other types of syncope to rule out. That's why it is important to consult with cardiologist and to run Tilt Test.

If no more questions, kindly close this discussion and rate my answer!

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vinay Bhardwaj

The User accepted the expert's answer

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