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What causes sudden blurred vision, dizziness and diarrhea in an elderly person?

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Posted on Tue, 19 Jul 2016
Question: I am a 55 year old female with no diagnosed health issues. Recently, like the past three months, I have had occasional incidents of blurrred vision. Mostly when driving after being on the computer at work. In the past week, I have been experiencing some dizziness when I sit up after lying down or even shifting position when sitting or lying down. I've also had bouts of diarrhea recently.
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Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Physical examination and some labs worth getting

Detailed Answer:
Good evening. We're both from the same era my dear....you probably liked LED ZEPPELIN, KANSAS, and XXXXXXX ..though you're from Albuquerque! If I were your physician and you came to me with those symptoms and the family history of diabetes mellitus and RA then, I would definitely want to do the initial metabolic workup on you so if you've not had any labs drawn in the past 12-24 months I would definitely look at you to be sure you're not developing either diabetes or some type of rheumatological disease process. If, however, you say that your blurred vision occurs after a long day on the computer or driving home then, I might consider a diagnosis of eye muscle fatigue and that could easily be looked at by an ophthalmologist or optometrist to see if you're not in the market for glasses or updated prescriptions for the ones you have. Maybe you've already got bifocals.....heck, I've got TRI-focals....but they're progressive so I still look about 30 years old! Go ahead take a look and tell you what you think! LOL....As far as the "dizziness" when you sit from lying down....my guess is that you also have these symptoms when you turn in bed while asleep from your belly to your side or back or vice versa. Also, you probably have these symptoms when you bend over to pick up something from the floor, or if you have to crane your neck upward to get something from a high cabinet....am I right? The dizziness can also be best characterized as either a spinning or moving/wobbly sensation which calms down inside of 30-60 seconds so long as you maintain the position into which the dizzy feeling started. Then, again, when you go to bed and go from a STANDING to LYING position it'll start again. There's probably no nausea or vomiting, no ringing in the ears, and no falling but it's very uncomfortable and has been this way for a few months to years.

If these symptoms describe your situation then, you should seek out a neurologist (preferentially since we deal with these things all the time) and they will confirm the diagnosis of BENIGN PAROXYSMAL POSITIONAL VERTIGO (BPPV). Then, they will either do an EPLEY maneuver (which I always keep for later) or give you the BRANDT-DAROFF exercises to perform which will help gate the excessive vestibular signals being sent to your brain due to the presence of calcified crystals in the inner ear which have broken off and are settling down in the fluid of the inner ear irritating something called Reissner's membrane. This is something that starts happening in all of us as we get on the other side of 50 or 55 years of age. It can happen in younger people (typically women) who love aerobics or any type of sport where there's a lot of pounding on treadmills, pavement, or step exercises, etc.

BPPV, very easy to diagnose, very easy to treat and it does not represent anything of consequence or require huge or expensive workups. No surgeries, no medications. Please avoid MECLIZINE- terrible medication in general--- there are a few people who swear by it...but honestly, give me a good set of Brandt-Daroff exercises to do and I'm happy....

As far as the diarrhea, I would let the labs guide the way...if you've got an elevated WBC or if stool samples (I'd ask you to collect at least 3 in a 24 hr hour period) show the presence of bacteria or other pathological bugs then, antibiotics will be prescribed. If it's a viral or mild toxin from some bad food you ate from a Wendy's, Taco Bell, or XXXXXXX in the Box then, it'll subside in the next couple of days. No matter which form of diarrhea you may have you should DOUBLE your fluid intake and alter your diet to remove irritating types of foods (spicy, fatty, greasy, and even high protein). Your doctor should test you before giving you the green light to use bulking agents such as Metamucil or Immodium.

If I've satisfactorily addressed your question could you do me the kindest of favors by CLOSING THIS QUERY and be sure to include some fine words of feedback on your opinion as to our transaction?

Again, many thanks for posing your question to our attention on this network and do not forget to recontact me in the future at: www.bit.ly/yyyyyyyyyyyyy for additional questions, comments, or concerns having to do with this topic or others.

This query has utilized a total of 28 minutes of professional time in research, review, and synthesis for the purpose of formulating a return statement.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Dariush Saghafi

Neurologist

Practicing since :1988

Answered : 2474 Questions

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What causes sudden blurred vision, dizziness and diarrhea in an elderly person?

Brief Answer: Physical examination and some labs worth getting Detailed Answer: Good evening. We're both from the same era my dear....you probably liked LED ZEPPELIN, KANSAS, and XXXXXXX ..though you're from Albuquerque! If I were your physician and you came to me with those symptoms and the family history of diabetes mellitus and RA then, I would definitely want to do the initial metabolic workup on you so if you've not had any labs drawn in the past 12-24 months I would definitely look at you to be sure you're not developing either diabetes or some type of rheumatological disease process. If, however, you say that your blurred vision occurs after a long day on the computer or driving home then, I might consider a diagnosis of eye muscle fatigue and that could easily be looked at by an ophthalmologist or optometrist to see if you're not in the market for glasses or updated prescriptions for the ones you have. Maybe you've already got bifocals.....heck, I've got TRI-focals....but they're progressive so I still look about 30 years old! Go ahead take a look and tell you what you think! LOL....As far as the "dizziness" when you sit from lying down....my guess is that you also have these symptoms when you turn in bed while asleep from your belly to your side or back or vice versa. Also, you probably have these symptoms when you bend over to pick up something from the floor, or if you have to crane your neck upward to get something from a high cabinet....am I right? The dizziness can also be best characterized as either a spinning or moving/wobbly sensation which calms down inside of 30-60 seconds so long as you maintain the position into which the dizzy feeling started. Then, again, when you go to bed and go from a STANDING to LYING position it'll start again. There's probably no nausea or vomiting, no ringing in the ears, and no falling but it's very uncomfortable and has been this way for a few months to years. If these symptoms describe your situation then, you should seek out a neurologist (preferentially since we deal with these things all the time) and they will confirm the diagnosis of BENIGN PAROXYSMAL POSITIONAL VERTIGO (BPPV). Then, they will either do an EPLEY maneuver (which I always keep for later) or give you the BRANDT-DAROFF exercises to perform which will help gate the excessive vestibular signals being sent to your brain due to the presence of calcified crystals in the inner ear which have broken off and are settling down in the fluid of the inner ear irritating something called Reissner's membrane. This is something that starts happening in all of us as we get on the other side of 50 or 55 years of age. It can happen in younger people (typically women) who love aerobics or any type of sport where there's a lot of pounding on treadmills, pavement, or step exercises, etc. BPPV, very easy to diagnose, very easy to treat and it does not represent anything of consequence or require huge or expensive workups. No surgeries, no medications. Please avoid MECLIZINE- terrible medication in general--- there are a few people who swear by it...but honestly, give me a good set of Brandt-Daroff exercises to do and I'm happy.... As far as the diarrhea, I would let the labs guide the way...if you've got an elevated WBC or if stool samples (I'd ask you to collect at least 3 in a 24 hr hour period) show the presence of bacteria or other pathological bugs then, antibiotics will be prescribed. If it's a viral or mild toxin from some bad food you ate from a Wendy's, Taco Bell, or XXXXXXX in the Box then, it'll subside in the next couple of days. No matter which form of diarrhea you may have you should DOUBLE your fluid intake and alter your diet to remove irritating types of foods (spicy, fatty, greasy, and even high protein). Your doctor should test you before giving you the green light to use bulking agents such as Metamucil or Immodium. If I've satisfactorily addressed your question could you do me the kindest of favors by CLOSING THIS QUERY and be sure to include some fine words of feedback on your opinion as to our transaction? Again, many thanks for posing your question to our attention on this network and do not forget to recontact me in the future at: www.bit.ly/yyyyyyyyyyyyy for additional questions, comments, or concerns having to do with this topic or others. This query has utilized a total of 28 minutes of professional time in research, review, and synthesis for the purpose of formulating a return statement.