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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Can excessive mental stress damage the vagus nerve?

Can excessive mental stress damage the vagus nerve? Long story short, i m 32, non smoker, slim build and I still live with my parents. Ok , end of last month our house cat was getting old and close to death, parents would talk about how they hope she dies soon so they could get new furniture, this made me secretly irate!! abut I am one who always holds in my anger and expressions about stuff. She did pass away about the first week of April, and a couple days later we shoveld about 2 feet of snow off an entire house roof, I wanted to shovel it my way, dad wanted to shovel it his way.....again, I was secretly VERY upset that we werent doing it the easy way. All was fine, we come home, and decide to rearrange the furniture, and I start sneezing, alot. and that night and the next couple days I had some heart palapatations, they would last for maybe half a minute. They stopped after a few days, but then we were grocery shopping, and I got VERY light headed, almost passed out but didn t, had a cold sweat, but after about 10 mintutes I felt ok. since then it happened about 8 times this month, but not nearly as bad as that day. I didn t have any chest pain, my heart beat was normal when it would happen, not too fast, not too slow. alot of days this month my head would, very very mild lightheadedness. This almost passing out thing happend twice this past week, and I have noticed that it mainly happens if I am thinking about alot of things at once, or thinking very hard about something. like, if I d have 3 people telling me things to do, I would get the feeling. Its like my brain wants to go into overdrive but my body won t let it.
Thu, 4 Oct 2018
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General & Family Physician 's  Response

Yes, vagus nerve transmits signals of anxiety, anger, calm, relaxation and accordingly the heart rate and blood pressure are monitored by the neurotransmitters. Vagus nerve maintains the functioning of the digestive tract. Excess stress and anxiety increase the glutamate (neurotransmitter) in the brain that causes a headache, migraine, depression or anxiety.

Stay away from stress, drink plenty of water, exposure to cold and diaphragmatic breathing stimulates the vagus nerve & help in relaxation. Stay away from addictions if any.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.

Dr. Nupur K,
General & Family Physician
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