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Discussion:
Fainting Spells, Black outs?
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Hello Everyone,

I was diagnosed with Lupus on December 28th, prior to that I was told I only had Fibromyalgia. On Monday I fainted twice. The second time I hit my large dresser and now I have a crazy scar on my chest. I went to see my regular Doctor and she wants me to get some tests done. She said that people who have Lupus don't just faint for no reason at all. This wasn't the first time I have had fainting spells before but that was 2 years ago. When we began searching for a diagnosis. I am a glass full kind of person but this experience has me thinking in a negative way now.

I was wondering if anyone else has had any trouble with fainting spells, black outs, or as my husband likes to call them ' Party Naps'?

Any info on your experience would be greatly appreciated.
Posted on 07/17/10, 09:31 pm
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Reply #1 - 07/18/10  9:18am
" When I hading fainting spells, it was when I was younger and I was very anemic. I had to get enferon (for anemia) shots when I was pregnant because it could not be upped with pills.

I do not have this problem anymore, but do get nauseated and dizzy once in awhile, but I think it is from the medications.

Hopefully for you, it is just an iron deficiency like I had. Sounds like your doctor is working on it.

Have a good day. "
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Reply #2 - 07/18/10  6:16pm
" Your doctor is correct. Lupus patient don't just faint. In fact, that's true of ALL patients. With us, there are so many things that can cause fainting. There is an excellent article on fainting at Webmd: http://www.webmd.com/brain/understa... I think that it's important for all of us to understand what causes a faint and how it relates to the various systems in our body so I decided to print the entire article here. I think after reading this, Pepper, you'll understand why it's important to follow up on this. As for "Party naps" if you mean what I think you mean, that's unrelated to fainting, that's when you're out (or at a party) and hit that wall of fatigue and need to lie down. That is definitely lupus, but not related to fainting. And are you having actual BLACKOUTS? Because that should not be happening unless you have an uncontrolled drinking problem or major psychiatric illness.


Understanding Fainting - the Basics
What Is Fainting?

Fainting, also called syncope (pronounced SIN-ko-pe), is a sudden, brief loss of consciousness and posture caused by decreased blood flow to the brain. Many different conditions can cause fainting. These include heart problems such as irregular heart beat, seizures, panic or anxiety attacks, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), anemia (a deficiency in healthy oxygen carrying cells), and problems with how the nervous system (the body's system of nerves) regulates blood pressure. Some types of fainting seem to run in families. While fainting may indicate a particular medical condition, sometimes it may occur in an otherwise healthy individual. Fainting is a particular problem for the elderly, who may suffer serious injuries from falls when they faint. Most episodes are very brief. In most cases, the individual who has fainted regains complete consciousness within just a few minutes.

Fainting is a common problem, accounting for 3% of emergency room visits and 6% of hospital admissions. It can happen in otherwise healthy people. A person may feel faint and lightheaded (presyncope) or lose consciousness (syncope).

What Causes It?
Fainting may have a variety of causes. A simple faint, also called a vasovagal attack or neurally-mediated syncope, is the most common type of fainting. It is most common in children and young adults. A vasovagal attack happens because blood pressure drops, reducing circulation to the brain and causing loss of consciousness. Typically an attack occurs while standing and is frequently preceded by a sensation of warmth, nausea, lightheadedness and visual "grayout." If the syncope is prolonged, it can trigger a seizure.

You may suffer from a simple faint due to anxiety, fear, pain, intense emotional stress, hunger or use of alcohol or drugs. Most people who suffer from simple fainting have no underlying heart or neurological (nerve or brain) problem.

Some people have a problem with the way their body regulates their blood pressure, particularly when they move too quickly from a lying or sitting position to a standing position. This condition is called postural hypotension and may be severe enough to cause fainting. This type of fainting is more common in the elderly, people who recently had a lengthy illness that kept them in bed and people who have poor muscle tone.

The following can cause fainting, too:

Diseases of the autonomic nervous system. Your autonomic nervous system is the part of your nervous system that controls involuntary vital functions, such as the beating of your heart, the degree to which your blood vessels are constricted, and breathing. Autonomic nervous system problems include acute or subacute dysautonomia, chronic post-ganglionic autonomic insufficiency and chronic pre-ganglionic autonomic insufficiency. If you have one of these disorders, you are likely to have other serious symptoms, such as erectile dysfunction (inability to have or maintain an erection), loss of bladder and bowel control, loss of the normal reflexes of your pupils or decreased sweating, tearing and salivation.

Conditions that interfere with the parts of the nervous system that regulate blood pressure and heart rate. These conditions include diabetes, alcoholism, malnutrition and amyloidosis (in which waxy protein builds up in the tissues and organs). If you take certain high blood pressure medications, which act on your blood vessels, you may be more likely to suffer from fainting. If you are dehydrated, which may affect the amount of blood in your body and, thus, your blood pressure, you may be more likely to faint.
Heart or blood vessel problems that interfere with blood flow to the brain. These may include heart block (a problem with the electrical impulses that control your heart muscle), problems with the sinus node (a specialized area of your heart that helps it beat), heart arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm), a blood clot in your lungs, an abnormally narrowed aortic heart valve, or certain other problems with the structure of your heart.

Conditions that may cause unusual patterns of stimulation to particular nerves. These include micturition syncope (fainting during or after urination), glossopharyngeal neuralgia (fainting due to inflammation and pain in a particular nerve to the mouth); cough syncope (fainting after intense coughing) and stretch syncope (fainting that occurs when stretching the neck and arms).
Hyperventilation. If you become intensely anxious or panicked and breathe too quickly, you may faint from hyperventilation (taking in too much oxygen and getting rid of too much carbon dioxide too quickly). "
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Reply #3 - 07/18/10  7:59pm
" Thanks for your comments. Tracy - In my family with all the bad health news they try to keep it lighthearted and funny. I did faint. We joke and call them blackouts or party naps because I thought the word faint sounded too soft for what had occurred. I was just looking for anyone else who has had any fainting spells to see what the final diagnosis was or what their restrictions might be.

I thank you both for your comments. =) "
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Reply #4 - 07/19/10  10:22am
" Hi Pepper. I don't have fainting spells but get close at times. With me it is because my heart is affected. Good your dr getting it checked out. Yes very good to keep a sense of humor. hugs Marilyn "
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Reply #5 - 07/19/10  11:09am
" I have come close very often. I feel like my blood pressure is just off. I teach exercise classes and have come mighty close to hitting the floor a few too many times. Let me know if you find the cause. I would love to know! Good luck to you!! And I love the term party nap! "
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Reply #6 - 07/19/10  11:50am
" I have only fainted once when in high school, but I have come very close many times. I get dizzy spells that if I do not sit on the floor right then I would pass out. I am not quite sure the cause but I believe lupus could cause almost anything. It is such a complex disease that even the best lupus doctors are still baffeled. I read lupus books and believe me I have lupus and think that isn't true!! All lupies are different and we cannot be generalized in our disease. I hope you get to the bottom of your party naps. It is great that you try to laugh I do too, if we do not laugh we will cry. Take care. "
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Reply #7 - 07/20/10  2:30am
" Actually, Mar, I have to disagree with you on that. What doctors are finding out now is that in fact most lupies ARE the same. However, there are a huge number of people who do NOT have lupus who are told they have lupus and dumped into the category. It's always easier for a doctor to chalk up a symptom to lupus rather than to investigate it thoroughly.

The most telling evidence that all lupus patients are the same occurred during the Benlysta trials when the patients with "atypical" lupus, i.e., unusual symptoms, negative ANA tests (always), things like that DID NOT RESPOND to the very specific medication. I firmly believe that lupus has become a dumping place for things that docs can't diagnose. Many lupus patients are told they have lupus almost entirely based on ONLY an ANA test!! When you have a patient who does NOT respond to the typical lupus medication, it may be more than just the drug working.

I myself am an example of this. Plaquenil never worked on me. Atabrine never worked on me. Steroids did, but they work on most things. And I was in the Benlysta study and it didn't do much for me, not like I saw the responses of the other participants. After 20 years of being diagnosed FIRMLY with lupus by Daniel Wallace---the world authority in lupus---it was quite a shock to find out that I DIDN'T HAVE LUPUS. Twenty years! I stay on this list because I have 20 years of support groups, medication, and interactions with doctors, staff, and labwork.

I never had a low complement test. I never had a positive anti-DSdna or any of those other antibody tests EXCEPT for a positive ANA test. I think that when patients exhibit weird symptoms outside the norm for lupus, doctors SHOULD LOOK FARTHER. Often, anything that goes wrong with us is chalked up to lupus. If you only knew how many weird symptoms I've had over the years that ended up being SIGNS of what I actually DO have, but were ignored because I HAD LUPUS ALREADY. And how many good years I missed by being given the wrong medication. BTW, within 3 weeks of starting the Stills medication, my sed rate dropped from 82 to 10 and hasn't been that high in 3 years since. Amazing what treating the RIGHT disease will do for your symptoms.

Oh, I did faint. Three times during the last year before my diagnosis changed. I heard so many theories as to what it was--mostly strange lupus symptoms (sound familiar?)---but guess what? It was part of my REAL disease, Stills. Fainting is NOT normal for a lupus patient and needs to be properly evaluated. There may be a secondary condition; it may turn out the patient doesn't have lupus at all but was misdiagnosed--fainting is not normal and can be the result of many different things---none of them specific to lupus. (Some things like anemia can be RELATED to lupus and anemia can cause fainting.) So please get the fainting checked out and don't chalk it up to just being a different lupus symptom because "all lupus patients are different."

Tracy "
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Reply #8 - 07/20/10  10:43am
" I don't agree tracy. Just because you where misdiagnosed doesn't mean we all are. Do get that fainting checked out though pepper. hugs Marilyn "
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Reply #9 - 07/20/10  11:35am
" Thanks so much girls.

I had to push my MRI back a few days to get a quick blood test done to check if I am pregnant. The blood test came back negative so I have my MRI on Thursday. I will also have a 24hr ( forgot the name) test to check my heart. Blood work came back normal for my base line.

Sometimes I feel like I can get a hold on everything and suddenly something new pops up.

Hope you are all doing well today. I'll keep this thread posted on the developments. "

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