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Fainting While Sitting?


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#1 worththewords

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 10:05 AM

I am 17 weeks pregnant and I've been told to take it easy and not do anything that could trigger fainting. I live in Florida so that has limited me to mostly indoor activities. Yesterday my husband and I went to see a movie. I drank a bottle of water before I left home and almost 2 more at the movie theater. I even had some of their salty popcorn too. The movie theater was nice and dark. The movie wasn't too loud. I thought this was an pretty POTS friendly environment.

Then out of nowhere I felt my heart speed up so fast that it became difficult to breath. I started blacking in and out. When I was "with it" my hearing was coming and going. My husband is a pretty calm guy during POTS episodes but he took one look at me and grabbed his phone and called 911. While waiting for paramedics my heart got very slow. It would pound once so hard that my chest actually hurt then there would be a long pause and it would pound again. My breathing was still off and I was still in and out.

After living with POTS for 6 years it takes A LOT to scare me and yesterday absolutely terrified me. I felt like my body was shutting down on me and if this type of episode could happen while I was just sitting, what am I supposed to do? The paramedics started asking me a ton of questions regarding the baby - if I was cramping, any pain, bleeding, etc. I didn't have any of that but when I realized how concerned they were over the baby that freaked me out too and brought my blood pressure right back up. (Maybe I should have went to see a scary movie to keep my BP up!)

By the time we got to the hospital my BP and pulse were pretty stable but I felt completely wrecked. I just wanted to be home in bed. That episode just zapped the life out of me. They did an EKG and I was having tachycardia (surprise, surprise). They used a fetal heart doppler to check for the baby's heart beat and that was fine. I could feel the baby squirming around when they were using the doppler so that reassured me. Phew! They gave me fluids and did a bunch of blood work. When the doctor came in I told him I had dysautonomia or to be more specific POTS (but I said the full name). He looked at me like I had 4 heads and asked what that was. I'm pretty sure he thought I was just a little crazy until I had another episode (not nearly as bad as the one at the movies but just a typical one). Two nurses watched it happen and all the monitors caught that my BP dropped suddenly. They put me flat, gave me more fluids, and then I finally asked to just go home.

I already have an appointment with my OB on Tuesday. I am going to try to get into my cardio on Monday. I haven't had an episode this severe in 6 years and the last time it happened I had done things to trigger it (a hot shower followed by a long walk - this was before my POTS diagnosis). Perhaps it is the pregnancy or maybe just sitting in the same position in a movie theater?! I'm not sure but it definitely has me concerned. The ER doctor put me on bed rest until I see my cardio/OB. I worry that ultimately bed rest is just going to make it worse in the long run. And I'm incredibly concerned about how this came on with NO warning and while I was sitting.

Anyone ever experience fainting while sitting?! Any tips, suggestions, etc. would be appreciated.

#2 sam76

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 06:13 PM

I've fainted twice while sitting down. If I have to sit for very long, I sit with one foot under me. I also fidget and try to keep my legs moving. I wear support hose most of the time. They help, too. I hope you are feeling better today.

Sam

#3 BellaMia

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 10:56 PM

worththewords,
I can relate to what you are talking about as it happens to me at night or wee hours of the morning or sitting at my computer. At first no one believed me till I got the 24 hour blood pressure cuff and it showed up what I had been telling them. In fact I feel it about to come on now, as my left side of the face is numb, headache, bp is dropping only now I'm going from tachy to brachy, and want to fall asleep. So, I'm going to head to bed and lay down where I know I'm safe. I'll sleep it off safely, as it gets too hard to see, so I don't fall and get hurt. My local er never understands and when I'm like this I can't even explain what is going on. Hopefully, Monday's heart monitor will capture an episode.
Be well.........
Love bellamia~

#4 carinara

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 02:59 AM

Did you eat something and/or did you take some food with you (besides popcorn) to keep your bloodsugar stable? Maybe it dropped too far? No matter where i go, i always have something to eat with me to prevent this from happening? Compression stockings are important as well.

I can totally relate to you. Not that i fainted whilest sitting before, but i know how it feels to get one MAJOR episode where all the symptoms turn up within minutes and 1000 times worse then usual that all your calmness about living with POTS goes out the roof and it feels as if you start all over again with worrieng, being scared and insecure.

Hope you are feeling better now,
carinara

#5 casper

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 06:51 AM

hi..

i have fainted sitting many times during the years.. But much more standing ..=)

#6 worththewords

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 12:08 PM

Thanks for the replies. I've never fainted that often to begin with but when I did it was always from standing and I had usually done something to trigger it. Fainting while sitting definitely upset my normal way of thinking about POTS in regards to my day to day life. I'm feeling a little more cautious now and a little more worried. I know that will ease up with time though.

carinara - I did have breakfast that day and they checked my blood sugar right away and it was normal. I had a very mild repeat episode while I was in the hospital and they caught my blood pressure dropping. I don't wear compression stockings though. I tried them and I never noticed much of a difference. In fact, since I live in Florida they made me feel worse because I was always so hot. I couldn't imagine putting them on days like today with the heat index at 105.

The more I think about it I feel like my culprit might have been sitting in the same position for too long plus pregnancy keeping my blood pressure lower than usual. When I am home I am always changing positions but a movie theater doesn't allow for much of that. I might be avoiding those until the baby arrives and my POTS becomes more stable again!

#7 Maxine

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 03:21 PM

I'm sorry you had to deal with that, I know how those feel, and fortunately the really bad spells like that are few and far between for me.
However, when they happen they do smoke you out, and leave you in bed for a while.

I hope this passes for you quickly. It might be hormones, or it could be vessels dilating more due to your pregnancy. It's difficult because you need to load up on salt when your blood pressure gets too low, but with pregnancy you have to make sure it doesn't get too high also. Does your OBGYN know much about dysautonomia? He needs to work together with your ANS/POTS doc to keep you more comfortable during your pregnancy.

It needs to be all about you and the baby right now. I can't go into a movie theatre without getting overstimulated from the loud speakers, and all the loud movie adds-----------I feel like it's going to blow me out of my chair.

Take care of yourself.

HUGS,

Maxine :0)

#8 carinara

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 04:14 PM

what Maxine wrote makes sense to me as well. It might have been a combination of things. You wrote that you had breakfast that day but how many hours were between breakfast and going to the movies? Long before i got diagnosed with POTS i went down every avenue i could think of, trying to find out what was wrong with me. At one point i talked to my doctor about getting a machine to messure my blood sugar because i couldnt think of another explanation of what was happening to me.There was one day were a real big and bad episode hit me, i messured my blood sugar and it was really low. My boyfriend took me straight to the doctor because i felt so bad and ithought i would faint any second. I also wanted to show my doctor my blood sugar numbers. By the time we got there and he took my blood (within 15 minutes) my numbers were normal again because our bodies are trying everything in order to put the blood sugar in balance again. 1 hour later it happened again.
So i read a lot about this subject to get as many informations as possible. Sometimes when they say the blood sugar is in normal range, it might be on the low side of normal. Some people might feel ok with it but for other people it might be too low and they get hid with big time symptoms or when it gets real low with a shock.

Now i keep something to eat with me all the timein order to keep it stable. Its also important what to eat because some foods raise the blood sugar real fast within a very short time but doesnt stay long in the system the result of this is, that within a short period of time the bloodsugar dops even lower then it was to begin with. I also have to eat a bite every 30 minutes or so. Maybe you should google and read about how low blood sugar effects people and just because your numbers were ok the moment they took your blood, there is the possibility that they probably werent a few minutes prior to that.

Please dont get too upset and dont let anxiety spoil your pregnancy (i know thats easier said then done).

My thoughts are with you.

carinara

#9 worththewords

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 09:06 AM

Maxine - My OB has a relative with NCS so he fully understands POTS and is a high risk OB. My cardio and neuro work with him too. I have a good team that I am confident in.

carinana - I used to have issues with hypoglycemia but I learned to eat smaller meals throughout the day. I haven't had a problem since. My OB suggests this to all his pregnant patients so I was already used to doing so. I'm pretty sure it was my blood pressure dropping since I repeated the episode in the ER and they could actually see it dropping as I was feeling worse.

I see the cardio and the OB tomorrow. I managed to do some laundry yesterday and I was so tired afterwards. I look forward to seeing what my doctors suggest but based on how I am feeling I think I will really have to take it very easy. I am just trying to remind myself that this will probably be my last chance to rest before the baby comes so I should enjoy it while I can. I've been fortunate enough to have my POTS be quite stable over the past couple of years. Hopefully it won't take me long to get back to that place after the baby comes.

#10 daisy

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 11:12 AM

I often have near syncope episodes when sitting at the computer too long or playing the piano. I had to stop teaching because I fainted on my students (not a good thing). This was due to sitting in place too long - if I look down at my legs during an episode, my feet are purple and my legs splotchy so the blood is pooling and not getting back to where it needs to go. I try to frequently stand up as much as possible (then the bp shoots high - it can't decide what it wants to do! B)
I avoid the movies at all costs because of the sitting and loud noise and stimulation but I just couldn't resist seeing the latest Star Trek movie since I am a die-hard trekkie (although I draw the line at dressing up as a Klingon warrior princess and visiting conventions). Anyway, I had a tough time...had to get up several times to get the blood pumping but it was worth it!
I also notice my legs go really numb when I sit alot...very annoying.
All the best with your pregnancy and I hope you are feeling better now.

#11 bellajulz

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 12:47 PM

I hope you are feeling better today, I too have fainted many times while sitting and even while laying in bed. The thing that has helped me is having my legs elevated anywhere I go. Whenever I go to the movies I always have my feet up the entire time on the seat in front of me, as I too have fainted in the theater before. When I go to resturants or anywhere in public I keep my legs up on another chair, even if I feel good. Hope this helps!

#12 worththewords

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 07:49 PM

Thanks for sharing your experiences.
I have been feeling somewhat better as the day went on. I am fatigued but that could be POTS and pregnancy so I've been taking it easy and taking naps as needed.

I've been paying more attention now and when I am home I usually never sit still or in one place for too long. I think moving around helps a lot. I've always done well when I am out and about as long as I'm moving but when I start to stand around I get very symptomatic.

#13 Stace915

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 03:11 PM

Lex, start doing ankle pumps if you are sitting for a while. I do it all the time when I am at work and its good because no one knows I am doing anything either since my feet are under the desk. Hope you're feeling good!

#14 Guest_tearose_*

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 03:33 PM

If I have to sit I wiggle or move around. I often find myself sitting and crossing my legs twice like a pretzel twist. It raises bp. If I have to sit for prolonged periods, I also need compression hose.

I fainted from sitting only once during an extremely long first time "sitting" at a buddhist zendo. I learned a lot from that and it never happened again!

Since you are pregnant, your body may be "calling" for things to help the developing fetus grow. Maybe you were adjusting to the chill of the theater but somewhere else in your body, the demands were great enough to send you into a tailspin!

I hope you figure it out and do look into maternity friendly compression hose!

best regards,
tearose