Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Bizarre symptoms, doctor puzzled

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 6 Replies
  • Posted By: KG4PEQ
  • March 13, 2007
  • 05:45 AM

Five days ago I woke up with a pain in the lower half of my left arm, between my elbow and wrist. My left pinkie finger was also numb but movable. It felt like I had slept on my arm wrong, so I didn't think too much of it until several hours had gone by and my finger was still partially numb. After about five or six hours, all was back to normal, except for a minor soreness in the arm.

The following day, I woke up with the same thing on the right side. Soreness in the arm, right pinkie finger numb, etc. The pain wasn't as severe as before, but was spread out across the entire arm, below the shoulder. Again, after several hours, sensation was restored to my finger.

The day after that, I woke up with a slightly tingly feeling throughout my right arm, but nothing was numb. There was (and still is) a general feeling of fatigue in that arm, kind of like when you hold your arm up in the air over your head for several minutes. This tired sensation and the minor tingling is particularly noticeable during periods of rest, especially laying down.

Saturday I went to the doctor. Upon describing my symptoms he did a few physical tests (making a ring with my fingers and trying to pull them apart and some other stuff I've never seen done before). He seems ready to blame carpal tunnel syndrome or a thyroid condition. Blood was drawn and thyroid testing was ordered. As of this evening (Monday) the results are still not in. A series of X-rays were also taken of my neck, and all looks good there.

I've been recovering from a week-long battle with what seems to be a combination of a cold and early seasonal allergies. I've also been undergoing a treatment routine for athlete's foot and a toenail fungus (two toenails removed, topical treatment for the toenails and ketoconazole for the athlete's foot, combined with twice-daily vinegar soaks).

I've recently had some unexplainable weight gain. I say "unexplainable" because despite my admittedly poor eating habits my weight has stayed rather constant at around 235 for a year or so, though I've suddenly gained 10 pounds in the last couple of weeks with no notable changes in diet or exercise (or the lack thereof!).

I'm now having a slight problem in my right eye... it feels like there's "something" wrong with the eye, and there appears to be a blurry area near the top and bottom of my field of view in that eye (noticeable when looking at, for example, the LED display on a clock or various indicator lights like on a modem, etc). It almost seems like there's a slight film or something on that eye.

Given my recent troubles...

* Weight gain
* Elevated blood pressure (haven't been following it, but it was 141/76 on Saturday)
* Foot problems -- predominantly on the right foot
* Eye trouble
* Increased thirst -- for about a week before this I was almost constantly drinking water
* General tiredness
* etc.

...and not to mention the family history of diabetes, I'm leaning toward a good potential for Type 2 Diabetes. Circulation *appears* to be good in that arm and hand (good color, temperature, etc) though the sensation is definitely one of "going to sleep." My doctor is aware of the history but is leaning toward carpal tunnel more than anything (how that impacts my eyes, feet, etc. is anyone's guess, though they may be totally unrelated).

I'm wondering if anyone here can correlate my recent symptoms with any other condition, or if the consensus might be that I'm on the right track with my (for now) self-diagnosis above.

Ideas, anyone?

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6 Replies:

  • I had most of the same symtoms as you did and was told it was Carpal tunnel syndrome. Although four months later the pain spread to my back..between my left arm and back and put me in the hospital for 5 days..they tried to put it off on my type 2 Diabetes (but that was under controll at the time avg. 80].They relesed me after running tests like Blood work, XX-Rays for neck and Spine, CT Scan and an Ultra Sound of the neck and finding nothing..so they sent me home with painkillers and muscle relaxers..The shoulder pain is now gone but not the pain and numbness in my arm and finders.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Sounds like you and your doctor might be doing a good job between you. The arm problem sounded to me like a neck or mechanical problem. A lot of the other symptoms do suggest to me that they may be diabetes related and you do need to get this checked properly (especially your eyes). Your blood pressure is a little high, although you need to establish what is typical for you. Blood pressure goes up and down and perversely can go up just because someone is taking it (so-called white coat syndrome).
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Other than thyroid issues, I don't know what, if anything, they might be checking for with the blood work. I'm assuming separate blood work would be necessary for the diabetes diagnosis.
    KG4PEQ 2 Replies Flag this Response
  • Diabetes can be identified by measuring glucose in a fasting blood sample (no eating for about 15 hours). You can detect is by a glucose tolerance test wherin you quaff a glass of glucose solution and the blood level after a couple of hours is measured. Diabetes often results in elevated ketones and glucose in urine samples and these can be measured also. You can buy your own blood glucose meter and it doesn't cost the earth if you want to keep an eye on your glucose levels. Your symptoms might be coincidental in that if you have had problems with your arms you might not be sleeping well and hence the general tiredness. If you have been taking medicine for something, it might have made you thirsty, etc. But given a family history of diabetes, I would get it checked if I were you. I would definitely get that eye examined as soon as you can (by an optician).
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I am beginning to concur on the whole "big coincidence" theory. I picked up some Visene Allergy drops last night just after posting my initial message here; I'd mentioned some early allergies flaring up and there was some itching, but I hadn't experienced this particular eye problem in connection with allergies in the past. I have also recently changed eyeglass prescriptions (about a month ago) and while the prescription only changed minimally (if at all) the new glasses have never fit right-- LensCrafters is clueless; I'll probably end up returning those. Anyway, I switched back to my old frames and lenses today and while there was some slight sensation of "something" in or on that eye first thing this morning, the eye has felt and worked just fine throughout the day today. I'll keep wearing these old ones for a few days, and if the problem remains gone, I'll switch back to the new ones to see if it reappears. Having been at work for 7 hours now, and on the computer for a good chunk of that, my right arm is hurting again now, which could be carpal tunnel, or could be something else. The tingling for the most part isn't there today, though. As for measuring my glucose levels, is there a guide somewhere to what would be "normal"? I did consider this route, especially considering the general ineptitude of physicians here in Richmond. It's a lot easier to ask a bunch of people and take a general consensus, factoring that into a self-diagnosis, as opposed to investing HOURS at a time simply waiting for a doctor to see you, not knowing ahead of time whether they know their rear end from a hole in the ground (most don't seem to).
    KG4PEQ 2 Replies Flag this Response
  • It depends who you speak to but 4 to 7 mmol/l (multiply by 18 to get mg/dl) is about right before eating. It can go right up after you've eaten and it can get much less than 4 after exercising. If you are diabetic it should be obvious. Part of the problem with glasses is that they are usually made of high density plastic now and this seems to be unforgiving to the slightest manufacturing errors. I have had a very similar experience to yours. Watch out you are not developing repetitive strain injury if you are perched in front of a computer all of the time.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
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