Discussions By Condition: Nerve conditions

Vagal nerve or possible B12 deficiency?

Posted In: Nerve conditions 5 Replies
  • Posted By: bazman
  • January 15, 2009
  • 01:40 PM

Hi,

I'm new to this forum, so firstly I would like to say hello to everyone. Secondly, I hope someone can help. And third, this is a bit long, sorry.

My symptoms seemed to start around 7-8 months ago. I would randomly wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I was about to faint/pass out. This happened maybe once a week, but only when I was asleep. About 2 months later it started happening when I was awake as well. I then realised when it happens that my heart started beating heavily, but slowly (about 1 beat every 2 seconds), and I had to lie down for a while. Anyway, I went to the doctors and he checked my heart and said it seemed fine, but if it happened again I was to go straight to the ER. It did happen again and I was admitted and kept in for 3 days. I had blood tests done every day, along with ECG and was attached to a heart monitor. I also had chest x-ray's and ultrasounds done, but all result came back normal. I was discharged and wore a 24hr tape monitor (which I'm still waiting for the results).

During this period, another symptom appeared. I found that I was becoming more breathless when doing day to day activities. It got to the stage that going to brush my teath was to much excersion and I would get lightheaded and breathless. I found that I would randomly get lightheaded when just relaxing, but I would always get lightheaded when I excerted myself. It's been roughly 4 weeks since I last felt lightheaded, until today, but it has only been a slight feeling though. It does however make me feel horrible for a few days.

My doctor said it shows signs that it could be the vagus nerve, but there is nothing much that can be done about it, at least until he see's my 24hr monitor results.

I've done some research and found symptoms that I've had for a couple of years that I have dismissed for one reason or another. These symptoms are some that relate to B12 deficiency, such as randomly numb top right eyelid, loss of proper balance (i.e. I find it really difficult to keep my balance when putting on my socks, etc. which I never used to have). I even notice this when I'm walking that I'm not quite balanced properly. My speech has change as I sometimes get the odd word round the wrong way in a sentence, and I sometimes have difficulty starting a sentence and have to restart it after the first 2 or 3 words. This is really annoying, as I can remember I never used to be like this. Also, I've been getting really tired even though I get 8-9 hours sleep. I've noticed that my short term memory is not as good, as I sometimes take a few minutes to remember what a watched/ate the previous day, etc.

I never mentioned any of the above to my doctor, as my other symptoms appeared more severe and scared me more, so the other symptoms just went out of my head. I have mentioned that I'm getting headaches that last a day or two.

The lightheadedness and breathlessness I think started when I began going to the gym, and rather me getting fitter, I found a was becoming more out of breath when I was away from the gym.

I see my doctor again in just under 2 weeks, and I'll ask about the B12 deficiency, but I would be really grateful if anyone could shed some light on whether it looks more like the vagus nerve or B12 deficiency. I just wish I could get back to feeling normal again.

regards,
Barry

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5 Replies:

  • Your symptoms would suggest sleep apnea. The fact that you are awakened in the night with the sensation that you are about to have a syncopal episode or pass out, followed by pounding heart, would suggest that you are experiencing apnea episodes. Realize that sleep apnea can induce air-hunger sensations or rapid fatigue on exertion as well. I believe that your doctor may be referring to dysautonomia. The vagus nerve can induce certain physiological responses and in cases where vagal tone is poor, as observed in many diabetics, syncopal episodes are common. If you're not diabetic, then I would not consider vagus nerve dysregulation here to be contributory. Your symptoms also do not appear to be consistent with a B12 deficiency and the ancillary symptoms you describe are far and away different from persons with an actual deficient B12 level, which by the way is not as common as some sources would lead you to believe. We typically see actual deficiency of this type in either very young children or very old persons, both of which commonly experience dietary changes that can sometimes result in deficiency. My impression is that you should seek a referral for a sleep study to discern whether sleep apnea is present. Best regards, J Cottle, MD
    JCottleMD 580 Replies
    • January 26, 2009
    • 03:54 AM
    • 1
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  • Hi, Thanks for replying. I will suggest this to my doctor. At the moment I am waiting for my results for my blood test for the serum B12. I only found out some of the things they have already checked for, such as diabetes, thyroid, sugar, and all came back fine. With regard to the lightheadedness, I no longer seem to get it when I am asleep, and I rarely get it now when I'm awake. When I do though, it is quite light, but still enough to make me feel a bit queezy, and put me off my food slightly. It will take 2 - 3 days for me to feel kind of normal again. The breathlessness really only happens when I do to much and when I laugh. It can start anywhere from laughing on and off for a few minutes, to laughing for 5 seconds. My next appointment is in 10 days, so I will get my results and suggest what you've mentioned. I really appreciate your help. Regards,Barry Your symptoms would suggest sleep apnea. The fact that you are awakened in the night with the sensation that you are about to have a syncopal episode or pass out, followed by pounding heart, would suggest that you are experiencing apnea episodes. Realize that sleep apnea can induce air-hunger sensations or rapid fatigue on exertion as well. I believe that your doctor may be referring to dysautonomia. The vagus nerve can induce certain physiological responses and in cases where vagal tone is poor, as observed in many diabetics, syncopal episodes are common. If you're not diabetic, then I would not consider vagus nerve dysregulation here to be contributory. Your symptoms also do not appear to be consistent with a B12 deficiency and the ancillary symptoms you describe are far and away different from persons with an actual deficient B12 level, which by the way is not as common as some sources would lead you to believe. We typically see actual deficiency of this type in either very young children or very old persons, both of which commonly experience dietary changes that can sometimes result in deficiency. My impression is that you should seek a referral for a sleep study to discern whether sleep apnea is present. Best regards, J Cottle, MD
    bazman 8 Replies
    • January 28, 2009
    • 02:23 PM
    • 0
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  • Hi, Well I went back to my doctor to get my results for my serum b12, and my level was at 449. My doctor said that was about a normal level. I have been reading a bit about what the minimum and maximum levels should be, and have read that the levels should be between at least 500 - 1300 pg/ml. Now, should I be going back to my doctor to see about getting injections or at least trying the sublingual lozenges to increase my levels? I forgot to mention I am 35/male. With this and other discussions, I completely forgot to mention about the sleep apnea, but I will remember when I go back. With regard to sleep apnea, I do get a blocked nose most nights when I go to bed, so much so that I need to breath through my mouth most of the night. My room is not too warm either, if anything it's on the cool side, so I don't know why I tend to get a blocked nose when I go to bed. Could this be part of the problem as well? Thanks for any help you can give. Regards, Barry
    bazman 8 Replies
    • February 9, 2009
    • 02:01 PM
    • 0
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  • My suggestion is to read the book, Could It Be B12? by Sally M. Pacholock and Jeffrey J. Stuart -- this is written by a doctor and nurse who have seen abuse in the medical system because of dismissing B12 deficiency. Everyone who has the symptoms you mention -- which ARE related to B12 deficiency, by the way -- should get a urinary MMA and if low, consider the recommendations for B12 shots outlined in the book. Don't settle for a shot every 3 months. They suggest 1 shot per day for a week, then 1 shot per week for a month, then 1 shot per month for life. ESPECIALLY if you have neurological symptoms or pernicious anemia. Most doctors don't realize this. Plus...I know the other doctor/responder said that it could be sleep apnea, but B12 deficiency can cause sleep problems too. I think you are right to do your own research and respond accordingly.
    HappiF 1 Replies
    • January 28, 2012
    • 04:21 PM
    • 0
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  • Bazman, Hope you have gotten a copy of the second edition of Sally Pacholok's book _Could It Be B12?_ Serum levels of B12 are a very poor indicator of true B12 status. My serum was over 1500, but a subsequent test within several weeks showed "Deficient" at the lymphocyte level, which most docs don't even begin to know about. Getting my B12 levels up (along with folate/iron) has helped with so many sleep issues.....medical profession needs to wake up....
    Anonymous 1 Replies
    • August 14, 2014
    • 06:32 PM
    • 0
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