Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Mom needs a diagnosis!

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 3 Replies
  • Posted By: delmore
  • July 20, 2008
  • 06:41 PM

Thanks for reading this question!
This posting is for my mother, 65 ys, healthy (formerly), very high pain tolerance, and low tolerance for medication (usually takes half an aspirin for severe pain). Over the past three years my mother has been having “spells.” They started out as severe diarrhea, weakness, dehydration, low blood pressure and she would end up on the bathroom floor—Dad would then take her to the ER for fluids, assuming it was food/GI related. This helped with the dehydration symptoms, but not the weakness. They put her on Levbid which she could put under her tongue to slow down the diarrhea, which does help but doesn’t fix the fatigue or stop the attacks. A few months later she could tell she was starting to have ‘an attack’ when her hands and feet got ‘tingly’ – she would then start drinking as much water as she could, but always ended up at the ER for fluids. For the past 6 months she now has continually prickly and numb feet and hands (dx peripheral neuropathy-but she has NO pain) and the attacks are happening more frequently. Also, her ability to handle stress has bottomed out; just the mention of a “test” and she gets frantic. However, even with these occasional ‘attacks,’ Mom was a very healthy woman; she was always active, church pianist, walked 2 miles every morning with her friends. Unfortunately, her piano playing was suffering due to the numbness in her hands and she would have to skip 2 days of walking to recover from her ‘attacks.’
Last week she was feeling extremely lightheaded with low blood pressure(90’s/60’s) and on Friday she blacked out and woke up on the floor in her kitchen with a broken shoulder (clavicle) – in the ambulance her blood pressure was 66/45. This time the hospital admitted her. Her blood pressure improved but would drop whenever she sat up or stood. They began running tests, heart-related and neurological. All came back normal with the exception of her cortisol level which was 4. Addison’s Disease had many similarities, however, when they ran the ACTH she tested normal and they said the 4 was most likely a fluke (Dr. says a low cortisol level is not uncommon when taken early in the morning). After a week of tests, they sent her home saying they didn’t know what was wrong with her and to see her family doctor in a week. The neurologist is planning an outpatient nerve biopsy to look into her limb numbness. She is still light-headed (wavering between mild and extreme), fatigued, and very nervous about having another spell AND now she has a broken shoulder to contend with. :confused:
Does anyone have any ideas of where we could go from here? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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