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Blackouts

Discussion in 'Type 2 Diabetes' started by BlindFaith, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. BlindFaith

    BlindFaith · Well-Known Member

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    Since early June this year I have been in and out of hospital about 6 times.
    The last two times were due to allergic reactions to insulin; however the others were due to (what I'm calling) blackouts.

    I have no memory of these episodes, my husband finds me as though I'm asleep but when he tries to wake me I am totally non-responsive. When he opens my eyes they do, however, respond to the light.
    He has shaken me, splashed my face with cold water, tapped my face to try and bring me round and none of it does anything.
    When I am finally able to hold my eyes open of my own accord he says they are slightly glazed, very unfocused and I am unable to speak. I do make sounds in my throat but cannot seem able to form proper words or acknowledge anything that's being said to me.

    Along with this I have palpitations/racing heart (the first time this happened the paramedic said my heart was barreling along to the point where that alone would have been enough to land me in A&E) and tightness in my chest which makes it hard to breathe; especially when trying to take a deep breath (such as yawning).

    I had another one of these episodes last night. The last thing I remember is hubby telling me to go and lie down while he had a shower as I was exhausted. He found me and thought I was asleep until he couldn't wake me up.
    It took him quite a while to get me to a point where I was able to hold my eyes open and focus a little better and once I was completely fine we had dinner and that was that.

    I decided to see if I could get some idea of why this was happening and called my GP earlier today.
    He was useless.
    I explained everything and told him that the hospital doctors had just passed it off as my high blood sugar and said that I should speak to the doctor there that specializes in diabetes (who I'm seeing in two weeks anyway) because he doesn't really know what's causing it and it "could be" the diabetes but he isn't sure and wouldn't like to "hazard a guess" just in case he's wrong.

    So with all of that helpful advice in mind ( :roll: ) I thought I would ask the lovely people of this forum whether they've experienced anything like this at all and what can be done to stop it happening?

    Just in case you need to know:
    Health:
    Type 2 diabetes
    Chronic Fatigue
    Fibromyalgia
    Nodular Prurigo (we think)
    Depression and anxiety
    Lactose intolerance
    PCOS (we think)

    Medications:
    Victoza injection, lansoprazole, metformin, glimepiride, citalopram, amitriptyline, ropinerole, fexofenadine, paracetamol, oramorph (only at night) and the contraceptive pill (cerazette)

    Other:
    Diet - low carb, low fat and 1,000 cals per day (as "prescribed" by both my GP and the diabetic team at the hospital)
     
  2. catherinecherub

    catherinecherub · Guest

    High BlindFaith,

    It must be very worrying for you and hubby when you experience these attacks.

    None of us here are medically qualified to make a diagnosis but some things spring to mind.

    1.....1000 calories per day seems pretty low but without knowing you weight and height and the reason for this amount being reached I cannot comment.

    You could try this calorie counter.
    http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm It will give the amounts for maintenance, fat loss and extreme fat loss.

    2.....There could be an interaction between some of your many medications.

    3.....It could be something neurological.

    Others may be able to make some suggestions.

    Sorry cannot be of more help.

    CC.
     
  3. shop

    shop · Well-Known Member

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    Hi B/F

    Have you had an ECG? Blackouts should always be taken seriously! I was having palpatations last year and my GP did an ECG ( I have a family history of atrial fibralation. It was fine and my ECG fine. ( I now just think it was the start of hormone fluctuations and possibly BG control!) However to just brush you off like that is awful!

    It could be because of allsorts. I would suggest asking to see a different GP. I had to do this a month ago and he has helped no end.

    Hope you get it sorted and sending hugs

    (((X)))

    Lucy xxx
     
  4. BlindFaith

    BlindFaith · Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies, it's much appreciated.

    I've had countless ECG's - every time I'm taken into hospital they do one every hour.
    I get told the same thing, that I'm "a bit tachy" or my heart rate is too high as is my blood pressure (although goes up and down like a flippin' yo-yo) but nobody has bothered to figure out why it's happening or why I keep having these random "blackouts".

    I was kind of hoping that it was a diabetes thing and would be easy to take care of; but it's not looking that way :lol: (not that I actively want anyone else to have this, but you know what I mean!)

    I've asked two different GP's - one didn't seem at all bothered and the other was who I spoke to today.

    The 1,000 calories thing is confusing me as I was told originally that if I'm low carb I shouldn't hugely worry about counting calories but I've now been told that I should go as low as possible (I have a sneaking suspicion it's because I'm trying to get them to explore other treatment options for the diabetes rather than go down the surgery route that they want me to)
    I've asked if it could be bad for my health to go that low and was told I should be lower but clearly I wouldn't "cope under 1000" :?

    Anyway, fingers crossed it doesn't happen again for a while - if it does then it's back to A&E for me :(
     
  5. shop

    shop · Well-Known Member

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    Hi B/f,

    I hope you get it sorted must be pretty awful :( Catherinecherub pointed neurological as a possibility, has that been investigated?

    Best wishes ,

    Lucy xxx
     
  6. catherinecherub

    catherinecherub · Guest

    Hi BlindFaith,

    I was thinking about what is happening to you and wondered if anyone had taken your blood sugars when these attacks occur.

    I then looked up glimepiride and the side effects seem pretty close to what is happening to you. Are you put on a glucose drip in hospital?
    http://www.medicinenet.com/glimepiride/page2.htm

    Clutching at straws here but I would ask for a change of medication, something like sitagliptin.

    As to the 1000 calories, I really would ask why so low, IMHO it is something that you cannot keep to long term or is it a temporary thing?

    Edited as I have read through your other posts. This 1000 calorie diet is recommended prior to weight loss surgery by the sounds of it.
    You might like to start a post asking people how much weight they have managed to lose since being diagnosed with Type2, how long it took, have they kept it off and this may help you make a decision about having surgery.
     
  7. Ambersilva

    Ambersilva Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Natalie,

    I am so sorry to hear that you are continuing to have worrying health issues.

    If you can get referred to a Cardiac Consultant they may agree to give you 24 hour monitoring. It is a small portable device that reads and records your heart activity. You attend Cardiac Clinic one day to have the device fitted and return the next day to have it removed. The results are then downloaded and reviewed. If you are an in-patient, there is a different portable device that records heart activity. It transmits the result wirelessly in real time to the Monitoring Room. An alarm is sounded in the monitoring room if emergency aid is needed.

    Hope this helps.

    A
     
  8. catherinecherub

    catherinecherub · Guest

  9. BlindFaith

    BlindFaith · Well-Known Member

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    Hi CatherineCherub,

    Thank you for that link, I'm checking it out now.
    I had a medication review when I was placed on Victoza which was only about a month or so ago and that's the only medication that's new to me as I'd been on Glimepiride previously.
    The blackouts had started before I was given Glimepiride so I don't know if it's that; although at one point I was taking that, Metformin and Sitagliptin and my BG levels were still too high :shock:

    I'm hoping that it doesn't happen again between now and my doctors appointment; but if it does I've asked hubby to ring for an ambulance the second he notices that I'm not simply sleeping.

    Thanks for the replies, everyone, I really appreciate it :)

    Edited - I'm a bit concerned that despite having had the medication review and having told the GP about the blackouts, fast heartbeat, etc...they didn't bother to check the interactions again.
    Obviously I can't just stop taking Citalopram (which appears to be the main interaction as far as I can see) as I've been taking it since October 2011 (oddly enough I've had no trouble until a few weeks after I was diagnosed with diabetes) but I will raise my concerns with the GP and see what she has to say.

    Also, CatherineCherub, the 1000 calories has been recommended several times by my GP; so it's something I've been doing on and off; alongside the low carb eating for about 6 months.
    They've said that because I'm obese and in a wheelchair I don't need to eat more than that and should in fact be eating less. I don't know if they mean that on a permanent basis or just until I've lost weight.
     
  10. Hobs

    Hobs Type 2 · Master

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    I have a friend that goes the way you describe and its linked to epilepsy under the title of petit mal seizures....google it for more info. He has to be careful and all of his family and friends are aware as it can lead to a chain reaction of more serious events. Apparently, its all to do with something that is affecting or within the brain. He is on constant meds.
    Have the medics mentioned this condition to you or considered it I wonder?
     
  11. BlindFaith

    BlindFaith · Well-Known Member

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    Hiya,
    Thats pretty scary!! How did that get diagnosed?
    I did google it and a lot of the symptoms are far too similar for my liking.... Especially the déjà-vu feeling, the stopping talking mid-sentence and spacing out for ages - those three are things I've dealt with for years! The blackouts themselves are only recent but I'm wondering now if the other symptoms were like "early warning signs"?

    Nobody has mentioned this before, they've been quick to blame it on weight or high blood sugar.....
     
  12. Hobs

    Hobs Type 2 · Master

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    I do not know how it got first diagnosed as I am a comparatively new friend. It has to be shared otherwise I could have arrived at completely the wrong conclusion.
    Next time I meet one of the circle (not him personally) I'll have a very quiet word and see if I can gain some more info about the condition for you, but it wont be for at least another week as its usually a Friday we gather and swap a few laughs over a coffee.
     
  13. WhitbyJet

    WhitbyJet · Well-Known Member

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    Natalie, please have this checked out asap, it worries me greatly to think that you could be having a blackout whilst you are on your own.
    I know many doctors are quick to blame just about any symptom on diabetes or being overweight, dont stand for it, insist that your symptoms are investigated.
    Thinking of you x x
     
  14. smidge

    smidge LADA · Well-Known Member

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    Hey Natalie!

    I was going to mention the epilepsy thing to you. What you're suffering might not be connected to your diabetes or weight. I have a friend who was diagnosed with epilepsy (I don't know which type) when he was 45. He was driving and just blacked out for a few seconds while he was at a roundabout - literally just 'fell asleep' at the junction. Luckily, no harm was done and he doesn't drive anymore. He was put on medication and, so far has been fine.

    Smidge
     
  15. BlindFaith

    BlindFaith · Well-Known Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Sorry for taking a while to reply - I've paramedics out twice since I last posted and one A&E stay (albeit a rather short one).

    The paramedics yesterday were so so lovely to me - really kind.
    They bundled me into the ambulance and ran a couple of ECG tests on me and did my blood pressure - heart was going at 130bpm again and blood pressure was 154/102 (!!!) they kept me in the ambulance for a bit, just chatting to me about what's been going on and I just totally broke down and cried like a baby (which was slightly embarrassing...)
    Their advice was that the breathing trouble and tight chest is anxiety which I accept; I have anxiety which is social-based but they said that with that it always bubbles just under the surface regardless of what triggers an attack and if someone with anxiety is stressed or worried or upset then it spikes and triggers an attack.
    I think that's fairly acceptable in terms of an answer as to why I have trouble breathing and their suggestion was to ask the GP to look into a form of counseling which I'm perfectly okay with.

    The racing heart they weren't sure if it was connected to the anxiety so they suggested getting that looked at, as well as getting my blood pressure looked at.

    The blackouts were worrying them a bit and they said to push for a neurologist appointment ASAP.
    They voiced their opinion that my highly restricted carbohydrate, low fat and 1,000 calorie diet is not good (especially when I told them that I was told I can go lower than that) and when I told them the GP had said that bariatric surgery would cure me of diabetes one of the paramedics said "well that's (word that rhymes with row locks!"
    It was lovely to have someone listen to me, understand why I'm so upset and frustrated and actually offer helpful advice.

    So, armed with all of this and the copy of their paperwork they gave me I went to the GP and told him (for the hundredth time) what I was concerned about and what I would like to happen. I recorded the conversation on my phone so I have it as proof just in case he decides to do nothing as per usual.
    I've finally got him to refer me to a neurologist, but he said he thinks that they will conduct (in his words) "thousands of pounds worth of tests" and find nothing wrong at all and that I won't get an answer as to why I keep blacking out.
    He's got me to have a full load of blood tests done (and again mentioned cost, saying that they don't cost as much as "other tests") and that was it.
    He pushed surgery again and I told him that I'm not happy going through with it and pulled him up over what was written on my notes on the screen as it simply said "does not want surgery as too scared" to which he said he didn't write that. I don't care who flipping well wrote it, it's unprofessional for goodness' sakes!!

    So, I've got the referral and some tests to have done next week at the surgery.
    I mentioned the blood sugar levels and he said that they aren't too concerning (I'm still in the teens so I don't know what it would need to be to be concerning to him.....) and he refused to talk more about the diabetes and told me I would need to be seen by a consultant at the hospital.
    So clearly he doesn't read notes or anything - if he did he would know I've seen the consultant already...!

    That's about it, I think. So it's sort of good, sort of still really annoying.
    I just wanted to keep you all updated and say "thank you" for all the help and support.
    I wish there was a "hug" emote here; but this will have to do:
    [​IMG]
     
  16. ShyGirl

    ShyGirl · Well-Known Member

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  17. BlindFaith

    BlindFaith · Well-Known Member

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    Oh my god, that makes sense in a really scary way. I keep having nightmares where I'm having a blackout but I am screaming in my head "I'm in here, I'm trapped".
    Hubby says that I can't talk but I make distressing noises in my throat that he thinks is me trying to talk but not being able to.

    Did they ever find out what caused yours?
     
  18. desidiabulum

    desidiabulum · Well-Known Member

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    Quick thought BF -- severe blackouts can also sometimes be linked to complications with migraine, which you have mentioned before, exacerbated by changes in other medication. I have a friend who had regular blackouts (could be out for 24 hours, she would be partly paralysed for some hours after waking) and endless hospital tests for 30 years before finally identified as rare type of migraine. I will try to get more details.
     
  19. desidiabulum

    desidiabulum · Well-Known Member

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    Further to my previous post, my friend has sporadic hemiplegic migraine (which means it's not inherited) -- which was initially prompted by an allergic response to medication, and led to constant blackouts, sometimes but not always linked to stress. There is also familial hemiplegic migraine (which means it is inherited). These blackouts were increasingly accompanied by a right sided paralysis ( in some people it's just a weakness) and in her case (which is rare) could also involve going into a coma.
    Temporal lobe epilepsy is another possibility in your case.
    I hope this is of use. I should stress that once properly diagnosed she has responded very well to treatment -- so often with these things it's the diagnosis itself that is the key. Good luck!
     
  20. BlindFaith

    BlindFaith · Well-Known Member

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    Thank you desidiabulum, that's given me something to think about.

    I do suffer with migraines; only 2 or so a year and I've never blacked out with them; but after the anaphylaxis reaction to an antibiotic in early June what you've said makes sense.

    I'm chasing the referral on Wednesday as I'm seeing the diabetic GP at the surgery, so if I've not heard anything from the neurologist by then I'm chasing it and mentioning the migraines.
     
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