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I hadn't been checking my thread because I hadn't any replies for a while. I was happily surprised to see several replies. I discussed the idea of the mitral valve prolapse syndrome as the cause of my autonomic nervous system disorder with my doctor, but he was reluctant to even accept MVP syndrome as a true disorder. I happily handed him the information I had printed out on the subject. The treatment that was recommended from the article I read suggested things that everyone should probably follow such as drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding sweets, and exercising, so he realized that despite his skepticism, it was sound advice. He gave me specific instructions on the extent of exercise, and warned me not to over- exert myself. He wanted to increase my beta blocker, but thought again when he saw my low blood pressure readings.

Just like you Laurie, I have both high blood pressure spikes and low dips, which, as I understand it, is classic for this autonomic nervous system disorder, dysautomia. I am happy to say that my high spikes are occurring much less frequently, but I am now having more low dips.

To answer your question, I do not know for certain that the spikes are a result of adrenaline, and I obviously cannot prove it one way or the other unless someone takes a blood sample at the time it is occurring. However, when I am "zapped" as I call it, I wake shaky and am super-charged with energy just as if I had been given a shot of adrenaline. We all know how it feels to get an adrenaline rush. In the beginning, when I was first having the most severe symptoms, I began having a hypersensitive startle reflex to noises. I would get scared very easily with the least provocation resulting in my heart pounding, just like it would be if someone snuck up behind you and scared you. Then, when these adrenaline- like surges would occur, my heart would pound, etc. just like that, but on a grander scale. This is the best way I can explain it. When I get zapped, my blood pressure spikes and I usually can't go back to sleep for a while, if at all. Luckily, lately, my zaps are occurring less frequently and seem to occur around 4- 6 am, so when it happens, I just get up (and usually clean up the house, using all that extra energy). Usually, I am hyper for most of the morning and have found that exercising seems to help (maybe using up some of the adrenaline, or whatever hormone that acts like adrenaline.)
I don't have all the answers, and neither does my doctor, but he is working with me to get better. Although I continue to wake during the night, I have been able to sleep for 2-3 hours at a time and am falling back to sleep more quickly each time. In an effort to sleep better, I have made it a rule not to take my blood pressure at night unless I can't go back to sleep. Sometimes, my blood pressure is up (usually not any higher than 150 or 140/ 90), sometimes not. But, the higher spikes (160's) seem to occur with the adrenaline- like surges.
I continue with hot flash- like symptoms and have better days when I have less flashes. My face and neck get bright red and I get really warm, then sweat. This is almost always preceded by a feeling of not feeling good and even some nausea. Everything seems to set off the flashes, such as getting near something warm like the dishwasher or the stove, or exercising, sometimes nothing at all. Interestingly, my blood pressure usually goes low after the flash. I'm not having the chilling/ shivering I used to have, but the weather is getting warmer.
I am still sensitive to loud noises, but it is better some days. I am driving now, and have been taking short trips taking the boys to their sporting events, etc. I went to the grocery store with my husband today for the first time in months and tolerated it just fine. I made the mistake of going to the mall with my husband to get clothes for the boys. Every one of the clothes shops had loud hard rock music blaring and I had to leave and find a quiet place. Lights are still brighter than usual, and found I was better able to work on taxes, read, and look at the computer when the lights were dimmed. I still had to take frequent breaks and sleeping better definitely helped from one day to the next. I actually had to quit reading for awhile, and stay off the computer.
I remember having problems with this years ago when I was sleep deprived, so this may be related to that. My eyes and nose are dry. I do have Sjogren's (sp?) syndrome, but don't know if this is the cause. I have had to apply eye drops and nasal saline gel frequently. I read somewhere that this is related to this ANS disorder.
My anxiety went away when I stopped the Atenolol and then came back to a lesser degree. It may be related to the sleep deprivation or side effects of the Bystolic, although my doctor refuses to believe the Bystolic is the cause. Could be related to menopausal symptoms if that is what I am having. I will see a psychiatrist tomorrow for the anxiety, mild depression, and occasional obsessive tendencies, although they are much better since I have been sleeping better. Really don't want to add more medicine to the mix if I don't have to. I have only had to take a micro dose (1/4 of .5mg) of Xanax a couple of times this week, which helped.
I can't imagine working and having this, but you obviously didn't react to the beta blockers like I did. It is good that you have an understanding boss.
I have been adding new foods that I can tolerate to my list every day, and I do avoid bread, but tolerate flour tortillas and crackers. What foods have tyramine in them? My doctor disagrees with me that sugar stimulates the adrenal glands, and I have started consuming sugar- containing foods and drinks in small amounts and always with a protein, even fructose, for example, eating peanut butter with a banana. I continue to take Prilosec for my stomach, and taking much less antacids.
Were you ill with a viral infection prior to this? Do you have the hot flashes and sweating? I have been avoiding salt, but now that my blood pressure is going low (my last bp was 108/ 73) I am wondering if I should include some more salt in my diet.
At this point, I am just winging it. I will try reading more about the MVP syndrome and maybe post on the heart disorder board as goldyfm suggests, hoping for another piece to the puzzle. I am thankful everyday that I seem to be improving, with two steps forward and one step back. I will look forward to hearing your progress, and now that I know someone is reading this, I will check in frequently. As always, long-winded,
It's four o'clock in the morning and I am still riding the energy wave from being what I call "zapped" by the adrenaline- like hormone surge I received at 3:14 AM. The last time this occurred was Saturday morning at 4AM and again at 6:50AM. So, I went six days this time and seven days before that. I have being trying to determine what is different this morning that would be different. This was the first time I had not awakened hungry in the middle of the night. Past mornings I had made my way to the fridge and got a spoonful of peanut butter and something to drink, usually about 1AM. (I had got it in my head that maybe low blood sugar could have been the cause (hence the protein), or even low blood pressure (hence the liquids). But, every time I have checked my blood sugar, it has been a little on the higher normal side.

I had wondered, like you, any relation to dreaming, but I have not had any anxiety dreams in relation to my episodes. Once I did have one not- so- good dream, that I remember, but none since. I have even taken Xanax at night, and I still had an episode, so haven't found that to be related. I also have episodes when I am just relaxing and settling down to sleep or go back to sleep and not dreaming or worrying about anything in particular.

I had one episode of the brief burning chest pain, but a medication change seemed to fix that (beta blocker), and I have had none since. I do have GERD and even have some mild scarring on part of the upper lung, most likely from the regurgitation. Prilosec has helped it greatly, but I still have some indigestion.

Needaccure, I am sorry to hear that you have been suffering for so long. It also leads me to wonder how long this will effect me. I was obviously hoping for it to get better and eventually go away, with or without a diagnosis.

I spoke with a friend on the phone the other day and was trying to briefly explain what has been happening to me. She was quite surprised that I was not being more aggressive in going to a tertiary care center for a diagnosis. I had initially, when I had been convinced that I had a hormone- secreting tumor that couldn't be found. Then, as tests kept coming back negative, and I was assured and reassured that I had nothing life- threatening and that they needed more information as to the cause, I tried to be more patient. One doctor said that he had quite a few patients with similar symptoms and that they eventually got better and never found a diagnosis. I guess I was thinking that would be my story. With the bad side effects of the medication they had given me, I almost felt too sick to travel (four hours away). Then, when I started improving, I felt I was on to something. I found a few articles on MVP dysautomia and was sure this must be the cause since I had all the symptoms. I began following the suggestions of drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding sugars and simple carbs, and exercise. Slowly, I have been improving and thought maybe relief was in sight. And then...

Yesterday started out pretty good. I had slept better, and my head was less cloudy. I did my usual daily chores around the house, and if the weather had not been rainy, I would have been outside tending to my flower beds and planting the flat of pansies that have been sitting out on my porch. I had a few hot flashes through the day, but nothing extreme. I did my 30 minutes on the elliptical in divided sessions. Then, around four or five o' clock I started getting anxious (no reason). This seems to happen every other day. At first, I thought that I might be hungry, so had a snack. That seemed to help a little. My blood pressure was slightly elevated, but still normal. Then, I began pacing which has become my usual (when the stress hormones begin building up?). Finally, I took a 1/4 tablet of a .5mg Xanax (a very small amount) just to take the edge off. By dinner time, I was too anxious to cook, and had to convince my 15 yr. old son to quit playing his video game and tend to the stove. (That was a miracle in itself.) I continued with hot flashes (my chest and face turn red with a flush, I get really hot, and break out into a sweat) off and on for the next few hours, and finally was able to sit down in the rocking chair and started to doze when the Xanax finally kicked in. I took my Bystolic (beta blocker) at 9pm, had a snack, watched a little TV with the husband in between dozes and finally went off to bed by 10pm.
I slept well, waking a time or two to go to the bathroom, and went back to sleep, until the 3 AM. zap with my bp 169/ 103 and feeling shaky. Within 15- 20 minutes my bp was down to 118/ 75.

Like you, Laurie, the good days seem to be cyclical. I have rationalized that the body has only a certain amount of hormones that can be secreted until exhaustion, and during the recover phase, those are the good days. Then, when the gland, tumor, cells, or whatever recovers, then it can secrete again to zap! I do believe cortisol works in that way. I did have a cortisol level (it is recommended to be tested in the early morning when levels are supposed to be at their highest) and it was within normal limits (what else is new?). But, of course, if it is cyclical, it probably wasn't tested when it would have been elevated.

I am already trying to help my doctor by keeping a BP diary and adding notes with hot flashes, naps, bm's, and medications. Maybe I'll add types of meals and exercise, too.

Interestingly, the day before last, my sister called and said that my 90 year old mother went to the doctor's office to get a cortisone shot in her shoulder, and her bp skyrocketed to the mid 200's. She has had hypertension for years and anxiety does make it elevate. She was taken to the urgent care and it eventually went down. (They gave her the injection anyway)


I have a history of hormone- induced migraines. I had migraines as a child, and they eventually cycled around my menses. I have reactive hypoglycemia and had gestational diabetes. I had normally low blood pressure through my young adulthood. I have MVP with leaflet thickening and mild multi-valve regurgitation.

Starting to get sleepy now, but will need to get up in 20 minutes anyway to make my husband breakfast, make lunches for the kids, and get the kids off to school.

Please continue to keep posting your thoughts, suggestions, and any revelations as we try to figure out the mystery. Feel free to print out my posts if you think that will help you, but I would suggest that you write out a condensed version of pertinent information and give the doctor a copy to keep. I have seen so many different specialists who were so busy and rushed, and they seemed quite pleased to get it all written out for them (probably helps them with their paperwork).
I know that at some point, I had become obsessed with taking my blood pressure. At first I was scared and didn't know what I was dealing with. Even the doctors didn't know. I would take it anywhere from every 5 - 15 minutes there for a while. I rationalized that the knowledge of the result was confirmation of what I was feeling, the "hormone dump," as you call it. If my BP was really high, then I only confirmed that it had occurred. I also felt that the BP confirmed the extent of the dump of hormones, thinking that the higher the BP, the greater quantity of hormones was dumped. (Bigger dump, worse feeling, harder time going back to sleep, longer time for my bp to come down.) I also wanted to make sure that my BP was coming down to a normal level so that I could relax that I wasn't going to have a stroke. As I have written in past posts, I had a brain stem stroke in Dec of 2004. Interesting enough, Deb, I was taking the NSAIDS that were taken off the market prior to the stroke, and my doctor directly attributed my stroke to taking those medications. So, my fear of a high spike of BP is very valid in relation to a future stroke.

Since taking the Zoloft and getting better sleep, my obsessive tendencies are a bit better. (But, they were getting better before I started the Zoloft as my blood pressures were more normal and I was more familiar with the feelings that indicated a high bp.) My husband is diabetic, and he checked his blood sugar before our bike ride. He has been having problems with high blood sugar levels, and yesterday morning it was higher than usual in the 200's. He gave himself his morning insulin. When we returned from our bike ride, he checked his blood sugar again (as any responsible diabetic would do) and it was really low. He had to eat a snack to get his BS level to normal. I rationalize that, just like a diabetic, when I check my blood pressure, I am just being a responsible patient. My doctor and I are working as a team to adjust my medications and that is directly related to my home blood pressure readings. I hand him my notebook of numbers, and he determines whether to increase my dose or not, just as my husband's doctor determines his insulin dose based on his blood sugar diary. As long as that is my incentive to take my blood pressure, and the only incentive, I know that my obsessiveness is in check.

Your thinking about the excessive hormones in the body occurred to me as well. Generally, I "use" the rush and clean and straighten up the house. I can hardly sit still anyway. I wish I knew more about how the body signals the release and the need to stop the release of the fight or flight hormones. One theory I formed was that if the levels were used up, like you suggested, with exercise it would signal it to stop. Now, don't let what I am going to say mess with your mind, but I also wondered if the high levels in the body remained there, it would signal it to stop producing. But, I suppose we can rationalize that those higher than normal levels of hormones can't be good for the well- being of our mind and body. I certainly feel better after exercising. My doctor cautioned me not to exercise to exhaustion, though.
I also thought that drinking plenty of fluids might flush the excess hormones out of my body. Certainly, in a healthy person, drinking plenty of fluids and exercising would be helpful.

In answering your question, mongenix, I took my bp a half hour or so before my bike ride and it was 116/ 69 with a HR of 78, certainly not high and certainly not in proportion with my anxiety feeling. After the ride it was 109/ 73 with a HR of 80.

It is interesting that despite the fact that you are male, you are having similar symptoms such as hot flash/ sweating episodes that I have been attributing to perimenopause. This makes me wonder which I am experiencing- menopause symptoms or whatever this is. Initially, I had just a brief sweating episode directly related to the episodes. Later, they were different and quite dramatic. I would wake shivering and chilling. I would put on a robe and either warm myself by the fireplace or wrap myself in a blanket. Then I would get hot and begin to sweat, and oddly enough my blood pressure would go down. (I wondered if it was the body's response to the bp elevation.) I didn't have these episodes during the day at all that I can remember. Only later, (and maybe this is the menopause hot flashes) I started having red blushes to my face and chest and the hot sensation and sweating during the day and occasionally at night when I wake up. Last night I woke nearly soaked. I believe this is a result of Zoloft side effects since it is different from the usual. I had taken Prozac (another SSRI) for my FM and had night sweats when I took it years ago. When I changed to Lexapro, the night sweats went away. Oh, boy! I get to have night sweats and these hot flashes, too, lol. When I asked the shrink about the possibility of the side effect, she said, "What will you care if you are already having hot flashes?" Guess what? I care!

Deb, I used to notice that when I would go into buildings with unprotected florescent lights that I would get really tired. Home Depot seems to be a bad place for me. It happened again just recently, and I found myself having to sit down at the lawn chair display. I swear my husband can spend hours in that place! I never thought of the florescent lights in airplanes. I usually feel bad when I fly, but I always related it to the anti- nausea medicine I have to take for air sickness and the fact that I hate to fly because of a scary incident I had once.

When you have a major illness, it really changes your family dynamics. When both have major illnesses, it really throws it for a loop. The stress hit my husband when I had my stroke at 45. As I've mentioned, he has diabetes, and stress does a number on him. So, when I needed him to be strong and supportive, he was at his worst. More than likely the stress increased his BS and it affected his demeanor. He also had two young children to care for. I have been pleasantly surprised at how well my husband has done supporting me and the family with this present illness, but his blood sugar has been elevated, so he must be feeling the stress. But, the kids are older, and can manage pretty good on their own.

Well, got to get going. As always, I am long- winded. Hope for a better day for all,
After an afternoon nap, I had a really good afternoon and evening yesterday. Was a bit weepy in the morning with the poor me's. Blood pressure was extra low in the morning 88/62, 101/70, and 106/ 68 were some of my lower ones. Had been feeling dizzy the last week off and on, but it didn't seem related to the low bp's. Tried drinking extra fluids. When my bp got more normal, I was able to do some time on the elliptical- slow and easy. I think the exercise helps. My bp's have been all over the place. Months ago if you had told me that I would be having these kinds of numbers, I would have told you you were crazy! lol
Signed up for a stress reduction program at the urging of the psychiatrist. Have an appointment with her on Thursday. I hope she will increase the Zoloft. I think it is helping. Didn't check my blood pressure at all through the night. Even missed checking it before I went to bed. No night sweats since that first time. The hot flashes continue. Don't know how this Summer will be. Had to turn on the A/C when it got in the 90's yesterday.

Read up some on dysautomia and beta blockers, and anti-depressants like Zoloft were stated as part of the treatment. Don't know if that is what I have, but a lot of symptoms are similar and so is the treatment that seems to be helping me.

Stomach symptoms have been better, too. Much less burping and discomfort after eating. Have been trying more foods including red meats. Getting tired of chicken, turkey, and tuna. Trying to avoid salt and sugars. Limiting breads and simple carbs. No caffeine or chocolate :( If I eat something with carbs, I try to have a protein with it. Peanut butter on a spoon works as a snack and has helped with the constipation. Adds lots of calories, tho. Would have been good when I could barely eat, but now that I'm eating better, I need to watch that.

I read that dysautomia can be brought on by a virus or even menopause. Sounds familiar. Do any of you remember having a virus prior to your blood pressure spikes? Illness and stress seem to really do a number on me in getting my immune system in a flurry and causing Lupus and Fibro flares. I don't want to get germaphobic, but if people only knew what a simple cold or flu could do to me! BTW my son just announced that his throat was sore! AHH! lol

Hoping for a pleasant day for everyone. Hope to hear an update from you soon,
Best wishes,
Since I haven't heard from anyone in a couple of days, I hope that means you are doing better and are too busy with life to write. I am awake early as usual, and the house is sleeping. Knew that I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep with my husband's snoring, so thought i would jot a line or so.

Had a pretty good day yesterday. Some low blood pressures, but nothing major. No high bp's! About 11AM developed some mild breakthrough heart palpitations. They continued for hours. Tried to work through them doing chores around the house. The housekeeper didn't show again. Tried drinking extra fluids. Its hard for me sometimes to drink straight water. I even tried to do some time on the elliptical (slowly and in short increments). Heart palps continued. Wondered whether it is wise to try to exercise when your heart is "irritable" as I like to call it. Walked to the mailbox.

My initial hopes to venture out to the library book sale went array when the wind kicked up and a storm was brewing. Hot flashes continued through the day. By evening, I had had enough, and resorted to a quarter tab of Xanax hoping that would quiet my heart enough to allow me to cook some dinner. An hour later, I had to take another quarter tab, and that finally made the difference.

Had an incident with my youngest with getting in trouble with his baseball coach. Despite the confrontation, and ensuing heated discussion, my bp remained down. (Of course I had X on board) Went to bed with bp at 96/ 70.

Feel pretty good this morning other than waking at 4:45AM. Continue to be zap- free since last Thursday (six days and counting). Read up on the menopause boards on different sites. Its such a shame that women have to go through such problems just because we were chosen to be the barers of children.

Hope everyone is doing well. If not, chin up, we are strong and will get through this, hopefully better for the experience.
Best wishes,

PS. My mother is doing better.
Well, got "zapped" this morning... at least I think so. Went a whole week to the day. I woke at 3:30AM and didn't think I would be able to get back to sleep. Had a little peanut butter and a few sips of water to wash it down. Tossed for awhile, had a few hot flashes and apparently went back to sleep until 5:30AM. This time, I was dreaming and I remember the dream took an unpleasant turn (don't remember details) and I woke up in a panic, not being able to breathe well. After a little recovery time, I checked my bp: 159/96 with a heart rate of 88. My hands weren't shaky as they usually are and although my heart was pounding, I didn't seem so energy- charged that I could clean the house in ten minutes flat like I usually do. Checked my bp 15 minutes after the episode and it was 124/76 with a heart rate of 75. Was this somehow different? Normally, I can tell for sure that I had an adrenaline- like dump, but not this morning. Was this more of a startle than a zap? Maybe a sleep apnea thing? BP was up but recovered quickly. Don't feel very good, kind of nauseous and irritable, but what's new?

Read somewhere that anti-depressants (SSRI's specifically) should be started at lower doses and built up in the system because sometimes they can have a side effect of anxiety if the serotonin level goes up too quickly with the maintenance dose. Never knew that. Going to see the shrink today. Will see if she increases the dosage of the Zoloft. Think its helping with the sleeping. I think I have been able to sleep 3-4 hours at a time now at the longest. Not crying every morning in the shower, either. Remember Lexapro helping with PMS symptoms and as a mood stabilizer.

Went for a walk yesterday and was able to go 45 minutes or more. Building my stamina back up. Figure I am kind of becoming mentally dependent on my Xanax. I brought a little baggie of quarter bits and put it in my pocket along with a water bottle. Wanted to have them, just in case.

Missed my youngest son's baseball game. Was in an anxious huff, and then was sleepy and dozing when the medicine finally kicked in. It was quite windy and a late game. Hate to have life pass me by, but want to make outings pleasurable so negative feelings won't be attached to them. Dealing with anxiety is all new to me. Anyone with some helpful suggestions? Suppose I could check out the anxiety message board. Hate to get caught up in it though.

Yesterday, I read up on herbal teas and supplements because I remember a TV program I saw. It was Dr. Oz and he said that passion flower works as well as an anti- anxiety medicine. However, I found out that you shouldn't take it when you're on an antidepressant and/ or, of course, another anti- anxiety medicine. Also, pretty much all of the herbs can't be taken with the aspirin that I am taking, either. Was hoping for some alternative relief.

Did a little editing on my book yesterday. That is a big thing, since I have not worked on it for probably four months. I think it was because of the sleep deprivation or depression. I couldn't read for very long, or concentrate on anything for any length of time. My bp went up in frustration when I was filling out the paperwork and the doctor's office, for heaven's sake! Taxes were a nightmare- well they are anyway!

Oldest son is home sick from school, today. Hope a virus is not going to make the rounds with my family. I need a garlic necklace to wear to scare it away, lol.
Everyone have a good day. Hope you are doing well.
Best regards,
Had a good day yesterday, most likely due to the increase in Zoloft. As usual, I pushed myself to the max, but it was so good not to feel so anxious, that I couldn't help but want to do the things I used to be able to do. While my husband was out of town with our eldest son, I took our youngest to his baseball game. I stayed there for the two hours and a half, cheering and groaning as the case may be. (They lost.) Then, I dropped off my son and a friend to a birthday party and swung over to the pharmacy drive- thru to chase down a prescription. Later, after a bit of a nap, I picked up the kids and brought them home and when my husband returned, we went to evening church services. No need for Xanax all day! I am certainly not feeling NORMAL yet. My thinking is still not the usual, I still feel a bit cloudy- headed, and I felt terribly nauseous during church (no reflection on the preaching, lol), and several hot flashes. But, I'm doing better and that is my goal, all without a blood pressure spike.

I took my blood pressure before I went to bed and again in the morning when I decided I was getting up for good. At 6AM it was 146/ 89. Did I have another mini- spike? Or did I just miss capturing it's highest reading because I went to the BR first? And, why did it happen? I was dreaming, but it was nothing scary or action- filled. Other possibilities: too low bp, low blood sugar, low heart rate, apnea... none of which showed up on any test. I always take my blood pressure in a certain position, with feet down and sitting up, etc... so no variable for that. I know it isn't that high, but that's not the point. It's medical curiosity and trying to figure out what is going on with my body. The last spike was Thursday morning, three days ago. What makes these mornings different? I did sleep later... I actually was in bed for 7 1/2 hours and was able to go back to sleep when I woke at 4:30AM. Did my husband snore loudly and wake me? The decibels get pretty high there in the morning. Or, is my body just messed up with this dysautomia and there is no logical reason? But, it happens in the later morning... maybe a certain stage of sleep? Any ideas?

Actually feel pretty good this morning; that's what a little shot of adrenaline can do for you, lol. My neck has been hurting now for the last few weeks or so. It makes some terribly noisy cracking sounds when I turn it. I have neglected to mention it because it has been the least of my problems. My right neck gland is slightly swollen and tender- I did mention the possibility that it had signaled the return of a flare of Lupus before. Don't think me hypochondriacal, although with anxiety disorders, that tendency is real. I have to be in tune with my body, and its signals. It may be telling me what I already know. I'm still doing too much. The housekeeper was another no show, and we have several house guests. My husband thrives on chaos and I do not. (Did I mention he suffers from ADHD?) I think I need to write a big note to myself (and maybe my hubby) and tape it up on the bathroom mirror. SLOW DOWN!

Hope my thoughts are helpful to others. They are therapeutic for me to write them down and reread them.
Best to all,
P.S. My bp three hours later is 98/ 70 just after a big flushing/ sweating episode!
Saw my doctor yesterday. I presented him with my hypoglycemia theory as a possibility of the cause of the adrenaline- like surges causing my blood pressure to spike. (See my prior post for details.) I only expected him to nod and say something like, "That's a possibility," and leave it at that. However, he felt it was strong enough of a possibility to investigate because he wrote an order to put me through a grueling 5 hour glucose tolerance test and more blood tests. Ugh! I think I'm going to keep my big mouth shut next time! lol All for the comfort of having a diagnosis, I guess!

I've had this test before, as have most women who were suspected as having gestational diabetes. It was confirmed with me during my pregnancy with my youngest twelve years ago, and it has still left a terrible impression on me. I'm nauseated as it is! I guess if a nauseated pregnant woman can go through it, so can I, right? I just hope it doesn't set back any of my progress. He said he felt that they had ruled out any possibility of a pancreatic tumor with all the other testing they had done and my fasting BS was fine, but he still wanted to do this test because of my past diagnosis of reactive hypoglycemia. He admitted that some people can present with hypoglycemia symptoms (and maybe an adrenaline surge reaction?) when their blood sugar goes, for example, from 200- 100 and yet the 100 is not considered hypoglycemia. So, I guess he wants to see if my blood sugar responds like that, which could be what was happening, or at least contributed to it. I guess I can see the logic. I hope in the last decade that they've improved the taste of the sugary liquid they make you choke down. Since I have to dedicate at least 5 hours, I am planning to go on Friday. (The doctor doesn't want me to leave the laboratory during the testing, so he says to bring a good book!)

Q: Have any of you had problems with hypoglycemia in the past? Do you remember having had a big meal or high carbohydrate meal prior to your blood pressure spikes?

Slept better again last night with taking the 1/2 Xanax. Hope that helps clear my cloudy- head. Doctor says that the Zoloft should help decrease the amount of hot flashes. I obviously haven't been counting them, but I do think that they are more tolerable or I have just found ways to cope with them better. I found a small fan and I put my buckwheat wrap in the freezer to use when needed. Still not convinced the flushings are menopause related. Remember having a flushing reaction to the heat of the blow dryer years ago and even using a small fan in the bathroom because of that. Also have had a history of a red blush to my chest and face usually at the end of the day when I was really tired. I remember asking my rheumatologist about it probably five or six years ago, and he said it wasn't related to Lupus. Maybe now that I'm getting better sleep, I am remembering these things.

I guess I'm playing detective, gathering clues only I may have. Hopefully, we'll stumble on the reason for this, and maybe reading this will even jog your memories that will lead to a diagnosis. May never put a name to it. Just want to get better and never have to go through this or anything like it again. It may take lifestyle adjustments, diet changes, and/ or medications. Whatever it takes, huh?
Best to all,
P.S. FYI: A caution in taking beta blockers is that they have been found to make you more prone to Insulin resistance (your body becomes more resistant to the effects of insulin causing the possibility of your blood sugars to increase.) I have been taking a beta blocker off and on for nearly 30 years!
Had a mini- adrenaline- like surge this morning around 5AM. It has been five days this time since my last one. The last was Sunday and this bp spike was even less high. Still woke up shaky and supercharged with energy. Stayed in bed for a while because I was cold and on the verge of chilling. Then, put on my robe and socks and went back under the covers until the warmth made me have a hot flash and then I got up.

Did have a big day yesterday, but not really sure if that is related. Went to a stress reduction seminar orientation. A good friend accompanied me on the 1 1/2 hr drive. I drove both ways, and maybe that was too much. BP was elevated when I checked it when I got home, so I must have been feeling some stress on the drive home. Does that prove that I need to take the seminar or does it prove that I need someone to drive me to it or both?

Still feeling nauseated from the Seratonin from my last Zoloft increase. My doctor doesn't want to increase it anymore until the nausea goes away for at least a couple of days. Thought it would be a good idea to hold off with the 5 hour GTT until I was less nauseous. I also need to figure out a new schedule for taking my medication as they want you not to have anything by mouth for 12 hours prior and want you at the lab by 7AM (which is before the kids leave for school). The lab is not open on the weekends (small local lab). The doctor says that it will take four to six weeks for the Zoloft to be at it's most effective level.

Still sleeping better. Slept 3 1/2 hrs straight again last night. Woke once at 4AM and had a few hot flashes. Turned on the small bedside fan until I cooled down, and went back to sleep until my morning zap.

Gratitude journal:
Housekeeper finally showed up after a couple of weeks of no shows. I am very blessed to be able to have someone to help with the hard cleaning chores and laundry, even if it is only once in a while. I am grateful for my dear sweet friend who gave up her day to accompany me to my seminar orientation. It is very beneficial for me to be able to express my thoughts in words by writing and hope those words can help others.

Hoping for a better day,
Hi, Laurie:
Sorry to hear about your bp spike. My holter report says my average HR was 67 BPM, with minimum at 46 and maximum at 97. I did have some ventricular (and supraventricular) ectopy with 9 runs. Before I had a blood pressure machine, I had been taking my pulse rate because I had been put on double the beta blocker medication. It is well known to make your heart rate go low, and my doctor told me to watch that it didn't go down lower than 50 BPM. So, when my heart would pound during the surges, I would check the rate. It never was tachycardic. The cardiologist mentioned that. But, I pointed out that I was taking a beta blocker (the low heart rate thing), but he just gave me a smug look (whatever that meant?). So, for your heart rate to go high on a beta blocker is significant, especially at rest, but as you probably know, 113 isn't considered high for exercising and it obviously recovered within 10 minutes. Most likely whatever made your bp spike is what made your heart rate increase. Did your endocrinologist give you any rationale as to the relation of hyperthyroidism and the bp spikes? I assume your other tests were normal. I would assume the increase in hormones causes stress to the body, whether it is felt emotionally or not, and a surge of those hormones would cause the sudden increase in blood pressure and heart rate. But don't quote me on that.

The name of the author is Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Apparently he's written and co- authored several dozen books. The book that the seminar uses is called "Full Catastrophe Living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness." The program has been offered in the US and around the world for over 20 years and the flyer says that "this approach can help people who are coping with stress, pain, chronic illness, life- threatening disease, and the challenges of everyday life. I will keep you posted with my progress in the class.

Was just a bit nervous on my first solo trip driving a big distance in a long time (nervous, not anxious). I used to drive to my rheumatologists several hours away (from where I used to live) in LA traffic, by myself, without batting an eye, for heaven's sake! This nervousness is new to me. I turned on a Catholic radio station and listened to an inspirational program celebrating motherhood (appropriate for Mother's Day) and before I knew it, I was at my sisters.

One of the things the video I watched at the stress reduction orientation mentioned was to keep diverting your thoughts back to relaxation even if they wander. As I was driving, I found my mind wandering to thoughts that could provoke stress, and I just kept moving my mind back to listening to the radio and what they were saying. It's surprising how much information I was able to glean from just the orientation. Just imagine how much I'll learn over the course of several months! I got too busy and didn't get to check my blood pressure afterward, so I really don't know how my body responded to the stressors of driving, but I'm alive to tell the story, lol. I did well on the drive back, other than the fact that I got really sleepy on several occasions. Must have been really relaxed, huh? Missed taking my bp again when i returned, but it didn't seem high (can't always tell).

I had a nice visit with my mother. It consisted of eating out... and eating... and eating (lunch, dinner, and again at breakfast). Hard for someone who has no appetite and feels slightly nauseous, but I managed to eat until I was comfortably full. I hope my mother didn't feel slighted because I didn't give her any gift or even a card as this was all last minute and I'd been sick. I did pay for her meals, and hopefully she realized and appreciated the effort it took for me to make it there.

My bp did go up when my sister and I were working on the computer. For some reason, the movement of the words on the screen were making me dizzy, and/ or maybe it was my sister's stress that was transferring to me, but I could tell it was affecting me. I actually felt sick to my stomach and had to quit. I checked my bp and it was 142/ 81. Not overly high, but going in that general direction. My bp at 6:30 that morning was 97/ 71.

My sister has a tendency to be narcissistic and she dragged me and my almost 90 year old mother around with her doing unplanned things. But, that's life, and I actually did pretty well. It was nice to act like it used to be when I was "normal" and could do those things. My sister, bless her heart, is a perfectionist and her house is immaculate. She has many stressors in her life, and that was proven during my visit. Just the way she reacts to things makes ME nervous. She admits that she could do with a stress reduction program and I have no doubt that it would help her blood pressure go down, but she works and it is so far away. She does go to exercise class routinely.

At some point in my visit, I did get another chance to check my blood pressure, and sure enough, my sister called me on it (as siblings lovingly do). I assured her I was not being obsessive in taking my blood pressure, but needed the information for my doctor so that he could adjust my medication accordingly. With all the fluctuations in ones blood pressure throughout the day, to me it doesn't make sense for the doctor to adjust your bp medication based only on the one they take in their office (white coat syndrome aside) once in a three week period (or even longer). My bp goes all over the place. Granted, my blood pressure is labile and not the norm, and my sister is probably thinking of her blood pressure that generally remains the same.

I realize that it is hard for others to know what it's like to have something like this, but my sister did share something with me that helped. She told me that when she had her miscarriage and lost her baby girl at 7 mo. gestation and her hormones were all over the place, she had the similar anxiety and claustrophobic feelings that I was having. She said that it did go away quickly once her hormones stablized, though. She had never mentioned that to me before, or I never remembered it because it was so long ago. Hopefully, if she can remember how she felt, she will be able to empathize with my feelings and reluctance to do things that cause stress.

Went out to eat for Mother's Day with my immediate family and in-laws last night after I drove home. The restaurant was very busy with long lines out the door. My husband was nice enough to let me stay in the car while he waited and called me in after he was seated and ordered for me. The noise in the place was more than I could tolerate. We moved to a quieter area, but it was still too much. My sensitivity to noises fluctuates and is probably based on how well I slept the night before. Tried ear plugs, but the muffled sound was irritating. My son had a stomach ache after he ate, and after eating, I went with him out to the car and waited while the rest of the crew finished a leisurely (emphasis on leisurely) dinner. My eldest came out to the car too and together we watched a movie on the DVD player overhead. So, I got some nice quality time with my sons on Mother's Day anyway.

Today is day 4 without an adrenaline- like surge- induced spike. Still having hot flashes, but I think they are less, and some are less intense. Only had one early this morning, but it was chilly last night. Going to try for Wednesday or Thursday morning for my glucose tolerance test. Not looking forward to it, but know it is necessary in the continued effort to find a cause/ diagnosis. My doctor is also checking my insulin levels and doing Lupus inflammation tests to see if I should restart my Plaquenil.

Hoping (and praying) for a stress-free, spike- free, nausea- free day (and night) for all.
Best Regards,
Glad to hear you are doing better, Laurie. I truly think that we (people in general) are our own worst enemies when it comes to stress- induced illnesses and illnesses that are worsened by stress. In our stress reduction class, we discussed how society (TV, books, magazines, etc) makes certain expectations on us that are unattainable (thin waif models, flawless complexions, expert cooks, perfect mothers, superwomen, etc.) and our inner voice tells us repeatedly how we fall short of that. No wonder we feel stressed. We may not even acknowledge how much the comments of important people in our life (our family and friends) also add to that stress.

Had the last of my glucose- drinking blood tests this morning. Had another heart pounding, shaking episode at about hour three. It started happening when I left and peaked when I got home. I tested my blood sugar with my husband's glucometer and got a reading of 55mg/ dl. Checked my blood pressure and it was 138/83. Not exactly a scientific experiment, but I wouldn't doubt that my reactive hypoglycemia is playing a role in this. Again I ate everything in sight and was still hungry for more! Will wait to see what my internist thinks when he gets the results of the blood tests. I'll be glad to get back to my lower carbohydrate, higher protein diet.

Continue to sleep better with taking 1/2 Xanax tab. Don't like being dependent on medication, but I'll take what I can get at this point. Find that I can read and remember things better, and have more energy. I am nearly there (my state of health before all this). Still have a few hot flashes, but are usually light and are becoming more infrequent. The housekeeper is coming less often and I am taking on more household chores.

But, I don't want to get sick again, so will have to continue with the stress reduction and make it a way of life. Delegating jobs, caring for myself- eating right, exercising, getting rest and adequate sleep, etc... is a must for me. Now more than ever, I am realizing this. Add extra hugs and lots of laughter! What a great recipe for life, huh?

Best Regards,
Had a doctor's appt. yesterday. Turns out I have severe reactive hypoglycemia. He says mine is the worst case he has ever seen. My blood sugar went as low as 24 mg/dl on the glucose tolerance test at hour three! He said I should have been in a coma with that low of a BS. Normal healthy BS levels are 70- 110. My fasting was in the 70's, which is normal (and rules out a pancreatic tumor.) Below 50 is considered diagnostic of hypoglycemia at hour three, and mine was half that! My insulin levels were also twice the normal numbers. He also said that I might end up with diabetes later in life (a genetic defect I can't prevent). :( I was a gestational diabetic, but as long as I stayed away from sweets, my blood glucose was actually low. I was lucky that they were able to catch that low of a glucose level. The lab girl drew my blood right before I had the shaky symptoms and the higher blood pressure spike. It only takes a few heart beats for the adrenaline to increase the blood sugar levels.

My doctor is going to have me see a dietician, and of course, carbs are history- oh well. I have pretty much been eating a higher protein, low carb diet lately, anyway (except for the 3- 5 day high carb diet I needed prior to the insulin testing). I just need help with choosing the lower glycemic index carbs and the proteins that are lower fat.

So, the current theory is that this has all been caused by an ANS disorder that flared, most likely triggered by a virus, complicated by stopping my Lexapro, and stress, and from my higher dose pseudophedrine and caffeine consumption, that was complicated by excessive exercise, and severe reactive hypoglycemia that caused adrenaline surges, that caused high blood pressure spikes, that resulted in insomnia, that flared my fibromyalgia, and also triggered exaggerated menopause symptoms (the jury is still out on that), including hot flashes and anxiety symptoms. Whew! Did I miss something? Throw in some nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and weight loss for good measure. Oh, by the way, my Lupus seems to still be in remission and I don't have to resume taking my Plaquenil. Yeah! One thing in my favor.

No adrenaline surges since May 6th, and no blood pressure elevations since a few days after my glucose tests. Hope knowing what the problem stems from and attending the SR classes will keep my BP normal and keep me healthy.

Saw my mother in the hospital yesterday. She is doing well. Plans are still underway for her surprise 90th birthday party. Hope she will be out of the physical therapy rehab facility by that time. We have people flying in from out of state!

Laurie, hope your Memorial camping weekend is peaceful and relaxing. We have a parade, carnival, and reunion to go to. Will try to not over do.
Best Regards,
Thanks for the advice, bOredmember. Took a look at the site. I certainly did have withdrawal symptoms, even when I weaned off of Lexapro. But, I started taking it for the same symptoms I was getting when I weaned off. The Lexapro did not cure my problems (mood swings, poor quality sleep, exaggerated PMS, etc.), it only helped control them. Once I weaned off and got through the withdrawals (worsening symptoms that later lessened), the reasons I needed to take it were still there. But, now instead of PMS, I'm having exaggerated perimenopause symptoms. I suspect the poor quality of sleep is because of the blood pressure spikes waking me or that my fibromyalgia is returning, or both.

I admit that every medication you take has side effects, and some can be life threatening, and can certainly complicate medical conditions, but I don't believe that is my problem. Taking the SSRI again, has certainly helped me. My hot flashes are lessened, I'm sleeping much better, my thinking is clearer, my anxiety is gone, and my moods are more stabilized. I'm certain sleeping better has helped me improve as well.

I was lucky to find out that my blood pressure spikes were from adrenaline surges caused by severe reactive hypoglycemia. If you look at my initial symptoms, it certainly makes sense. These surges began happening after a large meal, in the evening (after the biggest meal of the day) and occurred mainly at night. Nausea complicated it by keeping me from eating, and I was drinking high sugar energy drinks because I wasn't eating, and that made it even worse. Having my sympathetic nervous system on panic mode most likely aggravated the condition. And, as I've written before, I put myself into panic mode with stress, over- exercising, not eating regularly or well, taking decongestants, and drinking caffeine and high sugar beverages.

I know what they meant on the website about having "zaps." I did experience some of those feelings with my withdrawal from Lexapro. My kids would laugh at me because I would make a funny noise when they would happen. It felt like a jolt of electricity would go from head to toe, going down my leg and out the bottom of my foot. At first, I thought it was related to having a stroke because it would occur on that same side, but I later figured it could have been the withdrawal symptoms I had read about. Haven't had any of those in a long time. I had a friend who would even experience those when her next dose was due or she was late taking it. So, I know what they feel like, and what I experienced with my surges was not like that at all. I described the high blood pressure spikes (caused by the adrenaline surges) as being "zapped," but they were completely different from the Lexapro withdrawal symptoms.

I am glad to hear that you are improved. Being patient while we heal is very hard. My son broke his collar bone, and the pediatric orthopedic specialist told us that patiently wearing the sling is the hardest part. My son has already challenged me numerous times about feeling better and wanting to do this or that activity (including football). Ouch!

Hope everyone is improving. It is a slow process, but it will happen. Two steps forward, one step back still gets you forward. When I see that sign, I have to give a knowing smile, "Love, Laugh, Live." Throw in pray and you've got a great recipe for life.
Well, that's more than my two cents,
Best Regards,
This weekend, I was working hard on a project, and didn't take the time for breaks and snacks. Before you knew it, I felt bad and checked my bp. It was in the higher range and I had to take a break. Even though I was enjoying myself working on the video project, I fell into my bad habit of pushing myself passed the limit. It's no wonder that they've found that many patients that have Lupus are your typical over achievers, who push themselves even when their body tells them its time to quit. That may be why one identical twin might develop Lupus and not the other. There is a definite genetic link, but also differences in behavior and environment.

I continue to improve each day. Almost feel back to my usual "normal." I'm able to do more with less fatigue. I am sleeping straight for the first five hours and am able to go back to sleep quickly when I do wake. Having less neck pain and my bad time in the evening is getting shorter. I'm making sure I eat something as soon as I get out of bed. I need to set an alarm or something to remind me to eat a snack between meals, though. That will also help keep me from eating too much at a meal and hopefully keep my blood sugars stable. Still having hot flashes, but they are less often and haven't had any at night for quite a while.

Having a hard time making time for my stress reduction meditation, yoga practice, and book reading. I did make time for some gardening yesterday, and the instructor of my class says that you can make practically anything you do into a meditation. So, I tried to do some moment concentrating and belly breathing during my gardening. Pull a weed, take a breath, pull a weed, take a breath, lol!

My son is not as helpless as he once was with his broken clavicle. The orthopedic specialist is hopeful he will recover without problems. My mother will be getting out of the physical therapy rehab hospital today. She has been doing well. My sister is pleased that she will be out in time for her surprise 90th birthday party. We have relatives flying in from out of state to come to the celebration. My goal was to be better in time for the party, so I am pleased that I am doing so well. I will have to make sure to take care of myself that day, with breaks and snacks, and stay away from the carb- infested birthday cake!

There is a saying that I clipped out of a magazine. I had it on my bulletin board in my room as a teenager. It read, "Suffering is a fact of life that every mature person must come to grips." The author was anonymous, but it could have been written by any one of us. We don't know God's plan and reason for allowing our suffering and the suffering of others, but He is with us through it all. In caring for ourselves, we must care for our soul as well as our body and mind. Meditating can take on the form of prayer. Prayer completes me. I know I can't do this all by myself. I need and crave divine assistance and guidance. It is part of me, and must be nurtured along with everything else. Nurturing your spiritual side will make a difference.

Hope all my HealthBoard friends are doing well, and if you aren't and want to vent, I'm here.
Best Regards,
[QUOTE=obrienfarm;4293793]i have worked hard to figure out each issue and the surges were stumping me. to me it feel like right when you begin your drop on a roller coaster when i get the bp surge. do you feel that way? how would you describe it?

hope you are having a good day. thanks for your posts[/QUOTE]

Yes, I believe my autonomic nervous system went array, and it's been a long journey to get it back on track. I am sorry that you are suffering. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. I am still suffering from Fibromyalgia, fatigue, hot flashes, and the reactive hypoglycemia. As I better understand the problem, I am finding out what seems to help, and thankfully, the blood pressure surges have quit for now.

I can try to describe how I remember how the episodes felt. They began usually three hours after a big meal when my blood sugar rebound too low. It would trigger the adrenals to secrete adrenaline and possibly cortisol making my heart pound. I would get this sunken feeling in my gut (I guess you could describe it like the roller coaster feeling), and I would break out in a sweat and become slightly nauseous and shaky. Not long after, I would feel the need to have a bowel movement and eventually led to diarrhea.

It progressed to happening frequently and then more at night (when my blood sugar was lowest). I would awaken with a start, my heart would be pounding (but not elevated), my hands were shaky, sometimes I would be shivering uncontrollably and that was when my blood pressure would be at its highest. I could feel a fullness feeling in my neck, which is hard to describe. It was a sensation similar to when you bend down and all the blood rushes to your head. They say that high blood pressure is a silent killer, but I could certainly feel the blood rushes. (Maybe it was felt because of the sudden difference in blood pressure.) After the shivering quit, I broke out in a sweat (a hot flash of sorts) and that was when my BP would go down to normal. This would happen up to ten times in a twenty- four hour period at its worst.

I am thankful they have quit. I am working on getting better sleep, using meditation for relaxation and stress relief, trying to exercise, avoiding known triggers, taking Bystolic and Zoloft, using Xanax for sleep, and eating the right foods at the right times.

Hope this helps. Feel free to let me know of your progress and what works for you. I wish you the best,

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