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Stroke like symptoms but not a stroke

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Hi, I am a 31 year old female. I am very overweight and have been a smoker for the past 18 years, but am in very good health with no conditions to report. All exams, blood work and physicals have come back with no issues.

However, about 4 weeks ago (the week before Christmas) I started having several issues with fatigue, lack of energy, ongoing heartburn accompanied by chest and back pain and intermittent vomiting and diarrhea. The weekend following Christmas, I was so tired that I slept 16 hours that Saturday and 14 hours that Sunday. I chalked it up to a busy holiday, but am now questioning whether it was a warning sigh for something larger. Over the past 4 weeks I have had vomiting and/or diarrhea issues at least twice each week. However, I started a 14 day course of Prilosec OTC on 1/2/13 and that resolved the heartburn and chest pain issues. I do still have periodic pain in my back between my shoulder blades.

Then on 1/7/12 I went to the hospital with stroke like symptoms that ended up not being a stroke. The official diagnosis was "Right sided weakness with unknown etiology" with a secondary diagnosis of "Smoker, Obesity".

The symptoms began with itchy eyes that progressed to what felt like sinus pressure behind my right eye, so I assumed it was my allergies acting up and took and Allegra pill (which I have taken numerous times). That progressed to my right eye closing and then the entire right side of my face going numb and dropping. My speech was severely slurred and my tongue was also numb and I had a hard time moving it. A few moments later when I attempted to walk and found that my right arm and leg were both also numb and I could not move either one of them. And my right shoulder looked to be several inches lower than my left and my arm was just hanging there. From the first sign of itchy eyes, it took about 40 minutes for all symptoms to appear and they only lasted about an hour in full force. I first began to regain feeling in my arm, then leg, then face. The next 2 hours after my initial symptoms went away, I had 4 more episodes but these were minor compared to the first with only my face being affected by going numb and dropping. These 4 lasted any where from 5 - 15 minutes.

I immediately went to the hospital when the initial symptoms began thinking I was having a stroke. There I had 2 CT scans (1 with & 1 without contrast), a Chest X-ray, EKG, 2 sets of blood work, and urine tests. And all came back with no abnormalities. I ended up spending the night in the hospital where they continued to monitor my vitals and did the second set of blood work and urine test, but again no abnormalities were found. Throughout that initially evening, I had periodic episodes where only the right side of my mouth would feel numb and loose some mobility.

The next morning and afternoon (1/8/12) I had no symptoms and was released to go home. And that evening, I began experiencing minor headaches that have since increased in frequency. The evening of 1/8/12 I had 1 headache where the pain started in my right eye (which is where what I thought was sinus pressure that I felt on 1/7) that progressed to my entire head and increased in strength, and also resulted in slight numbness and drooping of the right side of my mouth again.

Throughout the next day (1/9/13) I experienced 6 total headaches, all happening the same was as the one the day prior with the slight numbness and dropping of the right side of my mouth and each lasting anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes.

Today (10/10), I have only had 1 headache thus far and it began roughly 15 minutes after I awoke. It happened the same as the others over the past two days, but I did NOT have the numbness sensation in the corner of my mouth this time, but was a bit longer lasting about an hour.

I am having a MRI completed next week and will be seen by both my Primary Care Physician and an Neurologist, but will not see either of them for over 2 weeks. With the lack of diagnosis at the hospital and these new and reoccurring headaches, I am concerned and wanted to see if you had any insight on potential causes/conditions.

Thank you for your help!
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replied July 29th, 2013
There are many potential reasons for your symptoms. Get your MRI first.


Providing Top Neurology Services in the New York area. Excellence in treating headaches, dizziness, and head pain.
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