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Fainting and Behavioral Changes

Mother, age 50 has fainted 4 times in the past 3 months. The first episode was by far the worst as she was alone. She "woke up" on the floor and noticed that three hours had passed.

Hours after each episode she has deceased motor skills, semi slurred speech and seems to be confused. She will also "fall asleep" if doing something mundane (on Facebook, reading, cooking, etc.) Her head will tilt back and she will lose grip on whatever she's holding and her mouth will slightly open.

She has had plenty of tests: EKG, ECG, Angiogram, MRI, CT Scan, etc.

As of 07/19/17 she has a loop monitor installed to continuously record her heartbeat.

She had a stroke 7 years ago as a result of blood clots in the back of her neck. She has migraine headaches almost everyday. She often complains about feeling out of breath, nauseous, dizzy and tired. She sleeps whenever she gets the chance and snores loudly at night. She last fainted 07/25 and my father and I noticed that her breathing while taking a nap was strange. She wouldn't take a breath for maybe 10 seconds, and then all of the sudden would take a big breath as if she were gasping for air. From what I read online this seems indicative of sleep apnea, but I obviously could be wrong.

Her diet isn't ideal and she eats very little healthy food. She has body dysmorphia issues that stem from childhood bullying and refuses to eat any food that could possibly make her gain weight. She eats a diet high in sugar, fat, and salt yet still remains around 120 pounds at 5'8 or so. We talked her into drinking protein drinks/meal replacements to get some sort of vitamins but she's since stopped drinking them.

I apologize for the long post, I didn't want to leave out any important details that may lead to a right answer. If anyone could provide any insight or feedback to the problems that she is having you would be greatly appreciated. I'm afraid for her health and afraid for her safety. Thank you for reading.
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replied July 28th, 2017
the condition described here is most likely due to Transient ischemic attacks (TIA).

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is when blood flow to a part of the brain stops for a brief period of time. A person will have stroke-like symptoms which begin suddenly, and last only for a short time (from a few minutes to 1 - 2 hours), and go away completely within the first 24 hours.

Anyone can have a stroke no matter your age, race or gender. But, the chances of having a stroke increase if a person has certain risk factors, or criteria that can cause a stroke.

Controllable Risk Factors include - high Blood Pressure , Atrial Fibrillation, High Cholesterol, Diabetes, Atherosclerosis, Circulation Problems, Tobacco Use and Smoking , Alcohol Use, Physical Inactivity, Obesity

Uncontrollable Risk Factors include - age ( > 55 yrs), Gender (male), Race (african american), family history, Previous Stroke or TIA, Fibromuscular Dysplasia, Patent Foramen Ovale (Hole in the Heart).

The symptoms of TIA are the same as the symptoms of a stroke and include sudden onset of -
1. Abnormal feeling of movement (vertigo) or dizziness
2. Change in alertness (sleepiness, less responsive, unconscious, or in a coma)
3. Changes in feeling, including touch, pain, temperature, pressure, hearing, and taste
4. Confusion or loss of memory
5. Difficulty swallowing
6. Difficulty writing or reading
7. Inability to recognize objects or people
8. Lack of control over the bladder or bowels
9. Lack of coordination and balance, clumsiness, or trouble walking
10. Muscle weakness of the face, arm, or leg (usually only on one side of the body)
11. Numbness or tingling on one side of the body
12. Personality, mood, or emotional changes
13. Problems with eyesight (double vision, loss of all or part of vision)
14. Trouble speaking or understanding others who are speaking

A TIA is felt to be a warning sign that a true stroke may happen in the future if something is not done to prevent it.

If you have had symptoms of TIA as mentioned above, you should immediately consult with your doctor for a examination and complete evaluation. Conditions like High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and blood disorders should be diagnosed and treated.

Treatment may need medications like blood thinners (aspirin) , anti platelet agents (clopidogrel), and anti coagulants (heparin, Coumadin). In case of obstructive lesions in the arteries, surgical procedures like carotid endarterectomy, may be needed.

I hope this helps.

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