One day I had finished lunch and was going back out to my when suddenly I could feel myself falling. As I tumbled down the stairs, I was not able to stop myself and I rolled over and over down a whole flight of stairs. As I lay there hearing the concerned voices of friends, I wondered had I missed a step again? This was becoming too common. A nurse present told me I hadn’t, that my legs had given out under me and used a diagnosis that was scary, but she would be helpful in describing the fall to physicians. I was ready to work out what was going on so I could end the series of falls.
Once home, my first referral was to a neurologist. This distinguished gentleman examined me in his office and sent me for an MRI. He ruled out most of the possible neurological causes. His conclusion was that I should “just live with it”. Being in my early 40s, I did not feel that that was an acceptable answer. Likewise, you should not settle with having to live with “you’re falling because you’re falling.” Don’t settle with not knowing, but continue to pursue it.
During a follow-up neurology appointment, he told me that his research showed that the falls could be being caused by a medicine that was controlling a long-term issue I have. The doctor managing that reviewed the literature and found that the medication only contributed when there were certain heart patterns. So, off I went to a cardiologist having made sure that the physicians involved were all talking to each other. I have learned that it is very important to have all the doctors in communication with each other. The cardiologist wanted to check for other possible cardiac causes for the falls, so more testing including stress tests, echo and wearing a heart monitor for two months. This still did not get us to a cause for the falls.
The Good News But Still Uncertainty
So after months of testing I was being told that I had a good mind and a good heart, but still no answers for my fall.
The Possible Solution
One evening, I was sitting with a friend talking about this whole process. He mentioned that he had just read about falls being caused by low sodium. It turned out that the study was in the elderly and seemed to be caused by the brain needing electrolytes to not have momentary failures to function. However, I was also having an issue with getting dehydrated easily. Talking with my main doctor, we increased the sodium in my diet and through a sport drink at night. Lo and behold, there have not been any more significant falls. Was it the electrolyte situation or something else that cured at the same time – we will never know, but the problem seems to be gone.
- Be clear about what is going on, including having other’s views on it.
- Don’t settle with not knowing when it gets hard for the doctors.
- Know what you can live with based on your age and circumstances.
- Be willing to consider solutions that at first don’t seem likely.
- Keep your doctors informed with at least one of them seeing the whole process, including your thoughts.