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low blood CO2, aka hypocapnia?

Discussion in 'Autonomic, Cardiovascular, and Respiratory' started by fresh_eyes, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. fresh_eyes

    fresh_eyes happy to be here

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    I just got back some lab work that shows I have low blood carbon dioxide, aka hypocapnia.

    Anybody else? Is it a symptom of OI or POTS?

    I think it might explain a new symptom, in the last 6 mos or so, that reminds me of years ago when I spent a few nights in a mountain climbers' hut halfway up a mountain in Ecuador, and would wake gasping periodically throughout the night. The same thing seems to be happening. It's not really anxiety, I mean it doesn't have the emotion of anxiety, just the physical jolt. Also heart palpitations every once in a while. And a feeling I'd describe like my heart turns to jelly. Familiar to anyone?
  2. kat0465

    kat0465 Senior Member

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    very familiar,
    my carbon dioxide is always on the low side, and my heart always gives me a fit.hard to explaine the feeling, besides all the palps and flips my heart does, it almost feels lke theres something in my chest that shouldnt be there, and my heart dosent have any room,had x rays and its not enlarged, but it sure feels that way.
    i also find myself breathing very shallow, and then try & breath deeper cause i feel like im not getting enough oxygen. it's wierd.

    all they can say is HMMM, well you have a slightly thickened Mitral valve, but thats about it, I feel like something is attacking my heart!
    Kat
  3. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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    This is interesting, fresh eyes. First things first, has hyperventaltion been ruled out as a cause? I think this results in low CO2. Chronic hyperventalation can have a disabling effect.

    Best wishes,

    C.G.
  4. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    I get all the heart symptoms you deacribed and the oxygen-starved feeling. I had no idea this could be connected with low CO2. Do you know of any good articles on the web about this?
  5. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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    If hyperventalation is causing low CO2, Buteyko's breathing recommendations on the web are reported to have helped with this . May not be the cause of our problems, of course, but is worth a try.

    Best wishes,

    C.G.
  6. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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    Me too. Infact, I was taken into A&E recently and collapsed when in there. They found abnormalities on the ECG and have told my G.P. to investigate. He told them he would; however, his nurse has now told me I don't have a chance of investigations because other patients need testing and there wouldn't be time to fit me in!!!!G.P says he doesn't count my abnormal readings because they were recorded in a major hospital and not in his surgery!! Do I detect just the slightest whiff of prejudice here! Diagnosed with M.E., so ignore all abnormal results. Same old story.
  7. Jenny

    Jenny Senior Member

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    Yep - I have this too. But apparently it's only slightly low. I don't have orthostatic hypotension though. My report says that the 'CO2 is low in the peripheral tissues, in the nutritive circulation. This is not the same as the level of CO2 that's carried around by the haemoglobin in the large blood vessels, but reflects the perfusion and utilisation of the gases in the tissue where cellular processes takes place.' ' too low levels of CO2 can lead to abnormal responses by the brainstem.'

    Like you, I have heart palpitations and sometimes when I wake from a nap I find I'm involunatarily taking a big gulp of air.

    Levels of O2 are normal.

    Jenny
  8. fresh_eyes

    fresh_eyes happy to be here

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    Thanks for your input, everybody. I've had very little testing on this (or anything) because I have no insurance and can't afford it. Looked up some info on hyperventilation:

    http://www.drmyhill.co.uk/article.cfm?id=193

    And Butyeko breathing:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buteyko_method

    Apparently some people think hyperventilation is the cause of our entire problem - really doubt this is true, at least in my case, where it's a new symptom 5.5 years in - but I agree, it wouldn't hurt to try the breathing techniques.
  9. Hysterical Woman

    Hysterical Woman Senior Member

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    Hi FE,

    When searching on google re hypocapnia I came across the following link which mentions that hypocpnia is more common in CFS than general population. Unfortunately, if you go the the link it is several pages long and I am not sure where this quote occurs in there. Still, might help some people.

    http://www.meactionuk.org.uk/Quotable_Quotes_Updated.pdf

    Does anybody know how hypocpnia might fit in with Cheney's theory of oxygen toxicity?

    Thanks,

    Maxine
  10. kat0465

    kat0465 Senior Member

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    Yes Countrygirl! as asoon as you say ME/CFS/FIBRO your in trouble with Most Dr.s thats plain ole Negligence that they found your ecg abnormal and let you go like that.i mean HELLO, it's an ecg, not an ekg.
    i think they are a bit unreliable as you have to be in the moment when they check the dang ekg. but ecg is right there in color, they can see what your heart is doing!!
    i just dont know how some doctors sleep at night!
    Kat
  11. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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  12. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    Hi Countrygirl,
    I'm in the UK too and I have had similar treatment by certain doctors. Here's how to play the system:
    Ask the hospital to give you printed copies of everything - all ECGs done, notes, and correspondence between them and the GP. They are legally obliged to give you the lot but they can charge you a small fee for photocopying if they want.
    This way you know what the GP is telling them about you (EG. "She's a hypochondriac" or whatever).
    Next you need to go back to that GP or register with another one. Armed with copies of your medical notes you then ask to be referred to a distinguished electrophysiologist through "chose and book". (Electrophysiologist = more useful for CFS cardiac problems than a regular cardiologist and always far better at reading an ECG). Again, no matter what the GP thinks he has a legal obligation to comply.
    (If you've never used chose and book before you can PM me and I'll tell you how that works (or rather fails to work).
    Did they hospital say the name of what was going on with your heart? If they detected something on an ecg that made them think you were likely to kick the bucket I am wondering if it was ventricular tachycardia. Contact me if you want advice on finding a doctor/hospital or understanding what the medical notes mean. I've been there, turned cardiologists' hair white, fallen unconscious more times than I've had hot dinners and got operation scars to show I survived!
  13. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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    Athene,
    Thank you very much indeed for this great information. I need to mull this over. I haven't heard of an electrophysiologist.

    One thing I'll pick up immediately. You say you've been unconscious. Well, that is what happened to me a few weeks ago. My memory of several hours has been wiped, and I just remember coming to on the floor, very stiff and cold. No idea what happened but felt so dopey for a week after. It was a week later that I was taken into hospital after keeling over, and then keeled over again in A&E. They took readings immediately and said that there were cardiac abnormalities. Don't know what this was. Can you relate to that? I'm a bit concerned about the loss of consciousness bit. No reason has been given, but nothing has been investigated. Does this relate to your experience at all? I just assume that my lurgy has really chewed its way through the wiring.

    Best wishes,

    C.G.
  14. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    Hi Countrygirl,
    That is EXACTLY what happened to me time and again. I would wake up lying in the street with no idea what happened, or would "lose" hours at a time and have no recollection of them. This is called "syncope". To other people it look like fainting, but when you really faint you feel dizzy and know that you're "going" in advance, whereas with syncope you black out and have no awareness till it's over.
    Two thirds of all people with this heart condition get diagnosed with epilepsy by mistake and given drugs for that....which I did.
    You can get it from various cardiac arrhythmias, and the commonest for making you just fall unconscious like that is ventricular tachycardia. It happens because one ventricle is beating out of time with the other three chambers. Your heart has nerves that carry the electrical impulses around the various parts to make each bit of muscle contract when it is supposed to. With these arrhythmias you get exrta nerves activated and so parts contract before they should, or twice in rapid succession or even three times - the blood swirls around inside your heart and doesn't get anywhere.
    An electrophysiologist is a cardiologist who specialises in heart rhythms and these electrical nerve pathways. It is so complex it makes designing a space shuttle look easy which is why you won't get much help from a generalist cardiologist.
    I was falling unconscious like this frequently for periods of years and saw lots of cardiologists over a period of 25 years. Most of them did not realise the danger of what I had and some even told me it was all caused by stress. Then a cardiologist in Italy told me I was in danger of dying and tried various drugs, which do control this problem in many people. In my case there was no improvement and the cardiologist told me I would be very lucky to live more than another 2 years because sooner or later you fall unconscious and never wake up.
    I eventually got myself into the Royal Brompton hospital (the UK's top cardiology hospital) using the tactics I described in the previous post, and got it operated on. They burn the nerves away inside your heart so it is physically incapable of transporting the electrical impulses that should not be there.
  15. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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  16. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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    I'm sending you a huge thank you for the above, Athene. I would never have learnt this from my G.P. So, this is saying, perhaps, (I haven't looked up your references yet.) that the problem is in the brain?? I also have what I call 'drop attacks', I fall to the floor, remain completely conscious, but have no muscular control. I wonder if these events are related? Prolonged,(weeks) severe shortness of breath afterwards is even more unpleasant.

    I'm now going to look up your references.

    Many, many thanks.

    Best wishes,

    C.G.
  17. Hi Fresh_Eyes, this is very interesing to hear, but obviously not good to hear for you.

    Did you have an aterial blood gas 'wrist stab' done in hosptial to get this measurement?
    If so, try and get the print out (results) from your doctor and compare them to to the other reference ranges.

    Do you also have blood pH levels and Potassium levels checked too maybe?
    Are you by any chance Asthmatic or Diabetic?

    Have you had your resting oxygen saturation levels taken also?
    I am not implying you are hyperventilating (over breathing), but often when people do they're readings
    are 100% on a saturation monitor.

    If all the above is clear and after consulting your doctor (of course), see if someone in your home can watch your respriatory rate, but make
    sure they don't tell you when they're observing you as then you could regulate your breathing and alter the speed!
    (We all do this when someone says they're observing us, only natural).

    Respriatory rate is usually around 12, and up to 20 breaths per minute.

    The autonomic nervous system regulates breathing, and other factors determind the speed your body ticks along at.
  18. Hysterical Woman

    Hysterical Woman Senior Member

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    Magnesium/Ventricular Tachyarrhythmias

    Magnes Res. 2000 Jun;13(2):111-22.
    Effect of intravenous magnesium on ventricular tachyarrhythmias associated with acute myocardial infarction.

    Thiele R, Protze F, Winnefeld K, Pfeifer R, Pleissner J, Gassel M.
    Intensive Care Unit, Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena, Germany.

    Ventricular ectopy and left ventricular dysfunction are important predictive factors for an unfavourable outcome following an acute myocardial infarction (MI). Tachyarrhythmias are a major cause of death subsequent to MI.

    Magnesium was postulated to have an antiarrhythmic effect after MI. Therefore we have investigated the influence of intravenous and oral magnesium (Mg) therapy on ventricular tachyarrhythmias. 67 patients with myocardial infarction (MI) diagnosed according to the WHO criteria of anamnesis, infarct-specific electrocardiogram (ECG), and enzymatic status were included in a prospective study. 23 patients (group 1) received 2 g Mg per day (= 82 mmol Mg/24 h) intravenously for the first 3 days followed by oral magnesium adipate administration of 3 x 2 coated tablets of magnesium 50 Apogepha (= 300 mg Mg/24 h or 12.34 mmol Mg/24 h, respectively) for the full duration of the study. 26 patients (group 2) received only i.v. magnesium for the first 3 days after admission (2 g Mg/24 h).

    The results of this treatment were compared to those of a control group of 18 MI patients without magnesium administration. All groups were identical with regard to other forms of treatment. The magnesium levels in serum and erythrocytes of all patients were measured at the following time points: days 0 (admission time), 1, 2, the day of discharge (about day 20) and after 12 weeks.

    The tachyarrhythmias were monitored by 24-h-continuous-electrocardiography on days 0, 1 and on the day before discharge (about day 20). The serum magnesium levels rose significantly during i.v. Mg-administration (1 and 2 day) but decreased in group 2 subsequently until the time of discharge from hospital. In contrast group 1 patients receiving oral as well as intravenous magnesium did not show this drop. The uptake of magnesium into the erythrocytes was less obvious. The erythrocyte magnesium concentration of the control group remained significantly low in serum and red blood cells. Significantly less ventricular premature beats and runs (< 5 ventricular premature beats and > 5 ventricular premature beats) compared to admission day were observed in both treated groups.

    These data suggest that the frequency of ventricular tachyarrhythmias is reduced by administration of intravenous magnesium and support an early high dose administration of intravenous magnesium in the wake of myocardial infarction.

    PMID: 10907229 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
  19. fresh_eyes

    fresh_eyes happy to be here

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    Hi Dys. Thanks for your detailed reply.

    No, this was just part of my regular bloodwork. My blood CO2 has gone steadily down since I've been ill (6 yrs) and just now got into the officially abnormal range.
    Potassium is normal (4.1). Ph was not checked, but doesn't hypocapnia automatically mean it's alkaline?
    Nope, nope, and nope.
    My breathing rate seems to be normal.
    So hypocapnia is a feature of dysautonomia, huh? What do they do to treat dystautonomia? Anything?

    BTW, other abnormal results:
    1) weirdly high cholesterol and
    2) low WBC, with low neutrophils / high lymphocytes. My understanding is the white count suggests persistent viral infection. Any comments? Do folks with CFS generally have low white count?

    ETA 3) low blood sodium

    FYI, I don't have a doctor right now. I went through a few and decided it was a waste of time, energy, and $$$$ to hear people tell me there's nothing wrong with me. I ordered these tests myself. It's sort of embarrassing, but that's our situation over here. God bless America.
  20. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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    Just to say that I've read that high cholesterol occurs with our lurgy. Now where did I see that ?.......Dr Cheney explained why I think. XMRV needs it to replicate, according to a post on this forum. Do others here have high cholesterol, I wonder? Mine is 9.2 - way, way up.

    Low sodium - can be caused by too much beer drinking. You must cut down, fresh eyes.

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