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KendallCH
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concerned supporter
« on: Apr 18th, 2007, 11:12pm »
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A close friend of mine has been a "Clusterhead" for years now, but last night, I happened to witness another one of his attacks, and this one actually scared me. It started out as others have that I witnessed, but about 10 minutes into it, he started shaking noticibly, his veins in his head were bulging, and his eyes were wandering, so I called the medics.  It took them 35 minutes to arrive (small town 25 miles from hospital), but about 5-10 minutes before they arrived, it seemed to end suddenly, and he turned very pale for about 10 seconds, then "Woke Up". When the medics finally arrived, his BP was normal (125/84). They suggested that he may have had a high BP TIA, but my question is, can a TIA return the BP back to normal range after such a violent headache?
 
Concerned in Kendall
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Jackie
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Re: concerned supporter
« Reply #1 on: Apr 19th, 2007, 7:34am »
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Hi...
 
I've ask for some replies to you post from CHers (I'm a supporter)
 
Hang on a bit.....let's see what others, more qualified than I,  have to say.
 
Jackie
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Re: concerned supporter
« Reply #2 on: Apr 19th, 2007, 7:57am »
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Hi, Kendal.  Welcome to the board!
 
First of all, a few things about me.  I am NOT a doctor, nurse or anyway trained in the medical field.  I am a long time cluster sufferer (28 years) the last 8 as chronic.
 
I don't know for sure about your sufferer, but what you described, sounds like what many of mine have looked like, according to my ex-wife.  I am not aware of what I look like.  Unfortunately, it is VERY scarey to someone watching, that is not aware that hits like this can happen.  And, after one, we are a bit dazed, but BP and breathing soon return to normal.
 
As far as the high BP TIA, I am not sure. Watch him, and if you see ANY signs of changes in his speech or movement, get him in to see his neuro.  If not, make sure he brings it up to the neuro on his next scheduled visit.
 
I hope this helps, but like I said, I am NOT a doctor.
 
Keep us informed!
 
Chuck
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Re: concerned supporter
« Reply #3 on: Apr 19th, 2007, 8:06am »
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I know it's early, but I'm drawing a blank. What is TIA?
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Re: concerned supporter
« Reply #4 on: Apr 19th, 2007, 8:13am »
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Here ya go, Brew...
 
Transient ischemic attack (TIA): A neurological event with the signs and symptoms of a stroke, but which go away within a short period of time. Also called a mini-stroke, a TIA is due to a temporary lack of adequate blood and oxygen (ischemia) to the brain. This is often caused by the narrowing (or, less often, ulceration) of the carotid arteries (the major arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain).  
 
TIAs typically last 2 to 30 minutes and can produce problems with vision, dizziness, weakness or trouble speaking.  
 
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Re: concerned supporter
« Reply #5 on: Apr 19th, 2007, 8:16am »
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Transient Ischemic Attack or a mini stroke, arteries or bloodveins are temporary clogged. This sounds more like a sort of epileptic attack though, maybe he was in a kip 10 and the brain just shut down for a while. An MRI will probably sort it out.
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Re: concerned supporter
« Reply #6 on: Apr 19th, 2007, 8:50am »
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Again, I'm not a doctor, just a clusterhead.  However, I presume you all are following up on this in order to discover whether he did, indeed, experience a TIA.  
 
If nothing shows up, remember that the outward signs of a CH attack can be very alarming--particularly if it's a bad one.  
 
I don't tremble, although some have reported it.  The bulging veins are not unusual.  If by eyes "wandering" you mean darting about as if seeking an escape route, and not tracking independently or rolling in his head, it's not all that unusual either.  It's panic.  
 
I believe you did the right thing by calling the EMT's to have your friend evaluated.  Again, I presume that you are following up on this.  
 
I'm sorry to hear that you were frightened by what you saw.  It can be very scary.
 
Best wishes,
 
George
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Re: concerned supporter
« Reply #7 on: Apr 19th, 2007, 8:53am »
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Nice to see you around, Max.
 
This sounds similar to what my father-in-law experienced last year. They called it syncopy.
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Re: concerned supporter
« Reply #8 on: Apr 19th, 2007, 9:52am »
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Hi Kendall
 
Sorry to hear that you got frightened by the attack. I am a supporter for my husband who is a clusterhead and yes in the early days, some of his attacks frightened me a great deal.
 
There are 2 parts to your question:
1- How likely is it that he had a TIA
2- If he had a TIA could the BP returned to normal so quickly
 
The answer to no 2 is yes, BP can go up and down fairly quickly. A quick increase in BP is usually caused by significant widespread vasoconstriction such as a state of shock, if this is followed quickly by a "reflex" vasodilation then BP can drop within several minutes. I had measured the BP of my husband during a cluster attack and it was 210/110, yet 15 mins later when the attack stopped it was 140/90 which was his normal BP. It was due to cluster, not a TIA.
 
Therefore the answer to question 1 is that your friend may not have had a TIA at all. All of the symptoms that you described I had witnessed in my husband at some stages or another. Remember that the medics didnt actually observe your friend, they only offered an intelligent guess based on your descriptions. Furthermore most medics dont know what cluster headache is, heck! most doctors including specialists do not know what cluster is let alone having witnessed any. I would not put so much weight on their 'diagnosis" without checking with your friends specialists first.
 
CH is a neurovascular event, where massive vasodilatation occurs along a cascade of neurological events. Vasodilatation can cause veins to bulge. The neurological events are actually similar to those of an epileptic attacks, thats why epileptic medications such as topamax and neurotin works well for many clusterheads, and they certainly can cause muscle twitching as well as shakes, they can also cause temporary loss of " conciousness" or rather awareness of the surrounding environment causing the sufferer to appear drugged out or dazed. Another thing that gets activated during an attack is the sympathetic nervous system which control the pupils so the eyes can wander or dart around for several seconds. The autonomic response can also cause the body to get heated up followed by cold chills which may make him appeared pale and drained.  
 
Its almost impossible to be sure without seeing things myself and without checking up with his specialists, but from my own experience as a supporter who have witnessed close to 1000 of these attacks, I would say all the symptoms you described were most likely to be caused by the cluster attack.
 
If you are concerned then share it with him and let him decide whether he wants to follow it up further with his specialists. However, you may find that he has since felt pretty much back to his normal self and life goes on ....
 
Take care and a big hug.
 
Annette
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Re: concerned supporter
« Reply #9 on: Apr 19th, 2007, 12:51pm »
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There's a film on this site somewhere (someone can point you to it - I don't know how) of Chuck having a hit - it's graphic, but what you're describing sounds a lot like it. I've witnessed him firsthand and it's not a pretty site. But when it ended he was back to his "normal" self.
 
Hugs BD
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Re: concerned supporter
« Reply #10 on: Apr 21st, 2007, 12:18am »
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On rare occasions I will have similar symptoms other than not being aware.  I will have tremors, particularly on the right side, and will have temporary paralysis in the face, arm, and leg.  This can last for as long as 30-45 minutes following the attack, but there is no permanent impairment.  Do have him get it checked out though, as it is not something to take lightly before checking.
 
Jerry
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