Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Coughing Re-visited

So I apparently need to explain *Cough Syncope* some more. I’ll try to do it slowly, using little words! To help a little, I offer this from

Definition of Syncope

Syncope: Partial or complete loss of consciousness with interruption of awareness of oneself and ones surroundings. When the loss of consciousness is temporary and there is spontaneous recovery, it is referred to as syncope or, in nonmedical quarters, fainting. Syncope accounts for one in every 30 visits to an emergency room. It is pronounced sin-ko-pea.
Syncope is due to a temporary reduction in blood flow and therefore a shortage of oxygen to the brain. This leads to lightheadedness or a "black out" episode, a loss of consciousness. Temporary impairment of the blood supply to the brain can be caused by heart conditions and by conditions that do not directly involve the heart:
Non-cardiac causes: Syncope is most commonly caused by conditions that do not directly involve the heart. These conditions include:
  • Postural (orthostatic) hypotension: Drop in blood pressure due to changing body position to a more vertical position after lying or sitting;
  • Dehydration causing a decrease in blood volume.
  • Blood pressure medications leading to low blood pressure.
  • Diseases of the nerves to the legs in older people (especially with diabetes or Parkinson's disease) when poor tone of the nerves of the legs draws blood into the legs from the brain.
  • High altitude.
  • Brain stroke or "near-stroke" (transient ischemic attack).
  • A migraine attack.
  • Fainting after certain situations (situational syncope) such as:
  • Blood drawing,
  • Urinating (micturition syncope),
  • Defecating (defecation syncope),
  • Swallowing (swallowing syncope), or
  • Coughing (cough syncope)
that trigger a reflex of the involuntary nervous system (the vasovagal reaction) that slows the heart and dilates blood vessels in the legs and cause one to feel nausea, sweating, or weakness just before losing fainting.

Now it appears from reading this, that nowhere is it suggested that a single low dose of Sudafed, a minor painkiller and a couple of beers are responsible. For what it’s worth, the ER doctor was totally unconcerned. His view was that only the alcohol was likely to have contributed (it lowers blood pressure), but even then, only marginally.

I go to the trouble of offering this explanation not because I am defensive about it, but simply to let y’all know that feeling smug by thinking you are safe because *yer not that stoopid*, actually offers you no protection at all … you heard it here first!

Actually, having just re-read that passage above, there are a few cause of Syncope that may, or indeed may not, bear further examination ….

Can you imagine suffering *Defecating Syncope*? Jeez! Don’t squeeze so hard, take your time sister. This being a family journal, we have probably explored that scenario quite far enough. Still, as a guy I imagine I would prefer *defecating syncope* to *urinating syncope* …. Less far to fall!

What comes from all this? Only one thing really. If you feel a major coughing fit coming on, or you are experiencing one, sit down. Do not stand and try to walk, you might not make it. Simple.

By the way. The cuts on my head are healing nicely, and it finally feels like I am getting over this cough.

Steve and Natalie sporting matching *owies*

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