Monday, October 19, 2015

Dr. Bell on Understanding Orthostatic Intolerance in CFS

Fainting is called 'syncope', and the stage just before fainting is called 'pre-syncope'. One attractive theory about ME is that it is a constant state of pre-syncope.

... However, despite the discomfort, they continue standing, sometimes when their pulse and blood pressure predict that they could not be standing. Seeing a patient whose pulse is 140 or blood pressure falling toward zero yet they are still standing is a mark of how often this happens to them – they are used to it. Ignorant physicians say that ME patients are wimps, yet [most people] would not be able to stand in these circumstances.
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It's telling that my co-workers would look at me and say "you look awful", but then I'd go to the doctor, feeling just as sick, and he would swear that he saw nothing amiss.  I'd go back to the office with the report of "nothing wrong" and they'd question "is he blind?"

They see what they want to see, and doctors don't want to see that you look like you're sick, wobbly, pre-syncope, if their working diagnosis is "all in her head" or "too lazy to work."  To admit you have orthostatic intolerance would require them to do testing and try to find a reason for it.  Much easier for their brains to deny what their eyes see, and continue to insist you're faking, exaggerating, etc.

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