Vagal Nerve Damage from Radiation
Hi folks - it's been a long time. My husband had tonsil cancer over a decade ago and got the full chemo and rad treatment. I was active here for a while, but after a few years, I saw that others could provide any info I could, and it was hard to relive the bad days.
Now, I'm learning about something that might be new to folks who had radiation to their necks - odd symptoms from vagal nerve damage. Our first indication was severe acid reflux, which started immediately and was expected, as a side-effect of chemo. It got better, and then started getting worse. Then, a year or so ago, he started having dizzy spells that seemed to be from his blood pressure dropping. Then, he developed sleep apnea, but not the obstructive type. He just stops breathing and actually says he feels fine, even when the oxygen monitor says he's below 80%. Then, he had a few episodes with angina - bloodwork showed no heart damage and he's very fit. Then, his blood pressure got wonky - sometimes high and sometimes low.
All of this could be attributed to damage to his vagal nerve from the radiation. Anyone else encountering these issues 5-10 years after remission?
DrMary welcome and glad to have you.
You may want to have a look at the posting I just made after seeing it on another forum it sounds very similar to what is going on with your husband in some of the effects he is having.
"Baroreflex" Failure" A Rare Late Effect Of Radiation Treatment
Below is the link to the article I just posted on CSN and if you or anyone wants the other forum link contact me for it I may be able to PM it to you but the system does not let me post it here.
Take Care, God Bless-Russ
"Baroreflex" Failure" A Rare Late Effect Of Radiation Treatment0
Wow - thank you! I have been looking for that exact type of info. My husband's doctors are open minded (they don't treat me like a nut, but my PhD in chemistry might have something to do with that) but they still want to go with standard treatments for old, out of shape folks, even though he has a "good" BMI, eats mostly healthy foods, has no "bad" genes, has literally played hockey against Stanley Cup winners in the last few years, plays "elder hockey" a few times a week, and joins me in my HIIT fitness class that I lead once a week without any problems.0
Keep ice water on hand, it'll push him up 10mmhg pretty fast.
I cant remember the specialists thing I saw, but endocrine comes to mind?
Baroreflex syndrome actually does suck. Avoid the heat, avoid standing too fast, avoid raising hands/arms above your head.
I drink some water, then turn it on its side in the freezer, so its always cold. otherwise, there are meds, I have Midodrine, I take when I "feel" it, pretty much covered with the above comments - long term is ritalin (now maybe that would help my chemo brain!)0
so good to find this, my hsb had treatment in 2007 and has this year suffered all these debilitating symptoms and waiting to see specialists has been a nightmare because of course, once you are discharged from oncology, not so easy to get back to people who know what's going on...thank you so much for posting and to other links as well. feel rather let down by cardiologist dismissing his labile BP and not making sure carotid artery evaluation done. now feel empowered to ask and get proper scans, threat of stroke? oh well, somethin's gonna get ya and i remind myself how he was able to see his son married, grandchildren come along and the travelling we have done post CA...thanks to this network, warm thoughts to all who might be perusing...0
Hi Dr. Mary
I had tonsillar cancer in 2007.
Your post nailed my symptoms. While it is not great news that my autonomous system is failing it is a relief to know what is going on. Thank you very much for your post.
My blood pressure swings wildly and the Cardiologist was not much help as a 24 hour blood pressure monitor shows good average blood pressure. He says that this is the only thing they look at which made no sense to me when my pressure can go as low as 75/41 and as high as 215/125.
Other symptoms related to the vagal nerve for me are swallowing difficulties. Numbness on the left side of my face and neuropathy irritation behind my left ear and left chest which causes me to scratch for relief. Also very unpleasant has been occasional regurgitation through the nose with no warning. I believe this is also connected to the vagal nerve.
I take a proton blocker for my stomach acid which seems to work well.
Has your research led to any additional discoveries that might be helpful?0
Tate is your problem Vagal Nerve or the other problem mentioned here? "Baroreflex Failure" They may or may not be similar. If you read her second posting I believe she is leaning more toward the "Baroreflex Failure" as her husband's problem.
Take Care, God Bless-Russ0
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