Vasovagal Syncope Won’t Keep Me From Running

Friday, 27 July 2007  |  Therapy + Injury

I’ve been to three doctors in three different clinics within three days to determine the cause of my first ever fainting episode last Saturday. Here’s a brief summary of what occurred in all of my consultations:

[ Doctor No. 1: General Practitioner ]

Doctor’s Diagnosis: VASOSPASM – narrowing of the blood vessels which restricts the amount of blood flowing through that vessel

Me: So, can I run a race this Sunday?

Doc: No, you’ll be under observation for 6 months.

Me: 6 months? No way. I will DIE if I don’t run. (I kid you not. This is exactly what I told the doctor.)

Doc: Go see a cardiologist to undergo more tests.

My reaction (read aloud in a wailing tone to achieve similar dramatic effect): 6 months?! Unbelievable! If I was crippled for 6 months, then I would accept the fact that I couldn’t run. But, no doctor forbids me to run only because she doesn’t know if I’ll collapse or not! 6 months?!


[ Doctor No. 2: Cardiologist ]

Diagnosis: VASOVAGAL SYNCOPE – an abnormal reflex towards a stimulus (coughing, sight of blood, dehydration, bowel movement, etc.) that results in a drop in blood flow to the brain which leads to fainting. Not serious nor life threatening. Treatment is uneccessary in most cases.

Me: So, can I run a race this Sunday?

Doc: Based on the ECG, you have an athlete’s heart, it’s very healthy (applause please!) But, just to make sure, get these tests done—Treadmill Exercise Test, 2D Echocardiogram-Doppler, and 24 hr Holter Monitoring—and let’s wait for the results. I also have homework for you. You must increase your salt intake. Eat chips and any other tasty dishes.

My reaction: I love this doctor. He’s probably right about Vasovagal Syncope…and the required potato chips intake. Before heading home, I run into a gas station and buy myself a large pack of Lay’s Salt & Vinegar chips. (Yes, I take my doctor’s orders very seriously.)

[ Doctor No. 3: Cardiologist ] Note to the curious: I went for a 3rd consultation because my husband’s HMO will only pay for my three tests if their own doctor prescribes the same tests

Diagnosis: VASOVAGAL SYNCOPE – (For those with lazy index fingers, no need to scroll up. Yes, it’s the same diagnosis as Doctor No. 2)

Me: So, can I run a race this Sunday?

Doc: You run?

Me: Yes, that’s the only reason why I went for this consultation. I need clearance to run this Sunday. I don’t want to faint in the middle of a race.

Doc: Ano ka ba—addict? (What are you—an addict?)

Me: Uhm…yes. So, can I run?

Doc: Get a treadmill test done and show me the results on Saturday. If you pass it—which I’m pretty sure you will—then you may run on Sunday.

My reaction: Oh yeah, I feel it in my guts—I’m gonna make it to the Race for HOPE on Sunday. Now, about that treadmill test, how long and how fast do you think they want me to go?