Carbon monoxide poisoning long-term effects? Or unexplained TIA?

Discussion in 'Women's Health' started by MyrtleWarbler, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. MyrtleWarbler

    MyrtleWarbler Super Moderator Staff Member

    OK, I realize that finding some more information on this topic is a real stretch in this forum. But I am consistently impressed with the caliber of women haunting these boards, so figured it was worth posting - just in case someone has some experience, knows a good source for info, or anything!

    I am trying to find information about potential long-term problems that may linger or result from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Another useful question to answer would be "Can a person have two stroke-like incidences within a month, and the tests all come back clear, and there's really just nothing to worry about?"

    My father experienced a carbon monoxide incident in his last home, last winter. He experienced increasing headaches and fatigue, and some other weird symptoms, and attributed it to a winter cold, so he stayed home (and kept getting worse). Finally, through a stroke of luck, the furnace problem was discovered, the house was tested (very high CO), then aired out (and he stayed elsewhere). Blood tests confirmed elevated CO levels.

    It is generally accepted that the body recovers as the blood levels go back down, rather quickly. But I keep reading information about long-term effects, and permanent damage.

    In the past month, he has had two incidences of stroke-like symptoms (TIA) - sudden headache, numbness, tingling, slurred speech. The first happened in New Mexico, and the doctors there attributed it to the elevation. But he's a small plane pilot, so it's not like his body has never been above 10,000 feet before! Three weeks later it happened again, back in his hometown. He drove himself to the hospital (and this man HATES the hospital, so it was serious enough to scare him!). They ran all kinds of tests, and basically said there's nothing wrong and it likely "won't happen again" (frustrating words to hear, since it basically DID "happen again" - and he says they claim it's a coincidence!).

    The other factors here are that he has demonstrated some other "symptoms" that we are all just putting together now, now that we're all talking - my mom (his ex-wife), his sisters and brothers, myself, etc. Things like short-term memory problems (forgetting converstaions), behavioral chanages (mood swings, snapping at you).

    It seems like any of these symptoms could be attributed to many things, even just age (he is mid-sixties). But I can't help wondering about the carbon monoxide poisoning, and potential for permanent brain damage that could also yield these symptoms. Or, I'd be happy to understand more about TIA ("mini-strokes") and whether or not they can always be explained, or if they suggest bigger problems on the horizon.

    Sorry for the long, and somewhat off-topic post! If anyone has any thoughts or experience with stroke, TIAs, or carbon monoxide poisoning, I'd love to hear it!
  2. smallgingerone

    smallgingerone New Member

    SusanT - I'm really sorry to hear what you and your family must be going through. I'm afraid I can't offer you much advice on the effects of carbon monoxide inhalation, but I will try to explain what my family and I are going through with my Nana at the momnent in the hope that it might give some explanation.

    7 years ago my Nana had a stroke that came on slowly (it wasn't until she didn't recognise my Grandad or the house she has lived in for 60 years did they call a doctor). Since then she has had lots of "funny turns" that all medical evidence would point towards TIAs. But when she is checked for these, they never show up anything abnormal. The doctors wouldn't dare to suggest that it is nothing but they often can't find anything medically abnormal. My Nana has never had a sudden stroke that affected her instaneously.

    I don't know how much help this has been. I am not kept in the loop about my Nana so I do not know her full medical history, only breifly what I have been told and the changes I now hear in her voice and mood.

    TIA's can not always be accurately diagnosed (in my experience) and it may be an effect of Carbon monoxide poisoning or not.

    I hope that you find some answers soon and that someone is able to help. If you want to know more I will try to help as much as I can - I know how hard it is to see soeone you love suffer from TIAs.

    Nic
  3. MyrtleWarbler

    MyrtleWarbler Super Moderator Staff Member

    smallgingerone - Thanks for the reply and the information. I did a lot more research online yesterday, and I'm convinced there *could* be a connection, but there may never be a way to know. I just worry that the TIA symptoms are a sign that a major stroke is imminent. That's hard for a daughter to live with, and I'm sure it's even scarier for my dad.

    Your Nana has never had a "sudden stroke" you say... is she basically recovered and healthy, since the "slow stroke" you mentioned? My dad is back to normal (in terms of the TIA symptoms, like tingling, numbness, sudden headache). I still think there's stuff going on from the CO, but I don't think knowing the cause really helps anyway. He has improved his diet and stopped smoking in the last 6 months, so I'm hoping that will also help safeguard him from a major stroke!

     
  4. smallgingerone

    smallgingerone New Member

    I would not say that my Nana has fully recovered. She has her "funny turns" which can consist of headaches, not knowing where she is, dizzyness, tinitus and just not being with it. She wil often repeat conversations several times as she doesnt remember saying things the first time - but she has not had a major stroke since the first one.

    It's great that your dad has been able to give up smoking and has also changed his diet. You're right that should realy help prevent anything.

    It's the not knowing what might happen that is the hardest. I really hope that your dad continues to recover and has lots more years left in him.

    You've probably seen lots of info of TIAs over the last few days but I have just found this one as well

    http://www.stroke.org.uk/information/what_is_a_stroke/factsheets/transient.html
  5. FLOWERPOWER

    FLOWERPOWER New Member

    I may be a bit boring about this but what about thinking about nutrient levels. Perhaps iron, vitamin Bs, zinc, magnesium and essential fatty acids would be worth considering. Also the possibility of yeast overgrowth which can lead to mental problems - what I would call a fuzzy, distant feeling and also leading to food allergies which may be not be immediate reactions but more hidden reactions. The headaches may be a sign of vascular overreactivity where the blood vessels suddenly dilate and contract excessively and which can be helped by nutrients.

    Is he on any medication (and is he drinking enough plain water)? I'm straying a bit off my usual path here and won't say I have any personal experience of this but it makes sense to me that there could still be a role for nutrients here.
  6. MyrtleWarbler

    MyrtleWarbler Super Moderator Staff Member

    FlowerPower - What, no lecture on his use of synthetic hormones? Oh, you're letting me down! [​IMG]

    Based on my research, and contact with a scientist who specializes in reasearch on carbon monoxid effects, his "peripheal neuropathy" events could definitely be related. As could some of his behavioral/memory problems in the past 6 months. I'm still convinced that incident likely affected him more than he realizes.

    But, the latest word is that something tested funny with his thyroid. He doesn't even know yet what it was exactly, just that the doctor immediately called in a Rx (sigh... I'm sure there are other things he could/should be doing in addition/instead, but this is a start...). It's interesting that his diet habits have actually been better in the last few months than any time I've ever known him (b/c of HBP and cholesterol concerns), so unless a sudden change in diet, even if a clear improvement, can cause nutritional problems, I'm not sure that could be the key solution.

    I don't mean to clutter this women's forum up with this, although thyroid problems are pretty common in women. And I'm sure Flower will tell us all why!... [​IMG] (just picking on you, I appreciate your well-informed replies!)
  7. FLOWERPOWER

    FLOWERPOWER New Member

    I have to pick you up on this SusanT, not just synthetic hormones, the use of any exogenous steroid sex hormones. If you're going to mock me, get it right (just in case my emails go round the world teehee). [​IMG] lol

    But if you read Sexual Chemistry by Ellen Grant, you'll see she's not only talking about exogenous steroid sex hormones (altho' of course it's a major factor in her women patients) but about nutritional deficiencies as a whole including in men (she mainly touches on headaches, acne, fertility and allergies but I think once one understands what she's talking about, nutrients become applicable in all sorts of circumstances).

    What I'm thinking even though the carbon monoxide was a sudden event rather than an illness creeping up on him, it's possible there are problems now which supplementation could help.

    For example, good bacteria (a good quality probiotic) and vitamin Bs for better absorbtion of iron and therefore more oxygenation of the body.

    Also generally essential fatty acids, vitamin Bs and magnesium and zinc in order to make sure all the processes of the body, including enzyme pathways controlling the blood vessels, run as smoothly as possible.

    Also all prescription drugs do have a tendency to deplete nutrients and he may have a weakened immune system now.

    Probiotics by the way in my personal experience are very good for physically calming the body. Whenever I feel low, or have a headache or gut problems or flu symptoms I take a probiotic powder which is dissolvable in water and really finds it has a beneficial effect within a couple of hours.

    I guess I'm thinking about things in a way one could call "holistically" but I honestly think it can make a difference.

    If he doesn't want to take a number of separate tabs, at least try perhaps a good quality multivitamin mineral and essential fatty acids? With nutrients as well, it's very difficult to get the optimum amount from foods and it's also a question of absorbtion - how well a person absorbs the nutrients.

    He's had an event which has obviously put his body off kilter and may have weakened him and made him more susceptible to various ailments he may otherwise have avoided or at least he might have just been borderline and "got away with it". And maybe just supplementing for a while may take him back across to the positive side of the border?
  8. MyrtleWarbler

    MyrtleWarbler Super Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks to both of you for more feedback!

    Nimeau, I find it very interesting that your grandfather experienced carbon monoxide exposure and subsequent peripheal neuropathy (stroke and stroke-like symptoms). His carbon monoxide exposure wasn't associated with the planes he flies, and he has and does fly in a variety of planes (he's an instructor). I'm confident that his CO problem was isolated to that winter, to those few weeks or so when the furnace was faulty and slowly poisoning his house. Maybe some of all this IS just coincidence... that certain health problems have popped up this year, since that incident. After all, he's in his mid-60's and hasn't always taken the best care of his health. Fortunately, that is changing as a result of these scares, whatever has caused them.

    I plan to share with him what I have learned about nutritional supplementation, the possible connection betwee carbon monoxide poisoning and some of his symptoms, and everything. I also plan to hear what his doctor has said about this thyroid test result, and learn what I can about that diagnosis.

    Women on this forum rock. Thanks for taking time out of discussion about "women's health" to help me to help my dad! [​IMG]
  9. kellyM

    kellyM New Member

    Susan I am new to this and just sent you something on this... I hope you get it.
    I was poisoned by CO for 3 months and had the carboxy hemoglobin for 3 weeks later and was on oxygen.
    I do have brain damage, vision issues, now lung issues and contant muscle pain...chest pains that go down my left arm...and more...
    The CO and lack of oxygen do affect the entire body...the problem is not just the exposure, it is making sure that is the only exposure and then trying to find a doctor that knows anything about long term exposure....as of yet I haven't found one. I do have a contact in PA that I have to call this week that has to do with the hyperbaric chamber. I am even trying to get in touch with a forensic examiner...somebody has to know what all the affects to the body are...don't just allow anyone to tell you this is his age. I am only 43 and I have heard it all and had it.
    If you are going to be able to help your dad you may have to find the help yourself. I haven't found much help from the medical field at this point. A toxicologist is the other possibility.
    Please let me know if you find out anything and I will do the same. Doctors don't know enough about the hyperbaric and if the person exposed doesn't have levels of CO like you would coming out of an accident in a mine....they won't put you in one.
    You can pretty well bet that the symptoms he is having is from damage done due to the CO.
    I had to have a major kind of MRI done that goes very deep into the layers of the brain...the first one I had that had to do with the grey matter of the brain, didn't show an issue...it was a different one that was done.
    All of this is very frustrating because noone knows what to do or how to help those of us that live through exposure...you almost start to feel you are crazy. I even had severe stomach pains...they tried to diagnose that as a hiatal hernia(sp)
    I haven't had a pain since I am out of the exposure and I ate the hottest food last night that would have put me in the hospital if I had that...Your body goes through so much without the oxygen.
    I found a herbal suppliment that is called something like nikkonaise. my sister in laws father did have a stroke and wouldn't go to the doctor or hospital until 3 days later. But after a day when he was partially paralyzed on one side his wife realize what was up and had some of this on hand...she gave it to him and the hospital said he had had a stroke, but they could find no blockage and you can't even tell now that he had anything. He had no rehab or anything...so I took some when I have the pains in the chest and just as a prevention.
  10. mswitt

    mswitt New Member

    I don't know much about the after-effects of carbon monoxide poisoning, other than this: my great grandmother got carbon monoxide poisoning, and fell into a coma. The doctors didn't expect her to come out of it, but she did. Unfortunately, she spent the next ten years of her life slowly dying. I don't remember what she was like before the coma, but apparently she was doing really well for an elderly lady. I think that she was extremely weakened by it, and it made her age that much faster. I was in eighth grade when she died, so all I really recall is tubes running into great grandma's face (this is when I was very young), and then a very old woman who just kept on getting sicker and weaker over a very long period of time. As far as the specific symptoms, I don't know what was from CO and what was from old age. The family doesn't talk about it much, but I always understood the CO to be the beginning of it all.
  11. wendywe

    wendywe New Member

    Check out this website for more details on long-term effects of CO Poisoning
    http://www.coheadquarters.com/CO1.htm

    The symptoms you describe are listed on that site, as well as some text about how the symptoms can persist long-term.
  12. devil'n'diskyz

    devil'n'diskyz New Member

    KM... if your still on here, let me know if you find any more news about treatment. I have suffer'd long with CO exposure and really never knew there was anything to do about it. I try'd to PM you, but apparently I don't have something set right on my internet access. Thax and good luck.
  13. MyrtleWarbler

    MyrtleWarbler Super Moderator Staff Member

    UPDATE... and great information!...

    After my father was diagnosed with low thyroid, I put this idea on the backburner. But he has been treated for that for three months, his blood work is great now, and he's still having other problems. Recently he has been so irritable, very bothered (even more than he used to be, though he always was) by things like traffic, commercials on TV, etc. He has described seeing better than he ever did before, colors are brighter. Then he ended up in the ER with a panic attack of sorts the other day! Something is still not right! So, I went back online for more research...

    I had a fascinating conversation on the phone with a man named Albert Donnay. Mostly his group's work centers around "multiple chemical sensitivity" - which has been scrutinized in the media by some and I haven't reviewed that work enough to form an educated opinion. But, the situation associated with CO poisoning is a little different and much more specific. He asked me questions and made comments that were so dead-on, it gave me shivers. I suggest anyone still having unexplained problems after a CO incident look at this website... http://www.mcsrr.org/poe/cohome.html
    Then be sure to follow the link on there for the "protocol for diagnosis and treatment"... Also, the lengthy "background paper on Sources, Symptoms, Biomarkers and Treatment of Chronic Carbon Monoxide Poisoning" is worth a look, even if some of the information is hard to understand (the link isn't working, here's the direct address - http://www.mcsrr.org/resources/articles/P11.html )

    Mr. Donnay did not try to sell me anything, as was my fear! He just gave me great information and encouraged us to try the oxygen therapy they outline. I have provided this information to my father's doctor and to my father. I am convinced it's worth a try.

    Two factors (besides his symptoms) have convinced me that the CO hypersensitivity could be playing a role... Mr. Donnay asked me if my father had ever been a smoker and I said "he used to be"... He said "well, if he quit AFTER the CO incident, that would actually make his situation worse" (and he explained why). Well, he did quit after that incident! And, his symptoms surged after a visit to high altitude (Albuquerque area), and high altitude sickness and CO poisoning are so similar in their effect on the body (hypoxia, affect body's ability to absorb oxygen) that they are often studied together.

    It's all just too much coincidence for my taste, and I'm pretty skeptical by nature.

    Dr. David Penney runs the coheadquarters website mentioned above, and it's great too. I emailed him, and he replied, then offered to do an evaulation for $600. I think we'll try the Oxygen therapy first!

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