How can I be sure I'm getting the right medical tests?

2 answers | Last updated: Nov 05, 2016
Toomuch asked...

In February 2009 I became dizzy and faint and I ate several bags of candy to calm the shakes. I was tested for diabetes since most of my family has it. However, they said I didn't have it but gave me a testing kit. They also told me my white cells were low. I have gotten sick several times since then. However, the dizzy spell had not come back until this Sunday. It felt like someone turned the lights out for a second and it took me approx 15 to 30 min to get back half-alert. When I went to the hospital they did a brain scan with no results however my x-ray showed something and very low white count where the hospital asked me if there was a chance of AIDS. I have been tested for AIDS many times with negative results, however I have been weak and light-headed lately. My question is, what questions should I be asking to get the right test done? Something is wrong but I'm not sure if I'm saying enough to get the right test and should I be worried about the white cells?

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

I agree with your concerns.  You sound like you have something going on with you but no one has really figured it out yet.  Sometimes, people have medical conditions that are tough to figure out.  It doesn't mean that you are not getting the right tests, it just means the normal stuff we would be looking for as a cause for your dizziness is turning out to be not your problem.

From reading your letter, the first thing I would suggest to you is to see a Hematologist.  This is a doctor that specializes in blood disorders, and they can investigate the cause of your low white blood cell count.  I would try and be seen as soon as you can for your problem, especially since you are not feeling well and getting dizzy.  Regarding the chance of having AIDS, you could be tested many times, but it sometimes takes the HIV virus months to show up.  You should probably be retested by the Hematologist.

About your xray "showing something"- this could have many implications.  I suggest you talk to the Hematologist about that too. 

Lastly, I am concerned for your safety.  Getting dizzy and faint puts you at risk for falls.  You need to be very careful when you are walking.  Arise from bed slowly, and do not walk if you feel dizzy.  It also is probably not safe for you to drive right now.  Good luck.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

If eating candy calmed the shakes they could have hypoglycemia, however that doesn't explain the white blood count being low.  Low blood suger can cause the shakes, dizziness, fainting... and symptoms are relieved with sugar, only to hit a low again after that when your body produces too much insulin for that sugar you ate and then it starts all over.