Breath Odor Changes When Cycling
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Q:  Breath Odor Changes When Cycling

My wife had her first seizure six years ago and maybe 7-8 since. What I noticed at the time of the first seizure was the change in the smell of her breath.  It had a alcohol/sour milk kind of odor. Over the past few years as her BP seems to have "bloomed" and is now only being treated, I notice that when she is in her cycle the smell is very strong, and like today (a good and rare day) when she is calm and rational, there is hardly any smell. I've spoken with her Dr. and she suggestd this may be seizure related and wants my wife to undergo yet more scans and tests.  Have you any information about the breath thing? It's just so amazing the connection between her actions and the intensisty.

Dear Ed -- 
I'll could be on to something important here.  If the doc's ever figure out what that smell is, I'd appreciate you letting me know.  We could really use a "lab test" for bipolar disorder and who knows, maybe this could somehow turn into one.  There are metabolic products called ketones, for example, that one can smell on someone's breath; these usually reflect not having eaten for quite a while.  But there are also some metabolic changes that go with body weight changes  (e.g read about "
metabolic syndrome"; and I'm going to be updating that within a week with a very important new finding on the relationship of body weight to bipolar control) that I can imagine might be reflected in a change in breath odor somehow.  

Now of course you might be the only one who could recognize the smell or the change, because you've basically been trained to recognize it (by what follows).  But maybe there's a compound in the blood stream that could be measured and thus recognized by folks who don't know your wife's breath smell as well as you do!  

Thanks for writing.  Sorry I don't have anything more to give you to go on than that.  

Dr. Phelps

Published November, 2002



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