I'm going for an echocardiogram on Oct. 2 to check for LVH--left ventricular hypertrophy. The echocardiogram does not sound too bad. But I do have kidney disease and uncontrolled high blood pressure. I don't know much about LVH, but the little I know does not sound good. Anyone have this, or care to comment?
I've also been diagnosed with LVH (and atrial enlargement) via echo and I've been told it's of no major concern. The meds used to control blood pressure are also supposed to regress LVH thickness (especially ACE inhibitors). Your kidney problems may add something new to the equation, but controlling the blood pressure should prevent progression of LVH.
Yeah. I guess a couple of things about my case (if I can call it that, it's really just me!) concern me. I guess I could say I have uncontroll-able, not just uncontrolled high blood pressure, at least so far.
It's probably got to do with the kidney thing, but by the time they get the meds to a level where they take effect, I'm unable to tolerate the side effects. I don't just mean they make me tired. They make me want to kill myself, and I will be making plans within hours of taking the fat-soluble beta blockers. That's not normally me, by the way. Diuretics have made me lose my hearing, so I had to stop working in the job I did for over twenty years. Calcium channel blockers (apart from causing GERD and Vitamin B12 deficiency from constant use of Prilosec) made my gums swell till I could not eat or sleep, and I lost a tooth to that treatment strategy.
I'm hoping for miracles from Diovan, but with my usual blood pressure now standing at 200/150, I think we'll all be surprised if I manage to hit target.
The other little worry I have is that I run a constant fever (idiopathic, at least so far) and fevers can cause heart disease to worsen rapidly.
And the lovely statistics you find when you look up "hypertensive heart disease"--which the doctor says I have--and "renal disease"; 98% of the sites are tables of mortality. Great.
Hi again Pam:
Is your hypertension a result of kidney problems, or did your hypertension cause your kidney problems? If the former, what recommendations does your doctor have for treating your chronic kidney failure? Seems that would be the first line of treatment.
I'm also on Diovan (360 mg) and it has really helped with the blood pressure (and no side effects!). How long have you been taking Diovan and at what dosage? How long ago did you stop taking calcium channel blockers?
I don't know which came first, really. I had a little blood and protien in the urine about ten years ago, about the time I first started showing high blood pressure. Not too many clues about causation there. I've been nephrotic in the past, when I was recovering from a major infection, but in a couple of years, my numbers improved.
At the moment, my neprhologist says my high blood pressure is not caused by glomerulonephritis (my kidney condition). And it hasn't begun to make my kidneys too much worse, yet, either--cause my numbers are still good. But with a blood pressure this high, that can't go on indefinitely. And that fever of unknown origin bothers the heck out of me.
Diovan is the treatment of choice for my kidney condition, thankfully! As well as the blood pressure, as well as LVH, apparently. Looking to Diovan for miracles, here. I was on Diovan before, along with three other BP meds, when I managed to get my "office" BP down to 150/90. My numbers were even better at home, but I've never been on Diovan alone before. I had been on it for about a year before I was dropped from Medicaid and stopped taking medications due to, ahem, how do you politely say, poverty.
I have been eight months without meds, including calcium channel blockers. Just did a 24-hour urine for adrenal tumors, pheo, and the like. . .turned that in today, and started back on the Diovan.
So, why do you ask? Are you thinking of discontinuing calcium channel blockers? Did you get GERD? Are you on Prevacid?
It sounds like those 8 months without meds didn't help with the hyptertension problem. I'm always amazed how easily the powers that be can find money to fund everything but healthcare. I hope the Diovan helps you get that blood pressure under control. When will you get results back from the tests?
I haven't found Norvasc to be any real problem, although there has been a bit of an increase in palps and the like while on it. Maybe coincidence? No GERD problems, thankfully, but my doctor did prescribe Protonix (which I don't use - much to her chagrin).
Take care and let me know how the tests turn out.
Thank you for being interested in my results, and for being there. I went for the echocardiogram today, and the technician was very nice. He was kind enough to urge me to see a cardiologist in the event my internist did not reccomend one, or refer me. He thinks there may be some way a cardiologist can help get my heart beating more strongly. My heart was beating 120 times a minute; he noted it would do that because it is not beating strongly enough, so it's beating more rapidly to compensate. He said that would probably also help with my shortness of breath.
When he left to let me get dressed, I peeked at the computer screen. There was a number for my right valve, 2.2; my left, 5.6. My sneaky sense of self-diagnosis says that means I do have left ventricular hypertrophy.
I ought to get the results on Monday, I'm thinking.
Here's something that might interest you: I'm an astrologer, and I ran a chart a couple of weeks ago about whether I should look for a job now, or if it would make my health worse. Here's how my illness is described in a textbook used by physicians in 1647(who used astrology to diagnose illness, at that time! frequently kept them from having to visit plague victims):
Moon in Capricorn opposed Saturn:
"The disease proceeds from cold and melancholy, with subtle, thin distillations, heaviness of the Breast and Stomach, difficulty of breathing, dry Coughs, the Lungs oppressed, intended Fevers, more pained in the night than the day-time. Medicines that do heat and moisten moderately do avail in this Disease. I find the party still complaining of the Headache, or pain in the left Ear, or of a Rumbling Noise in his head."
William Lilly, _Christian Astrology_
They worked a lot back then with the symptoms rather than the disease, so this description says nothing about the underlying cause of hypertensive heart disease. But I have to admit, that's a pretty dern good description of my symptoms! I even have the pain in the left ear. The chart I drew up predicted that if I got a full-time job, I'd end up in the hospital. I don't live my life by these predictions, but they often come up true nevertheless. Interesting.
The hypertension symptoms cited in the astrology chart do sound remarkably similar to my own experiences as well. I've not had my astrology chart(?) done, but would be interested to hear what it predicts for the up-coming year.
About your echo results, are the values you posted the chamber sizes? I suppose it's probably a good idea to wait to hear what the radiologist says, rather than speculate. But I'm like you, I'd rather know sooner than later.
Good advice about seeing a cardiologist. Mine has been great and unlike my PCP, was much more selective with the drugs he prescribed to treat my various symptoms. It might also be a good idea to make an appointment with a nephrologist (kidney specialist).
The astrology I do is very practical, and is based on asking and answering questions. So I asked what would happen if I went back to work, and the stars said my health would get worse and I would be hospitalized! The quote I gave you is a description of the Moon in the chart I ran. Surgery is also indicated. I wonder if perhaps I will be getting a pacemaker. It seems possible. It just seems soothing to me to have some idea what I might be in store for, so I can begin to be mentally and emotionally prepared for the possibilities.
If you have more questions about astrology and so forth, I can respond to you offlist if you like: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for encouraging me to see the nephrologist! I already have one, and I have seen him recently. He urged me to have the echocardiogram done, and I'm sure he would cooperate with a cardiologist when I do get to see one.
I'll let you know what I find out on Monday--hoping to get some word from my internist on the results of the test.
Yes, I have had my thyroid checked; it was in the normal range. I have an uncle with CHF. . . and a grandfather (his father) who I suspect had a thyroid problem, along with an enlarged heart. It's harder to tell with the family members who passed on a number of years ago exsactly how their conditions would hae been diagnosed today.
I will look into the site you mentioned, but with my thyroid being normal, is this condition still a possibility?
Got word from my doctor with the echo results. My heart looks pretty bad, I guess. So I have to see the doc so he can get things in order to send the me on to the next stage; off to the cardiologist, where I probably will get more workups.
The doctor said I am "amazingly well-compensated" with an ejection fraction of 20%. He claims a lot of people are in the hospital with an EF like that. He talks about the hospital every time he sees me, I reminded him. Always threatening to hospitalize me for my high blood pressure crises. Never does anything about it.
I hope at least that my routine of resting when I need to and low-sodium diet have been helping.
Oh, well. On to the next stage.
Thanks for your interest, Nancy! Do you have any words of wisdom for me?
You do sound in pretty good shape given your ejection fraction (normal is 60% or above). Did the doctor mention whether you have dilated or hypertrophied heart? Sounds like you have dilated (enlarged)chamber. The only "words of wisdom" I can offer is that regardless of how your heart is right now, there are a number of treatments available to help improve its function. In the short term, I'm sure your doctor (or the cardio) will try everything to get that blood pressure under control. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress, k?
It's lovely to talk to someone who has so much enthusiasm for their medical staff! I'm happy for you! On the other hand, no offense intended and thank you for your interest, but I'd sooner jump off a bridge than go back on betas! I'd end up with the same results.
Just Friday, my doctor tried to prescribe Coreg for me, telling me it "didn't act like other betas" (because he knew I become suicidal on beta blockers). When I got to the pharmacy, they refused to fill it because they saw my history with beta blockers. So I ain't taking it, and I'm sure I'll live longer (suicide kills quicker than just about anything else) and enjoy whatever time I have left here a whole lot more.
That's probably more than you wanted to know about me and betas; it's just that I've had some very bad experiences in the past.
The good news is, I may not necessarily benefit from betas, because the internist told me on Friday that the echocardiogram turned up pulmonary hypertension. This condition can lead to heart failure, and in turn may be caused by (among other things) sleep apnea, which I suspect I may have. So we're going to do a sleep study for that.
If they can get that under control, there is a good chance they can reverse the heart failure by treating the sleep apnea. Without a beta blocker in sight! There are still a lot of "ifs", so we will see what the tests turn up.
Thank you for caring, and for your suggestions! If I end up going to a clinic, it will probably be for pulmonary hypertension (there are only two in the country, I believe).
Sorry for not responding sooner - a bit overwhelmed with work at the moment.
I've read a bit on treatment for dilated cardiomyopathy, but I've concentrated most of my searches on LVH (which I have). The most notable article was one referring to a surgical procedure that reduces the size of the cavity. I'm not sure if this procedure is the current treatment of choice, but it did sound promising. I think it is reserved for really severe cases, where drugs are not having the desired effect. The cardiologist will probably have more info on this treatment, and have a better idea whether you'd be a possible candidate.
How's your blood pressure doing? Do you have the results of possible "primary" causes for your hypertension (pheo?).
I haven't heard yet about the pheo, but I do have a couple of new leads to follow up on.
The doctor casually mentioned (after I brought up the possibility of sleep apnea) that I have pulmonary hypertension. This is an unusual diagnosis that is fatal in 50% of cases after two years--without treatment. He didn't explain all that to me, I found out after looking it up.
Apnea can cause both pulmonary hypertension and heart failure, so we are also looking into that possibility. A sleep study is coming up. On the other hand, I wonder about the fact that I am a survivor of polyarteritis nodosa, another rare and fatal condition which causes inflammation of the small arteries. It seems like scarring of the small arteries might be responsible for the pulmonary hypertension. It would also help to explain why my blood pressure is so hard to control.
My astrology predicts a surgery in April of 2004, for a breathing problem (Mercury in Gemini in the third house) possibly caused by arterial obstruction (opposed Saturn in Sagittarius), so perhaps that has to do with the treatment for pulmonary hypertension. I may have a hospitalization coming up next month; I think a cardiac catheterization might explain what I see on the chart.
I'm travelling into some rather surreal territory here in terms of medical statistical probability (check out the melting watches draped over the trees), so I understand if you don't have a lot of information about these conditions. But anyway, thanks for being there! It's nice to have someone listen.
I'm sorry to hear about the pulmonary hypertension - I know it is a serious problem, but little beyond that (cause and treatment). It sounds like you've done all your research and are probably more knowledgeable about its causes than your doctor is. Not the most comforting of positions to be in (shouldn't our doctors know everything??), but at least you're in a better position to take control of your future healthcare.
I have a question about astrology - I am awaiting results of tests of myself, but have another 2 months to go before we know anything. Is it possible that the outcome is hidden somewhere in my chart? Just curious what it might say. What information would you need?
Yeah, the pulmonary hypertension diagnosis is a bummer. The one you really don't want is primary pulmonary hypertension--that one is a diagnosis of exclusion, a conditon of unknown origin, therefore has fewer treatment options. It will take some testing to see if they can determine what causes mine.
You asked some good questions about astrology. The birth chart can give you some general information about the timing of upcoming events. For something very specific and practical, I like to draw a chart from the time the question is asked. I don't require birth information for this. This works because of the principle of correspondence--as above, so below. At the very moment the question becomes urgent to us, the planets are lined up in the precise place to answer it. We need the question, the time, and the place (city and state) you were in when you asked the question. A little background information is also helpful, like what parts of the body are involved, and what conditions are suspected. This helps make sure there is a good match between the positions of the stars and the question.
Here's a little history lesson about medical astrology. Long ago, doctors used a modification of this form of astrology to diagnose patients and determine what treatment was needed. Medical astrology was a highly evolved science. The patient would send a third person to ask the doctor a question, and would send a urine specimen with the question. The chart would be drawn for the time the doctor recieved the urine sample. The use of the third person to ask the question suggested that the patient was severely ill, and could not travel to the doctor on his own behalf. Logistically, it was simpler for the doctor not to have to travel in all directions to see each of his patients, and safer not to be exposed to various contagious diseases like the plague!
Here's my disclaimer (I'm sure you know this, Nancy, but since I'm posting publicly I feel I ought to emphasize this): medical astrology is a specialized field which takes years to master. I have a little experience with it, but I do not claim to be a doctor! I can offer a considered opinion on the positions of the planets at the time the question was asked, and what trends they predict. Naturally, I urge you to rely on a medical doctor for your diagnosis and treatment plan!
That said, if you are interested, Nancy, send me your question, the time you asked it, and your location, with some general background like what parts of the body are involved, and what conditions are suspected.
I'll see what comes up for you!