Do I have "Heart Disease" or just "Bad Numbers"
I recently got my blood tests back and am not sure if I have "Heart Disease" in the classical meaning of the phrase or just a bad reading or "Bad Numbers" which need to be addressed. Can someone please clarify this for me? First off, I'll be 60 in just weeks. I who used to be an athletic type during my younger years and over the years let it all go down the drain it seems. I was diagnosed with Diabetes 2 years ago, and also hypertension for the first time. Although my Hypertension was on the low side then the Dr. Still prescribed Lisinopril 20 mg a day for me which I have taken until recently (he upped it my last visit last week to 40 mg a day predicated on my own readings showing that 20 mg was not enough (he said that even if there was some disparity that 40 mg a day "wouldn't hurt me” or lower my blood pressure any further and it was ok-and even said I could break the tablets in half after 20 mg and take 10 followed with 10 later if my blood pressure went up again. At that time, 2 years ago he also prescribed 500 Mg of Metformin to be taken twice daily which I have followed to the letter since then, plus 40 mg of Simvastatin or Zocor once a day. I cut the Simvastatin out back in December after having experienced the worst vertigo episode one could imagine- Dr. at the ER ordered a cat scan which showed no problem like stroke. An inner ear infection was suspected and I was prescribed Meclizine 25 mg for the vertigo. He called it positional vertigo as one position stopped the terrible spinning of the world around me-and the med with some valium did the job..until the next and then the next episode days apart. Then I got on the Internet and saw all the horror stories and similar symptoms that Simvastatin caused and stopped taking that drug immediately-Dr. or no Dr’s advice. The vertigo disappeared the next day until 4 months later where I was back in the ER again and again a cat scan was negative ruling out a stroke or other serious problems-but the ER Dr. (same one by coincidence) said I did a good thing by eliminating the Simvastatin, citing other problems it could cause besides vertigo down the road, but did say I should follow-up with my primary care Dr. who is a cardiologist and Internist as a replacement to the Simvastatin may be necessary. I attribute that episode now to a bad head cold I head developed several days earlier as I remembered that was one of the questions another Dr there asked, if I had recently had one. The Dr. said sometimes it is a mystery why the vertigo comes about and it could be Meneire’s disease or something else. So I took Simvastatin for only 1 ½ years-until the vertigo cme about in December.
My Dr. who is a heart specialist and has been around for a awhile was given the ER results and after putting off my visit to him for a long time (ok I don’t like going to the doctor-not wise, I know) realized I needed blood tests done as I was feeling, and still am feeling, absolutely miserable. The results are as follows-just under 2 weeks ago-total cholesterol 199-not bad as it has been worse in the past..but he said my “now” cholesterol reading was not good-somewhere around 274 or 279-my HDL is 25 (has always been bad and fluctuated over the years-highest 38 and never reached that 40 number in this decade), Triglycerides 505 (was over 700 2 years before, got it down with walking and exercise and a fish oil prescription called Lovazo to 180-then back to my unhealthy ways again-lot of stress-death in the family hit me particularly hard and did not help as I have stayed home and virtually secluded myself for 10 months now, going out only sparingly-and probably why my vitamin D count according to the Dr. is very very very low at 11.6) VLDL is 101, Dr. guesstimates my LDL is around the 140 area due to improper calculation because of high triglycerides, Glucose serum is 116 but the Dr. said because my A1c is 5.4 that’s good as the Metformin is working as it should be. The Dr. made the following changes in my prescription-he finally gave in to me after I said I absolutely would not take the Simvastatin again and prescribed Niaspan 500 which he wants me to take twice daily if the flushing “side affects“ go away in a few weeks take twice daily-at which point I said “Side Affects”, again? I read what the side effects are on Niaspan and they are not good at all and I don’t need to go through all that again-and am not keen on taking the aspirins before hand and waiting to see if I will have any number of the insane side affacts this drug can cause. He was about to add a new statin to that until he realized that he was giving me too much all at once-as he said later. He said, maybe a new statin down the road combined with the Niaspan (sure doc-“Fahget bout it!”-although I didn‘t tell him that directly he guessed it.) I am going to do exactly what I did the last time 2 years ago-sans the Simvastatin and take fish oil omega 3 over the counter-the Dr. said that was ok as long as it did not exceed 4 grams per day-similar to Lovazo-walk and walk and walk, which I did the last time and my lipid results improved dramatically going from about 220 total cholesterol to 167 and my triglycerides dropping from a whopping over 700 to 180 and my HDL going from 27 to 34-some improvement anyway-all in 6 weeks. Then I will tell him I didn’t take the Niaspan (which as I said he suspects I will not take anyway), and after the blood tests see where I am.
I had a cat scan done to check on a suspected nodular opacity which showed was not shown correctly ona routine exray (with contrast and one reason I don’t need to go through that horrible toasted sensation all over my body- which I understand Niaspan causes plus other side affects). I know this was a long story but since I have not spoken about this and seen the Dr. very rarely in the past 2 years I felt I needed to tell all to the experts on here or people that I consider experts with their vast experience judging from the posts as compared to my limited experience. I’m 59 soon to be 60, 5’9 and approx 224 lbs. by the way-and that’s the first thing that is going to go-My Weight-if I don’t get a heart attack first! I am still wondering, if I have “Heart Disease” in the classical meaning of the word (Never asked my Dr. and he’s a bit evasive on such direct questions anyway). Anybody care to help please let me know what you think-about all of this actually? I am contributing my 199 total cholesterol to eating a lot healthier these past several months but don’t know what that “now cholesterol” that the Dr. talked about is-as that seemed to be of some concern to him. One last thing-my Dr. made me feel "great" (not really) before I left his office when I asked him what my chances of getting a heart attack were now and he showed me this rectangular plastic thing where I saw little lego miniature type blocks-very little and then this block as big as the Washington Monument next to them (that’s me he said insofar as my chances of getting a heart attack) and a slightly taller lego type next to that. Boy I needed that! He did say-”Keep walking” as I was leaving his office which was encouraging of course. Thanks. Al
PS I apologize for the long post again, and trust me I'm not some cocky guy who doesn't follow my doctor's instructions just like that-it's just that I've been through so much lately-feeling miserable when I wake up every day (and even now)-tired, on the weak side a bit, and just don't want to go through all that I have in the past 10 months. Also still grieving over a family death...just too many things and may be in a depression for all I know. I am not afraid of death at all actually-but don't want other members of my family to see another death so soon again-especially after such a close loss of a family member already. Thanks
Last edited by amacld; 07-27-2010 at 10:50 AM.