Well, I am back, y'all. Like I said in my past thread, I did talk to my doctor and he went ahead and tried my little experiment. I have been off the Diovan for the last 2 weeks and my bp has stayed about the same, sometimes better. Today it was 104/86!! As part of the deal I cut with him, he did put me on Zoloft and a sleeping pill called Lunesta to see if my hbp is more stress/sleep induced than physical. If anyone out there has any experience with these, let me know. I am not sure if they are replacing the Diovan's work, but so far I feel the same as I felt with the Diovan. I have lost about 10 pounds and have tried to stay off the sodium--but this is mucho impossible. I was scared to get off the Diovan, but I just had to. And I don't regret it one bit. I am still jogging about 4 miles every two days. It may be too early to tell how my body will respond once the Diovan is completely out of my system, but so far--everything is fine. It does help that it is summer, and except for the Downing Street Memo briefing being on CSpan-3, nothing is stressing me out. Now, I begin my fiendish plan to rid my body of the zoloft and lunesta as soon as possible.
Nope. No grogginess at all with Lunesta. But tell you what: make sure there are no emergencies in the middle of the night--like tornadoes or fire or burglars, because you ain't waking up... Its strength time must be a solid 8 hours and then it wears off fast. At least, that's what's happening to me. I want to get off of it cuz I don't like drugs in my body at all. The Zoloft has to go, too. They say you can't get hooked on them, but that's hard to believe. I do feel rested, though. I had been waking up at 3:40am every night for weeks and the lunesta has helped. Too bad. It's gotta go.
I believe a lot of my bp problems are all anxiety related too - I told the doc I wouldn't take any bp meds until we tried to contain the anxiety and I think we have done that and my bp this am was 108/68!
Good luck with everything!
Woohoo! Glad to hear that you were able to get off the Diovan and that your BP is doing well.
I, too, was on HBP meds due to emotional causes. In my case it was extreme stress plus chronic sleep deprivation for years while I cared for my stroke-survivor husband. I've since also been able to get off the meds.
My doctor also put me on Zoloft, and I was on it for a year. I remember when I first took it, my thought was, "Wow! Is this what it feels like to be normal?" Because I had been a nervous, anxious person all my life, whose shoulder muscles were constantly tied up in knots, who couldn't sleep, etc. And Zoloft helped that. Unfortunately, in my sleep-deprived situation (my husband would often need assistance or supervision during the night), it allowed me to go to sleep too easily. I found that I'd fall asleep at the wheel (where I'd wake up when my head jerked as I dosed off) maybe a dozen times each way on the 20 mile trip to see my husband's doctor. And during the rest of the drive, my eyes wouldn't focus properly. After I drove off the road one time, I decided the Zoloft had to go.
But by chance, I'm now taking something else which has calmed my anxiety and largely eliminated the problem of chronic shoulder tightness. Magnesium. Yes, common old magnesium. My doctor had recommended it when I started getting nocturnal leg cramps frequently, but much to my surprise, it also greatly improved my tendency to be anxious all the time. For me it has almost the same calming effect as Zoloft. You might want to try it.
Uff-Da~you must share the details! About the magnesium~what dose or brand is it? Is it taken by itself or in a multivitamin? I have heard about it before. Also that B-vitamins are good for the nerves. But magnesium for anxiety sounds GREAT to me.
Well, obviously magnesium isn't going to help everyone's anxiety problem, but I'll bet there are many people out there who have a magnesium deficiency and don't know it. I eat a LOT of fruits and vegetables, so get more dietary magnesium than the RDA, but I still have the problem. I apparently don't absorb it well.
For the past several years I've been taking 250 mg. magnesium oxide, the cheapest, most readily available and most poorly absorbed type. Recently, though, I've started to get leg and foot cramps and restless legs syndrome again, so I've upped the amount to 500 mg. daily. That is above the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of 350 mg for supplemental magnesium, though, so I plan to check with my doctor before I do that long-term. Usually if a person is getting too much, they will get diarrhea, so I think I'm probably okay. I wouldn't recommend going over the UL for anyone else, though, unless you've checked with your doctor or are only doing it short-term.
Before you try it, I'd recommend reading the following:
Here is an interesting quote from that source:
Some observational surveys have associated higher blood levels of magnesium with lower risk of coronary heart disease [50-51]. In addition, some dietary surveys have suggested that a higher magnesium intake may reduce the risk of having a stroke . There is also evidence that low body stores of magnesium increase the risk of abnormal heart rhythms, which may increase the risk of complications after a heart attack . These studies suggest that consuming recommended amounts of magnesium may be beneficial to the cardiovascular system. They have also prompted interest in clinical trials to determine the effect of magnesium supplements on cardiovascular disease.
In reading that article, you'll notice that it doesn't say anything about magnesium for anxiety. I'm assuming that my reaction to it falls under the single related statement that magnesium helps maintain nerve function.
Incidentally, some medications, such as thiazides, deplete magnesium if taken long term. Some OTC products contain magnesium and can lead to toxicity if taken long term. The article I mentioned lists some of these.
The following user gives a hug of support to Uff-Da!: Shdejones (12-22-2010)
I agree 1000% with the efficacy of magnesium. If any Vitamin store mineral can be called a WONDER DRUG, magnesium is it.
Never worry about the bioavailabliity of MgO, almost all magnesium compounds are 100% soluble in the stomach: I buy the Mg and take 250mg. daily. If you take too much, the body dilutes it in the intestines by pouring water into the gut, the result is diahrrhea as in a "dose of salts" which is a couple Tbsp. Epsom Salts (magnesium sufate heptahydrate.)
It works wonders with rhythm irregualrities and should really be the first thing all "palpitators" try.
It DOES function as an aid to sleep, a nice extra.
Never worry about the bioavailabliity of MgO, almost all magnesium compounds are 100% soluble in the stomach.
Well, the government source I referred to above has this to say:
In a study that compared four forms of magnesium preparations, results suggested lower bioavailability of magnesium oxide, with significantly higher and equal absorption and bioavailability of magnesium chloride and magnesium lactate.
But the way I look at it is this: If it isn't absorbed as well, one just has to take a little more to do the same job. And the oxide form is readily available and cheap.
I've often wondered which form of magnesium is best, too. I found the following information useful, as discussed by Dr. Atkins in one of his books:
"Blood tests are the best way to determine your true need and track the effectiveness of supplements. Don't rely on standard blood serum measurements. They can be misleading and will often fail to detect a deficiency. A much better gauge is the mineral's concentration within red blood cells. I've found that the optimum dosage for magnesium-related health problems typically brings the red blood cell reading to a point slightly above the middle of the "normal" range. For most people this usually translates into a daily dosage of 400-1000mg."
"To reach the ideal point, some formulations work better than others. Magnesium oxide, the type most frequently found in mineral supplements, does easily raise the standard blood serum level, but other forms deliver the nutrient to tissues more successfully. My favorite is magnesium orotate, which, although once difficult to find, is now beginning to be found in health food stores. Other good forms are magnesium taurate, magnesium chloride, magnesium glycinate, and magnesium aspartate."
"Men and nations will act rationally when all other possibilities have been exhausted."
Magnesium oxide, the type most frequently found in mineral supplements, does easily raise the standard blood serum level, but other forms deliver the nutrient to tissues more successfully.
Arizona - Does Aitkins give any reference for this?
Anyone who understands the human body better than I - Does that make sense, that it could raise the blood serum level without delivering to the tissues very well, whereas another type could do better? I just don't know enough about how these things work to know if that sounds valid or not.
Sorry, but that's all it says. I don't see any reference to any particular study. However, like calcium, some forms of magnesium are apparently absorbed better than others. I'm not really sure if it actually makes much of a difference which form of magnesium is used, just so long as you are absorbing enough of it.
But here lies the problem. In another book ("User's Guide to Nutritional Supplements"), it states the following about magnesium blood tests:
"They're just not accurate, says Mildred S. Seelig, M.D., one of the world's authorities on magnesium. Magnesium is a difficult mineral to measure. When you have a yearly blood test, you can have your magnesium level tested. But this test, called serum magnesium, may not reveal low magnesium."
"Some doctors, including Dr. Abraham, believe that a Red Blood Cell (RBC) magnesium test is a better indicator of magnesium levels. But not all laboratories do this particular test, and many doctors are unfamiliar with it. Studies have shown that there are no blood tests that are sensitive enough to accurately diagnose magnesium deficiencies."
"So where does this leave you? Dr. Seelig suggests that taking more magnesium than the RDAs is safe unless you have kidney problems. The primary common side-effect from taking too much magnesium is loose bowels. There's an easy way to tell whether or not you have a magnesium deficiency. Increase your magnesium for a few months and see if your symptoms lessen or disappear."
"Sherry Rogers, M.D., of Syracuse, New York, finds that one of the most common symptoms of magnesium deficiency is pain in the back or neck. But there are many other signs as well. Low magnesium can cause high blood pressure, irritability, nervousness, and anxiety. It can lead to muscle cramps and spasms and muscle tension, including constipation. Magnesium deficiency can cause depression, fatigue, exhaustion, learning disabilities, and an excessive sensitivity to noise and pain. If that wasn't enough, it can contribute to poor appetite, even anorexia, and irregular or rapid heartbeat."
"Men and nations will act rationally when all other possibilities have been exhausted."
Thanks, Arizona. That's probably why my doctor didn't even bother to test for it. She just told me to take magnesium. I can hardly believe that list of symptoms Sherry Rogers, M.D. listed, though. I had more than half those symptoms most of my life. Too bad I had to wait until about age 60 to find a solution! I still have the excessive sensitivity to noise, though.
Back to magnesium and blood pressure, though. According to this site:
"Epidemiologic evidence suggests that magnesium may play an important role in regulating blood pressure ." Diets that provide plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are good sources of potassium and magnesium, are consistently associated with lower blood pressure [31-33]. The DASH study (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), a human clinical trial, suggested that high blood pressure could be significantly lowered by a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy foods. Such a diet will be high in magnesium, potassium, and calcium, and low in sodium and fat [34-36].
Of course, that refers to dietary magnesium only, not additional supplements. But I strongly suspect that I'm not the only one around who, in spite of eating magnesium in excess of the RDA, still needs more.
frank - From what I read, one needs to wean off of both Zoloft and Lunestra, so if you take them for a while, then decide to try magnesium instead, don't stop cold turkey.
Thanks Uff-Da. I will remember to wean off the stuff. I, too, am surprised at how calm I have become these drugs. I had been so used to going at a hundred miles an hour through grad school that I had forgotten how it feels to just leave my gaze on something for more than a second. It has also helped me stop my internal dialogue--you know, all the stuff that flows like a river in your head without you wanting it to. Funny you all should mention Magnesium--I just started on a multi-vitamin that includes it. It has fish oil, potassium and garlic also. Hopefully, it will work and I can cut the meds for good. I am close, very close.
VERY interesting! you all have informed me more about magnesium than I ever knew. Okay~I take Diovan and synthroid and a tiny dose of Ativan daily(to control bp spikes and anxiety). Where do I fit magnesium into the mix? I wonder how much to take daily? and is there any side effect that is considered serious? You know that most docs wont answer my questions~they wont validate supplements/vitamins. Although my gyn pushed calcium with vitaminD like I might die without it~LOL. I had to quit them recently~the pills were huge and gave me heartburn!
red-rider, don't give up on the calcium and vitamin D. Most adult women do not get enough, and post menopausal women have an increased need for calcium. Calcium is needed to keep bone mineral density high and it is harder to replace once it has been depleted. Loss of bone density can start at a fairly young age, like early adult. Bone density loss can lead to increased risk of hip fracture in a fall, as well as other bone breaks. "Shrinkage" with age is related to bone loss and compression of the spinal column as well as the "dowager's hump" - that bump on the back of old lady's necks where they can't straighten up. My mother and several of her sisters' spines twisted up like pretzels when they got into their late 60s and 70s - due to osteoporosis and scoleosis.
The reason for the vitamin D is that it is necessary to utilize the calcium. If you have trouble with large calcium pills, there are formulations with smaller amounts, or cut the large pills in half and take them more frequently. My doctor tells me taking more than 500 (IU or mg, I can't remember which it is for this one) at a time is not helpful, since your body can only process about 500 units at a time.
If you absolutely can't handle the pills then be sure to increase your consumption of dairy and some vegetables - off hand I can't remember which ones, but you can web search. I refuse to drink skim milk and I find the other good dairly sources of calcium have too many calories for me to ingest the needed amount per day, so I gladly take the pills.
Oh, it shouldn't be hard to get a calcium pill down. Just take a chewable TUMS. However, if you need your calcium for the calcium, don't take it with the magnesium. If you do, the calcium will improve the absorption of the magnesium, but it won't do much good for getting calcium. I just read that while I was researching the magnesium in the past couple of days. Can't remember the source, and don't have time to look for it right now.
We've had several days without rain, and with the sandy soil we have here, that means I have to get out and water my huge yard.
Uff-Da, I am in the same boat yard-wise. I am in central Ohio where we have barely had any measurable rain since we put in the veggie and flower gardens about 4 weeks ago. We currently have no outside water, so we carry buckets to the gardens. Takes hours. Oh well, I get my weight baring exercise ;-}
Thank you for that Uff-Da~there are many meds that must be taken apart from Synthroid~I cant even have a calcium tab or a Tums if I need it unless I space 3 hrs between them. Also Synthroid must be taken on an empty stomach~which is a pain
Graylorn~you are so nice to give me the calcium info. I know I need to be taking it everyday. I have bought 2 name brands and both were giant. Guess I need to split them.
best regards to you all! RR
There are also chewable calcium suppliments that look like a piece of candy like a carmel. They come in several flavors like chocolate. I am not sure of the calcium content and they are a bit pricey, but that is another idea. They are also in the vitamin section of the grocery store or pharmacy.