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Old 02-07-2009, 06:02 PM   #1
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Interesting Visit to Doctor's Office

I've been feeling a bit fatigued for the past week and for the 3 days leading up to this past Friday (yesterday), I also was experiencing some chest tightness, a few occasional "flutters" in the lower esophagus area, a flushed/warm face 2-3 times per day and a general feeling of being jittery without any sort of tremors or shakes. What really got my attention and had me walking into my doctor's office was when I started feeling "heaviness" in the center of my chest when I'd sit in my office chair, usually for a few minutes at a time; it didn't persist when I would get up and walk around. I might add that I don't have any symptoms when I'm on my recumbent bike, 30 minutes 3-5 days per week at a moderate pace (125-145 bpm - age 36).

Doctor took BP and it was initially very high (160's/100's) and then dropped to 145/95 later in the appointment/exam. ECG baseline was normal and the standard heart/lung listen uncovered nothing unusual. Given that I'm overweight (297lbs & 6'2" tall) and have only been exercising for 6 weeks, the doctor immediately wanted to control my BP as well as run tests for Diabetes and Thyroid (family history of both). Also doubled my dose of Prilosec in case it's GERD causing some of the symptoms.

He gave me 6 weeks of sample of BenicarHCT (40mg/12.5mg) to take for 2 weeks along with the Prilosec dosage increase. I'm awaiting the blood tests results, due Monday.

Is there anything else I should do? Ask the doctor to check? I smoked 1/2 pack of filtered cigarettes per day for about 7 years in my early to mid twenties and have been tobacco free for around 8 years, my stress levels are currently pretty high due to things mostly out of my control (so why stress, right??), my triglycerides generally run high (300's - not sure why Dr. gave me Benicar with high tri's??) and cholesterol has been rising the past 2 years (205 at last reading). I'm trying hard to watch my diet and finding it a pretty gradual change, slowly replacing junk food with fruits and veggies (which I love!). Exercise is my latest endeavor, but I'm pretty uncertain about continuing that with the chest symptoms...

Anyway, sorry for the drawn-out post. Guess it's a bit therapeutic to just write out everything and hope someone else can provide their perspective. I hadn't even thought about High BP being the cause of what I was feeling given the somewhat sudden onset, but it also makes sense...especially if there's diabetes or thyroid or GERD or something else cardio to go along with it. For now, trying to not be too anxious and let the medication try to do its thing. We'll see what 2 weeks brings.

Man...I gotta stop typing!!

 
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:31 PM   #2
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Re: Interesting Visit to Doctor's Office

The symptoms you describe I have on a regular basis. Be glad your doctor is taking them seriously...my doctor did some tests last fall when things got bad, no one (not my GP or cardiologist) found anything out of the ordinary, the GP decided it was anxiety and prescribed xanax as needed.

NOW anytime anything 'odd' happens, whether it is insommnia, low blood pressure (mine is usually around 120/72 so when it drops to 100/55 I feel horrible!), difficulty losing weight (despite exercise and eating right), and even extreme fatigue...she just says 'it is anxiety...take more xanax'. *sigh*

Good luck sorting things out... and do remember that it may not be anything serious, it could be something like anxiety...

Oh yeah...and make sure they test your thyroid levels...if your thyroid is out of whack it can cause many of the chest/heart symptoms you have.

 
Old 02-08-2009, 04:23 PM   #3
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Re: Interesting Visit to Doctor's Office

He definitely is checking my thyroid levels, but I'm not sure which tests he ordered specifically...the full spectrum or just the typical TSH levels, which may not tell us much. Guess I'll find out tomorrow or Tuesday.

Noticed my BP (on my monitor at home) has been really good today, 115/75 morning and afternoon, and I know the medication doesn't take effect that quickly. Kinda leads me to believe it might be anxiety/stress and acid reflux causing the symptoms...or my home monitor is faulty.

Did have some trouble taking "deep" breaths during exercise today, but it was sporadic and not what I'd call short of breath. Also had some shoulder weakness 5-10 minutes after exercise on both sides, which lasted about 15 minutes before I felt recovered from the workout, so wonder if I over did it or was leaning too hard on the handles on my recumbent bike. Had 2 periods of sleeplessness during the night last night, but with no symptoms other than not being able to .

 
Old 02-08-2009, 04:50 PM   #4
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Re: Interesting Visit to Doctor's Office

Bring in your bp monitor next time you see your doc to make sure it is accurate. He wanted to up my meds and my readings at home were 118/78. But in his office on my monitor was 155/92 So he seen my readings were good at home so he left my meds where they were.

 
Old 02-08-2009, 05:04 PM   #5
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Re: Interesting Visit to Doctor's Office

Good idea! I'll bring mine along and compare it to his readings.

I know my BP spikes really high at work (I've seen it as high as 165/98 during a stressful day at work) and when I'm otherwise under stress or anxious (white-coat syndrome, anyone?), but does that warrant going on medication when my readings at home are usually quite normal or only marginally high? My parents are both on medication for high blood pressure (my father's been on it for 20 years), so I'm not discounting that it's something I'll need to do.

Guess I start by "calibrating" my home monitor with the doctor's office.

 
Old 02-08-2009, 07:13 PM   #6
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Re: Interesting Visit to Doctor's Office

On a personal level, I've decided it does not. I figure my heart gets a good rest at night, and for the most part I've figured out how to manage my stress. There is no way to know, for sure, how medicines affect us. Either way we go, there is a risk. I chose to accept my BP spikes rather than accept the side-effects of medication. I do have to admit that in accepting the spikes, I've found I've changed how I live... no more smoking, a lot less drinking and a ton more sweat in the form of exercise. Somehow I have it boiled down to the fact that I have a choice: live the "free" life and take meds, or suffer a bit in the form of diet & exercise. It may be that genetics outstrip me in the long-haul, but for now I have successfully fought off the meds and I'm pretty happy with that.

 
Old 02-10-2009, 09:14 PM   #7
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Re: Interesting Visit to Doctor's Office

well, got my bloodwork back and everything is normal...except for my cholesterol, which is way out of whack. That, along with my high blood pressure and high BMI (38) has my doctor giving me a reduced dose of Benicar HCT (20/12.5) and Simvastatin (20mg). He's happy I started exercising again on the first of this month and we hope to be able to throw out at least one of those meds as I continue to exercise and lose weight.

With 5 days of BP meds, my pressure has dropped WAY down and so he cut my dose of Benicar from 40mg daily to 20mg daily to see if it'll stay where it's at now (110's over 70's). Thank goodness for samples!

I'm fairly well convinced now that the symptoms leading up to the past weekend were a result of reflux and the double dose of omeprazole (40mg/day) has relieved most of them.

Anyway...here's hoping things continue to progress. I "WILL" continue to get fit and lose weight. I have decided to just do it this time, rather than the typical "I'll try my best" approach. No excuses! At age 36, I hope to have many more years ahead of me once I get back control of my weight and fitness level.

 
Old 02-10-2009, 09:36 PM   #8
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Re: Interesting Visit to Doctor's Office

Way to go, Starling! You are on the right track. Taking good care of your body is the best gift you can give to yourself.
Best of luck!

 
Old 02-11-2009, 09:31 AM   #9
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Re: Interesting Visit to Doctor's Office

Starling,

What are your "way out of wack" cholesterol readings? I'm just curious. Maybe you could get them back in order without meds. Statins can be dangerous for some people and you're so young to start them.

 
Old 02-21-2009, 04:56 PM   #10
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Re: Interesting Visit to Doctor's Office

Quote:
Originally Posted by rudiraven View Post
Starling,

What are your "way out of wack" cholesterol readings? I'm just curious. Maybe you could get them back in order without meds. Statins can be dangerous for some people and you're so young to start them.
My readings are as follows:

Total - 215
LDL - 135
HDL - 24

Dr. believes that the very low HDL is of greatest concern of those numbers and, while I can likely raise it 5 pts or so with exercise, it's not going to be enough and he'd like to at least lower the LDL to make the ratio closer to a "normal" range.

 
Old 03-17-2009, 04:45 PM   #11
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Re: Interesting Visit to Doctor's Office

Visited the doctor on Friday last week and the good news is that my BP is now averaging a nice 116/77 with the help of the daily 30 minutes of aerobic exercise and Benicar HCT 20/12.5. Doctor thinks that in a few more months, we'll be ready to try getting off the medication and see if exercise and weight reduction alone will resolve the BP issue.

On a not quite so good note, my cholesterol readings improved but are still of concern to the good doctor. Total dropped from 215 to 140, LDL dropped from 135 to 75, but HDL hung tight around 25 and Triglycerides "only" dropped from 350ish to 209. So now I get to try Trilipix in addition to the simvastatin. Fun stuff!

I'm hoping it's just the daily serving of ice cream that's keeping my triglycerides high, but we'll see...kinda worried about the strain all these drugs are going to put on my liver and kidneys (also on omeprazole for acid reflux), but I really hope I can kick all but the statin (I'm a realist) by dropping another 60-80 lbs and staying active every day.

 
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