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    Old 11-12-2005, 06:24 PM   #1
    Samsdad
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    Introduction/Need Advice

    Hey everyone,

    I'm a 40 year old male that although likes lifting weights, avoids cardio like the plague. I'm pretty bulky and stocky with both muscle and fat on my frame. Two weeks to this very day I was watching my daughter play soccer when I got a VICIOUS case of vertigo. My blood pressure sky-rocketed, I started hyperventilating which made my hands and lips go numb. I spent the rest of the day recovering at the hospital. Bottomline: I've got high blood pressure and I eat
    like I'm still 15 years old, consuming unhealthy junk breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Until now......

    I've been really diligent these last two weeks. I'm eating better, avoiding salt, sugars and starches in my diet (eating healthy carbs instead), I'm on the treadmill almost daily, and I'm taking my blood pressure medicine religiously. I've lost about 7 lbs and my bp is still very high 160/110.

    Honestly, I'm scared. Seems like I'm just very ignorant on the subject of high bp. Should my bp have gone DOWN by now or does it take a while to? Also, I'm on Enaprinil and I was only taking 10 mg a day. Now my doc wants to bump it up to 20 mg a day in the hopes that it will lower my bp. Also, I really don't know how to describe this I just feel "off". I seem unfocused and hazy. This tends to hit me in the morning and seems to get better as the day progresses. I'm not sure if its the medication or not. I have tried taking the meds later in the day (about dinnertime) but that hasn't had an effect. And NOW I'm doubling the dosage.

    Can any veterans of high bp give me some advice here? I'm concerned about my bp for the first time, I do something about it and my body isn't responding! Any help greatly appreciated!

     
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    Old 11-13-2005, 12:59 PM   #2
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    Re: Introduction/Need Advice

    Hi Sam,

    I do not consider myself a veteran, so hopefully some of them will address your question soon.

    However, I think you will have to stick with a healthy style longer than 2 weeks, to see your Bp go down. Losing weight seems to be the best way to get Bp down, so 7 lbs is a good start. Could you stand to lose more? I too have experimented with weight lost, and with a 5 lb lost, my pressure will go down a couple of points.

    You also mentioned being scared, it is possible that the good you are doing with losing weight is being counteracted by your emotions. Most of us are scared when we are first given the diagnosis and try BP meds, but your emotions will settle down.

    As far as the drug you are taking, I do not know about it, but I can say that it is not unusual for any of the Bp meds to bring on those side effects. I take mine, right before I go to bed, so it can wear off some before I need to function. I suggest that you talk to your doctor about the side effects.

    In the mean time continue your exercising and eat properly, it will pay off eventually. God Bless.

     
    Old 11-20-2005, 12:44 PM   #3
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    Re: Introduction/Need Advice

    Thanks for the welcome.

    Well guys I'm officially frustrated! My blood pressure at the docs a few weeks back BEFORE I took meds was 150/100. In that time frame I:

    took toprol for a week, that made me feel dizzy

    took enaprinil (vasotec) for two weeks, made me feel dizzy, went to doc who told me to DOUBLE the dosage (from 10 mg to 20 mg) Got so bad last Wednesday I discontinued it (doc said it was ok for now and will be reevalutated)

    Lost almost TEN pounds avoiding sugars and highly refined starches (ie. flour). Eating well, lots of chicken and veggies. I'm eating now like I'm a DIFFERENT human.

    Introduced aerobic workouts. On treadmill four/five days a week, started at 15 min, now at 25 min. FEEL like I'm making great gains here!

    So today went to Fred Meyer and tried out their bp machine. Got very apprehensive and it was like 170/110! Can being nervous about taking a bp test effect the results?

    UGH! Any advice here? Seems like I'm being a GOOD boy ALTERING my diet and exercise routines but its not effecting my bp. Do feel a bit stressed lately but I got a good nights sleep yesterday? Is it still TOO EARLY (3 weeks) for my bp to respond to diet and exercise? I have about twenty pounds left to lose and after discontinuing the meds have felt really good!

    Still need advice!

     
    Old 11-20-2005, 02:09 PM   #4
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    Re: Introduction/Need Advice

    Patience, my good man, patience! Emotions can send BP soaring. It is common. Also, the free BP machines in stores like Fred Meyer are not always accurate. Some of them may not have been calibrated in years. Also, did you sit down and rest for several minutes before you took your pressure or did you take it after you'd been walking around in a busy store? That could make a difference in the readings.

    I'd advise buying your own BP monitor so you can check your pressure at home under non-stress conditions. Oh, sure, you'll be apprehensive at first and will get higher readings. But if you take it enough times for it to becomes old hat, you'll probably settle down to getting accurate readings. Then you can back off and only take it once or twice a day. If you choose to get your own monitor, get one with an arm cuff, not a wrist or finger model, as the latter two tend to be less accurate. If you have a large arm, you might need to get an extra large cuff. Check the suggested measurements on the models before you buy. I like my Omron HEM-711, but if you decide to get your own monitor, you might want to ask for additional suggestions. You can get a decent home monitor for around $50.

    Keep up the chicken and veggies, especially lots of veggies. According to some research I've seen, low- or non-fat dairy products also seem to lower BP. If you don't eat dairy, at least make sure you are getting plenty of calcium, as it is one of the nutrients which affect BP.

    Incidentally, most people's blood pressure is highest first thing in the morning, so that may be why you feel so poorly then.

     
    Old 11-20-2005, 02:26 PM   #5
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    Re: Introduction/Need Advice

    Wow,

    Thanks Uff-da for the advice! I feel much better after reading it. I have thought about buying a home blood pressure kit. You are right, I did not WAIT before taking the test at FM's. I just plopped my butt down and took it, didn't rest several minutes and relax. After the reading I got really nervous! Ran around the store and retook it, and it was WORSE (although the cuff hadnt been fully expelled with air this time when I put my arm in it).

    Today I worked the treadmill for 25 minutes. I feel great and relaxed now! And then I tell my wife about my readings and she then says that I'm gonna get a stroke and drop dead, which makes me nervous again.... I even told her that those comments AREN'T helpful. I really am trying but I'm an impatient fellow by nature.

    I really want to avoid hp meds, I've had an awful experience with them.

     
    Old 11-20-2005, 02:59 PM   #6
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    Re: Introduction/Need Advice

    My BP is highly affected by stress, too. In fact it had always been 120/80 or less until my husband had a stroke back in 1999 and I had to assume care 24/7. He was cautiously ambulatory, but left with enough dementia and physical problems that I was soon a nervous wreck. Within a few months my SBP was regularly in the 140s with spikes into the 150s and 160s. I went on BP medication for five years, until some time after his death and after I made further dietary changes. Past January I was finally able to get back off the meds and until recently had averaged an unmedicated 126/70-75. So stress or anxiety or whatever can really make a difference. But my SBP has shot up 20 points or more just from reading the gruesome news on the web or from getting a phone call from an adult relative with a personality very different than mine who hints at coming to live with me.

    One thing I've found that helps to bring my BP down when it is due to stress - deep breathing exercises. By doing just two to five minutes of s-l-o-w deep breathing, I can often bring my systolic down 10, 20, even almost 30 points. You might try that.

     
    Old 11-20-2005, 03:05 PM   #7
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    Re: Introduction/Need Advice

    Oh, if you find that slow breathing helps lower your BP, you might also try it while still lying in bed in the morning to get your BP down faster. Be sure to eat a good breakfast, including potassium (likely fruit) and calcium (dairy or calcium-fortified food).

     
    Old 11-20-2005, 08:16 PM   #8
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    Re: Introduction/Need Advice

    Sorry about your husband, Uff-da. I'm sure that would stress anyone out. I'm gonna use you as an inspiration, if you don't mind. I TRULY believe I can get this hb pressure down by altering my diet like you did. I'm also adding in lots of cardiovascular activity as well. I just gotta cut out this stressin' crap. Today was a very good day up until an hour ago when I got a slight pain in my shoulder
    (its gone now) and I started imagining myself having health/heart problems. I basically told myself it was bullcrap, went shopping with my wife, and I feel fine again. I just sometimes sit there during the day waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like I'm gonna have a heart attack any minute now cuz my pressure is high (I have probably had high bp for years but never worried about it). I just need to control this anxiety that I have, keep eating right, and exercise and the rest will take care of itself.

    So you were a teacher once, eh? Yeah, it can be very stressful! I've been in education for almost 15 years. I'm 40 so I started pretty young. WORST time of year is in the beginning because I don't know the students. Sitting there at the first faculty meeting and waiting for somebody to hand me my rosters is just PURE AGONY for me. Then I get used to my students, get to know them and their quirks and the rest becomes easier. There are still days though......

     
    Old 11-21-2005, 12:03 PM   #9
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    Re: Introduction/Need Advice

    UGH GUYS!

    Had one of the worst sleepless nights I've had in a long time last night. I felt great yesterday and was nice and relaxed before bedtime. I took some tylenol PM about 30 minutes before.

    As I put my head on my pillow I got a bad panic attack based on my health and high blood pressure. I'd almost fall asleep and my brain would kick me making me alert again. I started getting some heart palpitations. I slept for two hours til about twelve, felt really poor, slept on the couch, better this time for about four hours. I was UP at about 4:40 am and couldn't go back to sleep.

    I feel better today but still feel pretty nervous and apprehensive. I believe a LOT of my problem is mental, not physical.

    Can anyone give me advice here? has anyone had these night time panic attacks?

    Thanks

     
    Old 11-22-2005, 06:56 AM   #10
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    Re: Introduction/Need Advice

    Dad,

    I find that a 15 pound weight loss and about 6 weeks drops BP a good deal. Unfortunately, it sometimes isn;t permanent...I'm finding that out now.

    Enalapril: watch for a cough that is accompanied by an unbearable bronchial tickle...almost like a few threads of Brillo stuck in your chest. It's a good drug if you DON'T cough. If you do, then you'll need to switch away.

    For the nightime panic, don;t count on the Benadryl (diphenhydramine) in the Tylenol...and NEVER take acetamenophen just to get the Benadryl. Frequent acetamenophen is VERY hard on the liver. Ask your doctor for a benzodiazepine like diazapam (Valium...BEST) or temazapam...NOT lorazapam (ativan.) Careful though, not for everyday use...just for hurdles because you can get hooked on these. But they are safer than daily Tylenol PM.

    Valium will get you over this worry hurdle.

    I'm a long time weightlifter and I TOO despise cardio with a passion...but I force myself and the minutes pass like HOURS !

    Last edited by Lenin; 11-22-2005 at 07:14 AM.

     
    Old 11-23-2005, 08:21 PM   #11
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    Re: Introduction/Need Advice

    Hey thanks Lenin,


    I took valium last night and did better but still not great. Didn't get what I'd call an attack but my heartbeat did raise a bit and I did wake up. Went back to bed, up again at 4:45 and that was about the amount of sleep. My sleep now is so damn FRAGMENTED. I'm probably getting about five hours but they aren't EASY hours, that's for sure.

    Doc prescribed Lunesta. Pharmacist thinks this should help, especially with the REM sleep.

    I find that the treadmill DEFINITELY helps with the anxiety I'm having about my high bp. I feel sooooooooooooooo relaxed afterwards. Unfortunately, havent done some anaerobic exercise for about three weeks. Once I feel like myself again I will go again.

    Starting to have anxiety about falling asleep now. Hopefully the meds will get me over this hurdle.

     
    Old 11-23-2005, 10:57 PM   #12
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    Re: Introduction/Need Advice

    Hello - I'm not a veteran of knowledge in the area of high blood pressure but I'll tell you about my situation. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure about 3 years ago. I wasn't aware I had it (I had gone in for something else) and my BP was 217/113!!!! I thought for sure I would be hospitalized but my doctor just started treating me with different combinations of drugs. I'm on Toprol XL and Maxide now. At home my readings are always normal or high normal. When I go to the doctor they spike out of control. I had a doctor's appointment today and my readings were 158/98 and 150/100. I never have readings that high at home. A case of white coat syndrome for sure. I couldn't wait to get out of there. I got home from the doctors office which is 5 minutes away and took my BP again and it was down to 139/84. Later it was 120/80. Crazy!! You sound alot like me where just thinking about the situation spikes the reading. My doctor was ready to up my dose of meds because he said the latest thing is they don't look at the home readings - they base their diagnosis on what the office reading is. Crazy!! I said there is no way I will take higher doses when I get good readings outside of the doctors office. I'm sure you will find your way with this.

     
    Old 11-24-2005, 06:22 AM   #13
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    Re: Introduction/Need Advice

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jeno58
    My doctor was ready to up my dose of meds because he said the latest thing is they don't look at the home readings - they base their diagnosis on what the office reading is. Crazy!!
    If they do this, there will be a lot of people walking around who are living zombies. When my systolic gets much below 115, I feel so lethargic all I want to do is lie in bed.

     
    Old 11-24-2005, 07:30 AM   #14
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    Re: Introduction/Need Advice

    I am so glad you said that. When I got home from the appointment, that's exactly the same thing I told my husband. I get drowsy enough from the Toprol XL already. I think the doctors are really in with the drug companies. I was reading a medical book I have from 1976. The standard for good blood pressure back then according to that book was anything under 160/90 as the worldwide standard. Now they want you to get it to 120/80 or under. When I was an athlete in high school in top form my blood pressure was never that low. My doctor also wanted me to see if my insurance would cover a 24 hour blood pressure monitor to use once but ONLY if my insurance covered it. I think they are just trying to make money!

     
    Old 11-24-2005, 08:24 AM   #15
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    Re: Introduction/Need Advice

    Wow,

    I have white lab coat syndrome too! Now I get SO NERVOUS before my doc takes my blood pressure that it shoots up. In fact she took it twice in the span of about five minutes and I got MORE RELAXED the second time around and my systolic went down TWENTY points, still high, but not as high. Seems like stress and anxiety have a big influence on my blood pressure.

    Also, I am AVOIDING all automated store blood pressure machines. I CURSE you Fred Meyer's machine, I curse you! Geez, first they are more likely than not to be uncalibrated. Secondly, I get more nervous using it than the doc! Used it last Sunday and it was a HORRIBLE experience. It was very high and even higher the second time around.

    Also, I agree with you about docs pushing meds on you. She started me on toprol, I felt like crap for a week. Then I went to vasotec, felt like crap. I get the "woozies" with both meds and that seems to make me more anxious and stressed out. In fact she DOUBLED my dosage of the vasotec (to 20 mg, even though I've read that you should start with about 5 mg) because my bp was still high when I saw her last. BUT, I just had come in to the office after having a panic attack and with me being fearful of bp readings... well yeah... duh, my bp was HIGH! Now, I'm getting re-evaluated on the 12th of December. I have lost ten pounds in the last three weeks. My midsection is much slimmer, I'm hearing comments from everyone about how good I'm looking. I watch what I eat, thanksgiving excluded (although I wont go crazy). I ride the treadmill about five days a week for about a solid half hour. So yeah, I am really changing my habits and things are starting to pay off for me. I REALLY don't wanna take hbp meds unless its absolutely necessary. I really want to try the diet and exercise route for the time being.

     
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