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Hypertension (aka the Old Fart Thread)
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Atheist
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Aug 14, 2011, 10:36 AM
 
Warning.. long post and not particularly interesting. I would appreciate any honest feedback however from those that may have anything useful to contribute.

Father Time has caught up with me. I turn 48 next month and always thought I was in very good health. No ailments to speak of. Rarely even get a cold. Only health problem I've ever had was Hepatitis B back in 2004 (beat the crap out of me... missed 3 months of work). Made a full recovery from that and the doc says I have nothing to worry about in that regard. Couple months back I had a thorough physical done only to discover I've got hypertension. Nothing like having the doctor say "uh-oh" while he's examining you. BP averaging around 155/96. Aside from that the doc tells me I'm the picture of health. Oh... and lose 20 pounds! He puts me on lisinopril 20mg and sends me on my way. My first reaction is WTF! I feel fine. I fire off an email to my father and siblings (mother 20+ years dead from cancer). Turns out my dad and 2 of my 3 brothers are all being treated for hypertension. The other brother is borderline and the sister is fine (she has a different father). Did anyone ever bother to warn me that is runs in the family? Nope... never! What the hell!!!! What's with these people. Anyway, the ones on medication have easily treated their high BP with either liprinosil or amlodipine.

So far I haven't been so lucky. The liprinosil did absolutely nothing. We gave that about a month to work and then moved on to amlodipine. My doc is in DC so I've been communicating via email. He's been very good about monitoring my progress while I'm in the DR. Luckily I can just walk into a farmacia here and get pretty much anything over the counter as long as it's not a narcotic. I've been on the amlodipine over a month now and it has lowered my systolic pressure to a high-normal level but my diastolic just won't budge. My average BP is around 130/95 although it does seem to vary quite a bit. Just took it now and it's 129/106. Doc wants it under 130/82. I've already dropped 10 pounds. I'm 6'2" 185 pounds. I'm hoping to get down to 170. I work out regularly and eat very well.

I'm in a holding pattern until I return to the States in September. Doc has ordered a stress echocardiogram to see if that shows anything. One thing that seems odd is that my BP reads much higher in my right arm....averaging 161/113. So that's kinda freaky. Hoping to learn more next month.

Anyone have any experience with this... have a story to tell about your treatment? I'd like to get as much insight into this as possible.
     
imitchellg5
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Aug 14, 2011, 11:57 AM
 
Everyone in my family apart from me has high blood pressure, just like you. I'm actually the opposite, I'm hypotensive. My blood pressure is generally around 80/38. Weight alone doesn't necessarily directly coincide with blood pressure though. Numerous factors can be involved. What is your stress level? Also, you say you eat well, but what does your typical meal actually look like? My grandfather has been able to get lower blood pressure simply by cutting out most of the butter and fatty foods.
     
Atheist  (op)
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Aug 14, 2011, 12:32 PM
 
I've considered stress. My current living situation has most certainly distressed me over the years but it's something I've pretty much come to terms with. My job is stressful but mostly in waves. And since I've been monitoring my BP daily, I haven't seen much of a change between stressful and non-stressful times. I've also been working on stress management in my daily life. As far as diet is concerned, I eat almost no processed foods. I'm not a big eater during the day. I typically have a slice or two of whole wheat toast in the morning with a small dab of peanut butter. I tend to have more frequent small portions throughout the day. An apple with a slice of cheese. A small handful of nuts. Some days I'll have a sandwich at lunch. Something simple with turkey or chicken and lettuce, tomato, etc. and a little mustard. I have a large garden salad every afternoon with a tiny bit (at most a tablespoon) of dressing. Dinner is usually a portion of meat (mostly chicken as it's hard to get good meats down here) or fish with steamed veggies. My partner does prepare some caribbean style stews (something they call pelau in Trinidad) but he does a good job of reducing the fats and oils that are typically used. We do indulge in the occasional curry chicken with coconut milk. Trini food can be very fatty and starchy so we don't eat as much of it as we used to. I've been losing weight mostly be being more diligent with my workouts and by cutting my portion size, not really changing what I eat... just how much. These days my calorie intake is rarely over 2000. Frequently it's closer to 1500.

Do you suffer any symptoms for your hypotension or has your doctor deemed it normal?
     
freudling
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Aug 14, 2011, 01:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
I've considered stress. My current living situation has most certainly distressed me over the years but it's something I've pretty much come to terms with. My job is stressful but mostly in waves. And since I've been monitoring my BP daily, I haven't seen much of a change between stressful and non-stressful times. I've also been working on stress management in my daily life. As far as diet is concerned, I eat almost no processed foods. I'm not a big eater during the day. I typically have a slice or two of whole wheat toast in the morning with a small dab of peanut butter. I tend to have more frequent small portions throughout the day. An apple with a slice of cheese. A small handful of nuts. Some days I'll have a sandwich at lunch. Something simple with turkey or chicken and lettuce, tomato, etc. and a little mustard. I have a large garden salad every afternoon with a tiny bit (at most a tablespoon) of dressing. Dinner is usually a portion of meat (mostly chicken as it's hard to get good meats down here) or fish with steamed veggies. My partner does prepare some caribbean style stews (something they call pelau in Trinidad) but he does a good job of reducing the fats and oils that are typically used. We do indulge in the occasional curry chicken with coconut milk. Trini food can be very fatty and starchy so we don't eat as much of it as we used to. I've been losing weight mostly be being more diligent with my workouts and by cutting my portion size, not really changing what I eat... just how much. These days my calorie intake is rarely over 2000. Frequently it's closer to 1500.

Do you suffer any symptoms for your hypotension or has your doctor deemed it normal?
You had hep B, you have hypertension, and you're overweight? You sir are not the picture of health.

Here's some advice. Stop eating so much salt and sugar.
     
imitchellg5
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Aug 14, 2011, 01:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by freudling View Post
You had hep B, you have hypertension, and you're overweight? You sir are not the picture of health.

Here's some advice. Stop eating so much salt and sugar.
Can't tell if stupid or just trolling.

185 lbs and 6'2" isn't overweight.
     
Atheist  (op)
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Aug 14, 2011, 02:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by freudling View Post
You had hep B, you have hypertension, and you're overweight? You sir are not the picture of health.

Here's some advice. Stop eating so much salt and sugar.
Hep B is viral and has nothing to do with your relative state of health. After 6 months you are rid of the virus and back to normal. (Except an unfortunate 5% that become chronically infected).

Of those with high BP, the vast majority have essential hypertension. There is no specific cause and an otherwise healthy person can suffer from it. My partner and I have identical eating and exercise habits. I have high BP, his is normal. His cholesterol is a little high, mine is normal... as a matter of fact, I have very high "good" cholesterol. So genetics definitely play a part.

I guess technically you might say I'm overweight but certainly not fat.

I don't eat a lot of salt and sugar.

However I neglected to mention that I enjoy alcohol (wine or a few beers) 2-3 nights a week.
( Last edited by Atheist; Aug 14, 2011 at 02:54 PM. )
     
cjrivera
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Aug 14, 2011, 02:30 PM
 
Caffeine intake? Or herbal supplements that may increase bp?

Everyone's bp increases over time. As your arteries slowly begin to calcify, and the muscular part of the arterial walls slowly increase in size, it is natural for bps to slowly increase. There are other multiple causes of htn (such as hyperthyroidism or renal problems to name a few). Those should also be checked out by your doc to make sure the htn is not secondary to another problem.

However, it sounds like part of the problem is also genetic, and in many cases, those are a little more stubborn to treat. Many patients with familial htn often need several bp meds to stay controlled. A common treatment is the lisinopril+ amlodipine. Sometime a mild diuretic such as hydrochlorthiazide can be used in combination with either the lisinopril or the amlodipine.

Htn usually is asymptomatic, so most people don't realize they have it until they get their bp checked, so it is often a surprise to them.
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Doofy
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Aug 14, 2011, 03:01 PM
 
Go veggie. Your BP will drop to normal within about three months.
I know you won't, so don't know why I bothered typing this.
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freudling
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Aug 14, 2011, 03:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Can't tell if stupid or just trolling.

185 lbs and 6'2" isn't overweight.
And I can't tell if you're stupid or blind.

From the original post:

Aside from that the doc tells me I'm the picture of health. Oh... and lose 20 pounds!

From this I inferred, and rightfully so, that the poster was/is overweight.

And from the poster himself:

I guess technically you might say I'm overweight but certainly not fat.
     
freudling
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Aug 14, 2011, 03:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
Hep B is viral and has nothing to do with your relative state of health. After 6 months you are rid of the virus and back to normal. (Except an unfortunate 5% that become chronically infected).

Of those with high BP, the vast majority have essential hypertension. There is no specific cause and an otherwise healthy person can suffer from it. My partner and I have identical eating and exercise habits. I have high BP, his is normal. His cholesterol is a little high, mine is normal... as a matter of fact, I have very high "good" cholesterol. So genetics definitely play a part.

I guess technically you might say I'm overweight but certainly not fat.

I don't eat a lot of salt and sugar.

However I neglected to mention that I enjoy alcohol (wine or a few beers) 2-3 nights a week.
It doesn't matter what causes what. Nobody cares. All that matters is how your body is functioning at a given point in time. If you eat healthy and exercise regularly... yet you have high blood pressure and are overweight... or even are chronically infected with something... whatever... it's not a healthy state of being.

All the body is doing is trying to maintain a state of equilibrium at all levels. Any sustained, significant deviation outside the norm is not healthy, whether it was caused by you or factors beyond your control.

My mother is a perfect example. She's sick, and has been for some years now. Yet, she exercises regularly and eats extremely healthy most of the time. She got cancer, and it's unhealthy.
     
imitchellg5
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Aug 14, 2011, 03:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by freudling View Post
And I can't tell if you're stupid or blind.

From the original post:

Aside from that the doc tells me I'm the picture of health. Oh... and lose 20 pounds!

From this I inferred, and rightfully so, that the poster was/is overweight.

And from the poster himself:

I guess technically you might say I'm overweight but certainly not fat.
If you know anything about medicine at all, you'll know that just because a doctor tells you to lose weight, doesn't mean you're overweight. The perfect weight for a 6'2" male would be around 175 lbs, but anything between 155-190 would be considered healthy. His doctor didn't tell him to lose weight because he's too heavy, but because weight loss is a general solution to dropping blood pressure. If the OP loses weight and doesn't drop in blood pressure, his doctor will then move on to other more targeted prognosis.
     
imitchellg5
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Aug 14, 2011, 03:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by freudling View Post
Nobody cares.
Aww, there's the freudling everyone loves.
     
Atheist  (op)
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Aug 14, 2011, 03:51 PM
 
Freudling, I guess you missed the part in my original post where I said "anything useful to contribute".
     
Atheist  (op)
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Aug 14, 2011, 04:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by cjrivera View Post
Caffeine intake? Or herbal supplements that may increase bp?
I do enjoy my morning coffee and would at times have up to 3 cups. I now limit myself to one and switch to decaf. I have it black.... like my men.

Everyone's bp increases over time. As your arteries slowly begin to calcify, and the muscular part of the arterial walls slowly increase in size, it is natural for bps to slowly increase. There are other multiple causes of htn (such as hyperthyroidism or renal problems to name a few). Those should also be checked out by your doc to make sure the htn is not secondary to another problem.
I'm definitely going to push my doc on this. I do feel it's important to be as involved as possible. I'm not just going to take a pill and forget about it.

However, it sounds like part of the problem is also genetic, and in many cases, those are a little more stubborn to treat. Many patients with familial htn often need several bp meds to stay controlled. A common treatment is the lisinopril+ amlodipine. Sometime a mild diuretic such as hydrochlorthiazide can be used in combination with either the lisinopril or the amlodipine.
Seeing that hypertension is rampant in my family, I suspect there is a genetic component. The good news is that my father just turned 81 is healthy and active. He's not showing any signs of heart disease. Hope I take after him.

Htn usually is asymptomatic, so most people don't realize they have it until they get their bp checked, so it is often a surprise to them.
I certainly was surprised. Although I wouldn't have been if my famn damily was a little more communicative.
     
Atheist  (op)
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Aug 14, 2011, 04:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
I know you won't, so don't know why I bothered typing this.
Then you don't know yourself very well.
     
Doofy
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Aug 14, 2011, 05:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
Then you don't know yourself very well.
No, I know why I typed it... ...a faint hope that you might realise I'm right, take notice of what I'm saying and improve your health as a result.
Been inclined to wander... off the beaten track.
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Atheist  (op)
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Aug 14, 2011, 05:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
No, I know why I typed it... ...a faint hope that you might realise I'm right, take notice of what I'm saying and improve your health as a result.
That really wasn't were I was going with that.

But to address your suggestion, I'm not completely opposed to giving a veggie diet a try. My concern is that the variety of foods I have access to are very limited. I live in a third world country that doesn't cater at all to the vegan diet. The only affordable source of protein would be dried or canned beans and peanut butter. That would get old after a while. They don't sell tofu or any of the meat "analogs" here. Nuts are ridiculously expensive. No access to whole grains (unless you count whole wheat bread). Everything they import onto the island is at least twice the price as the States. It would end up costing a fortune. If I lived in the States, I'd be much more inclined to give it a go.
     
imitchellg5
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Aug 14, 2011, 05:36 PM
 
What about eggs?
     
Doofy
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Aug 14, 2011, 05:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
That really wasn't were I was going with that.

But to address your suggestion, I'm not completely opposed to giving a veggie diet a try. My concern is that the variety of foods I have access to are very limited. I live in a third world country that doesn't cater at all to the vegan diet.
It's a good job I said "veggie" instead of "vegan" then.
Been inclined to wander... off the beaten track.
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Atheist  (op)
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Aug 14, 2011, 06:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
It's a good job I said "veggie" instead of "vegan" then.
You'll forgive my ignorance. I presumed you were advocating a more strict diet. Doesn't change much from a cost perspective. I'd still be relying a lot on imported foods that are prohibitively expensive. Crap cheese is $6.00 per pound. Good cheeses run $10 or more per pound. We only have the UHT milk and that stuff is horrid. I love Greek yogurt but that's nowhere to be found around here.
     
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Aug 14, 2011, 06:21 PM
 
I know plenty of folks who have what would be considered a terrible diet, yet have ‘normal’ BP and ‘normal’ weight. And I know some people who are at a healthy weight and eat right, but have a lot of stress, and have hypertension.

Atheist-
How many hours of quality sleep do you get on an average night? What’s your morning BP? How many hours a day do you exercise?
     
Andy8
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Aug 14, 2011, 06:38 PM
 
I am have been veggie 32 years now, but just recently (last 12 months) I have had a significant rise in my BP, the only thing any doctor can say is that I have hypertension - stressing about something.

My diet hasn't changed and nor my lifestyle, so it is quite puzzling. I had a stack of tests just last week, blood work came all fine, ECG was ok, just my BP is high (similar to Atheist).
     
Atheist  (op)
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Aug 14, 2011, 06:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by iMOTOR View Post
Atheist-
How many hours of quality sleep do you get on an average night? What’s your morning BP? How many hours a day do you exercise?
I get around 7 hours of sleep per night. No problems there. My morning BP is generally high. I don't have the typical cycle of low BP in the morning that steadily rises. Mine starts out high the minute I wake up. Just this morning it was 129/106. I generally exercise 2 hours 4 days per week. My exercise is comprised of 45-60 minutes of pretty intense cardio followed by weightlifting for an hour.
     
bstone
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Aug 14, 2011, 07:00 PM
 
Consider White Coat Syndrome. Your BP might be higher due to the stress (however unconscious) of going to the doctor.
     
Atheist  (op)
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Aug 14, 2011, 07:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by bstone View Post
Consider White Coat Syndrome. Your BP might be higher due to the stress (however unconscious) of going to the doctor.
Doctors have never bothered me. I got used to all that crap dealing with my Mom's cancer.

I've got a home BP monitor and I take readings several times a day.
     
Atheist  (op)
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Aug 14, 2011, 07:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by Andy8 View Post
I am have been veggie 32 years now, but just recently (last 12 months) I have had a significant rise in my BP, the only thing any doctor can say is that I have hypertension - stressing about something.

My diet hasn't changed and nor my lifestyle, so it is quite puzzling. I had a stack of tests just last week, blood work came all fine, ECG was ok, just my BP is high (similar to Atheist).
You may just be one of the many with no identifiable cause. I hope you are able to bring it down to normal levels.
     
Lateralus
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Aug 14, 2011, 08:51 PM
 
Hypertension is hardly the domain of the old and/or unhealthy.

I've had unusually high blood pressure since they've been checking it. I'm currently 26, athletic...ish, have a total cholesterol level of 108 (Oh yeah!), couldn't eat much healthier (I'm on the edge of vegetarianism at the moment)... yet off of medications I can do 165/105.

And in the past year, I've had a full battery of examinations done; blood is perfect, kidneys are perfect, heart is perfect, no growths causing an abnormally high production of adrenaline... Go figure. *Shrugs*

The blood pressure used to bug me more (a lot, actually), but I take solace in my cholesterol level.
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Atheist  (op)
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Aug 14, 2011, 10:57 PM
 
Lateralus, what medication(s) are you on?
     
Lateralus
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Aug 15, 2011, 12:08 AM
 
I was on a series of beta blockers. But the only effect beta blockers of any kind have ever had on me is a slight lowering of my blood pressure (5-10%, tops) but a dramatic drop in my heart rate - upper 40s at rest.

I also never get sick normally, maybe once a year. But while on a beta, I seem to get sick monthly with whatever is going around. It's something I noticed particularly because I'm only with health coverage sporadically since I have a tendency to employer-hop, so I've been on and off of meds several times in the past 5 years for stretches of several months.

The med I'm on now is something called Losartan, a 100mg dosage. I don't know how it works specifically, but it's not a beta blocker, and I haven't been sick once since I started taking it in February and my heart rate is back up to normal. Now, when I started taking this stuff... it was amazing... I had dropped to 125/80 within a few days and still felt great (other meds had drained me until I'd adjusted to them) and after a few weeks, when the doctor felt we were good, he cut me a prescription for a year's worth of meds which I happily shelled out for. But within a few weeks of having shelled out for all the meds, they almost completely stopped working; I'm back up to 150/95 since March.

But I'll finish off the meds, since I really have no choice; I'm without medical coverage again.

I thought about playing with the dosage, but everything I read online says 100mg is the highest dosage Losartan is prescribed at so I don't feel like testing the waters with anything higher.
I like chicken
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Meow Mix, Meow Mix
Please de-liv-er
     
freudling
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Aug 15, 2011, 03:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
If you know anything about medicine at all, you'll know that just because a doctor tells you to lose weight, doesn't mean you're overweight. The perfect weight for a 6'2" male would be around 175 lbs, but anything between 155-190 would be considered healthy. His doctor didn't tell him to lose weight because he's too heavy, but because weight loss is a general solution to dropping blood pressure. If the OP loses weight and doesn't drop in blood pressure, his doctor will then move on to other more targeted prognosis.
Get over it. The poster himself has admitted to being a bit overweight.
     
ghporter
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Aug 15, 2011, 07:10 AM
 
"Perfect weight" for a man who's 6'2" tall is a variable thing. I'm 6'2" and if I weighed 175 I'd be in a hospital with IVs and lots of concerned professionals shaking their heads over me. Those BMI charts are extremely 2-dimensional, and do not take into account bony structure variation, frame size, etc. I'm built like a tall linebacker with broad shoulders and long legs and arms, which adds significantly to my bony mass, so my weight (admittedly noticeably higher than I want it) doesn't track with those simplistic charts.

Weight is a factor in blood pressure because excess fat is vascular, and the more blood vessels you have, the more work the heart has to do to pump blood through them. But since your arteries are muscular organs, basic activity and exercise can help in two ways: reducing excess fat and overall conditioning. A sedentary person can make radical changes in their blood pressure by simply getting active on a regular basis. A reasonably active person can up the ante by walking briskly for 20-30 minutes a day and lower their blood pressure measurably after just a few days.

Beta blockers are a relatively simplistic approach to blood pressure; they reduce arterial muscle tone, but at the expense of reducing heart rate (the body tries to maintain a consistent flow rate through the brain). In some cases people on beta blockers experience HYPOtension with standing or sometimes even just changes in position. Not enough doctors pay attention to this, but the doc should ask about light headedness when standing up-if you have it, tell the doctor as soon as possible.

Reducing salt in the diet helps reduce the overall fluid volume in the body, which in turn mechanically reduces blood pressure; before beta blockers, "water pills" like lasix was the basic treatment. These medicines tweak the kidneys to increase secretion of water through the urine. These meds should be used only after reducing salt and other water-capturing intake has been tried.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Aug 15, 2011, 08:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by cjrivera View Post
However, it sounds like part of the problem is also genetic, and in many cases, those are a little more stubborn to treat. Many patients with familial htn often need several bp meds to stay controlled. A common treatment is the lisinopril+ amlodipine. Sometime a mild diuretic such as hydrochlorthiazide can be used in combination with either the lisinopril or the amlodipine.
Just got an email from my doctor. Wants me to start taking hydrocholorothiazide 25mg. Let's hope that does something.

Took my BP this morning and it was 123/107. Seems a little odd to have such a small difference between the two (Pulse Pressure). But then again, maybe it means nothing...LOL.

I've been reading a lot about hypertension and found several articles about Isolated Diastolic Hypertension. From what I can gather, for years the primary focus has been on diastolic pressure. Recent studies seem to be indicating that what would have normally been considered a "high blood pressure" reading such as 130/95 may not even be cause for treatment. Some studies showing those with IDH having no additional risk for heart attack and that especially in older people (50+), it's the systolic pressure that was more indicative of heart attack risk. Of course I find this interesting because with treatment I seem to fall into this IDH category.

I asked my doctor about IDH and he didn't really have anything to say on the subject. All he said was "we need to get both numbers down. I want you at or below 130/82."
     
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Aug 15, 2011, 12:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post

Father Time has caught up with me. .
Me too (45 last week). I had a heart cath in April because of hypertension. Turned out mine was from a high heart rate, which itself was from a viral infection (and years of sitting on my can at work w/o exercising). So...doc liked what he found with the cath, but I'm on two different meds (carvedilol 2x and lisinopril at night). It has made a huge difference, but we still may have to up them in September when I have my checkup.

What you eat makes the biggest difference in blood pressure. You probably need to stay away from sodium and embrace foods that are high in potassium. And be sure to stay hydrated, that makes a huge difference. It's not much of a lifestyle difference for me because I don't eat salty stuff anyway, but the red meat (marinade!) and other extravagant stuff isn't easy to do without. I also have diabetes, so there are plenty of times that I basically end up eating sticks and bark to stay healthy.

No caffiene, no tannin, def. no taurine. Nothing that sounds/tastes fun to wake up in the morning. That took some getting used to.

Otherwise, HT is easy to manage; I've been around it all of my life for one reason or another and I've seen plenty of people manage it with relaxation and minor meds.
     
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Aug 15, 2011, 01:24 PM
 
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osiris
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Aug 15, 2011, 01:39 PM
 
I think hypertension is the only thing that keeps me going.
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Atheist  (op)
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Aug 28, 2011, 08:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by cjrivera View Post
A common treatment is the lisinopril+ amlodipine. Sometime a mild diuretic such as hydrochlorthiazide can be used in combination with either the lisinopril or the amlodipine.
For those keeping score:

So the doc put me on hydrochlorothiazide in combination with the amlodipine. That was a disaster. Heart palpitations, dizziness, feeling out-of-breath. Couldn't do a damn thing at the gym. It didn't do anything to my BP either. After 10 days I quit that and am now on 20mg lisinopril + 10mg amlodipine. I think we've finally found the right combination of drugs. I'm now averaging around 110/85. I'm still suffering some light-headedness / dizziness but hoping that will go away. (Didn't suffer that when on lisinopril or amlodipine alone).
     
Thorzdad
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Aug 28, 2011, 10:24 AM
 
Embarassing admission: I'm 53 and have never had an actual physical exam. I can't see myself getting one any time in the near future, either. Even though I have insurance, a full battery tests would fall under the "applies to your deductible" column, and I really can't afford those sorts of out-of-pocket costs.

FWIW, whenever I do have to see my doc for whatever, he's happy with my bp.
     
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Aug 28, 2011, 07:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
Embarassing admission: I'm 53 and have never had an actual physical exam. I can't see myself getting one any time in the near future, either. Even though I have insurance, a full battery tests would fall under the "applies to your deductible" column, and I really can't afford those sorts of out-of-pocket costs.

FWIW, whenever I do have to see my doc for whatever, he's happy with my bp.
You mean a routine physical exam isn't covered by your insurance? That's unfortunate. Mine cost me $15.
     
Thorzdad
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Aug 28, 2011, 07:36 PM
 
Nope. The office visit itself is covered by a $25 copay. But, any tests, exams, bloodwork, imaging, etc. would be out-of-pocket and applied to my (large) deductible.
     
cjrivera
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Aug 28, 2011, 07:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
Nope. The office visit itself is covered by a $25 copay. But, any tests, exams, bloodwork, imaging, etc. would be out-of-pocket and applied to my (large) deductible.
Check the local paper for a hospital that may be sponsoring a health fair in your area (or just call a local hospital). They will often run common blood tests that cost in the hundreds of dollars, for around $40-50.

At 53, I can't imagine your doctor would want to do any screening imaging studies, but the routine blood work (CBC, Comprehensive Metabolic Panel, Fasting Lipid, TSH, and PSA) are usually what they would order. Those are the typical battery of tests at a health fair.
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Thorzdad
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Aug 28, 2011, 08:14 PM
 
There's only one hospital in this area. I've never known it to have a health fair. They kind of have a lock on business here. But, I'll keep an eye out.
     
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Aug 28, 2011, 11:32 PM
 
Sometimes certain county health departments will also offer cheap lab draws. Call them and see.
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Don Pickett
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Aug 29, 2011, 12:34 AM
 
Me, too.

About to turn 41, tall, thin, been exercising pretty much nonstop since I was 15 (running, then cycling for the past twenty years) and the only serious medical problems I've had have been self-inflicted, like a shoulder reconstruction. Been largely vegetarian for the past fifteen years. Don't drink, don't smoke, don't do drugs. And, with all that, I got diagnosed a few years ago, and it's nothing but genetics. Both my parents have high blood pressure, so there's really nothing I could've done.

For what it's worth, my blood pressure is under control through diet and exercise. My doctor put me on the DASH diet, which did take some getting used to, but it works, and works well. Once I started reading labels I was shocked at how much sodium is in most food. Even something as simple as pasta sauce can contain your entire RDA of sodium in one meal, and a Big Mac is pretty much a heart attack to go.

If you like to cook, it's pretty easy to control your sodium intake. If you eat out a lot, you have to be careful.
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Aug 29, 2011, 07:02 AM
 
DASH is more of a lifestyle system than a "diet" as such, but it works quite well. Just reading the labels is something everyone should do, but another part of DASH is portioning. Between knowing what is in a standard serving (sodium, calories, how much of which fat, etc) you can eat quite well and still eat healthily. The "Western diet" (what most of us grow up eating) has gradually bcome fattier, sweeter, and saltier, without any real reason except to differentiate "food products" from each other in much the same way that different colas have diffent amounts of caffiene. Within about a week, you can find that not adding salt, not sweetening things like fruits, and not adding fats that aren't needed for cooking or consistency (and being smart about which fats you use when you out then in), most people find that they like what they cool a lot, and that processed foods are way too sweet/salty/fatty for their newly emancipated tastes.

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Aug 29, 2011, 02:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
Warning.. long post and not particularly interesting. I would appreciate any honest feedback however from those that may have anything useful to contribute.

Father Time has caught up with me. I turn 48 next month and always thought I was in very good health. No ailments to speak of. Rarely even get a cold. Only health problem I've ever had was Hepatitis B back in 2004 (beat the crap out of me... missed 3 months of work). Made a full recovery from that and the doc says I have nothing to worry about in that regard. Couple months back I had a thorough physical done only to discover I've got hypertension. Nothing like having the doctor say "uh-oh" while he's examining you. BP averaging around 155/96. Aside from that the doc tells me I'm the picture of health. Oh... and lose 20 pounds! He puts me on lisinopril 20mg and sends me on my way. My first reaction is WTF! I feel fine. I fire off an email to my father and siblings (mother 20+ years dead from cancer). Turns out my dad and 2 of my 3 brothers are all being treated for hypertension. The other brother is borderline and the sister is fine (she has a different father). Did anyone ever bother to warn me that is runs in the family? Nope... never! What the hell!!!! What's with these people. Anyway, the ones on medication have easily treated their high BP with either liprinosil or amlodipine.

So far I haven't been so lucky. The liprinosil did absolutely nothing. We gave that about a month to work and then moved on to amlodipine. My doc is in DC so I've been communicating via email. He's been very good about monitoring my progress while I'm in the DR. Luckily I can just walk into a farmacia here and get pretty much anything over the counter as long as it's not a narcotic. I've been on the amlodipine over a month now and it has lowered my systolic pressure to a high-normal level but my diastolic just won't budge. My average BP is around 130/95 although it does seem to vary quite a bit. Just took it now and it's 129/106. Doc wants it under 130/82. I've already dropped 10 pounds. I'm 6'2" 185 pounds. I'm hoping to get down to 170. I work out regularly and eat very well.

I'm in a holding pattern until I return to the States in September. Doc has ordered a stress echocardiogram to see if that shows anything. One thing that seems odd is that my BP reads much higher in my right arm....averaging 161/113. So that's kinda freaky. Hoping to learn more next month.

Anyone have any experience with this... have a story to tell about your treatment? I'd like to get as much insight into this as possible.
Cut out High Fructose Corn Syrup from your diet, your high blood pressure will drop. Watch for these names in labels.

In the US, HFCS, HFCS Solids, Fructose Syrup, Fructose Solids, Corn Sugar.

Outside of the US watch for , isoglucose or fructose-glucose.

Almost every product you can think of has HFCS in it now. Ketchup for example uses HFCS, but the organic version uses regular sugar. Cutting out sugar as much as you can, all kinds will prob help. Bread, Salid Dressings, almost everything. Avoid fat free products because what makes it fat free is the reduction of fat and the addition of sugar. Fat Free products are a major source of to much sugar. Strong evidence suggests but yet to be proven with out a doubt that consumed fat does not contribute to body fat nearly as much as excess sugar which gets converted into the kind of fat that collects around your waste and clogs your arteries.

My blood pressure dropped drastically just a few days after going free of HFCS. Even though im still 100 pounds over weight my blood pressure levels are normal now.

Just my two cents. (PS those that don't agree with me just jump into the HFCS health affects thread in the POL vs arguing in this thread)

Addition, ive read that lack of sleep can contribute to high blood pressure to. I dunno if its true. I get at best 4 hours a sleep a night and its not affecting my blood pressure. But every one is different so who knows.
Blandine Bureau 1940 - 2011
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Atheist  (op)
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Aug 29, 2011, 03:05 PM
 
^^^^ If you read the entire thread you would see that I have a very healthy diet and exercise regularly. There are plenty of us out there that have essential hypertension. As far as HFCS goes, I consume none. I don't drink soda, I eat no prepared/preprocessed foods. I consistently get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Yet my BP is high.

Look at you, little sleep, you're overweight and probably don't get much exercise but have normal BP. It goes both ways.
     
Don Pickett
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Aug 29, 2011, 04:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
DASH is more of a lifestyle system than a "diet" as such, but it works quite well.
I think that, because I was already exercising, it didn't seem like a lifestyle change to me.
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ghporter
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Aug 30, 2011, 06:50 AM
 
Since it includes knowing what's in the food you select, and portion control, for a lot of people even that part of DASH is a lifestyle change. But indeed, physical activity is essential to the system working-you need to both burn off the calories AND generate the body chemistry that alters the metabolism.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
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