Friday, April 06, 2007

Hypertension 46: Never getting used to the side effects

As I've often written, the big problem with Hypertension is not Hypertension. That condition is one of the future, not the present--it's what could happen to you (a stroke, a heart attack) not really what is happening to you.

The big problem with Hypertension is the treatment.

I've already written enough about this, of course. To the point of obsession (well, almost obsession but not quite getting there--I hope). I started heavy duty prescription medications in September, 2006, then in early October was upgraded to Teveten Plus and Caduet XL and Lipitor. In mid November, the Caduet XL was changed to Adalat XL, and in March I was taken off Lipitor. The change from Caduet to Adalat definitely helped--while I want to take a nap each day, I no longer have to.

So, with a bit over half a year's experience with very strong prescription medications, where am I?

The meds (perhaps in combination with regular exercise) have kept my blood pressure below 140 systolic, except on rare occasions. I think if something really horrible happened, say if I had to give George W. Bush a campaign donation, even then my blood pressure would not go up. It's been above 150 systolic only a handful of times.

But I don't think it is possible to ever get used to the side effects of the medications.

I am often dizzy or light headed during the day, especially when I get up after sitting for a while. A few times I've actually had to put a hand against a wall, to support myself for a moment. My days have to be planned carefully in terms of activities, especially physical activities. If I just sit and read reports or make phone calls, it's okay. But getting up and sitting down a lot, driving off to do an interview, and being in person-to-person interview situations: those all drain my energy pretty fast. On such days, by the late afternoon I'm groggy...irritable..forgetful. Going home and having a nap doesn't help that much, and if I do take a late nap, then I'm up too late, and then I'm tired the next morning because I have not gotten enough sleep.

Try as I can, it's hard to adjust to getting so tired so easily. It's hard to adjust to feeling dizzy or lightheaded so much. It's hard to adjust to some short term memory loss.

Right now I have nine "cases" at work--I asked for more, and got three more. I think I could handle more than ten. But, when it gets to fifteen, and especially to twenty...I don't like having to say this about myself, but I don't think I could juggle all those "cases". I'd end up sitting there, looking at all the files. And feeling tired.

I know it improves my chances of not having a stroke or heart attack by about five percent, and I guess it's worth it....


Humour and last laugh said...

have you tried maintaining weight by exercises?

Victor Schwartzman said...

Yep. I exercise three times a week, though since I've returned to work full time, that's been hard to keep up with. The problem in part is the medications, which lower my energy so I eat more, but also lower my metabolic rate, so I fatten up.