May 21, 2009

Dealing with High Blood Pressure: The Continuing Saga

A few posts back I mentioned I have high blood pressure. On Tuesday afternoon I went for a follow up and got my blood test results. The doctor was impressed with how healthy I am. He said, "I wish my blood looked like yours".

He thought my tests would come back indicating I have high cholesterol. Nope, don't have it. Both my good and bad cholesterols are perfect. I don't have diabetes or anything wrong with my kidneys, liver, and (get this) my thyroid is perfectly within normal range. So, there you have it, I'm as healthy as a horse.

This is mind boggling information. "How come my blood pressure is off the charts"? I asked him. He said he did not have a clue.

I'm beginning to think I might be a freak of nature.

I'm working on losing the weight he wants me to drop because that's all there is left to do. I'm not that over weight. Sure, I'm not within those chart guidelines. But, I'm not 20 years old and I've had two kids.

Then we started going through the changes he wanted to make in my medications. He's taking me off the Procardia and increasing the dosage on the Prinzide. While he was writing this up, I asked him if he could prescribe a new inhaler for my asthma. I had a horrible attack over the weekend and no inhaler (long story, I won't go into it here).

He asked me what I had been doing since my inhaler ran out. "Oh, I've been taking Primatene", I said. "I need something faster acting though. The pills are not cutting it".

He about fell out of his chair.

Primatene has Ephedrine in it. Ephedrine makes your blood pressure go up. Well, of course I knew this. However, I never considered it a contributing factor to my high blood pressure since I only take it when I need it.

He cursed Primatene and stated he cannot believe it is still being sold. He said it is the worst drug ever!

When I got home I threw the Primatene in the trash.

I'm to continue monitoring my blood pressure at home. He wants to see me again in a month. The way I see it, the Primatene is the culprit of my high blood pressure.

The moral of the high blood pressure story: Tell your doctor everything. You never know if one small thing you are doing is causing your body harm. Given my background, one would think I should know this. I guess not. Live and learn...
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  1. Oh, Muse, I've had similar things happen to me and my mom especially when she was alive (she once stripped all the potassium out of her body with a drug). Modern medicine is fantastic but oh, so powerful.

  2. Good! I'm finally in! I forgot I had Google Chrome. Currently if anyone uses IE and attempts to open a blogger blog with Google Friend Connect IE aborts opening the site. Found this out recently at Blogcatalog. According to BC blogger is trying to fix the problem. Doesn't do much for my blood pressure, I can tell you, as most of my friends have Friend Connect and I have IE8! Anyway, enough of me, good to see that your BP is under control. Perhaps I should start taking what your using.

    Take Care,

  3. Hi Conda!

    Oh yes, you really have to watch what you take! Those OTC drugs have killed people. I'm feeling so much better since I quit the primatene. My BP is still a little on the high side, but with the new meds I've seen it gradually decreasing.

    Hope you had a great Memorial Day!

    Take care!

  4. Hello Peter!

    I still haven't tried Chrome. I have IE, but I never use it anymore. Since I switched to FF, I'm a happy camper.

    Peter, if your BP is high, you should get it checked. You really are one of the worst patients, aren't you? I thought I was bad...

    Good luck with the IE thing!

    Take care!

  5. Please pass this info along to all of your friends and family.
    Ozone-friendly inhalers could face early demise

    Benefits vague, problems clear in inhaler ban

    Asthma Patients Outraged at Indifference to Problems with New Inhalers:

    Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee: FDA "Insensitive" to Asthma Patients' Problems:

    The number of patient complaints is skyrocketing:

    Read the thousands of complaints at this petition:

    Patients at are reporting HFA inhalers as "useless" with a rating of 1.2 on
    a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best and 1 being the worst:

    You can only wonder if the FDA is trying to kill asthmatics:

    Also worth mentioning from the FDA website is the fact that a manufacturer of one of the HFA

    inhalers admits in it's own new drug application to the FDA that it's HFA based albuterol is less

    safe and effective than it's CFC based albuterol:

    These quotes taken directly from the new drug application for Ventolin HFA.

    "In the multiple dose adolescent and adult studies, albuterol HFA showed a numerically smaller

    improvement in FEV1 than was seen with albuterol CFC

    "There was other evidence that the HFA formulation delivers a lower/less effective dose on a per

    acutation basis than the CFC product.
    In the single dose, dose ranging study in adults, and in

    the single dose methacholine challenge study in adults one and two acutations of albuterol CFC were

    statistically indistinguishable in terms of effect, whereas significant differences were seen

    between one and two acutations of albuterol HFA. Finally, the combined adolescent/adult studies

    showed that the HFA formulation had a longer median time to onset of effect
    (4.2-9.6 minutes

    versus 3.6-4.2 minutes), had a shorter duration of effect(1.55-3.30 hours versus 2.29 - 3.69

    hours), and was associated with more albuterol 'back up' use than the CFC formulation."

    "We note that in the two 12 week clinical trials in adolescents and adults, Ventolin HFA

    Inhalation Aerosol consistently showed a smaller effect size than Ventolin CFC Inhalation


    "Because it is expected that many physicians will prescribe Ventolin HFA Inhalation Aerosol for

    patients who have previously used the CFC formulation, it would be appropriate to include some

    description of the relative effectiveness of these two formulations in the product label."

    "Unfavorable changes in physical examinations were observed in the ears, nose, and throat category

    as follows: 8% placebo HFA; 13% albuterol HFA; and 5% albuterol CFC."

  6. Ye gads! They still sell Primatene? Before I knew better I loved how fast it worked, but the risks are not worth it.

    I also think it's absolute idiocy to ban CFC inhalers (that save lives) over ridiculous ozone concerns. There are far worse culprits.

    I really get tired of those who are worried about "saving the planet" at the expense of killing people here and now.

    stepping down from the soapbox...

  7. Hello Vince!

    Thank you for all the information!

  8. Hi J.L!

    Yep they sure do. It's cheap too. I feel better since I quit taking those pills. I agree with you on the CFCs. Inhalers are just not the same anymore. For me, it's almost ineffective.

    Take care!


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