My Heart

In honor of Valentine’s Day and a few other reasons I give you the following…

With all of my C’s chewing up most of my focus, I’ve neglected to mention my other major health issue. For going on 7 years now, I’ve had uncontrolled blood pressure. It’s mostly high but, every so often, it will bottom out on me. Allow me to put it into perspective for you. 10 years ago, I averaged 120/80. Today my average is 200/140. On those days it drops, it plunges to 100/60.

I’ve been on blood pressure medicines for going on 5 years now and I still haven’t found the right combination to level me off. I am currently taking two different medications daily and one as needed for readings over 160/105, which usually ends up being every day. To date, I’ve tried combinations of 9 different blood pressure medications and still haven’t been able to find the magical happy place. Trial and error seems to be the course of action unfortunately, which has led me to writing this.

I’ve had multiple tests done on my heart, kidneys and one of the major arteries and still no answers. Tonight’s high reading of 211/147, and a conversation with the hubby, prompted me to do a little research to see if there was any correlation between my high blood pressure and my pain (it’s been excruciating the past few weeks) which then led me to research my C’s and their relationship, if any.

In one article, I found the following:

Experienced pain practitioners have noted that unrelieved pain often may be objectively assessed by clinical signs in patients with chronic pain conditions. Results of a recently reported, large-scale research study suggest that these patients may exhibit a greater risk of hypertension and increased sensitivity to acute pain.

Makes sense to me. I am definitely in the category of having hypertension and increased sensitivity to pain. Evidently, hypertension and chronic pain is not a new concept and the article goes on to reference other studies that have been done on the subject.

Let’s delve a little deeper now into what may be causing my high blood pressure.

Crohn’s Disease doesn’t appear to have a direct relationship to high blood pressure. However, indirectly the pain and medications taken for Crohn’s, specifically corticosteroids, can raise your blood pressure. I’m not currently taking corticosteroids, so that leaves the pain issue again.

Celiac Disease seems to be related indirectly as well. A combination of the gluten free diet being deficient in nutrients, as well as, the body’s difficulty in absorbing nutrients, like magnesium, can contribute to high blood pressure. On that same thought, the body may struggle with absorbing blood pressure medications as well. This could definitely be a factor in the cause of my hypertension.

Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis seems to be my only C that has a direct connection with hypertension. Known as Portal Hypertension, this PSC complication involves the portal vein, which is the major route for blood flowing from your digestive system into your liver. As I’ve said before, I don’t currently know the status of my PSC. I, however, do know that I’ve never had my portal vein checked. This is something else that will be going on my list of things to do.

To be honest with you, I didn’t research the relation, if any, with colon cancer simply because I no longer have a colon and can’t technically get colon cancer again. Therefore, colon cancer isn’t a viable reason as to why my blood pressure is high.

In my time spent with Google investigating, I came across a rather interesting article released last December. In it, a new study had opened up the possibility that existing drugs for high blood pressure could be used to treat chronic pain. Unfortunately, the idea is in its early stages and still needs further testing in humans. Which, to me, means another 15 years before it’s a feasible option. C’est la vie.


**Listening to Papa Roach**

10 Responses to “My Heart”
  1. Shay, I’m a little late in reading this post. But as I read it I thought, of course, persistent, chronic and high-grade at times pain will definitely raise your BP (your B). So why even take the BP meds if they aren’t addressing the real problem? Then as I read about your current status with PSC – like, nothing done at all – I wondered if you have had an EGD to look for varices in your esophagus (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy). I get them at least a couple of times a year. You do NOT want to have a bleed from growing varices from the portal hypertension. I had one – scariest time of my life. Mortality rate with a bleed: 70%. Yes, it’s a very very big deal.

    As for pain meds, I would seriously suggest other modalities for pain, especially massage. I know they can be expensive but if you can find a massage school, you can make out pretty good. Then there’s acupuncture and flotation tanks and on and on. A friend of mine with breast cancer and serious skin conditions tried a flotation tank recently and it was the first time in a long long time that she was completely without pain. In just an hour. It wasn’t long-lasting but she’s going back. Great stress-reliever too.

    Babycakes, you gotta get on that PSC. There’s too much at risk. And I’m not going to quit harping at you about it either!!!

    Be well, be happy. And keep on writing! Love, Dana

    • asizCreatives says:

      My B, that’s funny 😀 The thing with the bp meds I’m taking is they will bring it down on occasion but sometimes they drop it too low. Nothing seems to keep it controlled. I will definitely check into the pain treatments you suggested. Maybe that’s a good excuse to finally get hubby to get me that massage I’ve been wanting for ages. lol. Thanks for info on the PSC. I know I need to get it checked out. It’s just life gets in the way, especially with no insurance. I am working on trying to find a solution to that though. Until then, harp away 😉
      As always, Dana, thank you for your support!

      • I’m sure you’ve been asked this a lot – but, diving right in. Do you qualify for SSDI (disability)? Or Medicaid. There must be some last-resort insurance for you. Not in conservative NC? That is a complete bummer. Complete. Who is your GI? Has he/she done EGDs on you in the past? I worry about you, punkin.

      • asizCreatives says:

        I’m sure that I do qualify for disability. I’ve filled out the paperwork but its a LONG wait to hear back. According to Medicaid, my family makes too much money, which is absolute BS. I don’t currently have a GI because we can’t afford it. I am trying to link up with the local hospital to try and work something out with them. Be it a study or charity care as well as get involved with a support group. I honestly don’t remember if I’ve had EGDs done or not. I’ve tried to get my records before but they wanted to charge me an arm and a leg. But if a dr asks for them it’s free. So once I can find a GI that’ll help me, I’m going to try and get a copy then from one source rather than two.
        😀 “punkin” that’s my nickname for my 12 yr old. That just brightened my day!

      • Cool. I like that nickname for you, punkin! Hey, do you live anywhere near Duke or Chapel Hill (UNC)? I’ve heard Duke takes on cases for free sometimes. Heard that somewhere. I have a first cousin who is a med researcher at Duke and on the med school faculty as a full professor. I could ask him what he knows about that. He’s a cell biologist and has never really practiced medicine, so that’s not his deal. But I’m thinking that some researcher there may be interested in your medical situation. Or they may be just kind-hearted there, too. Do you live near either of those places?

      • asizCreatives says:

        I’m actually about an hour from Duke, depending on traffic, and about 30min from CH. Yea, that would be great if you wouldn’t mind talking to him! I’m sure hubby could set his alma-mater pride aside and take me to Duke if it meant I could get care. Thank you so much!

      • Oh, and I’m not sure that’s legal for them to charge you an arm and a leg for your medical records. Seriously. Look up Medicare rules about that, and HIPAA, too. That sounds wrong and evil to me. As well as illegal. Ultimately they are YOUR records.

      • asizCreatives says:

        I guess they justified it by printing costs or some nonsense. But I just don’t have $400 to drop on my records. That’s more than what we spend at the grocery store every month!

      • I looked up HIPAA rules about individual access. Long passage (I copied and saved it if you want it) that ends with this statement: Covered entities may impose reasonable, cost-based fees for the cost of copying and postage. 
        It says “reasonable, cost-based fees for cost of copying and postage.” NOT charge whatever you like and make sure the “covered entity” (hospital or whatever) makes a lot of money from it and the pt. can’t afford it. Good grief. $400. No, wrong wrong wrong.

      • asizCreatives says:

        Hmm, that is rather curious. Yea, if you don’t mind, email it to me.
        asiz dot Creatives at gmail dot com
        Never thought about it til now so I’m gonna ask hubby about it too since he deals with HIPAA crap for his job. I guess to be fair, I was told my records were like 600 pages but still.

Scarecrow can't do ALL the thinking...

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