I had my cardiological appointment last Wednesday virtually. The cardiologist asked many many questions. His conclusion was that he didn’t think my heart has any problems. However, he was a bit concerned about my blood pressure. On the screen, he showed me the chart of my in-clinic blood pressure records. They were consistently high in the last two years. He wasn’t too worried about the systolic number, although that wasn’t too healthy. He was more concerned about the diastolic because they were consistently in the 80s to 90s range. He said that my medical team (meaning my primary doctor) has been a little bit too permissive in allowing my blood pressure to be a bit high without doing anything about it. He said he doesn’t often prescribe medication for people with heart palpitations but he thinks that in my case, it could help to reduce the blood pressure to a range where he feels comfortable with the numbers. He chose this beta blocker for me and prescribed the lowest dose. He’d talk to me in a couple of weeks to see how I am doing. In the mean time, he wants me to check my blood pressure occasionally at home.
I am okay with taking meds for the short term just to get things moving. I was a bit concerned about my blood pressure for a while now but my primary doctor thought that it was still in the good range. According to my cardiologist, my numbers are a bit high for my age, and he wants to get it under control earlier than later. I am still going to modify my diet (to low salt and low caffeine) and do a more consistent job of exercising regularly.
I started medication on Thursday morning. Friday evening, I was doing the advent calendar with the kids at 7:30pm. I felt a tiny bit light headed and suddenly could feel my heart pounding. It almost felt like it was jumping out of my chest. It bothered me so much that I had to go lie down after the kids went down for the night. I couldn’t do anything and could just lie there and distract myself with a show. Sleep that night was horrible and my heart was beating fast. I felt bad on and off the whole day on Saturday and I even considered going to the ER again, but decided against it. I started to wonder if it could be the side effects of the new medication. I also experienced restlessness several times as I couldn’t shake the muscle tensions throughout my body.
I spoke to my brother who told me that he was actually diagnosed at age 41 with PVC and PAC, which feel like skipped beats, and very occasional SVT, which is fast heartbeats (double the normal, at around 130). He said that these are non life threatening and are more like annoyances in life. My brother wore a portable ECG patch for two weeks to measure his heart activities. He said that when he was going through some health scares (lump on his leg that he didn’t know if it was cancer), he said his heart was a mess. He said that cortisol is a powerful hormone that could do crazy things to the body. He was asking if I feel anxious in general. Maybe?
I sent my cardiologist a message. He responded saying that my brother’s condition is quite common and could happen to anybody, so it is not necessarily familial. He told me to give myself some time to get used to the medication, which I will. As for the ECG patch, my doctor said that he doesn’t think it is necessary right now. So there is that.
Oh and I am going to find myself some help in regards to my panic attacks and general anxiety. Bob’s work has an employee assistance program that provides 15 visits to him and each of his dependents at no cost to us. I contact the EAP and got a list of therapists I can contact in order to get some help to better manage my symptoms.
It has been one health scare after another. Hopefully after finding the right help, I will be on my way to be healthier again. Maybe this is my wake up call to treat eating healthy and exercising regularly more seriously.