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Raising your blood pressure?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Wanted to see if you guys could give me some ideas.

I have naturally rather low blood pressure - I tend to be in the range of 100/60 and that's perfectly fine for me. With my cardiac and dizziness problem lately though, I've been put on beta blockers and diuretics, both of which also lower blood pressure. To top it off, my doctors want me on a low salt diet (trying to see if treatment for Meniere's disease will help my current health problems).

My blood pressure has read lower than normal several times now - 85/55, 90/60, etc. I don't really want to add fainting to my latest symptoms! My normal method of boosting my blood pressure a bit would be to eat something salty like chips, but now I'm out that option.

I'm sure I could try drinking more and see how that helps, but there's still the diuretics in my system that will clear that out, and I'm supposed to be trying to lower fluid retention, so that seems kind of counter-productive.

Do you guys have any simple things I can do to keep my blood pressure up a bit more? Diet changes and the like? I'll probably mention it to my doctor, but they know that my blood pressure is naturally low anyways, and they know what medications I'm on, and so far they haven't been concerned.

Haven't had major problems yet, but I don't want to wait until I do either!

Thanks!
post #2 of 10
I'm sorry to tell you this, but non-medication routes to raising blood pressure always involved a high salt and high fluid regime. You could possibly try compression hose and see if they help a bit, but those tend to be more helpful to those with blood pooling issues.

Have you been thoroughly checked for Meniere's disease and tested positive? Or are they going for this because you mention dizziness? I've had vestibular problems suggested for me because thats what people automatically assume when a person is dizzy - not low blood pressure depriving the brain of blood and oxygen (despite that being in my medical records ).

Why are you on diuretics specifically?

85/55 is when it starts getting rather impossible to function - at least if you wish to be upright at all. If you hit 70s/50s or 40s you probably won't be able to stand and you will not be safe to drive.

I'm really concerned that your doctor(s) may make you more ill with this treatment. Can you seek second opinion with an electrophysiologist or at least with a cardiologist that understands that depleting your blood volume so low that you can't keep your BP up isn't safe?

Medications that can raise blood pressure include vasoconstrictors, florinef (steroid that causes some fluid retention), and meds like birth control pills. There's also caffeine, but that might not do so well if you're having tach issues.

Be careful in the heat, including showers, since you're getting such low readings. And be careful whenever you stand up, don't do so quickly.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Have you been thoroughly checked for Meniere's disease and tested positive? Or are they going for this because you mention dizziness?
I've gotten the vestibular testing done, and it shows a 50% caloric weakness on my right side, indicating a lesion to the right vestibular nerve. He decided to just try and treat me with the diuretics to see what it would do, and I've been feeling moderately better the past week or so, which probably wouldn't happen if it was damage due to a virus, I would think.

I've gotten the brain MRIs and what not back clean, so we know its not tumors, MS, or the like, so I think right now their working hypothesis is Meniere's, though I don't have hearing problems that I know of. I keep forgetting to ask him if my tests showed hearing loss, but if its there, it must be subtle because I haven't noticed it.



Quote:
85/55 is when it starts getting rather impossible to function - at least if you wish to be upright at all. If you hit 70s/50s or 40s you probably won't be able to stand and you will not be safe to drive.
I wasn't feeling too hot that day, for sure, but i haven't seen it drop any lower than that, and I didn't get light-headed when I stood either, so I don't know. Mom and dad lent me a blood pressure monitor though, so I'm keeping an eye on things like that at least.


Quote:
I'm really concerned that your doctor(s) may make you more ill with this treatment. Can you seek second opinion with an electrophysiologist or at least with a cardiologist that understands that depleting your blood volume so low that you can't keep your BP up isn't safe?
I was actually at the cardiologist's the first time my blood pressure dropped so much - she didn't seem too concerned. I figured that day might just be due to not having eaten yet (at 1 pm) for the day, but it was low last night, and that was after a decent enough dinner, so I don't know anymore.


Quote:
Medications that can raise blood pressure include vasoconstrictors, florinef (steroid that causes some fluid retention), and meds like birth control pills. There's also caffeine, but that might not do so well if you're having tach issues.
Yeah, I'm not allowed caffeine now for multiple reasons. Low iron, tachycardia, and now fluid retention! Whoever heard of a grad student who doesn't drink caffeine?

The others, I don't know. I guess it depends if it becomes a real problem or not. I've taken out just about all the methods my body would normally use for blood pressure regulation with the combination of medications I'm on, so the vasoconstriction is about all that's left to me. My doctor is aware of what medications I'm on though, and has said that maybe the diuretics will prove to be a poorer choice of medication than others he might be able to use.

Since I'm already dizzy for other reasons, I can't tell if its due to low blood pressure or not - all I have to tell me that for sure is the blood pressure cuff. I'm gonna take a few more measurements today and tomorrow morning, but if I can't keep it above 90, then I will probably talk to him about using something else.

I'm supposed to see a dizziness specialist next Friday from Austin, and I'm getting steroid shots to my inner ear right now to see if that helps any more. Things have improved a lot from the past few weeks, but I'm still getting little spells - just enough to tell me I'm not completely better yet.


Quote:
Be careful in the heat, including showers, since you're getting such low readings. And be careful whenever you stand up, don't do so quickly.
Yes, the Texas heat worries me, especially with all the sweating! Been trying to drink more and stay out of the heat when I can. Guys may like fainting "damsels in distress" but I don't need that right now!

Thanks for the advice!
post #4 of 10
It may take more fine tuning in medication, then. IMO, I feel that the diuretics aren't a wise choice at all and hope you can get away from those. Since you're out in the heat some, you need to be careful that a low sodium diet doesn't make you dehydrate too quickly.

I can't remember, were you tested for Lyme's disease?


As for vasoconstrictors, I'm on one called Midodrine. Many doctors would look at this drug and see it as counter productive and opposite to a beta blocker. Which at first glance it would seem so. But they're not, the Midodrine and other vasoconstrictors actually have bradycardic effects - they lower heart rate. So it's possible that a BB and a vasoconstrictor could lower heart rate too much and actually make low BP worse. It takes fine tuning...
Funny story, an ER doc, who was unfamiliar with midodrine tried to argue that it causes tach. A cardiologist with knowledge of NCS wouldn't have prescribed it to me if that were the case - and I would have caught that issue. Not surprisingly that ER doc prescribed me medication that caused a drug interaction.


Just be careful. If you feel worse and it corresponds with the low BP you can safely assume that it's not helping you at all. Push your doctors into getting the best treatment you can, not just "this kind of works".
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
They never tested me for Lyme's, but the only contact I ever remember with a tick was when I was a little kid, and that was on my ear. I can't believe that my parents wouldn't notice a big bulleteye target on my ear.

The only travelling I've done this year was to Minnesota in February, and as the neurologist I saw said "Well, there's not much alive in Minnesota in February..."

Blood pressure's okay tonight. 106/60 something. We'll see what its like before bed, and in the morning! My next steroid shot is tomorrow morning, woo!
post #6 of 10
Lots of people get Lyme's and they don't know what's wrong with them until they're very ill. Because many do not get a bull's eye rash and many think they've never been bitten! (ETA: about half get no rash or the rash will look like something else)
Also, it's not the adult ticks that are the main carriers of Lyme, it's the nymphs due to the fact that during that part of their life cycle they feed on a lot of rodents. Nymphs are very tiny and very easily missed. You could easily pick them up just by walking through grass.

Besides, you're in Texas... there's ticks and you've been bitten more than once. Think of it a bit of how easy it is for an indoor cat to get fleas.


Get tested, just in case, and also the western blot test is more sensitive than ELISA/EIA. The ELISA can show false negatives.
I'm suggesting this because I know of at least one person who has IST and other issues due to Lyme's messing up her nervous system. She claimed that several others on a Lyme's dieases forum shared similar health problems to her, though.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hmm, I might ask them to do it then. I don't think they've tested me for Lyme's, but they've done testing for everything else imaginable, it seems! They've asked me several times about it, but I don't think anyone has said they tested for it.

It certainly can't hurt, I've given up enough blood for tests.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'll still talk to my doctor about it, but I just remembered I've been on four courses of antibiotics this year already - a 10 day course of Bactrim, a 5 day course of azithromycin, 7 day course of levaquin, and a 2 week course of clindamycin.

What are the chances that a long-term Lyme disease infection could survive all that?
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandtigress View Post
What are the chances that a long-term Lyme disease infection could survive all that?
I'd say the chances are pretty good actually. Average treatment for Lyme's can be anywhere from a 3 month course to 18 months, depending on how long a person is infected. Some don't get rid of Lyme's even with treatment and may need to repeat it.

I'm not necessarily saying this is your problem, but it couldn't hurt to have it ruled out. Again, it has to be Western Blot assays, as the ELISA is somewhere between 70-75% wrong in people that really do have Lyme's.
Interesting fact, if anyone's read up on tests for their cats, ELISA tests can be wrong on various tests for them, too.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
The doctors have suggested it several times, but have not tested for it. So I'll ask them about doing that tomorrow. Who knows, might save me a visit with the specialist next Friday!
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