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Old 06-16-2019, 04:06 PM
 
38 posts, read 13,790 times
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Sometimes habits are stronger than common sense.
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:09 PM
 
700 posts, read 537,876 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran66 View Post
So -- arm yourself with credible information when you see your doctor. I often print stuff out off of my computer and take it with me to my PCP.
Lots of good websites out there for medical information. Great advice to take printouts to the dr appt. Of course, some drs are offended that a patient, gasp, might have good info to challenge what they are suggesting. I'm not talking about obvious big stuff like people who have major health issues such as heart disease. They need to be seeing specialists who they trust, but for people who are generally healthy, and the dr recommends a Rx, always do research before just saying "yes."

If in fact the side effects of a Rx are a reasonable tradeoff for the predicted effectiveness, then get back to your dr and have a discussion. All drugs have side effects. There isn't any free lunch.

Unfortunately, during these short appointments, docs often don't take time to discuss in detail the side effects or other downsides to what they are prescribing, and how much good they will do. It's more of a "I'm the doctor and I know what's best" situation, which doesn't always work well. A lot of the newer drugs have little efficacy compared with prior drugs in the same class, but the drug companies can charge sky high prices because it's new and there are no generic equivalents yet, and that's what it's about in many cases.
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:12 PM
 
Location: SW Florida
9,741 posts, read 7,022,649 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYgal1542 View Post
I hope this topic does not get moved. I am asking the seniors here, the ones who are most likely to fall in the category of their numbers being too high.

And I am not intending to argue, criticize, offend, etc. I'm just collecting information for my own self.

For a long time I've been told I have high cholesterol/triglycerides, etc. and my doctor has prescribed medication for it. None of them agreed with my system. They didn't really do a lot to reverse the high numbers either. Eventually, the doctor I went to at the time said to stop taking them. And he wouldn't prescribe anything more. I seemed to get along fine, no terrible symptoms, etc. He also said I was borderline diabetic but never prescribed any medication.

I've changed doctors a few times for various reasons. Again, my numbers are high. But I'm not sick. I'm 77 and seem to be doing OK. So this most recent doctor prescribed another medication that was not a statin and had an additional plus of combating diabetes. I decided to take it because I had refused medication before and think the doctor was getting a little upset with me. (Might be just my imagination.) So I took the med, 4 pills a day, 2 in the a.m., 2 in the p.m.

Then the slide started. I found myself getting more and more tired and got to the point I was asleep more than awake. No energy. Had to force myself to get to the store for things I had run out of, nothing I wanted to eat (no energy to cook).

So I stopped taking them. I feel a lot better. I'm awake, I want to do things, why take something that makes me feel half dead?

I should also mention my eye doc put me on a different eye drop to deal with a problem I'm having. So I called him to see what he thought. He didn't think the drop was causing it but said I could cut the dosage in half. He also said he doubted the drop would have that affect on me. The pharmacist agreed with that.

I don't know if anyone had the patience to read this, I know it's too long.

I don't want to live to be 100 but I don't want to hasten death, either.

I just believe there are some of us who are like this.

Lots of folks are like this, I think. Though I know there are many docs who push cholesterol lowering drugs to treat the numbers they don't like, I thought the medical establishment was getting away from the one size-fits all treatment of over the "normal range" cholesterol and related lipid results with statins, and individualizing treatment depending on a patient's family history and individual risk of heart disease. My total cholesterol has run a bit high the last couple times I had it checked (around 216mg/dL) but my PCP said she wasn't worried as my other lipid results were good.



IMO we're all entitled to live, and deal with our health as we choose. We just have to find a provider who will respect and go along with our wishes for less medical intervention for those things that may or may not indicate a problem but don't look good on paper ( like numbers higher than the normal ranges). Or the idea that an older patient may not wish to be treated for a condition if the treatment leaves them with little quality of life. I know they're out there.


I didn't think that "prediabetes" was treated with medication, that just life style changes ( diet and exercise, weight loss as applicable) was recommended. I've been told I have that as well ( my fasting glucose is always over 100) but I've been advised to do the life style changes to help that, and that's what I've done.



So good luck with all this!
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:23 PM
 
429 posts, read 104,127 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travelassie View Post
Lots of folks are like this, I think. Though I know there are many docs who push cholesterol lowering drugs to treat the numbers they don't like, I thought the medical establishment was getting away from the one size-fits all treatment of over the "normal range" cholesterol and related lipid results with statins, and individualizing treatment depending on a patient's family history and individual risk of heart disease. My total cholesterol has run a bit high the last couple times I had it checked (around 216mg/dL) but my PCP said she wasn't worried as my other lipid results were good.



IMO we're all entitled to live, and deal with our health as we choose. We just have to find a provider who will respect and go along with our wishes for less medical intervention for those things that may or may not indicate a problem but don't look good on paper ( like numbers higher than the normal ranges). Or the idea that an older patient may not wish to be treated for a condition if the treatment leaves them with little quality of life. I know they're out there.


I didn't think that "prediabetes" was treated with medication, that just life style changes ( diet and exercise, weight loss as applicable) was recommended. I've been told I have that as well ( my fasting glucose is always over 100) but I've been advised to do the life style changes to help that, and that's what I've done.



So good luck with all this!
That is what my brother did. Told the doctor he'd rather make lifestyle changes for his high cholesterol and his doctor referred him to a dietitian. He got a personalized nutrition/exercise plan and got back to normal numbers.

I also have a girlfriend with high BP that is trying the lifestyle change vs meds. She also went to a dietician who gave her a plan but she cheats all the time and the BP is not coming down.
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:28 PM
 
Location: SoCal
6,063 posts, read 9,520,860 times
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I also have what is officially 'high' bad cholesterol numbers. My doctor said normally she would be trying to persuade me to use statins, but I have no other issues - not pre-diabetic, weight under control, blood pressure easily controlled using medication, never was a smoker - so she didn't mind that I demurred on the statins. DH was taking statins for a while and was starting to get achy muscles, which was why I was reluctant to try them. And they do seem to be notorious for side effects.

OTOH, I seem to have good luck with the medications I use in terms of their being effective without causing me troublesome side effects.

BTW, for anyone who's thinking of starting statins, she recommends keeping a diary and recording *all* aches and pains for two weeks before starting statins. That'll give you a clue whether your aches and pains are really medication-caused or simply old age doing a job on you.
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:49 PM
 
Location: SW Florida
9,741 posts, read 7,022,649 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran66 View Post
In AARP mag not all that long ago, an author (who is famous or at least she thought she was famous) said that she was no longer going to worry about her health and do as she pleased (she's in her early or mid 70s). If I remember correctly, her most recent book is about just that.

I wrote her a letter and asked her NOT to proclaim her gospel (no more meds, no more office visits). That, because of her, some older people would throw caution to the wind and become seriously ill. BECAUSE -- and this is important -- it's not that we'll have a heart attack or a stroke and die. It's because we could easily have a heart attack or stroke and NOT die -- and wind up spending the rest of our days in a nursing home.

If we are going to ignore conventional medical advice and conventional medicines, we damned well better know what we are doing. I didn't mean to be so 'cavalier' in one of my posts. If my BP becomes dangerously high, you'd better believe I'm going back on a BP med. And when another poster said that a good diet and exercise can take care of pretty much anything, he wasn't exaggerating by much. We older folks are in trouble MAINLY because we don't eat right and/or we don't exercise; or we drink and/or smoke.

Amen to all of this!



And while I'm somewhat cavalier about treating numbers for cholesterol and glucose in my own case - though I take a low dose statin, also have done my best to use lifestyle ( diet and exercise, and weight loss) changes to keep those to the best levels they can be, I can't be cavalier about my blood pressure.



I have a strong family history of drug-resistant high blood pressure. My dad had it as do two of my siblings. I have had it since I was a sweet young thing, and ignored it for too many years, or just gave lip service to treating it with meds, life style changes but seldom checked it as I assumed if I took meds it MUST be ok.



So at the ripe old age of 71, it's come back to bite me in the butt. So now besides the difficult to control high blood pressure, I'm told that the long term essential hypertension is likely responsible for the also difficult to control atrial tachycardia that's tried so hard to take over my life. That high blood pressure has likely damaged my atria (they say) including the sinus node ( the natural heart pacemaker) so my heart rate has gone into the toilet when it feels like it ( as in the 40's and even the 30's sometimes) and is symptomatic. They call it "sick sinus syndrome"- tachy-brady type.


Fortunately the cardiologists who've agreed to manage these monsters are open and communicative, and listen to my input as to how to treat them. I've had to listen to theirs, too, of course, so at their strong suggestion I've had a pacemaker implanted, to bring up the heart-rate, and also to be able to take the medications ( some of which also act to lower the heart rate) to control the tachycardia and high blood pressure. And the electrophysiologist tells me we don't get the BP under control, the tachycardia will get worse, and a-fib is inevitable. and after that, likely heart failure.



But, I'm doing much better with hopefully the right combination of meds and some actual blood flow with the pacemaker.


So don't ignore your high blood pressure, I wish I had been more attentive to mine over the years.
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:49 PM
 
1,942 posts, read 2,708,224 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
Fran, I read that book and enjoyed it. Everyone needs to make up their own minds in regard to health.
Yes, you're right -- they do. They also have the right to suffer the consequences.

A lot of people follow anybody who is famous and/or anything in print.

What she recommended was stupid and dangerous.
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:01 PM
 
38 posts, read 13,790 times
Reputation: 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Travelassie View Post
I thought the medical establishment was getting away from the one size-fits all treatment of over the "normal range" cholesterol and related lipid results with statins, and individualizing treatment depending on a patient's family history and individual risk of heart disease. My total cholesterol has run a bit high the last couple times I had it checked (around 216mg/dL) but my PCP said she wasn't worried as my other lipid results were good.
My LDL is a little high (124), but my HDL is great, total cholesterol is 198, trigs low, ratios very good, no high blood pressure. My LDL was higher a few years ago (151) before I cleaned up my eating, but even then the doc said that at 151 there's insufficient reason to treat it with meds absent other risk factors. She recommended diet and exercise, and that did the trick. Gonna see if I can get it under 100 by natural means though, just for the heck of it. I like a challenge.
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:30 PM
 
2,066 posts, read 699,344 times
Reputation: 5294
Quote:
Originally Posted by oddstray View Post
BTW, for anyone who's thinking of starting statins, she recommends keeping a diary and recording *all* aches and pains for two weeks before starting statins. That'll give you a clue whether your aches and pains are really medication-caused or simply old age doing a job on you.
I like your doctor!

I figure it's a combination of what you're born with, lifestyle and using your judgment. My mother and I are biologically similar but she struggled with HBP after menopause even though she was thin, she ran every day and she cooked with so little salt she was always apologizing for it. I'm 66 and my BP is on the low end of normal. A coworker had familial high cholesterol- she was thin, active, practically vegetarian and hoping to stave off meds as long as she could.

About 10 years ago my doc, in a knee-jerk reaction to my high total cholesterol, prescribed statins. I ended up with painful tendonitis in my elbows. It hurt to raise a spoon to my mouth and my knees were starting to get pains. I quit the darn things and the pains reversed themselves. My total cholesterol is awful- 247- but my HDL is 110 (anything over 60 is good). The other ratios/differences are very good except that triglycerides are high. I'm extremely active (completed a Duathlon, which is a 5K, 13 miles on the bike and another 5K last week) and eat very little meat and a lot of vegetables. I had my first bone scan and there's a little osteopenia but that's a single data point; we'll see where it goes in 2 years when Medicare pays for another test. I'm taking more calcium and magnesium. The side effects of the bone density meds scare the crap out of me- especially since they'd make me a bad candidate for dental implants. I have 5 and won't be surprised if I need more.

And when I turn 80 I'm gonna live on cheesecake, canned frosting and pecan pie. ;-)
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:58 PM
 
255 posts, read 64,766 times
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Fran, I think it’s bad to blindly follow any advice. Doing research is important. Also I read a great book written on this topic by a doctor.
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