My girlfriend Sweetie is saner than I am and so I agreed with her that I should get a full physical exam, with special attention paid to factors that might make me keel over dead in the middle of a long run. So, having done that, what’s up?
- My cholesterol is hanging in there, though my LDL is quite a bit higher than it should be. It’s not going up, at least, and my HDL (“good cholesterol”) number is still off the charts.
- My blood pressure continues to be an issue. Though it seems OK, usually, when I measure it in one of those drug store machines, in the doctor’s office it likes to come up as 140/90: right at the low end of hypertensive. If I’m hypertensive sitting in an office, it’s a little scary to think of what might be going on during a five-hour run. Sigh.
- The doctor gave me an EKG and didn’t entirely like some of the readings. So now I’m going to get a more conclusive test, an echo cardiogram. From what I can gather, this is basically an ultrasound of the heart. I plan on making at least one lame joke to the technician about not wanting to know if it’s a boy or a girl.
I’m getting the echo cardiogram February 6th and then talking with my doctor about that and about blood pressure medications a little after that. I did a little research on blood pressure medications for endurance athletes (am I an endurance athlete?) and found out some interesting things. Mostly, of course, people who put in a lot of hours of training, simply don’t have high blood pressure. But there are exceptions. What medications can they take?
- Diuretics? No. Diuretics, i.e. “water pills”, are the major class of hypertension medications. They work by making you pee more… less hydrated blood means less pressure. You can see where this could be a problem, right?
- Beta blockers? Heck No. Out of the question, if you want to keep exercising intensely: among other effects, they keep your heart rate down. Try to run and you’ll be exhausted in no time.
- ACE inhibitors are apparently the way to go. These act to counteract the bodily signals that cause constriction of the arteries and veins.
I learned this stuff from the article “Managing High Blood Pressure in Active People“, by Dan Ullrich, on HealthLink. I’ll be interested to see how aware of these issues my doctor is.