Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I have to go to the cardiologist tomorrow morning. I was referred by my doctor because I've been having some complications of low blood pressure (my average resting bp is about 92/59, which wouldn't really be worrisome at all if I weren't having any symptoms). The complications are symptoms including orthostatic tachycardia (my heart races when I stand up because my body doesn't adjust properly for the change in position) and also dizziness, blacking out (not fainting, but losing vision when I go from sitting to standing up, especially quickly), lightheadedness, brain fog, fatigue, feeling like I have the flu, but I don't, etc. It's not that big of a deal, I guess. I mean, it's not a life or death situation, but it's annoying. People who have low blood pressure do occasionally have all of these symptoms, especially the blacking out when you stand up too quickly, but you're not supposed to have it quite as often as I do. So, I'm finally going to the cardiologist and now I'm feeling super nervous. Part of the reason I'm nervous is because my blood pressure is always much higher when I'm nervous, which makes it look like my bp is normal. When my bp goes up, I usually don't have any symptoms, although, I admit, I am pretty dizzy right now. So, I'm nervous that the doctor is going to tell me there's nothing wrong with me and send me home and I'm never going to get any help with how to deal with this. On the flip side, I'm nervous that she's going to do some sort of test on my heart and determine that there's something *really* wrong with it that is worse that this minor annoying condition I think I have. You know, like she's going to tell me I could die suddenly at any moment. Ha. So, I'm just nervous. It's silly. I want to go to the cardiologist and have tests done so I have some peace of mind and know what the bigger picture is. But, it's like performance anxiety. I'm worried that I'm not going to get the most out of this short period of time with this expert -- that I'm going to forget to ask a question or tell her something and never have a chance to do it again. The funny thing is, one of the medications they give people with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia are beta blockers, which are also used for performance anxiety. Sounds like that might be a good idea.


Steph said...

Sending you lots of good vibes. :) I can imagine how you feel! This kind of thing is no fun. But I bet everything will be fine.

Andre said...

I hope sincerely that the appointment went well and that it was insightful and productive.

thinking good thoughts for you. Stay strong!

Pam said...

Thanks for your well-wishes, Steph and Andre! Everything went fine. There is nothing wrong with me that I didn't already know about, so that's a relief. The doc had some good suggestions for how to go about dealing with things, including a prescription for a medication that will raise my blood pressure, more water, and compression hose for my legs. Her theory is that since my symptoms came on pretty soon after I quit drinking coffee, the large dose of caffeine I used to get every morning was probably raising my BP and masking my symptoms - that this is probably something I've had for a long time. Interesting... Unfortunately it doesn't look like returning to a cup of coffee every morning is the solution. :-( I was kinda hoping it was.

Steph said...

I'm glad to hear it, Pam. Yeah, too bad you can't use coffee as the cure!

My blood pressure is almost as low as yours and I get some of those symptoms too now and then, but clearly not to the same extent. I used to work on a farm where on rainy I had to squat wearing circulation-cutting knee-high mud boots in order to weed and plant and every time I stood up I would practically pass out! Not fun. Except for my co-workers.