I am a 40 yr old African American female with a history of hypertension. I was diagnosed with hypertension 12 years ago. I weighed 130 lbs at that time. I am 5'5" and now weigh approximately 185lb. My cholesterol is 162. LDL is 60. My HDL is 67. I did not get a breakdown of LDL and VLDL. My triglycerides are 176. Even though I exercise I do not do it consistently and I currently do not follow any kind of diet. My current Primary Care Physician (they unfortunately change every few years) sent back my results via mail along with a prescription for Tricor 145 mg. I take two BP medicines, a Birth Control Pill to control an irregular menstrual period and Lexapro. I think he is giving to me because of my increased risk for heart disease due to my high blood pressure. My husband feels I should try something else before starting another medicine. He (my husband) doesn't feel my numbers justify the use of this medicine at this time. Thank you for your opinion in this matter.
Congratulations on being proactive to manage your health. I speak extensively to African American American groups about increasing our awareness of risk factors for heart attack and stroke. In general we have 2-3x risk for having a stroke when we develop hypertension and diabetes. These disorders can affect virtually every organ in the body including the eyes, the brain with a stroke, the kidneys with kidney failure and increases the risk of amputation significantly.
Unfortunately, the earlier in life these disorder occur, the greater the chance for these complications. I understand patients and families reluctance to take medications because of concerns about side affects. Ideally, it would be great if everyone could eat a low fat diet, maintain ideal body weight, exercise daily. It would eliminate the need to take many medications. However, until this occurs- you need tight control of your blood pressure to prevent heart attack stroke or congestive heart failure.
As you know, the combination of birth control and hypertension increases your risk of stroke significantly. You should be thoroughly evaluate for diabetes with fasting insulin and HgbA1C
I would encourage you to find a PCP who is listens to you and is interested in helping your develop a healthy lifestyle plan which might allow you to decrease or eliminate your need for medication over time. Check out my book Your Guide to Optimal Health at www.personalwellnesswheel.com. It is meant to provide you with a plan on how to attack this problem and live a healthy life using traditional and alternative therapies.
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