Wednesday, February 5, 2020

ARGH!

The blood pressure 'scrip raised my cholesterol.  And dropped my sodium levels from barely below normal to reason for concern, despite me eating more sodium. 

So.  That's that.  I'm off of that one.  I've got the rest of the month before I go see the doctor again. 

I've been doing research into cholesterol.  I'd read, like two years ago, that blood cholesterol was only barely affected by what you eat (like, 15% of your total number).  I've also read, more recently, that there isn't the link between cholesterol and heart disease that the researchers originally thought there was, and that statins are only really beneficial if one has already had a minor heart attack--they definitely do prevent another. 

The other thing I'd read is about the prevalence of side effects.  And the potential for those side effects to cause cognitive degeneration, or personality changes, or psychological problems. 

And then, I started looking into what cholesterol is, and why it might be elevated...and I think I know what's going on. 

Your body uses cholesterol as a healing building block.  Higher levels of inflammation (joints, injuries, cellular/mitochondrial issues) trigger the body into making more cholesterol to help heal the issue.  Cholesterol is also used by the brain as both nutrients, and re-building damaged/aged cells in the brain.  People with TBI would, I'd imagine, have higher cholesterol than if they didn't have a TBI. 

Guess what?  I have high levels of inflammation.  I have had high levels of inflammation (both ankles, both knees, both hips, and in some joints in both hands) for several years.  And up until Christmas, I was taking oral contraceptives (which raise both blood pressure and cholesterol), and a ton of anti-inflammatory drugs.  Since Christmas, I've dropped the artificial estrogen, and dropped the aspirin (GERD--caused by too much of it). 

I am seriously irritated with the medical profession, at the moment.  They're freaking out over the symptom without a thought wasted toward looking for the cause (chronic systemic inflammation), much less treating it. 

So, like with the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome...I'm looking into what I can do to treat it.  Hopefully without exacerbating the GERD. 

So far, it looks like my options are NSAIDS (not so good--remember the GERD), an anti-inflammatory diet (already on what works for me), losing weight (trying--should be easier without the birth control, since it put fifteen pounds on me just by itself), and exercise (that one's really tough with the ME/CFS).  Or turmeric, but the jury (read: FDA) is out on whether that actually works or not. 

My experience says it does, and research says it could help with GERD healing.  So, I've started in on turmeric/curcumin at 1500 mg/day for a week to build it up in my system, then backing off to 500 mg/day.  I do know that it does make it easier to move--as in, my joints aren't so stiff--when I have it built up.  Whether that means it's actually working as well as an NSAID I can't say.  The NSAIDS never increased joint flexibility for me, just reduced my pain levels from almost-unbearable to manageable. 

I tried adding more legumes to my diet, but that really didn't work for me--made the ME/CFS brain fog and exhaustion flares worse, and made the daily joint pain worse.  Also added gut pain to the equation.  So, I've backed from 3 servings a week to 1-2.  I know from experience that whole grains do that to me, too.  I also tried adding oatmeal to my morning routine, but according to my blood work, that was also a no-go: it took my blood sugar from the normal range into the pre-diabetic range. 

I tried going for easy walks (shopping) more than once a week.  That triggers ME/CFS flares badly enough I can't get anything else done, so that's yet another no-go.  

I have also started doing yoga again, for 5 minutes, 2x per day.  My right knee, in particular, doesn't like one of the poses I use, and my hands don't like two of them; however, it's just pain, not increasing damage, so I'm ignoring it.  It isn't triggering ME/CFS flares, so I'm cautiously hopeful that it won't if I'm careful.  It should build muscle mass which should help burn fat mass and help both support the lower inflamed joints and reduce pressure on them. 

Hopefully, what I'm doing that's working for me will help reduce the inflammation...and the cholesterol, which the doctor is really panicking over, even if I think she shouldn't.  Hopefully, it will eventually reduce pain levels, and maybe even my blood pressure with it. 

2 comments:

  1. Hope you finally get some GOOD answers, or a path forward. Good on ya for doing your own research too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doctors either love me or hate me for that. Most start with "hate" but end up with tolerance at least, if not downright affection. Especially because, unlike most people that do that, I don't use less- or non-credible sites. I used to teach people how to determine whether a website was credible or not--there's no way I'd use WebMD for anything other than checking drug interactions between the meds I take.

      But as for researching things for myself...besides that just being part of me, there's not really any other choice with a lot of the stuff that's wrong with me. There is no real treatment plan for ME/CFS. Not really a whole lot of research out there--any studies are still being done, with as relatively new as the condition is. Most of what's there is either doctors assuming someone's a hypochondriac (not me--I really would rather not see doctors for anything I don't have to), that it's nothing more than simple depression (it isn't--I'm frustrated and angry, not depressed. There's a difference), or other sufferers sharing their symptoms and what works to alleviate them, or at least ease things to the point where it can be lived with.

      Delete