Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dizzy Dame

Today I go back to the health clinic where I'll be starting my new job in just over a week. I had my pre-employment health check-up and drug test Thursday, and today they'll need to read my TB test to make sure I'm not a pandemic-in-the-making.

I had to get a health check-up and TB test for my assisted-living job too, but the health screening was much more cursory there than at the clinic. At the assisted-living place, the nurse checked my blood pressure, pulse, and breathing, and she asked me if my back was OK to lift heavy things. She seemed not to believe me about the lifting, but I passed my physical and got the job.

At the health clinic, they checked the same vital signs, plus my hearing, which was excellent (they must not have tested for that frequency that my high-pitched tinnitus rings at), and also my vision, which was excellent, too, because they didn't make me read anything up close.

Now, my most-of-the-time normal blood pressure is around 110/70. Perfect for making the doctors smile in approval. The last couple times I've been to the doctor on official medical business, as opposed to employment business, my BP has been dreadfully ordinary at 120/80. I found that annoying.

The employment screenings, though, have been low. At the assisted-living place, I was at 100/60 for the first time I can remember. And then Thursday, my systolic reading dropped down into double digits (99/64), which left me alarmed rather than annoyed. It certainly explained the last few days when I've gotten dizzy from standing up after leaning over, but my goodness! Ninety-nine? There's something wrong with that.

I'd heard from one of my doctors (plural, because the medical group I've gone to seems to be the stepping stone doctors use before they move on to another more luctrative practice elsewhere) many years ago that there could be some health effects from having sustained low blood pressure. So last night I went online and looked up "low blood pressure" to see if my 99 was a cause for concern.

Low BP is often associated with bradycardia (Hmm... Better check my pulse: 60. Not good, considering I don't exercise, so the low heart rate isn't from being in shape, but it's one beat above the official definition of bradycardia, so that's sort of a relief. Too bad my friend the cardiac nurse is off on a cruise, where I can't grill her for answers and reassurance). Most of the ill effects of low BP are to the brain, heart, kidneys and other essentials, caused by not enough oxygen getting there. I'd have noticed angina, poor kidney function, and exhaustion if this were happening.

Another cause is a systemic infection, but I don't have that either. Or heart murmurs or electrocardial issues.

So that leaves me with one of three possible reasons: low thyroid (possible, but I'm usually at the low end of normal and not abnormally low), stress (uh, big yes to that one), or I'm just one of those people whose BP is low without causing any health problems (there was one lady who commented on the low BP website whose normal BP is around 55/45! She makes me feel downright powerful).

I guess I don't need to be alarmed, then. But I did look for their advice on how to increase my blood pressure. I could eat more salt, except even the suggestion sounded like medical blasphemy. Or I could consume more caffeine.

I like that last one, and it makes sense since our latest heat wave has made me drink less tea and more water. So I'll be having more tea again and checking to see if this dizzy dame can cast aside her woozy ways in the process.

1 comment:

Malott said...


I plan to make every effort to attend the wake.

I'm sure you can find a physician who will gladly entertain you at his office every three months so that he can devotedly follow these life-threatening developments... He may even be able to prescribe medications whose side-effects will cause other concerns that will necessitate visits on your "off months."

I think you're a healthy woman, and should stay away from the "medics" for as long as you can.