Dear Dr. Gott: I am a widow, 79, with hypertension. I’ve driven my doctor crazy because she insists that my blood pressure (160/90) needs treatment. However, I cannot tolerate beta-blockers, calcium-channel blockers, ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers because of weakness, cough, body aches and other symptoms. Now when I telephone my doctor, she won’t accept my calls. Am I doomed?
Dear Reader: No, you’re not doomed. But I agree with your physician that your high blood pressure requires therapy.
When I run into patients with problems such as yours, I always feel comfortable referring these people to a cardiologist, who knows more about hypertension than I do. I’ve found that this approach is more professional than simply ignoring the situation and refusing to accept telephone calls. Therefore, I recommend that you discuss this option with your doctor’s receptionist and ask for an appropriate referral. If this action is unsuccessful, search for a cardiologist in your community and refer yourself.
I note from your list of medications that you apparently have not yet been prescribed a diuretic (water eliminator). Many authorities are now urging this as a first step in hypertension therapy because it is safe and inexpensive. This might be a suitable choice for you. Or, in contrast, the specialist may prefer giving you reduced dosages of two or more drugs, thereby minimizing the possibility of unpleasant side effects.
In any case, please don’t ignore the situation.
Finally, if your present primary care physician is not answering your medical needs, by all means consider changing to another family practitioner.
To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Reports “Hypertension” and “Choosing a Physician.” Other readers who would like copies should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 per report to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title(s).
Dear Dr. Gott: I am enclosing a copy of my list of “doctor-speak phrases in hospitals.” If it weren’t so true, it might be amusing.
“You’re doing great!”
“There’s a lot of this going around.”
“Your insurance should cover most of this.”
“Only time will tell.”
“This shot will feel only like the prick of a pin.”
“This medication may have some slight side effects.”
“I’d like to run that test again.”
“Some do; some don’t.”
“That’s to be expected.”
“Sign this form; I can’t guarantee the outcome of the surgery.”
“You’ll have a short hospital stay and be back to work in no time.”
Dear Reader: Well done. Thanks for sharing.
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