Less than a week ago I found myself being admitted into the hospital. It wound up being an two stay…two days out of my life that I will never get back. It started with me arriving to work feeling good overall, but as the morning wore on, I began to experience symptoms of being light headed, chronic nausea, fatigue and erratic heart palpitations.
After a two day stay and multiple tests, it was determined that my blood pressure was too low. Simple diagnosis right? And why wasn’t I relieved? Because I had spent the last ten plus years being treated for hyper-tension and had been taking multiple medications to keep it under control. My doctor was so happy to get my blood pressure down from the numbers that they at one time had been that we never stopped to consider that perhaps he had done too good a job.
I didn’t know that having your blood pressure too low could be just as detrimental as having it too high. For years, I had been taking medications to bring my blood pressure down because I have a family history of hyper-tension. But in the course of treating this ailment, I found myself experiencing symptoms of other ailments that I may or may not have had. To this day, I’m not sure because I am only now being re-evaluated by my doctors…doctors that I put my trust in everyday.
I also want to go on record by saying that simply because I found out that I was being over-medicated doesn’t mean that the physicians treating me prescribed medications with the intention of harming me. Maybe all of the doctors didn’t communicate with one another or maybe I as the patient didn’t give all of my doctors all of the information necessary to make a proper diagnosis.
Doctor’s can only process the information that you provide to them. It is not their job to cross reference your medical history with other physicians when you come to them complaining of symptoms that may be reflective of a serious medical condition. Or is it? Is it their staff’s responsibility to reach out to your other doctors who may be prescribing you any other medications? What if the symptoms that you are exhibiting are a side effect of a medication that you may have been previously prescribed?
In my particular case, I thought that my bouts of lethargy and listlessness was because I was getting older…perhaps I was depressed. I would never have attributed it to something as simple as low blood pressure. So do I need to take medication for depression? Probably not. Do I need to take additional medication to help increase my energy? It’s doubtful. Only time will tell. But one thing is for sure. Since we know that doctors will write you a prescription in the time that it will take to bat an eye, it may be in your best interest to tell your doctor everything that you are taking and the reason why you are taking it. This sounds like a no-brainer, but believe it or not, most of us taking multiple medications have trouble remembering what we are taking when we fill out the form requesting a detailed listing of all of the prescriptions that we have in our medicine cabinet.
70 percent of Americans are taking some type of medication at any given time which translates to billions of dollars going into the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry. Medicine is indeed big business. We all know this. What I am telling you is it may behoove you to rely as much on yourself as you do on your family practitioner when it comes to your health care, otherwise, you may wind up losing two days of your life to an stay in the hospital that may not be needed…or worse.
~ J.L. Whitehead