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Interesting Cases

Good numbers are not always best for you

A 90-year-old female patient had been seeing me for years for a variety of conditions.  She was overall healthy, physically capable, walked every day for blocks at a time, but her blood pressure was high, around 160-170 / 90 mmg and it fluctuated.  She had tried many medications for it but hadn’t found any that helped.  She was constantly switching MDs until she finally found one that could control her blood pressure and was able to stable the BP at 110/70 mmg.  She was very happy about this but soon after she began feeling extremely weak, light headed, and immediately asked her MD to change the medication she was on.  The MD refused to change her medication due to her age, plus she had taken so many medications prior to finding the right one that he did not believe any other medication could help her.  I told her that at this point her blood pressure wasn’t the main cause of concern it was her loss of strength.  The fatigue and light-headedness stopped her from walking and being mobile.  Two-three months later she came back to see me.  She told me the reason why she hadn’t come sooner was because she was too weak to get out of bed.  She died soon after that.

I don’t know whether high blood pressure and walking every day is better for her than seemingly under control blood pressure and being sedative all day.  I have noticed that in elderly patients, for whatever reason, once they become physically inactive, they lose their strength very quickly even after a few months of non-activity.  In my opinion this is more dangerous than anything.