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Transplant Athlete
Sunday, July 10, 2005
  Blood Pressure

I have had lots of problems controlling my blood pressure this year. In the past (hypertension has only been an issue since my kidneys started failing in '97), the exercise that I have done has been enough to keep it under control. But earlier this year, as I rode longer and longer rides, my blood pressure exceeded 150/100 on a regular basis, which is reaching Stage 1 and Stage 2 Hypertension.

I've cut out salt and added more bananas and fruit to my diet. I eat plenty of soy protein. Doctor's also recommend weight loss as a way to lower blood pressure, but I'm not carrying any excess fat (I'm at the bottom end of the healthy fat zone), so that's out of the question. My only recourse is medication. Earlier this year I was put on Cozaar which controlled my blood pressure, but elevated my liver enzymes. My doctor's say that is an early sign that my liver was being damaged.

So I was taken off Cozaar and put on the Catapress Patch. This was the only thing that controlled my blood pressure as my kidneys failed prior to my transplant. However, the patch was ineffective. I was then switched to ProCardia which worked, but...

There is a side effect of Cozaar that makes it more desireable for kidney transplant patients, it lowers proteinuria and in studies, it "reduces the occurence of sustained doubling of serum creatinine". Basically, the screen in the kidney (Glomeruli) lets wastes out and keeps proteins in, inflammation of the glomeruli called glomerulonephritis leads to proteinuria - excess protein in the urine. So, a drug that lowers proteinuria, must be relieving inflammation.

My doctors switched me from ProCardia to Diovan, a "kissing cousin" of Cozaar according to my doctor. This helped lower my blood pressure up to RAAM and presumably gave me the same benefits of Cozaar, but now that I'm back and my activity level has dropped, my blood pressure has creeped back up. I had to call my doctor and they increased my dosage of Diovan. I had blood work done early last week and I will post the results soon.

Speaking of high blood pressure, I had a BBQ yesterday to celebrate our triumphant RAAM finish and I was a bit worried about the team interaction. Jacques said that he had kicked Chris Beams (the NBC camera guy) out of the minivan for the last 60 miles of RAAM because he thought we were going to implode. Everybody got along and there was some talk about racing next year. Martin wants to race the 2 person RAAM. I think if he didn't get enough sleep in 4 person RAAM he's going to be in for a big surprise in 2 person RAAM. To be competitive in the two person division, I think their pulls are 4 hours long, not 12.

Mike will only do this again if he can ride. Which is really a shame. He kept me going late nights while he was hopped up on Red Bull.

On a final note, we will be donating blood as a team in about two weeks to fulfill our mission. Now if only I could get one of them to donate a kidney...

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Comments:
Howdy, in response to you going onto Diovan, especially the dosis mentioned.

I when't on to Diovan and my AST and ALT levels shot through the roof. Since coming off it, it seems to be going down again. Check your AST and ALT levels. Has anyone else had these effects ?
I would appreciate any comments or links to be mailed to doenut2512@yahoo.co.uk
 
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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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Warning Signs for Kidney Disease:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Burning or Difficulty when Urinating
  • Frequent Urination at Night
  • Blood in your urine
  • Cola or tea colored urine
  • Swellig of the eyes, ankles, or feet
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