OT - BP Heads Up

It's about 3:30 am and just got back from the hospital.
Neighbor, mother of three, will, five hours from now, be having surgery to hopefully seal a leaking anurism in the middle of her brain. Though the odds of surviving the surgery are 2 out of 3, the Do Nothing Alternative is almost 100 percent fatal.
Had she been able to afford seeing a doctor 6 months ago when her blood pressure got into the 180/120 - and could afford the blood pressure medicine that would surely have prevented the current situation - she'd not be in ICU today, waiting to get a procedure that hopefullly will save her life.
So please - get your blood pressure checked - and if it's high - don't ignore the warning signs. Many pharmacies have a machine that you can use to check your BP for free - so there's no excuse for not using it.
And please realize that not being able to afford even basic health care - can be fatal.
charlie b
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[...]

The most insidious thing about high blood pressure is that there are NO OTHER SYMPTOMS. The only way to know that your BP is high, is to measure it.

There are many effective treatments for high blood pressure available as part of the $4/$10 generic drug program at Wal-Mart, Target, and several other retailers (one month's supply costs $4, three months is $10). And the best treatments for high blood pressure cost nothing: Exercise. Lose weight. Eat less salt.
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Doug Miller wrote:

Or, in this case, have a blood vessel in the brain begin leaking.

The problem is that these meds require a prescription - and some monitoring. THAT requires seeing a doctor three or four times a year. THAT requires money which requires prioritizing - food, utilities, gas, clothes - kids needs take precident over parent's needs. And while there's the illusion of a "safety net" - programs to help poor folks get medical access - the reality is that there are so many hurdles to overcome that the weeks and months and forms and applications and verification data and . . . can overwhelm someone already stretched thin - almost to the breaking point - or already broken. Even with an advocate, the illusion vs reality is daunting.
So - if you're poor - the emergency room IS your medical access. And by THAT time, prevention and health management, which in the long run is a hell of a lot less expensive, ain't an option. In this specific case it's a neuro-surgeon, a neuro-vascular-interventionist, an anasthesiologist and probably four surgery nurses, followed by at least 10 days in ICU followed by four or more days in Critical Care. That doesn't include the CT scan, the angiogramS, . . . Check Out Bill will be pushing a quarter million probably.
We seem to be a bit myopic when it comes to cost/benefit analysis.
If the $30K - $40K per inmate were spent on early intervention and education/training . . .
If there were clinics available to catch medical problems early on . . .
Anyway - thanks for the Walmart/Target etc. tip. May go a long ways towards preventing more high blood pressure problems, Now if only she had a doctor who would write the prescriptions . . .
I don't know how one resolves the "rights of the unborn" and the "preservation of life" for the terminally ill with the big concern gap for the period in between.
charlie b
ps - just learned that the brain surgery was successful. So far so good.
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Thank goodness.
Be aware that successful does not mean that there was no damage. But also be aware that the brain has a greater capacity to reroute around and recover from damage than was widely believed thirty years ago. But it takes lots of practice.
Best wishes for your neighbor.
--
FF



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On Mon, 18 Aug 2008 11:41:07 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

High BP is one of the "hard to see" problems, often having no obvious outward symptoms - some people who have been diagnosed are complacent and don't take their meds. This condition can also be genetic, with some people being much more likely to have the problem - even when they do all the right things.
While we have some incredible medical capabilities, as a nation we seem to use little common sense in the application of those capabilities. It's a "miracle" to expend $1,000,000 to save and rehabilitate an unrestrained DUI driver who injured/killed others, but those same $$ could have provided diagnosis & long term treatment for 1000 people with high BP who are harming no one and trying to care for a family. I consider anyone DUI as a potential perpetrator of first degree murder (doing omething "deliberately and with malice aforethought"), so maybe it's a good thing that it's not my place to make that call.
I'm one of the lucky ones with unusually good BP genes - it was 107/67 last week during the pre-op for back surgery. If only the genes for my Medicare-eligible spine were as good...
Surviving surgery is perhaps half the battle - hope charlieb's neighbor fares as well in her recovery.
John
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