BP and Magnum

The end of another week and half way through the weekend. Four weeks til Christmas and lots to do.

Saw the cardiologist again on Monday evening and he gave me both an electrocardiograph and an echocardiograph. Obviously, he too could see the odd “Q” spike in my trace.

His examination of my eyes on the Friday had demonstrated that I have had high blood pressure for some time (years…) as shown by a couple of veins on the retina which cross. If you have high blood pressure, one of them squashes the other and constricts it. The echo proved that this is indeed the case. Watching the heart beat, seeing the blood flow in and out and the valves flapping around is an amazing thing to see.

The part of the heart that divides the two main chambers is the septum and if you have had high BP for a long time this tends to thicken. Mine has thickened and this means that the heart isn’t working quite as it should. The answer, of course, is to reduce the BP and this damage can be reversed. So that sounds like a plan. I asked what would happen if I didn’t reduce my blood pressure and he said that I eventually would suffer a massive heart attack – but that the stroke would probably get me first. This is a consultant I can do business with.

In order to assess how bad my BP is, he gave me the 24 hour monitor, which is an interesting experience, especially at night, or in meetings. I’m sure this one was faulty, as on one cycle, my hand went red and my fingernails blue – I was “that” close to taking it off, before the pressure dropped.

On Friday, I went to get the results, which were as bad as I thought they would be. This means that the plan is to get down to less than 80 kg and cut out the alcohol, as he had advised last week. In the meantime, he’s given me a prescription for BP reducing tablets, to prevent any more damage to my heart and he wants to see me again in 6 months or so.

Today, I have been to London to attend a symposium organised by the photography agency “Magnum”.  Organised to celebrate the release of their book of contact sheets and discuss their demise, it was very interesting. There were some very good speakers, and it was a worthwhile trip, but the venue was terrible. It was a college building in Elephant and Castle. The projector they were using was terrible, the lights in the lecture theatre couldn’t be adjusted properly and the amplification wasn’t great, especially when the speakers didn’t know how to use a microphone.

Notwithstanding these problems, I’m glad I made the effort and will get the contact sheet book out again tomorrow. Looking forward to getting home.

Finally, this month’s maintenance has been put back a week due to the strike that’s on the 30th November.. Not very pleased, I have to say…

4 thoughts on “BP and Magnum”

  1. Haven't been on your site for a whiile Andy. Your medical descriptions are very clear and concise. You seem to take it so calmly. Several of my friends are on BP tablets – all apparently successfully. One of them told me last week that his cholestrol count was 14.8 but statins had cut it to 5. There seem to be a lot of modern treatments for BP and blood conditions that weren't around just twenty years ago. Hope everything works out well. P.s what camera are you now using. Last time it was a Nikon ? with a Leica lens.

  2. Giving up all alcohol is easy if the alternatives are sufficiently worrisome. I did it in June 2006 on medical advice. I still miss a glass of good red wine but hey, it's not the end of the world. I have dropped about 30lbs and my knees are very grateful. I also did the 24hr monitor but for atrial fibrillation and I now take blood thinners each day. You have great spirit and courge, Andy. I'm sure you will do fine. I have a regular biopsy and the prognosis is ok. Fingers crossed for you.

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