The paperwork never ends The Archives
December 16-31, 2001 Archive Index

Scott T's 12-17 reply to Dorothy P's 12-15     how long till meds kick in?
Jon's 12-17 reply to Scott T's 12-17     CHF meds kicking in
Pat L's 12-17 reply to Cate's 12-11     severe itching causing bleeding
Dawn 12-17     seek experience of heart transplant recipients
Charles S' 12-17 reply to Rhonda's 12-13     doctors must look beyond appearance
Bill D's 12-17 reply to Scott T's 12-17     eating out and sodium
Jon's 12-17 reply to Bill D's 12-17     eating out and sodium
Sharon 12-18     seek ablation experiences
Judi 12-18     chemical stress test questions & more
Jon's 12-18 reply to Judi's 12-18     Cardizem
Donna 12-18     magnesium questions
Jon 10-21     page updates
Mark F 10-21     is there a live CHF chat?
Fred D's 12-21 reply to Judi's 12-18     chemical stress test experience
Pat M's 12-21 reply to Judi's 12-18     chemical stress test experience
Phyllis W 12-22     had a heart transplant!
Davida S' 12-22 reply to Judi's 12-18     chemical stress tests
Pat M's 12-22 reply to Judi's 12-18     chemical stress tests
Ruthie A's 12-22 reply to Judi's 12-18     chemical stress tests
Jon's 12-22 reply to Judi's 12-18     chemical stress tests
Rob C 12-22     should I be tested again?
Rob C 12-22     should my Coreg dose be higher? How high?
Jon's 12-22 reply to Rob C's 12-22     target dose
Bill D's 12-22 reply to Phyllis W's 12-22     did something go wrong?
Jon 12-22     page updates
Jon 12-24     page update
Ruthie A 12-24     Christmas CHF, note to Lasix takers
Joseph P's 12-24 reply to Rob C's 12-22     drug doses
Gino's 12-24 reply to Jon's 12-22     cardiac stress tests
Ann 12-24     seek Medigap policy comments & suggestions
Donna S 12-24     update, should I see a cardiologist?
Nikos K's 12-26 reply to Rob C's 12-22     drug dose
Bill B 12-26     miracles happen
Sheryl's 12-27 reply to Judi's 12-18     tests are just boring - relax
Brandy's 12-27 reply to Bill B's 12-26     same condition, different result
Harold S 12-28     how to tell what causes cough?
Jon's 12-28 reply to Harold S' 12-28     causes of cough
Scott B's 12-28 reply to Rob C's 12-22     Coreg dose experience
Scott B 12-28     questions - side effects, chest pains & more
Autumn 12-28     echo report question
Nancy S 12-29     ICD problems
Tracey C 12-29     how do I deal with constipation?
Karen K's 12-31 reply to Tracey C's 12-29     constipation remedies
Linda's 12-31 reply to Tracey C's 12-29     constipation remedies
Doris R 12-31     ACE inhibitor question
Jon's 12-31 reply to Doris R's 12-31     ACE inhibitors
Marc S 12-31     need CHFers' input
Karen K's 12-31 reply to Linda's 12-31     flax seed oil & more
Joshua's 12-31 reply to Nancy S' 12-29     ICDs - getting zapped

Scott T's December 17 reply to Dorothy P's December 15, 2001 - Hi Dorothy and all, Let me start by saying that due to a change in insurance where I work I am forced to see my PCP untill the first of the year. After that I have an appointment with a doc at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis who is part of a team that specializes in CHF.
     After a bad day this past Wednesday I went in to see my PCP and he increased my Lasix and Coreg doses (doubled) because I had stomach edema, SOB, and palpitations. I have not felt right since. Today I felt well enough to go out to dinner with my wife. I had chicken, baked potato, corn and salad, no salt. Now I feel just horrible again with palpitations, SOB, bloat and both sides of my neck are throbbing.
     How long should one wait for a dose change to take effect ? I started all meds 10 days ago, after a cath was used to diagnose me. Thanks for any advice anyone can give, and I hope all have a happy holiday season. Scott.

Jon's December 17 reply to Scott T's December 17, 2001 - Hi Scott, Lasix helps immediately but ACE inhibitors take at least a few months to really make their difference felt and beta-blockers take a bit longer yet for most CHFers. Aldactone works in concert with your ACE inhibitor and might speed the improvement it causes. In concert with good diet and exercise, starting meds for the first time might take 8 weeks overall to begin to show an effect and 6 months to really start bringing you up. Of course, that varies from person to person and with cause of CHF, physical conditioning when diagnosed, etc,... Jon.

Pat L's December 17 reply to Cate's December 11, 2001 - Hi Cate and everyone, I started having similar subcutaneous bleeding and also bleeding on the skin, from unbearable itching for which I was scratching during the night. I looked up the side effects of all the meds I was on and determined that it could be Lasix or a combination of that and other drugs. I spoke to my primary care doc and she prescribed Zyrtec, an antihistamine. I have had no itching or scratching since. It might be worth a little detective work on your part to see if one of your meds is doing it, Pat.

Dawn, December 17, 2001 - Hi, I just found this site. I am very new to world of the computers and am just learning what can be found online. I was told I had IDCM in August of 1997and would eventually need a transplant. I suffered with many of the symptoms I have read about tonight. I had to go on the list in mid-October this year and my heart became available on December 15, 2000. Since my transplant I have been able to return to many of my old activities, although I still don't have the stamina I used to have.
     I am trying to stop using prednisone and was wondering if anyone who else has been through this could tell me what side effects they went through. I hope each and every one has a wonderful holiday season.

Charles S' December 17 reply to Rhonda's December 13, 2001 - Hi Rhonda, I never swelled up like the Pillsbury dough boy. I don't swell at all. One of my worst episodes happened in the hospital an hour after the nurse had listened to my lungs and I had had an x-ray 3 hours before. I went into major distress and they took 10 pounds of fluid off me very quickly. At one point when I was hospitalized the PCP took me off Lasix and when the cardiologist found out - from my wife - that I had been off Lasix for 3 days, he had a fit because I show no advance sign of fluid buildup. I never looked sick. Before seeing my test results none of the doctors thought I was that bad and I was in fact in end-stage failure.
     Do not let looks determine your medical care. Find someone who will keep looking for an answer, Charles.

Bill D's December 17 reply to Scott T's December 17, 2001 - Hi Scott, You said you ate chicken, baked potato, corn and salad, no salt. I'll bet the chicken was injected with salt. They probably boiled the corn in water with salt. I don't know with your potato. Dining out is the big problem! Bill D.

Jon's December 17 reply to Bill D's December 17, 2001 - Hiya Bill, You're on the ball. In Success With Heart Failure on page 76, Doc Silver says that many salad bars spray saltwater solution on the salad bar ingredients to make them stay fresh-looking longer! Chickens are indeed injected with salt solution to make them moister after cooking; it's actually considered a good restaurant practice - they teach it in cooking schools!
     Also, many preservatives are mainly sodium or sodium-based, including sodium alginate, sodium sulfite, sodium caseinate, disodium phosphate, sodium benzoate, and sodium hydroxide. These all count toward our daily sodium intake. Eating at home is tricky and eating out is trickier yet. Jon.

Sharon, December 18, 2001 - Hello All, Thank you for your advice! I had gained 4 lbs of water in a week. After the first day I did feel a bit better but the huge, um, water rush from the Lasix is over now. I really don't see anymore difference. Yesterday I tried to go to the library. I wasn't carrying my books and my husband drove, and once I was in the door I was too tired to stand. This is so strange. Edema lightly in the evening. I am really tired. I have called the nurse and am waiting for a reply.
     Here are my questions for today. Who has had the ablation procedure and do you feel less palpitations, PVCs, and tachycardias? Do you feel stronger now? How can you tell if there is edema in my stomach area? The depression test? Thanks.

Judi, December 18, 2001 - Hi everyone, This is the second time I am writing and wish to thank everyone for their responses to my first questions about edema. Lasix has brought this well under control and I feel much better. I went to the doctor yesterday, who said I am doing better but he wants me to take a stress test where they inject me with something. He said it takes about 3 1/2 hours and also said it was nuclear. Has anyone had this and can anyone explain what it is? What is the procedure, does it hurt, does it help?
     He also put me on Cardizone (I think) to help lower my blood pressure as it seems to go up when my doctor comes into the room. Any advice anyone can give me on the stress test will be much appreciated. He is alo trying to build up my heart with digoxin (Lanoxin) since I have atrial fibrillation as well and wants to try yet another cardioversion. I had one with no success.
     Thanks for your help in everything. I wish everyone a healthy and happy Christmas and the very best for the new year.

Jon's December 18 reply to Judi's December 18, 2001 - Hi Judi, I'm too tired to go into stress tests but I am sure others can help with your questions on that. The drug you name is probably Cardizem, which is a calcium channel blocker (it may be something else - you should find out for sure!). Calcium channel blockers are not generally wise for a CHFer to take and if you take one, it might be better to take amlodipine. See, and also the New CHF Drugs page. Jon.

Donna, December 18, 2001 - Hi, I hope you are all pacing yourself this holiday season. I am - I don't even have my tree up yet. I am shooting for tomorrow. My husband and I both have CHF so when I'm doing well he usually isn't and vice versa. He's having a problem now - syncope! The doctor put him on a 24 hour Holtor monitor and it came off today. He also did some blood work and found that his magnesium is on the low side of normal. The doc ordered 500mg magnesium for him and we will get them tomorrow. He says that low magnesium can cause passing out. Has anyone had any experience with this? What should we know about this? Everyone have a wonderful holiday.

Jon, December 21, 2001 - Hi everyone, The following pages on my site have been updated:

  1. Ace Inhibitors
  2. New CHF Meds
  3. CHF Text Files
  4. Read The Manual
  5. Transplant Update
  6. Jon's bio


Mark F, December 21, 2001 - Hi, Is there is a live chat forum where I can discuss issues with those who are more knowledgable about CHF than I?

Fred D's December 21 reply to Judi's December 18, 2001 - Hi Judi, I had this done a couple of months ago. I believe it is called a thallium stress test. What is involved is that they install an IV and administer thallium. You then are placed on a table and a camera or whatever goes around you taking pictures. There is no pain unless IVs bother you. The worst part is lying on your back with your arms above your head for what seems to be an eternity. I am a little fuzzy about this but I think that I had to do this twice.
     They then have you do the old treadmill until you start to have chest pain and they once again administer the radioactive material. Okay, that was when the second photo shoot occurred - sorry about that. I do not enjoy treadmills, especially when they have you go until you think you are going to expire and then tell you to continue for 5 minutes more. It does take a long time to do all this. You will survive, and it is not the worst test I have had to deal with. That would be the old "blood gas" test, which I think could be used to extract information from enemy spies. Good luck and merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Pat M's December 21 reply to Judi's December 18, 2001 - Hi Judi, I had the chemical stress test 3 weeks ago. Mine was called cardiolite. They put a little IV port in my vein, then brought me into a room where they connected me up to a monitor. A sodium chloride drip was started as I lay down on the cot. The cardiologist came in and his nurse. He sat at the TV console and watched as she injected the cardiolite, in increments of 4 minutes each through the port. In my case I went into acute difficulty breathing and they stopped the test with an antidote, also given through the IV port. It is a perfusion test to see how your pump is working and if there might be a blockage.

Phyllis W, December 22, 2001 - Hi, I used to post on this web site some, so I thought I would let every one know that I had a heart transplant on August 26 and have finally returned home.

Davida S' December 22 reply to Judi's December 18, 2001 - Hi Judi, I had a friend that had the chemical stress test. It encourages your body to mimic a physical stress test. There was no treadmill involved. Her heart started pumping hard and her breathing became heavier. She said it was like running a marathon and she is not a marathon runner. Have your doctor explain in detail to you what experiences you can expect. It's hard to say which test you are speaking of but it's probably either this one or the thallium test which puts you on the treadmill, as they watch radioactive dye pump through your system and check for blockages.

Pat M's December 22 reply to Judi's December 18, 2001 - Hi Judi, I did forget to tell you they will take those pictures. The reason the test takes so long is that you will have a lunch break between the stress part of the test and the resting part of test. They want a study of your heart at rest as well as under stress. I could not do the treadmill so I only had the chemical IV for it. Yes it is a nuclear test. God bless you. You will do fine, Pat M.

Ruthie A's December 22 reply to Judi's December 18, 2001 - Hi Judy, In addition to what the others have already described, when the radioactive material is injected don't be nervous when you see how it is handled. The technician will most likely wear big, heavy gloves and carry the syringe of the radioactive stuff in a lead box or jar. It can kind of freak you out if you are not prepared, since they are going to put that radioactive stuff in your IV! Don't worry though, it is not harmful to you unless you are allergic to it. The precautions are for the technician's protection. He handles radioactive stuff all day every day and exposure must be kept to a minimum. So when you have your test don't be frightened. It's not easy - that's why they call it a stress test - but you can get through it. We all have survived one or two of them, even with the radioactive material. Ruthie A.

Jon's December 22 reply to Judi's December 18, 2001 - Hi everyone, I think what is generally meant by a chemical stress test is a test that uses a chemical instead of exercise. The chemical infusion mimics the effects of exercise on your heart. This does not usually require getting on a treadmill or stationary bicycle. Different people react very differently to this kind of cardiovascular stress test, which is used for people who simply cannot exercise, for whatever reason (back problems, etc,...).
     Some people are writing to describe theMUGA, which is not strictly a stress test, being rather more complex than that. We tend to confuse different tests that all examine heart response using radioactive materials. However, the "simple" chemical stress test stimulates the heart to mimic exercise. It gives results that would normally be obtained by just walking the treadmill in a healthier patient, with no nuclear (gamma) camera used. I'll get more specific in case I am just confusing the issue. ;-)
     Some patients get only the "exercise" part of the stress test without the "imaging" part, to see how you respond to "exercise." Dobutamine, dipyridamole (Persantine), or Adenosine is often used to stimulate the heart to act like it is doing real exercise in this test. These are not radioactive materials.
     Other patients get both "parts" of the test to see how you respond to the chemically-induced exercise and also to see how well your coronary arteries supply blood to your heart muscle. This is a "nuclear" or "thallium" stress test. It often uses Cardiolite (sestamibi), MyoView (tetrofosmin), or thallium, which are radioactive. If your doctor tells you to eat and drink nothing for 4 to 6 hours before the test, it is probably the nuclear version. This is sometimes called SPECT and does involve taking "resting" and "stressed" readings with a slack period of several hours in between.
     Hey Gino, if you're reading, feel free to jump in here. <g> Jon.

Rob C, December 22, 2001 - Hi, In May of 2001 at age 36 I checked into the hospital and was diagnosed with CHF and an EF of 25%. Although I've seen regular doctor several times and a cardio doc once since then I've not had any additional EF, echo or other testing beyond blood testing. Should I ask the cardio for those additional tests again? It seems like sufficient time has passed for meds and diet to have taken effect on my heart for better or worse, doesn't it? Thanks to drug companies and possibly diet changes (I lost 20 lbs and lowered sodium inatke) at least I made it to age 37 and hopefully more. Thanks for the good information on this site.

Rob C, December 22, 2001 - Hi, I have a question if anyone knows. I currently take 6.25mg Coreg twice a day but read recently the ideal and most effective dose is higher. Should I attempt to get the cardio doctor to continue to increase my dose gradually? If so, to what level, if there is such a thing generally? I'd like to take more if I can tolerate it and if it would be helpful for my heart. Thanks.

Jon's December 22 reply to Rob C's December 22, 2001 - Hi, Have you seen the target dose page? It might help. Jon.

Bill D's December 22 reply to Phyllis W's December 22, 2001 - Hi Phyllis, You just returned home? What went wrong? Four months and 2 weeks in the hospital?! Bill D.

Jon, December 22, 2001 - Hi everyone, The Heartbytes page has been updated. Jon.

Jon, December 24, 2001 - Hi everyone, Until Christmas is over, I may not get completely caught up on posts (my daughter is home). I have added a wallpaper. Jon.

Ruthie A, December 24, 2001 - Hi, Merry Christmas to all! Last year hubby was unemployed, we had no health insurance, and we were homeless - Christmas was pretty depressing. This year hubby has a job, we have insurance (but with pre-existing conditions of course), and we have our own apartment to celebrate Christmas in. So what do I do? I go into heart failure and my CHF doc wants to put me in Club Med for a couple of days. Because of pre-existing conditions, I talked her out of it, saying I would be good and do what I would be doing in the hospital. I have been so tired this week that obedience to doc's instructions has been simple. I have been sleeping 16 to 20 hours a day so bed rest is not tough. It's getting up that's difficult! Anyway, this Christmas is going to be a quiet, restful one for us since I am still recovering.
     On a different note, Merck Pharmaceuticals has put production of Edecrin (ethecrynic acid) on hold for at least 12 months. There is a possibility it will not be produced any more at all. For those of us with sulfa allergies who need diuretics, this news comes as a huge shock. My pharmacist sent a message to his collegues all over the country asking for any spare Edecrin to be sent here for me. For now I have a 10-month supply at my disposal.
     In the meantime I have begun desensitization treatment for liquid Lasix (what they give to babies who need Lasix) and all appears to be going as expected. It is a dangerous venture because of my reaction to sulfa, but we have hopes that this will work. If not, at least we have time to find another solution. So thank God my friends, if you are able to take Lasix or any other sulfa-based drug. You have been given a great gift, Ruthie A.

Joseph P's December 24 reply to Rob C's Decemner 22, 2001 - Hi Rob, I am taking 25mg 2 times a day. I am told this is the right level for me. Trying to self-medicate is very dangerous. If you don't have faith in your doc, get a new one. Good luck, Joe.

Gino's December 24 reply to Jon's December 22, 2001 - Ciao Judy, Jon and all other friends, Judy's letter is too general and the topic of "stress test" so huge that it is difficult for me to be brief in answer. Jon, your letter explained well the rationale of the stress test. I'll add little other things:

  1. the stress test usually used is nuclear SPECT or "stress echocardiography"
  2. why use a pharmacological (drug) stress test? Physical inability to make a strong effort is the most common reason; another reason may be the presence of a left bundle branch block (very common in CHF). In this case to search for myocardial ischemia (reduced blood flow to the heart) it is preferable use dypiridamole (persantine) to avoid problems in interpreting the ECG and effort ECG + SPECT nuclear scan results of the LBBB itself and high heart rate provoked by effort using dobutamine or atropine.

For CHFers another stress test that is gaining a very big interest is echo with dobutamine infusion using crescent dosage infusion. This test is more available than MUGA and may offer very important information. At a low dose of dobutamine, we can measure the ability of "hibernating" heart muscle to improve its ability to contract (i.e., to assess the myocardial "viability" and the "inotropic reserve"); at higher dose, dobutamine may help us measure the presence of ischemia (coronary artery blockages) in some parts of the heart.
     I hope to be "understandable." To go onto more detail, I need more data from the posters. :-) Buon Natale e Felice Anno nuovo a tutti! (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everybody) Gino.

Ann, December 24, 2001 - Hi, Does anyone out there know of a Medigap or other policy that covers dental care? I'm on SSDI with DCM and the meds are bad for the old Mondo teeth scene here! I did see the list of Medigap insurance ideas, but wondered what programs anyone out there might be on, before calling them all.

Donna S, December 24, 2001 - Hi All, It's been a few weeks since I've written. My doc, a pulmonary specialist, diagnosed me with diastolic dysfunction, and put me on Lasix and potassium. He told me that I do not have CHF, which confused me, but is okay with me. My cough was caused by chronic bronchitis (I don't smoke) and he prescribed Prednisone. The cough is about gone and he's slowly reducing the prednisone but he said that I will always need to take the Lasix and potassium. I'm tempted to just leave it at that. Does that sound right to y'all or should I make a special point to see a cardiologist? I really like my pulmonary specialist. He's done so much to try to find out what's wrong with me. Thanks so much for your support when I first received my diagnosis!
Jon's note: Would you send you car to a transmission shop to get a new paint job? See a cardiologist.

Nikos K's December 26 reply to Rob C's December 22, 2001 - Hi Rob, I take 12.5mg twice a day according to my doctor's advice. The rest hold as Joseph suggests.

Bill B, December 26, 2001 - Hi all, Happy holidays. A good friend of mine has an aunt in Oklahoma. She was doing laundry and passed out. Her husband called 911 and she was rushed to the hospital where they found that her aorta had split open, which is usually fatal. She is doing well and now has a metal aorta. The docs there have no idea how she survived except for it being a miracle so miracles do happen and I just wanted to share this one with you all. God bless, Bill B.

Sheryl's December 27 reply to Judi's December 18, 2001 - Hi, I have never had a complication from any of my tests, as I'm sure it is with most people. Mostly they are just boring. Be as relaxed as you can be about taking any of the tests. Being tense always increases discomfort. Learn to meditate. Concentrate on your breathing, slowly and regularly. Think of what relaxes you the most. For me it is being on a raft in the ocean. I don't walk away with a tan but it does help pass the time.

Brandy's December 27 reply to Bill B's December 26, 2001 - Hey Bill, That is amazing! I had an aquaintance die immediately of an aortic aneurysm split - your friend's aunt is very lucky! I'm in Oklahoma also, if they need anything. Take care, Brandy.

Harold S, December 28, 2001 - Hi, Between 1985 and 2001 I had 4 heart attacks and a double by-pass. In July of 2001, I got CHF for the second time. Tests confirmed severe left-side heart damage. This month I got a dry cough, turning "looser." Has anyone had enough experience with this to tell the differences between a "heart failure cough", an "ACE inhibitor cough", and a "normal cold or flu cough"?

Jon's December 28 reply to Harold S' December 28, 2001 - Hi Harold, I hope others also reply. Here's what I know: A heart failure cough usually gets worse if you lie down flat without pillows, or even sometimes with pillows. That's one way to identify that type cough. An ACE inhibitor cough gets better when you switch to an ARB (usually). That's about the only way to be sure on ACE cough - stop the ACE inhibitor on a plan with your CHF doctor. Jon.

Scott B's December 28 reply to Rob C's December 22, 2001 - Hi Rob, I have been on Coreg since I was diagnosed with CHF in August. I am class 4. I need to be reassessed in February but I am much improved. I take 25mg Coreg twice daily. I am a strapping lad, so in February he will raise me to 50mg twice daily (I am over 187 lbs). The dosage can usually be doubled every 2 weeks as long as you can tolerate the increase.
     The main problem with the Coreg is how sleepy I get. I would sleep until noon if I didn't have to work. At noon I'm still sleepy so I can sleep until 4:00 PM (which I do on occasion). Physically, I feel pretty good (strong) but I don't feel like exercising because I am so tired. Once I get started though, I'm okay.
     To everyone who has a problem tolerating Coreg, I would suggest hanging in there for a month to give your body a chance to get use to the dosage. Heart function usually becomes worse before it gets better. I found 6.25mg to 12.5mg and 12.5mg to 25mg tough leaps. I really believe this stuff really helps so I have been giving it a chance and it has paid off. During the adjustment periods, shortness of breath was my worst problem, along with some annoying chest pains. I hope this is helpful for all those Coreg takers (sufferers) out there, Scott B from Canada.

Scott B, December 28, 2001 - Hi, I have been feeling relatively good about my CHF recently. My condition seems to be improved. Today while I was talking on the phone, I started to feel extreme anxiety in the middle of a normal conversation with a friend. It felt like a shot of adrenalin. I felt lightheaded for a second, then back to normal like nothing happened. I recall having this happen quite a bit several years ago. I used to think it was panic attacks. Now I'm sure it is related to my DCM, but I'm not sure what this is. Is this a palpitation?
     Also, I am on 10mg Altace a day. For the first few months I would always get lightheaded for a few seconds after I stood up from laying flat. Now, this rarely happens any longer. When I speak to other Altace users they still get the side effect. Can your body adapt?
     Finally, how many people with DCM have annoying chest pains? Not really terrible pains but annoying cramp-like pains. Is this part of reshaping the heart? It happens less frequently now, but it still happens. Thanks for any help on these matters, Scott B.

Autumn, December 28, 2001 - Hi Jon and All, I just got a copy of my echocardiogram. Things have improved quite a bit since I have been on CPAP treatment for my apnea. It was a very pleasant surprize. I do have a question. I cannot find anywhere where it shows my EF on the echo report. Is it ever listed in some other terms? I switched networks October first and the echo form here is quite different. Thanks. Autumn.

Nancy S, December 29, 2001 - Hi everyone, I wanted to reply to an e-mail that Lee sent me. I had to reformat my pooter before I could answer and lost the address. Thanks for the information and encouragement about the shocking feelings I'm having from the ICD. It's still happening and I'm going to make an appointment with my CHF doctor this week. I called and they told me to wait about a week and see if it keeps happening and if so to call them back and they will arrange with Medtronics to have someone there and the doctor see me at the same time. I hope they can find out what the problem is because it's rather frightening even though it doesn't hurt a lot. I hope everyone has a wonderful new year and that you all stick to your resolutions. I don't make them anymore because I never keep them. ;-)

Tracey C, December 29, 2001 - Hi everyone, I hate to bring up constipation but here it goes. I've drastically cut down on my water the last month and in turn have become constipated, which has now given me hemorrhoids. The worst part is not being able to strain. I went to purchase Preparation H and it said not to use if you have high blood pressure. Mine is controlled by the ACE inhibitor but I wasn't sure if I wanted to risk it. Does anyone else here use it with no side effects? Also, does anyone use an over the counter stool softener, not laxative? Any response would be greatly appreciated. Have a wonderful and safe new year, Tracey.

Karen K's December 31 reply to Tracey C's December 29, 2001 - Hello Traci, You might want to try either Metamucil or FiberCon for your constipation. Both are mixed with a small amount of water and you drink the mixture. I used it for diarrhea but it is also a remedy for constipation, Karen.

Linda's December 31 reply to Tracey C's December 29, 2001 - Hi Tracey, My daughter had a gastric bypass and was having trouble with constipation. Her doctor advised using flaxseed. It seems to have helped her. I would always ask my physician first. I am having the reverse type of trouble. Since starting Aldactone (spironolactone) I have had stomach pain and cramps, and sometimes diarrhea. Today, I had a stool of bright red blood. It just had to happen over the holidays when everyone is on break. Happy, healthy new year to all. Linda O, age 62, EF 24.

Doris R, December 31, 2001 - Hello Jon and everyone at The Beat. I have a question concerning Ace inhibitors. I was taking Vasotec to control my high blood pressure, then I lost my insurance and due to financial impact, my pharmacist suggested enalapril. My doc said it was okay. Is enalapril an Ace inhibitor? For 2002 and beyond, I bid you all kindness, joy, love, and happiness, Doris R.

Jon's December 31 reply to Doris R's December 31, 2001 - Hi Doris, Enalapril is the generic form of Vasotec. ;-) Jon.

Marc S, December 31, 2001 - (From Dr. Marc Silver, author of Success With Heart Failure) Hi, I've committed to my publisher to update my book with a March 2002 deadline. I'd appreciate a list from you and your readers of any topics and areas you would like to see covered/addressed/expanded in the next edition. Thanks! Marc S. (e-mail address withheld by Jon)

Karen K's December 31 reply to Linda's December 31, 2001 - Hello, I have a comment regarding flax seed. I started taking flax seed oil capsules (one a day) and successfully lowered my cholesterol by 20 points. I've also added fish oil capsules (two per day) to my cocktail of meds. Both flax seed and fish oil contain omega 3 fatty acids, which are supposed to be good for one's health. I'm not sure if the capsules would accomplish the same thing as actual flax seed when it comes to constipation, Karen.

Joseph P's December 31 reply to Nancy S' December 29, 2001 - Hi Nancy, I have an ICD too and so far I have not been zapped by it. I live in the southern part of Illinois and I go to a electrophysiologist in St. Louis, Missouri for problems with my heart and ICD. The physician told me if I even think that I have been zapped to call and come in immediately and be checked out because something is not right. The doc I go to has all the equiptment to make the checks. If you live in the area of St. Louis area, e-mail me and I will give the name and phone number of my doctor. God bless and good luck, Joseph.

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