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Head & Neck Radiation / BP

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5601
Joined: Apr 2009

Carotid sinus

Here is a problem that may or may not affect you at some point in your life; Damage to the Carotid sinus due to radiation of the Head and Neck. If you are having problems with too Hi or too Low of a blood pressure or maybe a mixed Hi & Low, you may want to just keep this web site in your files somewhere.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carotid_sinus

As most of you know my first radiation to the head & neck was 180rads for 35 treatments and 11 months later I had to do it all over again this time 120rads twice a day for 35 treatments. The side affects of all this are just now starting to show-up. I will keep you all posted if there is a treatment to repair the damage to the Carrotid Sinus, at lease now I know what is causing my blood pressure to fall so low.

Have a great day everyone

carolinagirl67's picture
carolinagirl67
Posts: 153
Joined: Jul 2009

Thank you for the information and my best to you with the long term side effects.
Peace be with you!
Donna

Greend's picture
Greend
Posts: 679
Joined: Feb 2010

Do you get light headed and/or faint at times?

janymac
Posts: 31
Joined: Feb 2010

Nearly missed this thread. Thanks Hondo - have plenty to chat about to Dr next time. My BP went up to 235/124 at one point a couple of days ago and still very high at 200/106 the rest of time so something is afoot. Take care - you must feel very faint at times with BP as low as yours.
I am getting acutely aware that I post too much. Must stop, but it has been good to be able to talk to people about who know exactly what it is all like - feel like a real hypchondriac some days and good to see that it is not all a figment of my imagination for last 8 years. Good luck to everyone.

debbiejeanne's picture
debbiejeanne
Posts: 2219
Joined: Jan 2010

janymac, no way can you post too much. That is what this site is for and we all appreciate the info or questions. If everyone felt like you, we'd get no info, so please, please keep posting. This is how we learn and most of us are like you, this is the only place we can go where people TURLY AND FULLY UNDERSTAND US!!!
Take care and God Bless,
Debbie

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2194
Joined: Nov 2009

Please, post away - and know that lots of people (who may never post) learn from your posts, and comments others make regarding your posts.

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5601
Joined: Apr 2009

I agree with Debbie, you can’t post too much; this is the only place we can get most of our information from. I was having a Kidney Stone removed yesterday and in getting ready for the surgery my blood pressure was running 179/ 112 and the nurse were all worried about it being too hi. I told them that it moves up and down and goes as low as 80/47 at times. One of the doctors came in while the nurse was talking about it, so I gave them my history of radiation and the doc said well that explain it, I ask him what do you mean, he said the Carotid Sinus is damaged, I said my Heart doc was telling me about an artery in my neck too, he left the room and came back 5 min later and gave me this web-site.

Take care

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5601
Joined: Apr 2009

This has been going on for the passed 6 to 8 months and gating worse, I told my Ocl doc about it and he said he is not sure what it is . A few weeks ago while working in the back yard I started getting light headed so my wife said let’s take your blood pressure, and when she did it was something like 90/55 but by this time I started to feel good, so no telling how low it got. A friend of mine is a Heart doc so I went to see him about it; he ran all kinds of test and could find nothing wrong with me except for the artery in the neck being blocked 40% on the side where all my radiation was done. So he believes that Carotid Sinus is also damaged by all the rad I had, problems now is what to do about it.

Take care

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5601
Joined: Apr 2009

Always glad to hear from you Thanks

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

thank you for the info, hondo. i am sorry to read of your recent battle with those nasty kidney stones. pain-ful! they think i passed one yrs ago. i wanted to post on the other thread, but i am having trouble getting threads to download that have a lot of posts. i have few windows of decent fast internet, and problems with the dsl most of the time. i suppose i should be greatful for any service since i am jackin my parents wireless. lol. you would think they would try and fix the problem, but no.

the nurses story cracked me up. good luck with all that.......

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5601
Joined: Apr 2009

I don’t recall ever having pain like this, my daughter told me Dad it is no different then having a baby, I look at her as said now we know why God gave it to woman and not men. lol

Don’t worry about jacking in on your parent’s wireless when my children come they take the wireless the computer and leave me holding the Mouse, we expect it

All the best to you

SASH's picture
SASH
Posts: 276
Joined: Apr 2006

Thanks for that info and I will be bringing it up with my GP when I see him next week as my BP has been running high for the past couple of years. Even my rad onc and surgeon have seen a rise in my bp. When I take it before leaving for work it is only slightly elevated, but skyrockets when at the doc's office.

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5601
Joined: Apr 2009

I have been telling my rad Doc about my low bp for months and he never once said anything about the possibly of it being caused by the radiation. If you mind let me know what your rad doc says about it.

All the best to you my Friend

denistd's picture
denistd
Posts: 481
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi Hondo. In May of 2008 I had a quadruple bypass, the main artery was 95% blocked (the nurses called the artery the "widowmaker", no heart damage. In December of 2008 I had 3 ministrokes, went to the ER after the 2nd and had one while in the ER, they discovered my carotid artery was 90% blocked so they operated on that and cleaned it out, no stroke damage,I then was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer in March of 2009. When all of my treatments were over, maybe a month after, I started to get dizzy spells when I stood up, the docs at Hershey Med did not tell me that my blood pressure was plummeting when I stood up, would go from 100 over 68 to 90 over 55. The dizzy spells would last only a minute or two
My GP had me come into his office twice a week, my red cell count was way low and I had lost 15lbs. The cardio made an appoint for me to have my carotids CT scanned. Carotids were fine. The dizziness slowly went away and is now just a memory. My GP says that the combination of Rads, chemo, red cells and weight loss were to blame. The cardio agrees and said that the radiation damaged my carotid a little but nothing to concern anyone. Denis

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5601
Joined: Apr 2009

Thanks for the up-date, my bp is dropping to 80/47 and like you said I get the dizziness along with the feeling faint spells, some times it last for up to an hour some times on a few min. The doc did say he found 40% blockage on the right side where the cancer was and most of the rad was done.

All the best to you my friend

denistd's picture
denistd
Posts: 481
Joined: Apr 2009

Hondo, it was my left side carotid that was blocked, the right side was 30% blocked and the doc said that is normal for somebody at my age and did nothing about it, the scan showed that that had not changed, apparently the left side carotid is the most critical. Denis

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 975
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Hondo and crew.

Apart from seeking medical help, I do know if you do have low blood pressure, it can quickly lead to fainting.

As such, if you feel faint or dizzy GET DOWN and get down fast. ie sit, crouch or lie down so you don't fall. Also important - is to get up slowly after sitting and rising from bed in the morning or during the night.

Often injuries from low BP related fainting falls is worse than having the condition itself.

Just some good old fashioned advice and precautions to pass on to friends here as I was told all this by my good old school Doc from home.

Regds to all
Scambuster

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5601
Joined: Apr 2009

I never thought about it like that but thanks for the advice, what I don’t want to do is to have another problem on top of the ones I already have.

Good advice my friend

SIRENAF42's picture
SIRENAF42
Posts: 204
Joined: Oct 2008

I never had issues with High or low blood pressure until have my radiation for sinus cancer. Since my treatment was over (16 months ago) it has been high than drops. Flunctuating. I worked on stress issues and dropped some weight, still nothing. Finally my doc put me on Lisonprol 10 mg a day to help regulate it. Now it stays at a good level, but sometimes it drops so low I just want to stay in bed cuase I get sooo dizzy and faint. I have an appt with a cardiologist on Thursday, I will have to ask him about this. Funny how someone can post something right when you need it. Very interesting. Dang cancer and its side effect just never goes away :(

janymac
Posts: 31
Joined: Feb 2010

Just to say started amlodipine today as my BP is still sky high. Am worried it is going to lower my BP too much if it drops, but will have to wait and see. Worst BP has been 235/127. Hope this sorts it as my head is always a bit sore, feel a bit sick and eyes blurry

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5601
Joined: Apr 2009

One of the things I love most about being part of CSN is the information we get.

I have been telling my Ocl doctor about my pb problem for months and he never would give me an answer as to why, all I can think is maybe he does not know. The first time I said something about low pb to my heart doctor he hit right on it. His problem right now is trying to figure out what to do with someone whose pb goes between 170/ 117 to as low as 80/47

I know about the dizzy all-day feeling and when it hits I just don’t feel like doing anything. You are right the side affects seam to never go away

SIRENAF42's picture
SIRENAF42
Posts: 204
Joined: Oct 2008

I said it before, and I will say it again... CANCER SUCKS :)

I will let you know what my doc says. Do you ever get chest fluttering, like bubbles or butterflies on the left side?

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5601
Joined: Apr 2009

I don’t get the fluttering in the chest but I do get tightness that I believe was a heart attach but the doc found nothing wrong with my heart, like you said just a cancer sucks side affect

Take care

denistd's picture
denistd
Posts: 481
Joined: Apr 2009

Some of the blood pressure numbers you guys get are real high and real low. Yes the fluttering feeling is caused by irregular heart beats usually, this can be controlled by drugs like lopressor. Believe me if you start to have chest pains that are leading u to an attack you will know it, when I had my chest pains before surgery it felt like a bear hug from the incredible hulk. Cancer sucks alright, since I got diagnosed it seems like there is an epidemic but it's just that now I take notice. My dizziness has completely gone away and I take lopressor which also lowers BP, BP is usually around 120 over 75, which is great. Denis

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5601
Joined: Apr 2009

I am currently seeing a cardiologist for problems with bp and tightness in the chest, so far all the test he had done show no problems with the heart. Most of the problems he is finding are due to the massive amount of radiation I had going through two treatments for NPC. He is still up in the are on what to do for the bp going up and down so far, I see him again later this month so I hope he comes up with a plan.

Take care

delnative's picture
delnative
Posts: 452
Joined: Aug 2009

I had it before cancer, and it was pretty well under control thanks to meds. I think that losing about 40 pounds thanks to cancer has helped by BP.
However, the talk about "fluttering" in the chest really hit home. One day, not long after my TX ended, I was in the basement doing laundry. I'd dropped something on the floor, and when I bent at the knees to pick it up, I started to get woozy and I had a weird feeling in my chest. It's as if I was very aware of my heart beating, which is not something I usually notice.
It kept up for about 45 minutes, at which point I called 911. The ambulance came and the EMTs found that my heart was beating rapidly and the rhythm was off. They shot me up with something (I forget what) and the effect was almost immediate. My heart rhythm went back to normal.
They took me to the ER, where they did an EKG and other tests, and determined that I'd had an episode of SVT: supraventricular tachycardia. (You can Google it for more info.)
My cardiologist said it is impossible to determine whether this came from the rads and chemo or something else. It was pretty scary, and I haven't had an episode since.

--Jim in Delaware

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5601
Joined: Apr 2009

I bet that scared the day lights right out of you, I will need to keep this SVT in my book of memories just in case, great post thanks again

SASH's picture
SASH
Posts: 276
Joined: Apr 2006

I have the print out from the link above and will be talking to my GP on Thursday about this to see if this might be the source of my BP going high some times, and being abnormally low others.

SASH's picture
SASH
Posts: 276
Joined: Apr 2006

I spoke with my Primary Care today and he said it would only affect if the BP was low and were getting dizzy and light headed. Might only be his opinion so you might want to ask your docs too.

SIRENAF42's picture
SIRENAF42
Posts: 204
Joined: Oct 2008

This fluttering is driving me nuts, my dr appt cant come fast enough. I have them throughout the day, rarily in the mornings. Its a feeling that you would get when someone scares you and you cant catch your breath and you get that feeling in your chest.... Weird stuff

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5601
Joined: Apr 2009

I just remembered something; a few years ago my wife was having some problems with her heart fluttering. They ran all kinds of test and could find nothing wrong with her they ever did an angiogram and her heart was in very good condition. I ask the heart doctors if in some way her Thyroid medicine could be the cause, the heart doctor said anything is possible.

So we went to out family doctor who put her on the med and the doctor did not want to take her off it until I told him either you switch her to another brand of thyroid med or I will take her off of it altogether. After a few weeks on the new Thyroid med her problems with fluttering have stopped, she still has a few now and then but that it all.

I don’t know if you take any med for thyroid problems or not, may be some other type of medication. Think back to when the problems first started and what you may have started to take about the same time.

Hope this help you some, take care.

delnative's picture
delnative
Posts: 452
Joined: Aug 2009

FWIW, that sounds a lot like the SVT that I had. One thing you can try the next time it hits -- and it won't do you any harm if it doesn't work -- is something that my cardiologist recommended.
She told me that if it happened again, I was to lie on my back and then (there's no delicate way to put this, but I'll do my best) strain as if you were straining to have a bowel movement that was being uncooperative. (Delicate enough for you?)
Dr. Cardio said that often is enough to get your heart rhythm back in order.
And, FWIW, the attack that led me to call 911 was preceded by several much more minor episodes. And all of them happened in the morning.

--Jim in Delaware

SIRENAF42's picture
SIRENAF42
Posts: 204
Joined: Oct 2008

That was nicely put lol.

I have my appt today lets see what he says. Right now I am in allergy HECK and have a sinus headache that may win the battle over staying at work... Dang MOld in the air is kicking my butt!!!

Stuffy, heart racing and achy

Sirena

denistd's picture
denistd
Posts: 481
Joined: Apr 2009

When I was in the hospital for my carotid artery, the same doctor that did my heart did the endarterectomy. I told him that sometimes it felt like my heart skipped a beat. He said that is called brachycardia (I think, could be wrong) and said that on average the heart will do this 30 or 40 times a day and is completely normal, he said this happens to everybody it's just that you notice it when you have heart problems. Denis

SIRENAF42's picture
SIRENAF42
Posts: 204
Joined: Oct 2008

My blood work and office EKG looked great, however he is still concerned with the fluttering. I wore the "heart monitor vest" for 24 hours, and wrote down any time I felt flutter. He is going to review it and I have another appt in 2 weeks. So I get to wait... God I love waiting JHAHA

Sirena

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5601
Joined: Apr 2009

Seem like that is part of our life these days, wait and see, like we have nothing better to do. I hope they find the problem and get to feeling well again.

Take care

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