June 10, 2011

Isradipine, Weight Gain, Exercise: Trimming the Fat

Are Isradipine or Other Meds Causing My Weight Gain?
Last year during the spring and summer, I lost 10 pounds. This year, with the same diet and exercise, I'm gaining weight. Even after several days of steady work in the garden and light meals of salad and fruit, I've seen the needle on the scale go UP. What's been going on?

Early in May, I changed my blood pressure med to Isradipine because studies suggested it might help stall the progress of Parkinson's. (Here's my earlier report: http://bit.ly/iFKbSH.) Did this switch contribute to my weight gain? I checked it out at http://www.mayoclinic.com/ and -- sure enough -- unexplained weight gain (or loss) appeared as a common symptom. Also listed was unusual fatigue, which I'd also been experiencing.

So, I made an appointment for next week to discuss this matter with my internist. Meanwhile, I decided to stop taking the Isradipine. It's only been a couple days since I stopped, but my weight is already down a bit and I'm feeling much more energetic.

Unfortunately -- in the spirit of Mae West's maxim "anything worth doing is worth overdoing" -- I also stopped taking most of my non-prescription diet supplements: CoQ10, calcium, vitamin D, and ginkgo biloba. So much for the "scientific method"! Now I can't say for sure that Isradipine was the culprit.

New and Promising Exercise
To further muddy the waters, I've started a new exercise routine I like... and think I can stick with. Like most people with Parkinson's, I begin the day by taking a Sinemet (generic) pill. We're instructed to take these pills on an empty stomach, and urged to wait about an hour before eating. This means delaying breakfast for an hour. Before, I had used this time at the computer. But I thought: why not capitalize on this early-morning opportunity by going out for a walk? Given Washington's climate (see posting below), it's an ideal time to venture outside. I get to see neighbors walking their dogs or taking their morning jogs. I come home refreshed and happy that I can check off at least one item on my day's to-do list.

So progress, not perfection.
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