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Trying to make sense of my dad's high blood pressure and his meds...

Hey y'all! Mandy here. I am now having to look after both of my parents as they've entered a new phase of their lives.  Both have a lot of health issues yet very different they're very different.
My dad has dealt with high blood pressure for most of my life. He is 74 and retired from the Air Force. He served in Vietnam and has been told that his unusual blood pressure is a result of Agent Orange which was used over there.   Though he takes a lot of meds, his blood pressure is uncontrollable. It is all over the place. One day way too high (at stroke level) and then the next day it's way too low (where he has to be very careful because he could pass out). Now, I know that my understanding of this medicine is minimal.  I don't have a scientific brain.  But I do try to understand. So, if I say something that doesn't make sense, please forgive me.  I'm trying!  And, I've been struggling. I must mention that though I have the best dad in the world, he is very head strong.  He's also pretty hyper in nature.  Also, he hates me asking about his health.  Now, I, on the other hand happen to be timid in nature.  So, I've been trying to learn how to be assertive.  It's hard.  Lol, I have plenty of my own issues.  Trying to put all of that aside so that I can take as good of care of both my parents, though I feel I'm really falling short these days.  
I don't know... I'm probably typing too much?  I haven't even asked a question yet.  
I'm wondering if anyone is on the same meds as him and if so, about the dosage?  Okay, so here goes.  
He takes the following: Amlodipine (Norvasc), Carvedilol (Coreg), Clonazepam, Clonidine, Ezetimibe (Zetia), Gabapentin, Isosorbide Mononitrate (Imdur), Mybetriq, Nitroglycerin (as needed), Omeprazole (Prilosec), Prazosin, and Sertraline. He also takes baby aspirin, vitamin d, stool softeners, Benadryl, Flonase, and Tessalon.  He also has pretty bad angina most nights due to myocardial bridge (if I understand correctly?).  The meds that make an impact, both good and bad, are Carvedilol, Clonidine, and Imdur.  He had a huge scare last year with him mixing up medicines.  Basically, he overdosed because he was on so many different ones that he wasn't even sure anymore which ones he was supposed to be taking.  There had been so many changes to which meds and how much of each.  When I went behind him trying to figure out what had actually happened, it's scary. He had 2 major meds that were identical to the naked eye.  You had to read the numbers on the pills to find out which was which. And the bottles didn't even have the correct pills in them?  He had been complaining that he was having trouble with his vision.  Now it's understandable. What's weird is that now that I'm in charge of his meds, he's been doing a little better. He was actually on a good bit more meds before.  When he went to the hospital, they had him only take the bare minimum.  After that, things got added back little by little.
Oh my goodness, I don't know if I'm doing this forum thing right, lol!  Sorry if I've made a mess of this!
I don't know if anyone has any insight or suggestions for me?
The main question I have is about the Clonodine.  This one and the Imdur seem to be the ones that affect him the most.  The clonodine brings his bp down drastically which is good when that's needed, but it usually makes him feel worse.  He takes it twice a day.  Is this normal?  Once being in the morning and the next at noon.  Most of his meds are taken early evening.  Well, I can be more specific if needed.  Sorry that I've probably given way too much info? If you've read all of this, I thank you for your patience with me!  I do look forward to seeing if anyone has any input.  Now, I will say this... despite any suggestions made, implementing things are not so easy. Anyways, thank you!!!
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Avatar universal
Hi Mandy, You're doing fine!! We just want to talk with you.
I'm responding late because I've been heavily researching similar health issues to your dad - but the research is for me, not my parent. I'm female, 59 yrs old, and in pretty good health, except for the blood pressure thing - or so I thought. I've lived with many medical issues, but they were mostly minor to moderate in severity, and so I didn't seek out much help.  Most of the doctors don't believe me when I start explaining what I live with anyway.

2 years ago, I had developed high blood pressure, went to the doctor, started BP med, and thought, well, that's done! Only I wasn't done with it, nor it with me.  A week after starting the BP meds, my BP started spiking into the stroke zone. The first day it happened, it happened only once, the second day, all kinds of chaos broke out with my BP. I had multiple "stroke zone" BP readings every day for 3 weeks. Day, night, it didn't matter to my body. I was admitted to the hospital and I was kept for 2 days - but when I was released, I still wasn't stabilized. That didn't happen for months. The addition of several other medications- some BP meds, others weren't- carvedilol being the BP med that made the most difference and clonidine as a rescue medication for me, and I'm finally to a point where I've not had a BP spike in 4 months time, but my BP is still volatile. Just as a possibility for your research, the combination of carvedilol and Olmesartan/hydrochlorothiazide (a BP med and diuretic) made the most difference for me. Imdur didn't help enough for me, but I had to have the addition of a teeny tiny dose of 10 mg amitryptiline at night to help with those BP spikes.

So, I started searching, because the doctors I've seen aren't too interested in finding answers for me (I'm a complicated case that they just don't want - I've actually been told this). After many, many "rabbit holes" and deep dives into medical literature, I think I've finally found my answer:
Autonomic nervous system dysfunction, leading to Baroreflex failure. Your dad's symptoms sound hauntingly similar, but I won't go so far as to say that's what he has - that's something you, he and his doctors should decide. This is just a thought for some researching possibilities, so that you don't spend 2 years looking in case this is the cause, like I did. I'm not in the medical field, but have taught myself to read and understand medical texts and have a daughter that works in the medical field, so if I don't understand a concept, I can ask her about it.

Best of luck with your Dad's situation, and your mother, as you said you now help them both out.
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973741 tn?1342342773
Hi there. Sorry for a slow response in answering. Gosh, it sounds like you have your hands full. And an uncooperative parent you are trying to take care of is hard to deal with. Switching roles a bit is hard on us all when our parents age. Take time for you to recharge batteries, this isn't easy!  So, your dad's medication. Is he diagnosed with congestive heart failure? He's on some meds for that (coreg, for example). Norvasc is for hypertension. I believe it will also help with angina. Glad he is on that but it sounds like it isn't working as well as it should? They also sound to be treating him for possibly anxiety? Benadryl. Is that hydroxyzine that he is on or actual benadryl? And he is on a couple of other medications related to anxiety. Definitely helps to control anxiety with hypertension as it can elevate blood pressure if you don't. Imdur is for angina. Does he have an overactive bladder as well (one med is for that)? Kidney issues can also be related to out of control blood pressure. And he also sounds to have heart burn. He's on a lot of medications. What exactly is your question? Does he see a cardiologist? I am sure he does. I would attend that next appointment. I don't know what medications they have tried in terms of bp control but agree the swinging of those numbers isn't good. It also probably makes him feel ill. When my bp swings, it sure does.  I see clonodine brings his bp down well. That's good. But the bp fluctuating so much does feel bad. I would talk to the doctor about how to get in a more stable range for his bp so it doesn't fluctuate drastically. Question. Is your dad able to walk or exercise at all?
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