Side-effects can be a killer

My doctor and I had an in-depth discussion the other day about some of the things that often begin to have an affect on, ummmmm … those who become eligible to order the AARP magazine and get early-bird discounts at restaurants.

He told me that it would be important to start making changes — things like diet, exercise, getting better rest at night and taking vitamins.

That’s when he hit me with the warning: “But always be aware of the potential side-effects …” he told me.

Apparently, as we become, ummmmmm … eligible to make withdrawals from our 401k without a penalty and aficionados of “The Golden Girls,” things we once could tolerate now might actually stun our innerds and outterds in terrible ways.

For instance, here are some of the potential side-effects of a very common item almost all of us use: blindness in one or both eyes; decreased vision and/or other eye problems such as blurring, bright flashes, squiggly lines, tunnel vision, decreased night vision; pain in one or both eyes; decreased tears; trouble with contact lenses; bulging eyes; tinnitus; severe intolerance of noise; marked hearing impairment; epileptic seizures.

And: headaches and migraines; dizziness and unsteadiness; confusion and memory loss; severe drowsiness and sleepiness; paresthesia or numbness of the limbs; severe slurring of speech; severe hyperactivity and restless legs; atypical facial pain; severe tremors; severe depression; irritability; aggression; anxiety; personality changes; insomnia; phobias; palpitations or tachycardia; shortness of breath; high blood pressure; nausea; diarrhea, sometimes with blood in stools; abdominal pain; pain when swallowing; itching without a rash; lip and mouth reactions; hives; aggravated respiratory allergies such as asthma; loss of control of diabetes; menstrual changes; marked thinning or loss of hair; marked weight loss; gradual weight gain; aggravated low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

And: severe PMS; frequency of voiding and burning during urination; excessive thirst, fluid retention, leg swelling and bloating; increased susceptibility to infection; death; irreversible brain damage birth defects, including mental retardation; peptic ulcers; aggressive behavior; suicidal tendencies.

And: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Epstein-Barr; Post-Polio Syndrome; Lyme Disease; Grave’s Disease; Meniere’s Disease; Alzheimer’s Disease; ALS; Epilepsy; Multiple Sclerosis; Hypothyroidism; Mercury sensitivity from Amalgam fillings; Fibromyalgia; Lupus; non-Hodgkins; Lymphoma; Attention Deficit Disorder.

Even with my slowly deteriorating grey matter, I know I would not want to develop a collection of side-effects like bulging eyes with no-rash itching and slurring of speech along with leg bloating, PMS and mental retardation — all because I drank beverages with aspartame.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.