Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Guess What's Up

My mother and my brother have both required blood pressure meds for much of their adult lives, whereas, I have not. I've always found this fact surprising, considering they are each naturally slender people, and I am fat not. Secretly, to me, it was a small sliver of justice. They've gone through life thin, and with perfect eyesight. I've gone through life fat struggling with my weight, and Mr.Magoo eyes (I wear contacts). My biological dad died in his early 40's. I'm not sure if he had to take blood pressure medicine or not. I do know he wore glasses, though they were not of the Mr.Magoo sort.

Reality came and bit me in the keister this week. I was in Wal-Mart pharmacy the other night and decided, on a whim, to check my blood pressure. First try equalled shocking (to me) results. Second try, numbers came down only slightly. Third try, no difference. My top number put me in the stage 2 hypertension category, and my bottom number put me in stage 1 hypertension.

So much for justice!

I have not gone to the doctor. Not having medical insurance, I don't tend to go there often. The first thing I did was to quit eating Doritoes Chipotle Ranch flavored chips. I knew better, but they are just so good. All the watermelon, tomatoes, and canteloupe that I've been eating doused with salt? Screeching halt! No, I've not given up those goodies, but I did give up the salt shaker. Really, I knew better. They're so incredibly tasty, it's not like I even needed the salt to enjoy them. Another treat I've all but eliminated from my diet is roasted peanuts in the shell. We keep them on hand and snack on them nightly. I only ever eat a small handful at a time, but they are loaded in salt.

I am also cutting back on red meat. Eating it as often as we now do is a habit we've gotten into in recent years, since a wonderful little meat market opened up near our house. Again, I knew better.

I've also upped my walking. I walk two dogs a day, mine and a shut-in neighbor's. I'd recently shortened those walks due to the heat and humidity. I hate getting all sweaty and icky feeling. Now I just shower more frequently. My water bill may go up, but hopefully my blood pressure is coming down some.

I'll go back to Wal-Mart in a few days, one week after the disastrous readings. If it's still in the danger zone, I'll consider a doctor's visit. I know I need to lose weight. Not to sound cliche', but that is so much easier said than done. I am open to suggsestions of natural means of lowering my bp.

Meanwhile, I hear spending time with pets is supposed to lower your bp, so I'll spend some time cuddling this...

*****
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
~III John 1:2 NIV

26 comments:

Wool Winder said...

All you are doing will help, but you may need medication too. Keep a close watch on your numbers. I'm terrible when it comes to watching my sodium intake, so I expect to get a reality check myself one day.

Tipper said...

Hopefully all the things your doing will bring it down. I've heard drinking vinegar will help-but I don't know if it will. I know how you feel with the insurance issue-we don't have any either!

Nancy said...

Please don't ignore your hypertension: it is a secret killer. Keep monitoring your readings at Walmart or anywhere you can find the machine. Check it all different times of the day because it does flux during the day. Write down the readings, the time, and how you felt. You can then take that notebook of information to the doctor if you decide to go. It will be helpful to him/her.

cinnamongirl93 said...

Sounds like you are doing all of the right things. Keep walking! I know that helps tremendously. It also helps you feel better!
One thing I have to mention is the machines in Walmart don't always give acurate readings. Don't put off the doctor. In the mean time maybe you have a friend that is a nurse? A RN would be able to give you an acurate BP reading. Just a thought.

Renna said...

I think my mom may have an extra blood pressure cuff, as she monitors hers regularly. I'll check with her and see.

There used to be two nurses in our extended family, but sadly, they both divorced out. :-(

I'll keep walking, try the vinegar, and watch my diet for now. I appreciate the helpful comments! :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Renna, one thing you can try is breathing at 4 breaths per minute for about 15 minutes. Breath in for 7 seconds and out for 8. Don't hold your breath between. Hope this helps. They make a machine that guides this breathing , but you can do it on your own. I had a problem until I suffered the vertigo attach. Linda

Renna said...

Linda, I will try that!

I have used that method many times to help me relax when I'm having trouble falling asleep, and it always works. I didn't know it could help lower bp, but it does make sense!

kim said...

That face! Oh, that face! If that doesn't do the trick... Sorry to hear about your BP, but at least you're taking the steps to turn it around. And, oh, that face!

Smith Family said...

I know my DH had to go on medication. He was not great at the monitor the diet thing. He has cut way down on the salt, etc. But he is still label challenged.

I agree to keep a journal of the readings, so that you have that when you go to the Dr. That should save an appt. I know with DH he had to do diet control and then journal his readings and then go back in for another appt.

Kristy

cindee said...

Hi Renna, Sorry about the BP but you seem to be doing the right things. I would keep walking and eating right. Stress is a big factor so try to relax as much as possible too(-: I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers(-:

Isle Dance said...

Good for you, for wanting to make changes!! :o)

MSM said...

Sorry for the disappointing BP news; but if it is making you walk and exercise more that will bring many many health benefits.

I like that breathing thing that 'anonymous' suggested; I've never heard of that.

Lea of Farmhouse*Blessings said...

Bless your heart. I don't know much about lowering blood pressure but sure sounds like you're headed in the right direction. Especially the cuddling part!

Please do whatever it takes to take good care of yourself Renna! Even if it is a dreaded doctor visit. I am trying to psyche myself up for one right now!

Smiles,
Lea

Marilyn - A Mixed Bouquet said...

A Swappie, Christine?, said that she started taking Michael's Blood Pressure Factor or something similar to those words. She said it worked perfectly for her, but didn't help dh/me. You might have to visit a health food store to get it.

If you can get a prescription, then Wal*mart has the $4 per month meds. I know that Lisinopril, what dh and I take, is frequently prescribed and is on the $4 list. We have numerous refills and checking the bp at the clinic is free. We save on office visits that way.

Now, I'm going to gently nag you. Thyroid issues can cause high blood pressure...

Debra said...

Renna, I've been busy and didn't get to your blog yesterday. I've been on BP meds for a long time. I think there are good food things you could try-the Web would be my first place to look up healthy food alternatives, but don't over-rule medication if a doctor says you need it. Walking is VERY good-I do a treadmill walk for 20 min. and work up a huge sweat. Losing weight will help too. Have you considered Weight Watchers? You just keep track of your points-it is a bit of bothersome measuring, but the points keep you accountable. I have a copy of the points book a friend gave me, so I don't go to the meetings(don't tell anyone), but for what you get, the cost is not too much(you get support from others, and lots of information). After a while, you get in the habit of eating much less. You can have ANYTHING you want to eat-you just have to keep track of the points and not go over. It really works.Love, Debra
PS Don't ignore it though. We love you and your friend is right, high blood pressure is a silent killer-it's serious.

randi said...

Oh, look at that adorable face! How could you not cuddle with a cutie like that?

I think that the steps you are taking for the HBP are great! That runs in my family too, but no one does very good at making necessary changes. I have heard that diet and excercise play a big role in whether or not someone needs to take meds. I will keep you in my prayers!

I am also really glad that you tried on the cuff at Wallyworld!

Shannon said...

I have the opposite. My blood pressure is so low they often check it twice because they can't believe it. I do think diet plays a big part in our health. If I eat sugar I see it immediately, on my face, in the way I sleep, how I feel... Good luck and stay healthy! For my two cents I don't think slightly thinner/larger plays as big a part as what you put in your body each day! But I would trade my Magoo glasses and larger than average keister for a thinner back side and perfect vision if it were a simple solution ;)

Renna said...

Marilyn, gentle nagging acknowledged. ;-)

Debra, I actually have a WW packet around here somewhere that someone gave me last year. I need to dig it out and look it over.

I appreciate all your kind and helpful responses!

Renna said...

Shannon,

"But I would trade my Magoo glasses and larger than average keister for a thinner back side and perfect vision if it were a simple solution "

You and me, both! ;-Þ

Becky said...

I do not know where to start! What a lovely blog you have here. I have read all the posts on this page that are displaying and I believe we have a LOT in common.

We are clearly the same age. I can tell from the fact you were in 2nd grade when Pres Kennedy was shot. Me too.

I love chocolate, can't remember names, am a procrastinator, and a knitter. I don't like to drive, but prefer to drive than be driven.

I have a few pounds to lose too, but unlike you I do not eat meat at all. And I never use salt except on popcorn and tomatoes. That is it.

I sure hope you can get your BP down. Remember, a trip to the doc is cheaper than a trip to the hospital. And a lot safer to take care of it from this side than that one. So be careful.

Thanks for stopping by my place today. I have no idea how you found me but I sure enjoyed visiting you here.

Have a great day!

Isle Dance said...

Have you thought about adding green smoothies to your day? I promise, it's a treat! :o)

Joyfulsister said...

Hi, Renna, I saw your blog over at Debra's at Sparrowgrass thought I'd drop by and say hello. I just got off BP meds. after a couple of years. I remember having headaches and feeling a lil light headed that was one of my signs that I had it. well so did my mom and Dad so doubly whammy of a chance of me getting it too. I also started laying off the salt, I used dash instead. I loved my Vinegar and salt chips, had to give them up as well. It's always good to get it checked out it can cause problems in other areas of your body if not taken care of. I'll be back to read more.
Aloha Lorie

Dana said...

Oh man! That stinks! I'm sooo sorry that you having to deal with all of this. At least those adorable dogs will be your snuggle bunnies!

Kelly said...

Thanks so much for the comment on my blog. She did leave a legacy behind. She was a wonderful woman and will be missed greatly.

A Servant of the King said...

I don't have any suggestions but I will be praying for you. I think walking and eating right are a good idea. I would also get your thyroid check. I was a mess with so many issues until I found out that I had hypothyroidism. I'm like a new person on medication. It's amazing how a little gland can affect so many things!!

Farm Chick Paula said...

This all sounds so familiar... I went for so many years without worrying about my blood pressure... then right before I quit my job, I found out I was at stroke level. I got back on a regular walking routine and dropped a few pounds, but I'm right back where I was before, and my bp is high again. (Hubby doesn't know.)
You're my kindred soul, Renna... I just flat out love food too much. I need to keep a food and excercise dairy. Think this would help?