Yesterday, my post was loosely constructed around the saying “everything happens for a reason.” I closed with “What is the reason for this frustrating medical situation?”
I have my answer. A lot sooner, and not at all the answer I expected.
I received an email from a friend. He shared his very recent and very similar experience. He also shared what he learned from his medical professionals.
- Blood pressure varies quite a bit throughout the day (see the image). It is often highest just after you wake up (for 1/2 hour or so) and around dinner time. It is NOT very important if it is high during these times; that is normal! If you monitor, take it once a day ONLY, and do so about an hour after you wake up. Sit quietly, don’t cross your legs, take it three times in succession and record all three.
Worrying about blood pressure makes it worse. You can get obsessed with it the way I did. That will get you into a feedback loop where you worry why it isn’t lower, and the anxiety will get it up even higher.
You can make improvements to blood pressure with some very simple dietary changes. Eat less salt, for example. If you eat salty chips, try eating half a portion. Also, do more exercise. Even walking an extra 20 minutes a day will help.
There are lots of different drugs for high blood pressure. One of the most prescribed is HCTZ. Basically it makes you pee more often, because kidneys are partly responsible for blood pressure. Another one is ramipril. I tried both, but by keeping anxiety down and exercise I can get by with neither.
I almost wept to receive this medical guidance as interim support while I attend to my mission to find a family doctor.
Wow, I just let out the most enormous sigh. You hit the nail on the head about the anxiety. I have been lying awake at night worrying. I’ve also been taking readings first thing in the morning and right after dinner!!
I’ve been sitting still for the better part of three years while I’ve worked on my correspondence courses, and often under heavy stress to meet deadlines and handle the difficult course material. So, yeah, not much physical activity. These last four months, I’ve been sitting still even more, because I’ve been feeling crappy. It’s no wonder my pressure is wonky!
Today, I was motivated. I decided to complete my work at my desk, then take myself for a walk and take a reading at eleven. After my walk, I sat at the table. Rolled my shoulders and neck once or twice and took several relaxing breaths. I pressed the button on the monitor.
It gurgled and puffed and growled as the cuff filled with air. Then the series of beeps as the cuff deflated.
But what’s this? At the end of the reading, there was no alarm sound! I was in the clear! Three times in a row, no alarm. I was elated.
I wrote to my friend:
136/84! I ❤ you!
He wrote back, “Great, I would say for a person your age (are you about 45 or 50?) that is only very, very slightly above average. (See attached chart of averages.) With some simple dietary changes, and a little more exercise (really just walk 1 or 2 miles more per day, and make it a real commitment), you will be at or below the average in no time at all.”
Ahem. I ❤ him more! First for missing my age by a decade and a half and second for sending the chart. I’m almost on target.
What a relief, after several weeks of anxiety. I’m going to record my readings for several more days so that when I finally get that family doctor lined up, I’ll have data.
In the meantime, what’s the reason for my medical mishaps? Well, all I can say, I’ve learned to be truly grateful for social media, and great friends like YOU!
Thanks for the support. Truly.
Categories: In Other News