Monday, August 20, 2007

132 over 90

My dentist checks my blood pressure as a courtesy when I go in. Isn't that strange? Wouldn't just being at the dentist cause you to have high blood pressure? Maybe they have some kind of referral fee worked out with the doctor across the street.

I have always had very good blood pressure, except when I was pregnant. And then there was something about gaining 50 pounds each time that caused it to go a little haywire. But last month, when I definitely was not pregnant, it was 132 over 90. That was the third reading. The previous two must have been higher. I looked it up when I got home. Borderline hypertension. I have borderline hypertension.

Phooey. (I am trying not to say "crap" anymore. I may think it's endearing when my three year old walks around the house saying "crap, crap, crap" but, I think they frown on this at his Baptist preschool.)

At first I thought hey, I can blame this on having four children! They'd be easy to blame. Just ask any of the dozen people each week that tell me I must have my hands full. And I certainly have many days when the pressure to raise them into God loving, productive citizens pushes me to my limit. But I typically find constructive ways relieve the stress. You know, like locking them all in their bedrooms while I slam things and yell (probably words like crap) like a lunatic. Kidding.

Sort of.

So maybe it's me and the 15 pounds in crap junk-food I have put on this year. And and the fact that I still had 10 to lose from having Clara before that. Or maybe it's that I can't find time to exercise. Scratch that. That I h-a-t-e exercise. That I find it about as enjoyable as as having a bikini wax and those of you who say things like "I had the most wonderful run this morning" make me want to hurl. Kidding.

Sort of.

So I decided to research what I could do to lower my blood pressure. Here's what I found.

  1. Limit your caffeine intake. The caffeine in coffee, tea and sodas can contribute to high blood pressure. Hey. I only drink two cups of coffee a day. Or sometimes three. And maybe a frappacino. And a diet coke.

  2. Limit alcohol intake. Blood pressure increases as your body metabolizes alcohol. Does that include wine? How else am I supposed to wind down from all the caffeine?
  3. Avoid processed foods. These are the biggest sources of sodium in today's diet. I mean honestly, how am I going to cook dinner for my family with Rice-a-roni, or Stouffers? Or Pizza Hut?

  4. Maintain optimal weight. Even small amounts of weight loss can improve blood pressure. My weight IS optimal. Just ask Botticelli. Or Renoir Or my husband. God Bless him.

  5. Relax. Meditation, yoga, breathing exercises and biofeedback are all relaxation techniques that can help lower blood pressure. See stress-relief habits above.

  6. Don't smoke. Smoking contributes to all cardiovascular diseases - and many other life-threatening conditions as well. Finally something I can do. Don't smoke. Check.

  7. Exercise. As little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, like walking, can lower blood pressure. Haven't we covered this.
Okay, I admit it. I have been living a life that's a bit, um, excessive. Really it's amazing I am able to walk down the street without keeling over.

So this morning I am making some changes. Healthier food, regular walking, more water, less caffeine. I have been gearing up for this for a month now. Putting off the inevitable and the painful like a child that doesn't want to pull a sore tooth. Because let's face it. Excess is fun. Gluttony and sloth? We're old friends.

Friends I must now bid farewell. We've had glorious times together, but I'm leaving them behind. I must make new friends now. Ones that will make my doctor happy, ones that will set a good example for my children. Ones that will make my waistline smaller and my butt less jiggly. And 132 over 90 a thing of the past. But I sure am going to miss those two.

And I'll probably be back now and then, for a visit.


painted maypole said...

blessedly I have always had low blood pressure (so low that the nurse usually takes it again, she is that astonished) but it leads to cold hands and feet, and the propensity to get light headed when I stand up too quickly.

slouching mom said...

Oh, friend, I know this so well. Our bodies, they are betraying us, damn them. I just got back ten minutes ago from having blood work done. I'm anemic and hypothyroid and there's the problem of Gus, and WHAT ELSE COULD I BE?

(However. The one thing that is still normal in my body is my BP. Go figure.)

Welcome to my world, Joy. It's not that much fun here. There's bad food, and little coffee (unless I cheat), and pills, lots of pills.


(This post, it made me laugh. That's a good thing. Thanks.)

Kyla said...

My husband, who is 24, has borderline hypertension. Fun, eh? Doesn't bode well.

We try and make conscious good choices, but we don't exercise and we eat more processed crap that we should. Although we've really cut down on a good portion of the fast food we were eating. It's tough. Good luck.

This post cracked me up, because I was nodding my head the whole time. We are not too different, you and I. *lol*

nutmeg said...

You are giving up everything I love, including the word 'crap'! Don't do it! You were just nervous about the drill!

This was an excellent post, by the way!

bubandpie said...

I would be a bit skeptical of just one reading at the dentist's office. My mom has a kit at home so she can take her blood pressure regularly, and it's always MUCH higher when she is stressed and/or at the doctor's office. Do the drug stores where you live have those places you can get a bp reading done while you shop?

Christine said...

i recently started the more water thing and it really does make you feel better. just have to pee more.

and this so funny to read, good writing, friend.

Beck said...

I have freakishly low blood pressure, so I'll take some of your extra points for you, if you want.
But yeah - how are we supposed to live without salty foods and BOOZE? The "exercise and eating right is fun!" crowd are nuts.

Christy said...

High blood pressure or not they are all choice that in the end you will feel better no matter what! Except drinking the extra water, that will just make you have to pee, A LOT!!!

Good luck!

Epiphany Alone said...

I love bubandpie's suggestion, because it always finds me with my toddler on my lap, and my five-year-old asking, "Is it done yet? What is that beeping? Does it hurt your arm? Is it done yet?!" which, as you may know is also very conducive to a good reading...

Not trying to encourage (my own) wayward ways, but recent caffeine studies showed no effect of less than the equivalent of 3 8 oz cups of coffee per day on hypertension. Sodium may or may not have an effect on your blood pressure, this varies per individual. Definitely weight, genetics, and fitness all have impact - I should know, I have the trifecta working against mine...

Nadiah Alwi said...

Why do I feel like having a mocchachino after reading this post?


Kicking N. Screaming said...

Hmmm, I see you're taking the "change you" route here. But did you try asking the dentist when he last had that thing calibrated? Maybe that's 132 over 90 CANADIAN. Maybe it IS high, but that's because of the war. What I'm saying here is, you should really start looking outside yourself for something else to blame.

Joy, of course said...

Hee Hee Kicking N Screaming.

I do know that the reading might have been unusually high from trying to rush to the dentist. But I also know that they were the highest readings I have ever taken when not pregnant. I haven't gone for another reading because I am trying to use this as a catalyst to be healthier. Something no one could deny I need.

But I am NOT giving up coffee. I live for coffee. I just might drink a bit less. I am a very moderate wine drinker so no reason to give that up either. Now the eating a whole pan of brownies in a day, that may have to change. Unfortunately :)

Lisa writes... said...

I think Gluttony and Sloth have moved in over here...