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.
So maybe it's me and the 15 pounds in
So I decided to research what I could do to lower my blood pressure. Here's what I found.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.
- Relax. Meditation, yoga, breathing exercises and biofeedback are all relaxation techniques that can help lower blood pressure. See stress-relief habits above.
- 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.
- Exercise. As little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, like walking, can lower blood pressure. Haven't we covered this.
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.