The Silent Killer

I am a relatively healthy person. I exercise regularly every week, either through my riding or my work. I eat a lot of rough fibre, vegetables and fruits, I drink a lot of water and I don’t really eat meat. I keep an eye on my sugar intake because of a type of diabetes that I have, I try not to use a lot of salt and I normally try to practice mental calming exercises to try and manage my ever fluctuating anxiety. Although I carry a little bit of extra weight (10 bloody pounds (5kgs) that is NOT budging) I’m not obese over weight and I’ve been told that a lot of my ‘fat’ is actually muscle (don’t we all hear that).

I’m not flabby anyway, which helps.

All in all, I’m a pretty good example of an average healthy person. My family has no serious medical conditions, my siblings are healthy and I enjoy the benefits of a relatively healthy lifestyle. It’s therefore understandable that when a doctor read an extremely high blood pressure reading with me that I was relatively shocked.

During a relatively routine check-up to try and sort out some of my allergy problems, the doctor took my blood pressure for her file and nearly fainted on me when that reading came out 190/86. She took it twice and the second reading was actually higher because I sensed she wasn’t pleased with what she saw. She let me go that day, saying that the reading might be inaccurate due to the fact that it was the first time that I saw her and I was anxious about my allergies, but she instructed me to have my blood pressure checked the next week. Shocked, because I’ve always had low blood pressure, I cut out almost all of my caffeine intake, doubled my water intake and cut all salt from my diet. Yet, when I went to the nearby pharmacy nurse, my blood pressure was still high, this time 130/85. For reference, here is a guideline to how they measure blood pressure:

Normal blood pressure less than 120/80

Pre-hypertension 120-139/ 80-89

High blood pressure (stage 1) 140-159/90-99

High blood pressure (stage 2) higher than 160/100

My numbers were a problem. My normal blood pressure always ranged between 100/60 to 110/70. Something had to be done.

I was at a loss for days, knowing that my diet couldn’t really be adjusted. I also had a sudden up flair of stomach flu, which made the mess even bigger. When I was able to eat again, I cut out all of my salt, tried to double my water intake and half my coffee intake. These things seemed to have helped because I started feeling better again and finally – when I had my blood pressure checked today (after I had another up flair of headaches) it was a normal and steady 100/65. I was back to where I should be – the mysterious cause for my high blood pressure gone.

I was scared for a few weeks that I would have to live with high blood pressure for the rest of my life, but luckily – it blew over. The fear of it though, and the realization that it awakened in me did not however, and I know that I will now not only keep an extra sharp eye on my diet, but I will also try and tell people what I learned. See, like most people of my generation, I dove onto Google and searched the hell out of High blood pressure.

I learned that more people suffer from high blood pressure than they think and that it is termed ‘The Silent Killer’ because a lot of people die from blood pressure related problems that were never picked up. I learned that it is very important to know your own blood pressure range and to have it checked regularly even if you are healthy. If you have a family history of it, it’s all but compulsory for you to monitor your blood pressure. I also learned that you can loose people from long, boring posts, lol, so I’ll stop preaching now.

Inevitably though, I feel that it’s important that I mention this, and direct you to websites that can help you if you suspect that you might just have high blood pressure. Even if you know you don’t – go and have a look, you might be surprised.

A detailed overview of High Blood Pressure

Prevention and Control of High Blood Pressure

The All Mighty, All knowing Wikipedia on High Blood Pressure