a topic close to my heart

My last physical indicated that I may suffer from the silent killer, high blood pressure. Since then I have been monitoring it and the average is 139/89. The American Heart Association defines hypertension as a systolic reading of 140 or more, a diastolic pressure of 90 or more, or both. As you can imagine, I’m anxious to lower it.

An article I read recommends the following.

Lose weight if you’re overweight.
Eat a healthy diet low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt.
Be more physically active.
Limit alcohol to no more than one drink per day for women or two drinks a day for men.
Take medicine the way your doctor tells you.
Know what your blood pressure should be and work to keep it at that level.

Many of these don’t apply, but my doctor suggested I reduce my sodium intake. I analyzed my diet to see how much I was eating, and as far as I could tell I didn’t go over the USRDA. It’s hard to tell how much salt is in restaurant food though, and I eat out often, so that may be a problem.

The other area I need to address is exercise. My current schedule doesn’t provide much, so I’ve considered running or playing basketball to stay in shape. I could also buy a bike (the kind with pedals). The trick is finding something that I enjoy doing enough to keep at it for more than a few days.

The AHA risk assessment test results say I have less than 1% risk of having a heart attack or dying from coronary heart disease (CHD) in the next 10 years. Encouraging, but what about the next 20 or 30 years? The average age for people with hypertension is 67 and I’m less than half that. As Elmer Fudd would say, something is scwewy.

There is the possibility of taking medication, but I would like to avoid that option if possible. A government sponsored study about the effectiveness of different medications showed that diuretics are most effective, and fortunately, the least expensive as well ($0.10 a day). It’s nice to know it won’t break the bank if that’s what I end up doing.

The AHA has a lot of useful information about how to manage high blood pressure.

I guess this means I can no longer take advice with a grain of salt.


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  1. What ever you wind up doing,I hope that it will keep you healthy and strong for a long time.

    Comment by Tammie on February 4, 2003 @ 5:45 am
  2. Just drain the blood. You’ll pressure will drop nicely. Besides, blood’s overrated anyway.

    Comment by Cameron on February 4, 2003 @ 9:16 am
  3. Why wasn’t that on the AHA checklist?

    Comment by dan on February 4, 2003 @ 9:46 am
  4. I had the same kind of scare a few years back–what I found was that a bit of moderate excercise 3 times a week brought it right down. Now I pretty much eat what I want, realizing that I have the propensity to hypertension.

    Comment by Clint on February 4, 2003 @ 10:47 am
  5. Yes, get a bike! Then when it gets warm we can go on rides. Ride to work. All that fun stuff. It’ll be great.

    Comment by Levi on February 4, 2003 @ 10:55 am

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