Happiness and Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
We often busy ourselves in order to forget the poignant and ephemeral nature of our lives. ~ Rev Kane
High Blood Pressure
In some ways, blood pressure is the bane of my existence. I suffer from hypertension and have been on medication now for over 20 years to deal with the condition. It’s a genetic thing for me, my blood pressure is worse now that I’m 190 pounds and in good physical condition than it was when I was a 250 pound couch potato. High blood pressure is a serious condition, they call it the silent killer because very often people have no idea that they have high blood pressure and the condition can lead to heart attacks or strokes. If you have anything else going on, diabetes, high cholesterol or being overweight it magnifies the risks of those conditions. I check a couple of those boxes as well, so it’s a serious deal for me. I’m working on the other boxes, I’ve lost 16 pounds this year, my blood sugar is getting back under control and I eat better, exercise regularly and try to do things to reduce stress.
High Blood Pressure can run in your family
My blood pressure issues are primarily genetic and there is an unfortunate family history on this front. You see my maternal grandfather passed away at 49 when I was 5 years old from acute hypertension. Excessive high blood pressure caused brain damage and likely a stroke. Almost everyone in my family is and has been on blood pressure medication for most of their adult lives. But happily, due to modern medicines, we have all passed our 50th birthdays without suffering the same fate. It’s funny, one of the things I think about, if the apocalypse ever occurs, while people will be looting pharmacies for pain killers and antibiotics, I’ll need to loot for my blood pressure medication.
A health scare
Recently my blood pressure had been increasing because my medication was no longer working for me the way it should. I went in for an elective procedure and my blood pressure spiked and I ended up getting cancelled out of the surgery. Then they sent me to a cardiologist to get cleared for surgery. He ended up getting me some new meds that have gotten my blood pressure back in line. He also ordered an Echocardiagram and thats when a giant rollercoaster of an afternoon happened that I wrote about in last weeks blog post that at one point looked like it might lead to open heart surgery, happily that wasn’t the case, but it illustrates why it’s important to keep these things in line.
Living a full and normal life
The thing is, given the medications available, you can lead a completely normal life with high blood pressure. As you know if you read this blog regularly I workout, I travel (Petra, Havasupai Falls) extensively and go on adventures (Mt. Everest, photographing Polar Bears in Canada) and even hiked a 1000 miles on the Appalachian Trail. I also write poetry as a way to relax. So there really are no limits to what you can do.
Take Care of Yourself
For most people blood pressure can very much be controlled and it comes down to some of the very basic things you might imagine.
- Keep your weight under control
- Watch your salt intake
- Don’t smoke
- Drink in moderation
- Keep normal Vitamin D levels (another way hiking can help
Of course the big thing is to regularly check your blood pressure so that you know where it is, there are lots of charts that can show you what normal levels are for blood pressure. So take care of yourselves my friend and you’ll have many happy days. ~ Rev Kane