4 years later – a look back at High blood pressure (Hypertension)

Hypertension chart

Today is a public service announcement. I’ve kept this image on my fridge for 4 years. October 26th, 2016 I have a 24-hour cuff put on me to test my blood pressure. as you can see it isn’t exactly much to write home about or is it?

A black and white picture of my BP with the averages listed
A Hypertension – Blood Pressure

Here’s the story.

At that time I was 34 years old I haven’t been to the doctor in 4 years. I was working full-time, practicing Aikido, playing video games, and I was exercising on a regular basis. I mean why did I need to go to a doctor? Hahaha!!!

At that time diet mostly consisted of stuff I could prepare quickly. Meals, that didn’t take much preparation or no preparation was my ideal choice.  I figured hey, it’s not that bad. Wow, I was wrong! So, with the not-so-gentle encouragement from a friend of mine, I booked an appointment. My blood pressure was 165 over 110 in the doctor’s office that day. For those of you that don’t know 120 over 80 is the ideal blood pressure rating you want.

Since my doctor is awesome and understood that white coat syndrome is a thing so he requested that I wear a blood pressure cuff for 24 hours and see what the results would be over the course of a day. The machine will take my blood pressure every half an hour while I was awake and every hour while I was sleeping. 

Here comes the scary part.

After the results came back but my blood pressure was alarmingly high. Here is a closer look.

This is colour picture of my 24 hour BP test
Blood Pressure screenshot

As you can see by the picture 2 little separate green parts of the picture were the only time that my blood pressure was at a normal rate that was just as I fell asleep and just as I was waking up the rest of the time the chart looks like red mountains.

My doctor has been practicing for 15 years and that was the highest 24-hour blood pressure test he had ever seen. To be clear this is not the type of record that I wanted to set. Nobody wants to scare their doctor and therefore scare themselves in the process.

What did I do after I found out about my high blood pressure?

The first thing I did was call my parents and cry. That’s 34 years old in the parking lot of the doctor’s office, crying and questioning my mortality. The doctor put me on a blood pressure pill and claimed that I would have to go on one possibly or two more pills, for a total of 3.

I started to think if this continues on how much longer am I going to live? Is this the beginning of the end?

I am the guy who peaked in his late twenties and everything was downhill from there?

After the crying was over, I got to work.

I’m a solutions-based individual I started doing research and it turns out sodium and salt are both huge contributing factors to high blood pressure.

At the time I lived in work near Chinatown and so I continuously ate out for convenience. Now I have nothing against delicious Chinese food, Japanese food, and any other takeout that you can get your hands on every once in a while. 

However, I was eating something packed with soy sauce 6 to 7 days a week, for lunch or dinner. On top of that most mornings, you could find me headed to a Tim Hortons drive-thru or Starbucks for a salty breakfast sandwich. I blamed my Cerebral Palsy and wheelchair because it was easy to just grab and go.

Over the next month, I cut out almost all salts, no more eating out and I consumed mostly salads and wraps.

Here is a previous post I did about taking action.

My next doctor’s visit was good news! My blood pressure had dropped into an acceptable range. I believe it was in the 130s over 90. I told my doctor what I was doing and he encouraged me to stay on the path that I was on.

In the last, four years of continued diligence with diet and exercise. 

I’ve been able to keep my blood pressure in check, with a  single pill Instead of three.  I have also dropped my weight and without all that salt and sodium I am not thirsty all the time or tired.

You may ask why am I telling you all this?

The simple answer is because this led me down a path of healthier eating habits and regular doctor visits.  good habits snowball into positive results.

In May of 2019, I got a CPAP machine to help me with sleep apnea

I’ll have another article about sleep apnea at some point down the road.