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Wake Up Call

909551_-_beep_beep_-I went to the dentist yesterday morning to get work done. They took my blood pressure before they started doing anything and it came out at 150/101. These are not good numbers. Not at all. I have had elevated blood pressure in the past, but never seen the numbers this high. Granted I was at the dentist, so the numbers tend to be higher there than other places due to nerves. But all things considered, this is a huge problem.

I’m posting about it on the blog, because I am asking for support. I’ve done research, I know a lot of things that I can change to get things better (as well as making an appointment with a doctor). What I want to know from some of you is what kinds of things have you done that really have helped bring your blood pressure down? When I do this, I don’t want to bring it down to 140/90. I want it to get to really good numbers. I am aiming for something below 120/80.

What am I doing for sure?

  1. Drinking water like crazy
  2. Adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to my diet
  3. Limiting my consumption of salt/sodium
  4. Taking Asprin daily
  5. Taking Vitamins and supplements (C, B-Complex, Omega 3)
  6. Spending more time consciously relaxing

I also plan on adding some sort of regular exercise schedule (even if it’s just walking for 10-20 minutes a day).

What other things have you done to dramatically change the state of your health?

Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

Joel Wagner
Joel Wagner (<strong><a href="">@sywtt</a></strong>) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. <strong><a href="">So You Want To Teach?</a></strong> is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

15 thoughts on “Wake Up Call

  1. My husband’s blood pressure would shoot up and his eyes would actually get bloodshot. I was so afraid he would have a stroke any day. Finally we decided that we would walk at least one hour a day and make it our priority. We both feel better after walking and has definitely helped us cope with stress. It is easy to rationalize why we can’t walk (I’m too tired, I don’t want to, I will do it tomorrow, I need to rest now etc.) but we force ourselves to go and are actually glad we do. Hope you can do what you need to in order to help your body!

    1. I walked about 30 minutes this morning. It’s so hot in the afternoons when I get home from marching rehearsal that it’s hard to get myself to do more. At least in the mornings the temperature is down into the 80s…

  2. I’m in a similar situation and am hoping the exercise commitment as well as losing some weight will help. I take a very low dose blood pressure medication but even that is expensive so I’m hoping that lifestyle modifications will address the problem. It costs over $400 per year for this medicine and I want to remove that from my budget.

    Good luck to you!

  3. After a similar scare, my ex kept a record of daily blood pressure readings, daily weight and when/how long he did cardio at the gym. (He started the cardio because of the blood pressure.) Even the doctor was surprised what losing 15 pounds and keeping up a regular regime of cardio did for his blood pressure. Good luck.

  4. You know…I had to change my whole life style. I was an “all you can eat” kind of guy. I’d been sucked into that world view. Consume as much as you can, eat it all, drink it all (I’m stunned I’m not an alcoholic) really go for the gusto. I just had to accept that if I wanted to live longer and healthier, I had to adopt a “less than I’m capable” life style view. So, I eat much less than I’m capable every day. I ask myself to only eat what I think I need to get me to the next meal. I can’t believe how dramatically this affected my body. I immediately began sleeping better. Just having less in my stomach meant better sleep. By the way, sleeping longer is a key to lowering blood pressure. I also began losing weight. I’m not obese, but the last two times I purchased pants, I had to get a larger size.

    So now instead of “go for the gusto” I only “eat what I musto.” Damn, that’s cheesy, but I’m not erasing it. I’m just that kind of guy.

  5. Monitor at home. Good thing to do. Fairly good/accurate, inexpensive meters are available.

    Cut out cold cuts. Massive sodium reservoirs.
    Watch out for prepared foods. Ditto. Canned soup? Watch out.

    Lose weight. Doesn’t have to be much. Even a little makes a difference.

    The exercise is great. Even half an hour walks count.

    Multivitamin is good.

    Add potassium (oranage fruits! and vegetables? Definitely bananas)

    Good luck!

  6. Become a vegetarian. This week I had my lowest bp in ten years: 119/74. It is usually 130/90 and I only 31 and have excellent health, no medications, not overweight, don’t smoke, not on the pill etc.

    I started three months ago and my bp gradually dropped to 130/85, 120/80 and then 119/74. Animal fats coat your arteries making your heart work harder.

    If you don’t try it and don’t exercise more, then accept that you will have to be medicated.

  7. Hey,

    Did your dentist use the right arm cuff on you???

    I’ve had nurses take my BP with the regular size cuff and it comes out about 150/98, kind of like yours.

    They tell me my BP is high, then the doctor comes in and does it again, except he remarks to the nurse that she used the wrong cuff! Too small. He took it again using the “man” cuff and it was about 118/76.

    Be sure to check before taking one BP reading to heart!

  8. Four things have helped:
    1. Exercise – for me it is aero/kickboxing about 3 times/week
    2. Moderate control of my diet, while not obsessing over sodium and fat restrictions.
    3. Change of job situation for less stress. ie. switching from instrumental music teaching to primary regular classroom.
    4. Medication, which is covered completely on my employer health care coverage.

  9. I have been fortunate enough to always have healthy blood pressure, but a few suggestions I have heard for lowering bp are definitely reducing your sodium intake, excercising, but also finding ways that work for you to relax. Maybe meditation, maybe painting, writing, sewing, reading, whatever. Maybe just lying on the floor and deep breathing.

    Hope it gets lower, buddy.

  10. Hey Joel, look into a plan called DASH diet. Dietary Approach to Stop High Blood Pressure, available through the government health offices. Just google DASH. You can get free materials in the mail, and it works.
    I didn’t want to be on meds my whole life, so this, combined with a deep breathing exercise every morning for 15 minutes, and daily walking totalling at least 30-40 minutes has my BP in a good range for my age.
    Check it out and good luck.

  11. Lots of good tips. Thanks!

    I took it again a few days ago and it was down to 136/92, so it’s definitely not quite as bad as I was afraid, but it still is a level that should concern me. Time to go do some breathing/relaxation before bed…

  12. High blood pressure is normally caused by stress. May i suggest a relaxation tape or a professional massage have a relax. If you Smoke, then get rid of it! If you are overwieght, Diet!

    Although the main thing to do is just to not be so stressed about what the numbers will be. Stressing about numbers will make them rise. Just stay calm and relax.

    P.s. Unless you need to take Aspirin and other stuff such as vitamins then i would suggest loosing them. Aspirin can sometime raise blood pressure if used frequently. The same can be said about some Vitamins if over used. This is not telling you not to take them if you have to it is just telling you what they do.

  13. Thanks for all of your comments. I bought a blood pressure monitor this weekend and have been tracking it. It’s running right around 130/90. I went to the doctor this morning, and it was 142/91. My LDL cholesterol was also a little high. I am now on Lisinopril (for the BP) and Zocor (for cholesterol).

    Medication is not much first choice, but it is definitely a step. I’ve also been drinking a whole lot more water and am making some pretty substantial dietary changes over the next few weeks and months.

    The goal is to be able to get to the point where I can come off the medication. My next appointment is a little over 6 months away. Thanks again for all of the advice…

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