One something over too much

A few weeks ago we were at a playdate with another family and the dad who was lively and boisterous as usual one minute was all of a sudden slurry and sedate. My wife and I recognized the symptoms of a stroke as did his wife (a nurse) she rushed him off to the hospital we stayed with the kids. A few hours later they returned, he needed to do more testing and I'm sure work on diet and exercise (I didn't ask for details). But it got me thinking about my own health and an upcoming doctors appointment I had.

My doctor is not someone to sugar coat things, though he is not an over-reactor, which is nice. Despite being on blood pressure medicines and completely cutting out soda, my BP was still high. He gave me yet another blood pressure medicine and wanted me to see a cardiologist.

My heart looked good according to the cardiologist, but my BP was still high. So he upped my dosage on one of my medications. And said if it doesn't go down I would need to take at least one other medication. I am too young to be taking so much stuff every day. So I went online to see what else I could do.

I found this great article on the Mayo Clinic's website about controlling blood pressure. It lists 10 things you can do to cut your Blood Pressure.

  • Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet
I think the first three all go hand in hand. It is about lifestyle changes. My wife loves cooking healthy vegetarian meals, which is a positive. But perhaps I need to skip dessert or late night snack. I will admit right now I would love a Klondike Bar. Now that the kids are back in school I have been going to the gym, regularly. But perhaps my workouts need to be longer and more intense. I am setting a goal of a 40 minute 5k when I participate in  NAHDN's Run Dad Run! this Spring. 

  • Reduce sodium in your diet
I love salt. And while I haven't been cutting out salt in my cooking, I have avoided adding extra salt to my food. I have also been over a month without soda. Which is full of salt. This is going to be a tough one, because I hate bland food.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
I'm not that big of a drinker. I usually can go months between drinks. But then will go on stretches where I'm drinking every night. Its never too excess, so I think I'm drinking to the point of beneficial benefits.
  • Quit smoking
I don't smoke.

  • Cut back on caffeine
Since I've given up soda, I have really intensified my coffee drinking. Honestly I haven't drank this much coffee since I had a access to a Kureg at my old office.

  • Reduce your stress
I have a seven and five year old. A very demanding elderly parent living right upstairs. A job that needs requires great attention to detail. And the Mets are in the playoffs. My whole life is stress. Ok I'll see what I can do.

  • Monitor your blood pressure at home and see your doctor regularly
I have been keeping up with my meds and my doctors appointments. He really acts like a partner in my wellness.

  • Get support
I am writing this post and sending it out on the interwebs to let people know that I am working on this. And to feel free to call me out on things. And remember that I am working these habits in slowly. When you see me sipping an iced coffee, its a medium not a large. That is a start. If you see me drinking Mountain Dew at camp, shut up you are stressing me out—that is my time to drink Dew.

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