This is something I’d like to share from 1st point of view. 2019 has come to me with the news I have high blood pressure (HBP), also called hypertension. Although I’m still new to this topic, I prefer to share my experience here. I hope this info will be useful for others, suddenly surprised by the HBP like me.
Let me start with this. You almost never know, if you have hypertension, until you start measuring your blood pressure from time to time, or at least go regularly to medical checks. The usual symptoms, like headaches at the back of your head, may not always appear. For instance, I had no headaches, no other pains, nothing. The only symptom was a little blood in my eyes, but I thought it was due to the work with computers. My hypertension was detected at a regular medical check. But, as a rule of thumb, if you are overweight, eat unhealthy food, live unhealthy or stressing life (like almost all middle aged men do), the probability to get hypertension or other heart problems is high.
When you get diagnosed with hypertension, believe me, you’ll get more stressed than ever. This will raise your blood pressure even more. At the beginning, even seeing the BP-measuring device will cause your blood pressure to jump. Measuring it 2-3 times per hand, every 10 minutes, will stress you even further. As a result, expect your health status to worsen. Here is my best 1st POV advice: Don’t panic and don’t allow anyone to stress you by measuring your blood pressure 100 times a day. Buy an electronic measuring device and start measuring it by yourself, no more than 2-3 times a day, as well as when you think you need to. Remember, the blood pressure and the heart rate are moment values. They vary all the time. You are only measuring the value at the moment. Stop working and start walking a lot. This will relax you.
By all means, you will be prescribed HBP medications. Don’t expect them to take effect immediately. If you like me have had hypertension for a long time (without even suspecting it), your body will fight to keep the HBP. In time, when you get relaxed, the blood pressure will start falling. It should not fall too sharply as well, because this could cause you a stroke. Don’t worry too much about the HBP. The human’s body and arteries are designed in a way to hold on blood pressure above 200 mmHg. Keep also in mind that taking medications for HBP may raise your heart rate. I suppose this is due to the fact that when arteries go larger, the heart will try to compensate the lowering blood pressure with more beats.
When the blood pressure falls well below the normal levels, i.e. under 110 / 70 mmHg, it’s time to lower or change or lower the medications. You need to consult with your cardiologist (or GP), and ask him what to do. If you don’t do it, you will start having problems with low blood pressure (hypotension), like difficult breathing or dizziness, especially if you squat and then get up. Fine tuning of HBP medications may take months. This is strictly individual.
The most important part though is to accept HBP as a sign, to change your food and life style. When you first get diagnosed with HBP, it’s very much advisable to stop eating junk food and start a healthy diet. To stress it further, I’ll write a separate paragraph on this below. Although your cardiologist may not say much about it, it’s very important to start avoiding certain foods and drinks. Here is a good list to start avoiding, as to me. When you overcome the HBP crisis, start walking and resting more each day, and start exercising in a gym (or running) at least 3 times a week. All this will lower your blood pressure further and make you feel good.
To me, the medicine has always been more art than science. I’m almost sure the doctors will not tell you, what caused the hypertension in the end. I think it is the body’s reaction to something else, not just your destiny catching you. They usually tell you it’s a matter of age, stress, salty food, etc. In this regard, you may be in charge to try guessing or finding out, what may have caused your HBP in the end. Remember, all HBP medications are aimed to heal the symptoms, not the reason.
When you start taking HBP medications, you will hear the doctors tell you that you must take them for the rest of your life. Well, a friend of mine has managed to stop these medications by changing his food regime, tracking his blood pressure regularly and reacting accordingly. I’m not that far yet, but have made significant progress since the beginning. I mean, my HBP medication (per day) is now about 1/3 of what it was at the beginning. And I also stopped the cholesterol medications completely, because my cholesterol levels are not high any more.
Here is the food regime, recommended by my friend and followed by me. He told me to eat only some foods, like: fish instead of all meats, rice or bread for carbohydrates, all kinds of vegetables (cooked, raw, salads), a lot of onion and garlic added to the cooked dishes. The salads may be seasoned with lemon juice or vinegar. The oils should be limited to olive oil and a little sunflower oil, mainly for cooking (not frying). Other good foods are the seeds, like almonds or walnuts, and the not-so-sweet fruits like apples, kiwi and berries.
The recommended fishes are the oily ones: mackerel, salmon and the likes. You need to be careful with the salmon though, because the industrial production of salmon in recent years is not very healthy. Try getting wild salmon, if possible. The fish should not be fried or too salty. This may ruin your healthy diet. The fish oil and the olive oil should give you enough, healthy energy each day.
I have never been a vegetarian or vegan. So, I added some meat to the above diet – a bit of chicken. You can do it too, but remember to remove its skin, before you eat it. The skin contains too much fat and salt (in case of roast chicken). Always combine the meat with a lot of vegetables. You can make salads, smoothies, cook the vegetables with or without some meat. Don’t forget to add onion and/or garlic every time you can. The cooked onion and garlic doesn’t make you smell afterwards, but it’s healthy to your heart and blood pressure.
Here is a good list of foods that lower your blood pressure.
Now, to the drinks. Because you need to avoid the alcohol and sweet drinks, you need to start drinking mainly water or herbal tea. The recommended teas are mint, peppermint, chamomile, hibiscus, green tea and the likes. Avoid the black teas and coffee, because they may raise your blood pressure. In time, when the HBP crisis is over, you may start drinking some beer or wine too, but avoid more than 0.5L beer or 1 glass of wine per day.
(to be continued)