Friday, July 9, 2010

Controlling High Blood Pressure....Naturally....The Journey

I asked my doctor how to get off my blood pressure medication. I didn't ask if it was okay. I said I was doing it and wanted to know how. He told me and I followed his instructions. After a month of weaning off the drugs, I finally took my last little piece of a pill a few weeks ago.

My body told me it didn't like what I was doing about three weeks into the month long process. I got worried that it wasn't going to work and maybe I really did need to be on the meds....but I continued.

At first my pressure was all over the place with a lot of high readings and very few normal readings. I was concerned.

Then slowly it started to turn around and I was getting more good readings.....not 120/80....but better than it was. I was encouraged.

Then the news came about my bad Ultra Sound and my pressure went up again. I was frustrated.

I got the benign biopsy results the day before we left on vacation. The first day of vacation, my blood pressure was BELOW normal! I was shocked.

When we got back from vacation, it went right back up again. I was so confused.

I thought that perhaps it was time to throw in the towel and just go back on the drugs.

Then I sat down and really thought about it. It was so obvious to me that my mental state had a lot to do with my pressure. How on earth could I change who I am in order to control my pressure? I thought about how I hustle from place to place....I never just walk. I'm always in a hurry...even when I don't need to be.

I thought about how I am always thinking about "what's next" instead of enjoying "what's now".

I thought about how fast I breathe all of the time. Never ever taking a nice deep breath to calm my mind and soothe my soul.

I thought about how I rarely take time to "smell the roses" even though I mean to.

I thought about my diet...I thought it was okay....what was I not seeing?

I thought about my lack of enthusiasm about my physical therapy program and walking on the treadmill. I was doing it, but I wasn't "into" it.

It was all pretty overwhelming, but what I realized was that even though I thought I was doing everything I could to bring my pressure down....I really wasn't.

Not taking the meds was really, really important to me. If I didn't need them, then I didn't want to take them. So......after reading a lot more about high blood pressure...this is what I did.

I took a good look at my diet. I found lots of hidden salt in many of the foods I was eating. I increased my potassium and my fish oil supplements. I started walking further and faster on my treadmill. I walked like someone with a purpose. When I started to hustle down the hall at work, or to my car in the parking lot or through the grocery store.....I stopped....and I reminded myself to slow down. I wasn't in a race. I posted a note above my computer at home that says "120/80". I drew a smiley face in one corner and a heart in the other. I posted a note on my bulletin board at work that says, "Slow down" and "Breathe". I started doing some deep breathing a number of times a day, especially if I felt my old habits creeping in. I purchased some wonderful herbal hibiscus tea from etsy shop, Tea For All Reasons, because I read that it's good for high blood pressure. I stopped to smell the roses.

Guess what? Slowly my blood pressure came down. I started getting more and more good AND normal readings. I still get a high reading now and then, but most of my readings are very respectable. While my pressure isn't where I want it to be all of the time just yet....I honestly believe I am on the right path. Whether it will continue to improve, I don't know. We will see.

I can't say what one thing is making the difference, or if it is all of the things thrown together. It doesn't matter to me. I thought I knew myself really well, and I found out we never stop learning about ourselves. The more I learn...the healthier I become.

Our bodies and minds are amazing. I think a lot of the time we reach for what we think is the quick and easy solution to a health problem, rather than putting forth the effort to find a natural solution.....and trust me....it's hard work. Sometimes drugs are very necessary, but sometimes it's just a matter of giving our bodies what they need to function the way they are made to function.

My journey continues.....I'll keep you posted.

14 comments:

aliceinparis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aliceinparis said...

Thanks for sharing this. It is so helpful to see how other folk deal with health issues and gain positive results. I am so pleased your pressure is going down. You are doing the right things:)I also think that as it drops, the better you feel about it and the easier it is to achieve the results you want. Calm = good!
Stressing doesn't help:(
(I made a mistake in my earlier comment so deleted it:)

Tins and Treasures said...

Hi, Kathy,
I'm looking forward to getting caught up on my blog reading...You and I are experiencing the same thing with the osteopenia/osteoporosis stuff. I anxiously await your findings!

Anyway, I have to tell you that when I was at my mom's I only had access to the internet via my Blackberry, so couldn't read or comment on much of anything. Your blog title on June 21st..."It's time!" sent me into a spin! I had to get to some wireless to find out if that precious little baby was coming early. Well, I found out that you were headed on a much deserved vacation. So happy for you. And glad that your little grandson is going to spend a little more time in "the oven"!!

Have a fabulous Friday. ~Natalie

Cathryn said...

Kathy--this is WONDERFUL news! Being on my own health journey, I know how hard this is. I've reduced my own needs for hypertension meds...but I still have a ways to go before I can get off them!

The hidden salts in a diet are more astounding than you think. I also look for hidden sugars because I've learned that when I have too much processed sugars, my blood pressure also climbs. And...I tend to eat more sugary type foods when I'm stressing!

Excellent and thank you for sharing your journey!

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

that is awesome! i'm so glad for you. this post could be about my life right now and my struggle - not to get my blood pressure down but to get my weight down. i am a self-saboteur and i hate it. right now, i don't know what direction to take or which way to turn.

i pray that i can only go up from here as i feel pretty much on the down side. i'm going to try and put your "slow down" and "breathe" notes into practice.

Nancy said...

Kathy,
Good for you! I am just so tickled with you and your attitude of taking control of your health. Believe it or not, I don't find too many people who take the reins with their healthcare (I work in a clinic). You just keep it up and hopefully what you do will inspire others to care more and do more for their health!!
Nancy

Lanyardlady said...

Very wise thoughts. I'm anxious all the time thinking about what I need to do next. For a long time I thought it was a great way to be...so organized and efficient. Now I know I'm driving myself to hypertension. If I didn't laugh a lot I'd probably be much worse off.

Joan said...

You sound as hard headed as I am. =)

I too finally got it through my head there is no quick fix. I like what you said on FB ~ getting healthy, one step at a time. I'm going to post that on the wall in front of my treadmill.

Linda said...

Hello, I just found your blog. I appreciated your sharing about your journey with high blood pressure. I am dealing with high cholesterol, and trying to make smarter and healthier choices both in my diet and my attitude. Love your blog - I'll be back!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I love how you do the research, think it through, and then do the right things. You are a great role-model for those of us who need to take a little more control. (I bought a new yoga-pilates DVD, now just need to USE it.)

DUTA said...

It is a known fact that the key to good health is minimum of stress and pressure. Medication won't solve the problem if there's no reducing of stress in one's life, and the doctor will then have to change the dosage or replace it with another sort of medication.
That's as clear as that.

Bluebell said...

Kathy, you are such an inspiration, you deal with all your health problems head on and I so admire that. I have learned over the years that stressing out does not help but!!! it is very hard if you are that sort of person not to do it. My husband has taught me the value of life and how to live it he is my calming influence. Well done Kathy you are such a strong lady.
Love Jillxx

Mary said...

once again, yay for you! my blood pressure spikes very high a lot and i've tried a few medications after being hospitalized for it...but i have terrible allergic responses to just about all the medications--one even put me in heart failure! i don't take any now but my bp is still high...i have weight to lose and although i eat very little salt i know there is room for cutting more...i walk, make sure i get plenty of postassium and other good things, i meditate, lots of things, but it is still quite high much of the time. for me, i have to lose the weight for it to go lower i think...

i'm glad you wrote this...i needed to read it today since i'm feeling low about all this right now...;-)

gayle said...

I so wish my husband would get his under control!! Good for you for trying to do it without meds!!

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