Typically my blog is focused on the random happenings of my life, and sometimes I like to throw some running and recipes, but today I decided to write about something semi serious, because a cardiologist appointment is in my near future.
It’s called high blood pressure (or hypertension).
Well, a few years ago I made it my new years resolution to give blood more often (yeeeeeeeeeeeet now they call me daily and ask…. don’t have that much blood guys), but when I first went to give, my blood pressure was so high I wasn’t allowed.
Normal BP is 120/ 80… mine was around 180/125 or something crazy like that.
They thought maybe I was a little nervous, which can make it high, but it never went down.
I went to my family doctor and again, my BP was super high and nowhere near where it was supposed to be (I think my bottom number got into the 130’s). I got a bunch of tests done, but everything came back normal and there were no red flags as to why my BP would be so high.
Typical causes of high blood pressure are
- smoking (I don’t smoke.)
- obesity (I have my days when I think I’m overweight, but in reality, I’m on the low side of a healthy BMI.)
- lack of physical activity (I workout 5-6 days/week.)
- too much salt (UM YES. I eat a ton of salty foods. Check.)
- too much alcohol (I’m a social drinker, but not a daily drinker.)
- stress (who doesn’t have stress in their life? I wouldn’t say I have extra stress though.)
- older age (I was 26 at the time… so nope.)
- family history (Yes, but it didn’t show up until later in life.)
- kidney disease (Nope.)
So… the only thing I can give an emphatic yes to on that list is the too much salt.
I ended up going to a cardiologist and getting an ECG (electrocardiogram) and an echocardiogram, which is kind of like an ultrasound around your heart.
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, neither found anything that would be the cause of my hypertension, which basically means I’m going to be on medicine for the rest of my life (which is scary, considering I was 26 at the time and only 29 now). Currently I’m on two different medications and they seem to be working so I only have to go back to the cardiologist once a year to make sure nothing has changed.
Why do you care about this?
Well, for one, I am someone who is not your typical high blood pressure candidate, but I’ve got it nonetheless. There have been times when I am running and I get short of breath and my heart starts racing….and I know I need to cool it down a little bit. It really scared me to read about the man who collapsed at the Chicago marathon this year. You know at the end of races when you speed up because you’re just so close- your heart is working triple time and you’re in the mindset that you just need to finish- and sometimes you can feel your heart beating out of your chest.
Also, it’s important to know if you have HBP so you can treat it- whether you’re a man, woman, runner or not. Hypertension is often called the silent killer because many people don’t even know they have the condition.
If HBP is left untreated, over time it could lead to not only heart damage, but also kidney damage, stroke, vision loss, erectile dysfunction (sorry guys) and memory loss. Who wants to have memory loss?
So, because there are no real symptoms of HBP, you just have to make sure you’re checking it regularly at the doctor or at CVS, where they have one of those machines that’s free!
Plus, heart disease is the #1 killer for women (scary!), so why wouldn’t you just take 3 minutes to get your BP checked?
Read more here.
If you have anything else to add, please comment below!