I saw my doctor yesterday and was diagnosed with high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) and given a stern and somewhat scary lecture. If I was waiting for the “a-ha” moment before making a commitment to a healthier lifestyle, yesterday was it.
My blood pressure yesterday was 145/90, and it had been that high six months ago too, and at the visit before that. So, I have to start taking blood pressure medication every morning, with the hope that it will lower my blood pressure back to safe levels. Instead of the “four to eight times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke” level that I’m at right now.
You’d better believe that the words “four to eight times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke” put fear in my heart.
She gave me a stapled-together printout of how to follow the DASH diet – Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension – which includes drastically reducing sodium, eating more fruits, veggies and whole foods in general, and adding more foods high in potassium. Turns out that a potassium deficiency can lead to hypertension, as well as – wait a minute, this sounds familiar – depression and fatigue.
It’s possible that these last few years when my depression has become harder to manage and I’ve been feeling tired pretty much all the time could be because I rarely eat enough of the food that has potassium.
This is the wake-up call I needed, people. Quitting smoking, exercising 30-60 minutes a day, eating healthy, whole food, reducing stress (which also aggravates blood pressure), these aren’t just suggestions anymore. These are my guideposts to staying alive.
Please share your experiences with the DASH diet, taking blood pressure meds, or anything high blood pressure related in a comment. I know I’m not alone in this, and I’d like to feel less alone