Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Heart is Pumping

So when I was in for my yearly leg exam a few weeks ago, the nurse took my blood pressure and immediately said, "Whoa, are you nervous?"

Turns out, my blood pressure is a little high. I've known this for a bit. For the past year or two, I'm around 140/80. Depending on what doctor I talk to, this is either the higher end of normal or pre-hypertension.

I'm going to try to change this early. There's heart disease in my family and I'd like to not go from a bad ticker.

I've already dropped about 20 lbs since Christmas and regularly exercise 5 times a week. So, I'm headed in the right direction. However, blood pressure has remained the same.

I don't consume large amounts of sodium on a regular basis, but I do love Mexican food, I do eat out sometimes, and basically anywhere you buy food out is most likely going to contain a billion parts of sodium. So, if I'm going to eat out, I'm going to research the menu beforehand, find something with lower sodium.

I also don't drink often or a lot. 2 drinks a day (24 oz of beer, 10 oz of wine, or 4 oz of liquor) can actually decrease blood pressure. I typically only drink Fridays and Saturdays and usually only a few drinks.

And I definitely don't smoke.

So I feel like I'm doing everything right, but I still feel like I'm not making any progress.

Now, there are two things that probably contribute the most to my high blood pressure, caffeine and stress.

It's a vicious cycle.  The stress wears me out and the caffeine perks me back up.

So caffeine intake, that I can control. Starting today, I'm drinking about half the amount of coffee as I normally do. This weekend I'm switching to tea. I'm going to try to boost my energy naturally. Maybe have a protein shake in the morning. If its not too warm out, I'm going to take a walk in the morning.

Stress is something I can sort of help but not really. Stress is a thick fog that hangs around my life. I'm not sure if other people deal with the same level and control it better or if I really do have a more stressful life. Money, my job, the house, the current economy, and hell, even my friends sometimes all feel as though they are pushing on my chest and make it hard to breath.

Since I can't control the stress coming at me, I'm going to try to control how I deal with it. Instead of immediately reacting in anger and getting pissed about things, I'm going to attempt to take a deep breath and figure out why its stressing me out. See if there's a way to make it less stressful.