Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wake Up Call

When it comes to changing my life it seems I'm a slow learner. I know I should be in better health than I am for my age, but I let excuses get in the way. No time. Surely it's not that bad. I'll start tomorrow. I eat fairly healthy. Well, yesterday I received a wake up call. 
  I saw my doctor to monitor my thyroid and hemoglobin. Hemoglobin was up this time from where it had been hovering so yea me! Thyroid I'll hear later about. I glanced at the number on the scale. Umm, not so good. Up ...twelve pounds from last time I saw my doctor. Not so good. And one of the first things he said when he saw me... You have high blood pressure. I want to put you on a low dose of medicine. This is the part where you hear the screeching brakes.
  Let's face it, folks. I wasn't even fazed by the announcement that it's time to schedule a colonoscopy. My dad had colon cancer in his late 40's and died from it by the time he was 50. So yeah, I knew that was gonna happen sooner rather than later. High blood pressure though, I wasn't prepared for that little bomb. 
  Honestly though, it shouldn't be a shocker. Hypertension runs in my family. But my readings at the doc's office have been to the point of monitoring only once or twice, and most of the time low enough to skirt by so I began not paying as much attention to those numbers. My doctor has, though.  And this doctor does not play with my health. He tells me like it is. It's up to me to follow his advice though.
  I don't want to be on medication the rest of my life. I plan on learning more about high blood pressure and natural ways I can bring those numbers down. I'll take the medication every day like I'm supposed to but I'm not going to stop there. It's time to stop falling off the exercise wagon and get more active. I'm fairly careful at the grocery store in that I rarely buy boxed convenience foods, but high amounts of sodium lurk in places you wouldn't normally think of, like ketchup. And here's a tip for you: almost anytime a food manufacturer slaps a label on their product that says "lower salt", "low fat" or any of those type things, guess what: read the ingredients list. Whenever one ingredient such as salt or fat gets lowered or axed completely, something else (usually sugar) is added to make up for it, so it will still taste good. One particular brand of ketchup I noticed has several different bottles of the red stuff, whatever suits your fancy, including low salt. Yeah, that one won't be gracing my grocery cart, much less my dining table because when you look at the ingredients list there is not only high fructose corn syrup, but regular corn syrup, both fairly high on the ingredient list. Sorry for the run on sentence there. I may even look into making my own ketchup. We'll see.
   I will be taking more care in what I eat and being more vigilant about ingredient lists. I don't need to cut out all salt, just cut down on it. I also need to be sure to exercise more. I'm going to begin with walking every day. I want to add in low impact exercises I can do at home (my knees and back scream at me with certain things, another reason for needing to lose weight), and look into calming exercises. 
  I mentioned before that I was going to do some posts concerning health, and now I have more than enough reasons to continue it. What about you? What do you do to take care of your health, particularly if you have high blood pressure?  Maybe we can encourage one another.

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