I'm 29 years old, 5'10" 178 lbs and I have high blood pressure. I've been to the doctors over the past year or so about pains in my stomach and they've always passively mentioned my high blood pressure but never seemed concerned. My home readings show about 145ish / 85ish.
My diet before was a lot of soda and average fast food intake (for my age). But recently I've changed my diet completely, due to my stomach problems which as it turns out was serious constipation.. a diagnosis I reached on my own no thanks to my gastrologist who never could figure out why I had pains in my lower left side but sure racked up my medical bills trying!
Anyway, for my stomach pains I often took Advil but haven't taken any in the past 2 weeks. Until very recently I took benadryl every night for sleep. I've heard both of those medications cause higher blood pressure, and so I'm going to stop both completely.
So I'm now going to start experimenting with various other changes in my diet that help with blood pressure and I'd like to know after a change has been made, how long should the results as shown in my blood pressure reading take? I'd like to start with cutting sodium, then upping my potassium then add exercise. Eventually I intend to do all the recommended things to fix this problem but first I'd like to know which change is the most effective for me based on some experimentation. That way in the future if I slack on one (I'm thinking long-term reality here) then I will at least know which one/s is/are essential to carry me through my slack time.
I know the standard advice from everyone is going to be to see the doctor, but my reality is I don't have the money to see the doctor right now as I've racked up medical bills from last year due to my stomach pains, even though I had insurance which I pay $280/month for, they love to find reasons to make me pay more than I expected. So now I owe medical bills not to mention many other bills (such as the IRS who is now threatening to seize assets) so I really am on my own here until something changes in my financial situation. The life of self-employment in a slump economy is painful - literally.
Okay, I'm done whining, but someone please help me out here because I'm kinda desperate to get my health in order in a natural and sustainable way.
First, a high blood pressure (145-ish isn't very high but it's a little above what you should have) can have many causes, so the trick is to identify the cause in your case. Stress (which you seem to have a lot of) is a very common cause. Unhealthy food is another one, but mostly through overweight. Lack of exercise, anxiety, smoking, in other words, everything you "shouldn't" do, can cause an elevated blood pressure.
Some people are very sensitive to caffeine, and other people are very sensitive to sodium. You'll just have to find out what is working for you and what is not. When you are adviced to exercise, quit smoking (if you are smoking), find ways to reduce stress, eat healthy, you name it, it may seem like targeting the problem with a shotgun instead of a rifle, but the truth is, such lifestyle changes are good for you regardless of your blood pressure. If you are unable to make such changes or they aren't helping, medication is the next step.
You'll just have to find out what works for you. Maybe you could benefit from losing some weight, but I think your stress is highly contributing to your somewhat high blood pressure. At 145/85 you don't have any acute risk, so you can relax, but keep your blood pressure monitored and try to solve your stressful issues (the financial ones). I believe your blood pressure will normalize when you are able to relax.
Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I think you're right that stress is a contributed factor. I get my excitability from both of my parents.I'm glad to hear that my BP numbers aren't that high. I just thought for my age, they should be much more in the ideal range. Nevertheless, I'm committed to making some changes in lifestyle in order to get the numbers down and hopefully in time, I can learn to relax!
Yes, this is it. To add to this, take a look at your current health behaviors and identify which ones you are doing that are most unhealthy. For example, if your caffeine intake is worse than your sodium intake, start with reducing caffeine. Or, if your stress levels are more extreme than caffeine intake, work on that. Small steps towards these goals will help you achieve them - there are very few people in this world that would be able to immediately change their stress levels, sodium/potassium intakes, whole grain consumption, etc. all at once. Take one goal at a time and master it and then move on to the next. Pretty soon you will see a complete change in the way live and feel!
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