For the past two weeks I've had some shoulder problems, and finally finally did what I had to do to find a new doctor (my doctor of 20+ years decided she no longer wanted to do family practice, and went into the specialty of "pain management" or some such thing). Working hand in hand with my insurance provider (yeah, right - I brought up the list of doctors that accept my insurance, and looked for one that was female, hopefully spoke English, and was older than my children), I finally found a new doctor. So hi ho hi ho, off to the doctor I go....
As the result, I'm off to get some blood work and x-rays done this week. X-rays of the shoulder and of my back (gasp! someone wants to fix my back? Now there's a unique concept!), plus fasting bloodwork, mammogram, pap smear - the whole nine yards. My 100,000 mile tune-up.
Unfortunately, the one thing we discovered right away is that I have high blood pressure. Well, it's hard to figure out exactly HOW high it is because I have a very real condition called "White Coat Syndrome" -- put me in direct contact with anyone of the medical profession (eye doctor, dentist, medical doctor, waitress in a white uniform), and my blood pressure goes sky-high. My old doctor knew to take my blood pressure again at the end of the visit, and watch it drop as much as 30 points.
But even at 30 points less, my blood pressure would have still been over what it should be. Uh oh. Time to do something about it. Big history of heart disease in my family so... not good.
My (new) doctor gave me two weeks to show her I could get my blood pressure down on my own or she was going to put me on medication for it. I'm not big on medicine taking - never have been. I'll take antibiotics for infections when I have to, vitamins and supplements are fine, but I just don't have great confidence in FDA testing of some of these drugs, and try hard not to take any. My (old) doctor was great about herbal and natural remedies, and that's what I prefer.
I definitely have a weight problem, and of course that contributes to the high blood pressure. My back prevents me from exercising like I used to (fanatically at one point), which just makes the weight problem worse. So I've been scouring the Internet for some solutions -- and here is what I've come up with.
The DASH Diet - A diet low in fats and sugars, high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes. Lots of research from lots of educational facilities have shown it can drop blood pressure dramatically in as little as two weeks. DASH, by the way, stands for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension".
Exercise - My back (and now my shoulder) currently won't allow me to work with weights, which has always been my exercise of preference. I can't lay on my back, so that eliminates many types of flexibility exercises, and I can't walk for extended periods of time. (Yeah, I know - I need to get my back FIXED!) But I can walk for SHORT periods of time and that's what I plan to do. Three walks a day, 10 minutes each. I am very fortunate that I have a top of the line treadmill ($1500 price tag on it - I bought it new in the box at a storage facility auction for $75) in our basement, and will use that most of the time, but will also do walking outside with Mr. B and, when I can talk him into it, Jeff.
So that's my plan, Sam. Despite being heavy my entire life (since age 5), I have never had high blood pressure before, and it scared the bejeesus out of me. I need to be around for Mr. B. I want to be around to see more grandchildren. And God knows, my husband needs me to be around for awhile more - who would iron his shirts?? LOL
So just for giggles and grins - and to keep me honest and motivated - I've started a Yahoo Group on this journey! There will initially be information on the DASH diet with links to same, plus I'll post now and then about what I'm cooking and what exercises I'm doing and anything and everything else. I'd love to have some company, so if you're 50 and over (sorry, but 20-somethings have NO idea what 50-somethings have to go through to lose weight or break 50 years of bad eating habits!) and interested in joining me (whether it's this diet or just eating more healthy), you can join here: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/DashJourney/
Here are some links you may want to look at:
That's it for now! Wish me luck!