can anyone relate?

Posted , 3 users are following.

I'm a 38 yr old single mom.  I weigh 150lbs. I was diagnosed with preliminary hypertension back in 2015. I've been on 3 different medications, now I'm on a combo of 2 which seems to be effective for the most part.  Well, I don't know if I'm still in denial but I don't think my hypertension is preliminary as my original primary care doc suggested. I realized he made a lot of presumptions based off my age and  didnt really read all my tests accurately.  I could be wrong but I really feel its my lifestyle and  how I handle stress that is causing me hypertension.  Overall, I've been trying to tackle these issues. In seeing a new primary care, a nutrtitionist and I've competely cut out alcohol and red meat. I am not a fan of exercising although I'm not fat. However, I do take walks. Can anyone relate to feeling their diagnoses of preliminary hypertension can actually be reversed?

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Rhonda,

    I'd say there's every chance of reversing your hypertension with lifestyle measures, assuming it wasn't too high to start with. Do you remember what it was? I'm unfamiliar with the US expression "preliminary hypertension" but am guessing the reading wouldn't have been very high.

    I'm speaking from personal experience here. Nearly 20 years ago, when I was in my mid-50s, my BP had gone up to around 150/90 and my doctor wanted to put me on medication. I too weighed almost 150lb in those days (and I'm only 5ft 2in, which gives a BMI of around 27). I decided I didn't want that, and set about losing a bit of weight. I lost nearly 7lb in the next three months, which brought my BP down to 140/85. This was still too much for my doctor, who upped the dose of the medications I hadn't been taking in the first place, and wasn't planning to take then. (But I didn't tell her that!)

    Over the next year or so I lost another 9lb, which brought my BP all the way back to its original 120/80, where it stayed for about the next 15 years. It's creeping up again now I'm in my 70s, which is only to be expected, but I have a different doctor these days, and he still hasn't put me on medication, preferring "watchful waiting". He's told me I'll probably have to start within the next 10 years, and I accept that now. But at least I'll have had 20-25 medication-free years, which I feel will give me a headstart.

    Bravo for giving up alcohol! I didn't, but I did cut down. I'm a bit puzzled as to why you feel you have to give up red meat though. It's true that none of us should be eating too much red meat, particularly the processed kind, regardless of our BP. But I can't see any value in cutting it out altogether, especially as it contains a lot of useful nutrients.

    These days, it's generally considered that the main culprits for furring up the arteries are salt and carbs - especially the refined kind, and even more especially sugar. Dietary fat used to get the blame, but now we know that was largely down to the powerful sugar industry lobby. You'd do better to cut back on salt (but not cut it out altogether) while severely restricting carbs. So this means keeping junk food as an occasional treat rather than a weekly or daily event, and eating things like bread and potatoes in moderation.

    Oh, and I forgot to mention smoking. That's the number-one cause of build-up of plaque in the arteries.

    Brisk walking is a very good form of exercise. Walking an average of an hour a day, as well as cutting back on alcohol and carbs, is how I lost the weight (which I've never put back in the intervening 20 years). I also do a 20-minute aerobic workout in my kitchen about five days a week - cobbled together by myself. There's absolutely no need to take out an expensive gym subscription to get fat. You certainly wouldn't catch me in lycra! (Wouldn't want to either...eek)

    All the above is on the assumption that your BP was never very high in the first place. If anyone with a BP of, say, 140/90 is reading this, I'd say forget it, you need to be on meds for the rest of your life. But slightly raised BP can easily be managed with lifestyle changes - though you have to keep them up for life, of course.

    • Posted

      THANKS FOR SHARING your stories Lily65668!!  So true... MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
    • Posted

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. My BP last reading was 133/77 but it fluctuates.
    • Posted

      That's absolutely fine Rhonda. It's the diastolic (lower) reading that's more important. This should be about 80 at your age, so you're doing very well if it's only 77.

      Medical thinking concerning the systolic has changed in both directions over the years. When I was training as a nu rse 50 years ago we were taught that the systolic didn't matter too much - within reason anyway - as long as the diastolic was OK, since it's the systolic that's affected by stress etc.

      Then doctors went through a long period of insisting BP had to be 120/80 in everyone. During the 1990s, a doctor doubled the dose of my 80-year-old mother's BP meds just because she recorded 130/80 in his office on a single occasion. I insisted he reduce the dose again when she started getting side-effects, and she was fine.

      Now medical opinion seems to be getting a bit more flexible again, even accepting a higher diastolic in older people (though not at your age). However, it still depends on which doctor you see and what research he/she has been reading. Medicine is just like everything else, including putting up a shelf - there's no one right way to do anything! Patients often fail to realise this, and expect there to be absolutes, which can cause problems.

      Sounds to me like you're perfectly OK. Keep up the exercise and sensible eating, and who knows - you might be able to reduce or eventually stop your meds.

      Good luck!

    • Posted

      AMEN, lily65668!  rhonda4321 keep up the good work with exercise and will get there!!  Merry Christmas!
    • Posted

      I'm so happy to be speaking with someone knowledgeable and experienced on the subject.  Some of  my readings have been much higher.  I'm on medication to keep the numbers low as well.  My number 1 focus is keeping my numbers low and staying free from stress. It's my goal to be free of this but this has been my life from Nov/Dec 2015. So if the systolic is said to be stress related what's usually related to the diastolic(other than its the force leaving the heart?

    • Posted

      Well, if the diastolic is consistently raised - say, 85 or higher at your age, or a bit higher than that for someone over 50 - that's a sign that you really have hypertension. Even so, it would still only be stage one at that level, worth watching but not a cause for immediate panic.

      The key word in the above is consistently. Everyone's BP - systolic and diastolic - wanders around quite a bit in the course of every day. If you were to get a reading of 140/90 once a month or so, but more like 125/80 the rest of the time, I don't think you'd have anything to worry about.

      The important thing is to keep your stress levels as low as possible, and the best way to do that is to stop worrying about your blood pressure. Keep an eye on it by all means,and maintain a reasonably healthy lifestyle, but don't make it the centre of your being. The human body is amazingly resilient. Learn to trust yours.

    • Posted

      Yes you're absolutely right not to make it the center of my life.  Thank you. I like keeping an open mind as well as being aware. 

  • Posted

    Yes, it can often be reversed, keeping weight down, getting exercise, good diet, and less stress.  On the other hand for lots of people they still have some BP and the pills are a good idea.  It's all in the numbers.  And finding some pills that work well for you.

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