Monthly Archives: September 2006

DASH

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So. I’ve had high blood pressure for a while now. I’m not sure exactly how long, but I first noticed it when I was on birth control around six or seven months ago.

I went to the doctor, and they put me on Toprol, which is a beta-blocker, one that I know intimately thanks to my pregnancies. When I was pregnant, I had to take 400mgs a day to keep my heart rate below 110. Fun times, let me tell you.

Now I’m on 50mgs a day, and it’s lowered my blood pressures from Stage 1 hypertension levels to Pre-hypertension levels. To be considered normal, my blood pressure needs to be below 120/80. I haven’t gotten there yet.

My doctor checked my kidneys through blood work and an ultrasound, and other than one kidney stone [dammit. Those hurt like hell when you pass them. Absolute worst pain of my life was on my 30th birthday when I had a raging kidney infection along with those little bastards.] everything seems okay.

Apparently, high blood pressure in someone my age [32] and size [not obese or even overweight according to these people]. However, I do have a small frame, and according to another site, my ideal weight is around 117 [figured by taking 100lbs for the first five feet of height, then adding 5 lbs for each inch above five feet. I’m 5’6″ so that would mean my ideal weight is 130, but with a small frame you’re supposed to subtract 10%, which is 117lbs. Link to where I found this information.]

I currently weigh 142, which is 25lbs more than I should, so I imagine that’s contributed some to my blood pressure difficulties. If it seems weird [or wrong] that I should be having health problems related to weight when I’m not technically overweight, I should mention that my dad is the same way.

He’s right around 6′ [somewhere between 5’11” and 6’1″] His recommended weight range is 140-185lbs, but if he gets over 170, he starts feeling like crap. My range is 118-155lbs. I’m well below the maximum, and yet here I am with hypertension [HTN].

So, rather than be dependent on medication to keep this crap under control for the rest of my life, I’ve done some research. Turns out that there’s a diet out there called ‘DASH.’ This diet is low everything. Low fat, low cholesterol, low sodium. It increases your daily servings of fruits and vegetables so much that some people get diarrhea from it if they just jump in and do it all at once.

But, some people who go on this diet have lower blood pressure within two weeks.
Just for grins, I checked out the sodium content of the stuff I ate the other day. The recommended amount of sodium for the DASH diet is 1500-2300mgs a day. The average adult female eats over 3000mgs a day, the average male: 4000. The other day, I had over 3000 mgs [not sure exactly how much over because I didn’t count the exact amount of everything, but I think it was close to 4000 total].

OY. I’ve never even looked at sodium content before! I had no idea that 1/4 teaspoon of table salt has 580mgs of sodium in it. A half cup of cottage cheese has 480mgs. Half cup of canned green beans? 400mgs. One beef hot dog: 600mgs.

Un-fricking-believable.

So today, I’ve been watching my sodium intake. So far today, I’ve only had breakfast [well, I guess you’d call it brunch, since I at after 10AM. It’s almost 3PM as I type this] I’ve only had 300mgs so far. I’m trying to figure out what to fix for dinner. It looks like we’ll be eating a damn lot of steamed vegetables, since low-fat pretty much nixes all things fried or flavorful.

There’s a sample menu for one week’s worth of food on the DASH site. I think I’m gonna print it out and see how hard this is really gonna be. Unfortunately, I don’t really feel like I have much choice, you know? Maybe something is causing my HTN that they haven’t found yet, but if there isn’t a cause, it pretty much means either my genes are bad, or I’m unhealthy as hell and I have to grow up and change how I treat my body.

Actually, I need to grow up and take better care of myself, regardless of my genes. In my mind, I’m still 17, and I forget that I’m actively aging now.

So anyway, that’s what I’m thinking about right now, how to get my blood pressure to a normal level, and also what I’m gonna do with my health from here on out. It’s clear I can’t take it for granted any more. So wish me luck with all this crapola, okay?

I’m gonna need it.

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