This story is a guest post from a YLB reader who wanted to share their personal health story. This story is from Richardand entails his struggle with hypertension. Richard shares his principles of managing his high blood pressure. Want to submit your own health story? Contact us. Your story could help inspire me or someone else.
How I Struggled with Hypertension
A broken blood vessel in my left eye was the first harbinger of the approaching troubles with high blood pressure for me. At first I paid no attention to this fact because I decided the renovations I made in my apartment caused it. “Maybe some dirt got in my eye,” that’s what I thought and went on with my business. But my easy-going attitude wasn’t destined to last long. Within a couple of hours, the broken vessel filled the white of the eye with blood making it almost completely red, and that was pretty scary I should say. At the same time, maybe because of the fatigue or worry, I started feeling a bit under the weather, so I contacted my doctor right away. It turned out that “bloody” eye was a direct consequence of my high blood pressure – 180/100. My doctor told me that my blood pressure readings were abnormal and that I was at the stage two of hypertension. At first I didn’t take the diagnosis seriously, but then I was rushed to the hospital, got connected to a heart monitor for ECG and suddenly everything became dramatically serious. Thank goodness the results showed that my heart was working properly in spite of my increased blood pressure.
At the stage of hypertension that I was diagnosed with, the disease can not only cause unpleasant symptoms like headaches, dizziness or shortness of breath but it also damages the internal organs which is very dangerous. In fact, hypertension is often called a “silent killer” because most of the time it has no obvious symptoms that could help realize that something’s wrong.
Until that day I always thought that hypertension was something that only affected the elderly. I wasn’t even sure what normal blood pressure numbers should be. And surely I had no idea how dangerous this heart disease is or about the life-threatening consequences of hypertension if it goes untreated. I was informed that untreated high blood pressure can lead to angina pectoris, heart and kidney failure and myocardial infarction resulting even in death.
Hypertension treatment – what your doctor can do
An accurate diagnosis of hypertension is very important for a competent and effective treatment of this disease. The sad news for me was that at my stage of this disease it cannot be controlled by simple lifestyle and dietary changes, it required the intake of certain medications. Since it was established that there were no serious damages to my organs, I needed no additional treatment except for the medications that would help me control my blood pressure. I was prescribed with medications to lower my blood pressure and normalize my heart rate and a blood-thinning agent.
Hypertension – What You Can Do
Well, everything else, as my doctor said, was in my hands. First and foremost I was told I should take prescribed medications regularly and constantly, without any breaks, even when I’m feeling well. Also I was told I should reconsider my lifestyle and dietary approach and exclude as much hypertension provoking factors as I possibly can. I should:
- Avoid stress. When we get nervous, our adrenal glands realize too much adrenaline, which increases the load on the heart and causes the spasms of the blood vessels resulting in increased blood pressure. Sadly, there was no actual way for me to avoid stress; but I could change my attitude towards stressful situations and thus evade its effects on my body.
- Considerably reduce salt consumption. Salt makes the body keep more water, and this extra stored water increases the blood pressure. I had to give up my favorite salty snacks, chips and other tasty but unhealthy foods.
- Quit smoking. Nicotine provokes the narrowing of blood vessels and raises blood pressure. A habit I long considered giving up, so it wasn’t too difficult for me.
- Avoid alcohol. It’s a common mistake to think that alcohol widens blood vessels; such widening changes into persistent vascular spasm resulting in blood pressure increase. Therefore, no alcohol for me now.
- Keep an eye on my weight. My weight wasn’t really an issue for me, but I gladly waved goodbye to my 5 extra pounds.
- Give up my sofa and say “yes” to physical activity. Exercise not only helps reduce weight and get fit, it also helps lower blood pressure; thus, exercise was the important thing I had to implement in my new regimen.
- Make healthy food choices. I had to say a big “NO!” to fast food, chips, tinned and processed foods (too fatty and salty) and add more fruit, vegetables and whole grains to my diet.
It’s important to understand that self-treatment is a “no-no” for hypertension; every success story is an individual case that has come true with the help of qualified medical assistance. Go to a doctor, get the treatment you need and change your life for better and for good! And remember that lifestyle changes are as important as medications.
Richard is a blogger who specializes in health niche. He writes articles for http://cardiogod.com/ and also contributes to other wellness websites. In his free time, Richard usually spends time in the gym or enjoying cycling.