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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

High Blood Pressure Scare

I have been on a very low dose of a high blood pressure medication for a very long time... Almost 20 years, I think.

 It has pretty much been manageable, staying in a "normal" range.  I used to miss taking a day or two until my sister's stroke 8 years ago. That was an eye opener for me and scared me enough to make sure I take it daily. A few years I was really worn out and a trip to the doctor showed I was very anemic, like the physician mentioned a blood transfusion.  I got it back up to normal with diet and an iron tablet. That doesn't necessarily mean that I have been paying attention to my health. I get my annual exam and my mammogram every year, I try to eat healthy (ha ha) and I try to exercise (double ha ha).  

About a month ago, the skin around my eyes started itching, hurting and swelling, so I got an appointment (not with my primary care provider*, but another physician). He basically said "I'm not worried about your eyes, it's your blood pressure that has me worried." He upped my medication and asked me to come back in 3 days. Since I really preferred my PCP* and I knew from my own medical background that 3 days wouldn't show much, I scheduled a follow up in a week.  At that appointment, my doctor said that they felt that the medication I have been on forever had probably quit working. She prescribed another med and a follow up in a couple of weeks.  I changed meds and promptly let the appointment leave my brain.  A couple of days after the missed appointment, I remembered it and scheduled one. That same evening I decided to actually check it at home on a borrowed cuff.  Yikes, it was a little high (187/92).  I decided it was broken.  Took hubby's pressure and his was totally normal.  Time to go to the ER.  I got there and it was 201/119.  No way, I should be dead, right?

Two hours later I was discharged after been given a "mix" of meds that brought it down enough that the ER physician felt comfortable sending me home. Two days later (today) I followed up with my PCP and got the meds adjusted a bit. I will go back in to see her in a week or so. 

The scariest part?  I have had no symptoms.  In the past when my blood pressure rose, I felt anxious and "jumpy".  I'd check and sure enough it was high.  This time, nothing... except now that I think about the last couple of months, I realized there were some things, such as sensitivity to light, some increased depression, anxiety, all that I had put down to being tired after a busy summer at work and the fall time change.  I will now focus a bit on my diet (goodbye salt and processed foods), try to get more exercise and find ways to ease my stress level.  I will also get my own machine and check it on a regular basis.  Because I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little scared.  I either want to be healthy or drop dead quick in a hurry.

So just a little friendly advice from me. Take a little time to assess what might be going on with your health and your habits.  Do you smoke? Drink maybe a little too much? Eat a lot of processed foods? Get your blood work done and set up an exam.  Listen to the doctor and make changes.  And live life with Hope, Joy and Faith!

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