Time to Turn Things Around
Saturday, May 17, 2014
It has officially gotten to the point that I need to make some changes, for health reasons.
In early April, I had my annual physical. At that time, my doctor put me on blood pressure medication. He said he thinks I won't have to stay on it too terribly long if I just make a few small changes in my life. I appreciate the role of the medication, as I understand we want to get the blood pressure down to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, etc., but I would really like to be able to get off the medication and have my blood pressure under control via natural methods (diet, exercise). (Gee, if only I had thought about it that way sooner, huh? I guess I'm one of those people who needed a REALLY BIG wake-up call.)
So far, one change that I made was no longer adding salt to my food. Salt is something I used to LOVE to add to almost everything, and I used way too much, so this has been a huge step for me. I haven't added salt to my food since April 3rd.
I realize I'm still getting salt in a number of foods that I eat, but this was a place to start--simply not adding any more salt than was in the food already.
I have found that it hasn't gone all that badly. I am experimenting with different spices and ways to prepare food, so it's good in that not being able to rely on salt to make food palatable is causing me to be a little more adventurous, etc. After the first stage of adjusting, it really hasn't been that bad. I find I don't miss it all that much--I feel like I'm truly tasting the food, not just the salt I used to layer on everything.
Another change that I have made is drinking more water. I still don't drink as much as I probably should, but there was a time I would go weeks without drinking any water. The medication I am on requires me to drink water or it can damage my liver and kidneys (hence, a major reason I want to get off the medication and control my bp through diet and exercise). I am definitely making sure to drink water every day, and intend to steadily up the intake more and more.
Now that I've established the habit of not using salt and drinking more water, I am adding a few more expectations to myself. One is that I will increase my activity. So far, I have done some form of exercise for three days in a row (walking dog in the park, mowing lawn). Another goal/expectation is that I will make other changes regarding my eating, such as making sure to eat more vegetables, less junk food, etc.
The goal, of course, is to get the blood pressure under control, but losing weight goes hand in hand with that.
I went back to the doctor on Thursday, May 15, for a follow-up. The doc wanted to make sure my body was tolerating the bp med okay. He also wanted to do a cholesterol check, glucose, etc.
Good news--my blood pressure has already come down. I don't remember exactly what it was, but I know the top number was 156 in April. Our goal was to get the top number below 140. It was 130! The bottom number was also lower.
My cholesterol was also lower compared to last year. I'm not on meds for this or anything, but it was something they had started to watch, as it was running a little higher than they like, so it was good news to see that has come down.
Evidence shows my body is tolerating the blood pressure medication well, which means I have been doing well with making sure to drink enough water.
One bit of bad news, though. My glucose, after fasting for 12 hours, was a little too high. It was 102. My doctor told me that it is considered pre-diabetes. Obviously, this is not the kind of news I had hoped to hear, but I am choosing to look at the positive side.
1. At least we're getting some warning that I am at risk for developing diabetes, when I still have time to do something about it.
2. My number is barely into the "pre-diabetes range," which starts at 100. (125 and I would be diagnosed diabetic.)
3. The changes he's recommended to hopefully reverse the pre-diabetes are the same changes I was planning to pursue to get my blood pressure down--more exercise, taking off some weight, eating a healthier diet. I don't have to go on some highly restrictive diet for diabetics or anything like that.
So, that's where I'm at now...trying to make small changes, taking things one day at a time, and working to turn things around, being mindful to take heed of these signs of impending trouble before it's too late.