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Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 1/16/2009 10:28 PM (GMT -6)   
For probably a year, year and a half now I've had high blood pressure.  Generally it's 160-ish over 90-ish.  I am a 30 year old male and overweight, and my diet isn't what it could be that's for sure.  Strangely, it doesn't really go higher than that, even if I am nervous or concerned.  During a recent ER trip, I was pretty worried and jittery, and it was right around the same level.
I have GERD and GAD.  Had some chest pain yesterday and went to get it tested.  Blood tests and EKG came back just fine; after an examination, the doc said I strained a muscle in my chest wall.
But that still leaves the high BP.  Just because there was nothing going on this time doesn't mean there won't be in the future.  What's more, I am also concerned about the potential for stroke.  I am less familiar with the symptoms of a stroke (and I probably should remain so to a degree, since my GAD often leads to me projecting symptoms onto myself... sort of a "think it, fear it, feel it" situation).  I have an appointment on Monday to try and make some sense of the blood pressure issue (medication is forthcoming, I suspect, which is fine with me) but in the meantime I am looking for ways to lower it and keep it lower.
Foremost on my list is cutting out the salty stuff I eat.  No chips or fries or anything like that.  Over the summer there was a period of time when I didn't eat any of that stuff, and it dropped to normal levels.  But if anyone has any other methods of lowering their BP naturally, I would love to hear about them.  This is definitely something I am trying to keep a handle on, because when my anxiety gets out of control, my BP can go up and end up causing the things I'm trying to avoid.


Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 1/17/2009 10:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the information. When I last spoke with my doctor, we discussed trying meds to get it down quickly, since it is fairly high, but that as my diet and overall health improved, we could see about reducing or eliminating the meds and see if it does indeed remain lower.

I put on quite a bit of weight a few years ago. I was also diagnosed with barrett's esophagus which really did a number on me because up until that point I had been perfectly healthy, with nothing worse than the stomach flu every few years, and some mild allergies. The diagnosis brought on my anxiety disorder, though ironically it seems that now I am anxious about everything except my barrett's. (It's very mild; no displagia, and it's a tiny spot that gets scoped every 24 months. My reflux responds well to meds, so there's not as much of a present threat there; it's a matter of remaining vigilant, though.)

Over the summer, I cut out a lot more than just salty foods. I cut out fast food entirely, eliminated all grease, all caffeine, etc. from what I eat. The Nurse Practitioner whom I saw there often firmly believed the BP jump resulted from the weight gain and the onset of the anxiety, since prior to all of that, my BP had been perfectly fine. (Yes, I know, I should not have let myself go back on all the foods I cut out, but my willpower at the time was lacking, and it was a very gradual return and thus more difficult to notice.) So medically, the approach, as I mentioned, is meds while diet improves, then we'll see if I can get off of them and see what the implications and effects would be.

My weight is an issue and it needs to come down whether it directly impacts my blood pressure or not. But since that is a long-term solution (and a lifelong commitment as well), I was looking for some short-term methods of making sure the ol' BP doesn't get too high. I certainly realize there are implications to extended medication regimens. I will be on reflux medication for the rest of my life due to my barrett's, so discussing the long-term implications is definitely going to happen. From my perspective, it seems like a comprehensive approach would include weight loss, meds if necessary (for short term and potentially long term), as well as stress management and anxiety management. I am doing the latter already, via counseling and a really good anxiety program from Lucinda Bassett (I definitely recommend it to anyone facing anxiety issues, it has helped immeasureably). With 5 kids, there is only so much one can do to relieve stress. :-)

Again, thanks for the link, I'll be checking that out posthaste.

EDIT: I've read the article, and I like what I see.  I've never tried a diet because I've seen how easily so many other, better people than I have failed miserably.  But a plan like what is outlined there echoes with potential in my mind.  I may just pick up a copy of this book and give it a read.  Thanks for sharing.


Post Edited (grimmly) : 1/17/2009 8:34:53 AM (GMT-7)

Elite Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 1/17/2009 7:20 PM (GMT -6)   
I am so glad you are trying your best at getting this under control

Diet is imperative with many things and as you have said you are now saltless ( lol) and realize you need to cut out the fast food it puts the lbs on fast

Keep us posted and I DO wish you all the best
You are truly trying and that is something to be proud of IMHO

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 1/17/2009 10:57 PM (GMT -6)   
So I was looking at some of the foods that I continued eating when I cut out the fast food and all that. Amazingly, I found that there was still a substantial amount of sodium. So maybe it wasn't the absence of salt that lowered my BP...? I dunno. I was surprised. I mean, I "knew" that there was salt in a lot of the foods we eat, but wow.

Obviously, cutting it out is a good choice no matter what, but I'm curious what was absent from diet that made it drop like that. It certainly wasn't a lack of stress, I was in full-on panic mode back then.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 1/18/2009 11:23 PM (GMT -6)   
You're definitely right, and I appreciate the support.

Motivation was always an issue for me. "I'll eat better down the road," said I, for many many years. Well, it's "down the road" now. My poor eating habits have been the cause of all my health issues; from my acid reflux (which admittedly is probably also genetic; my immediate family suffer from it, and my kids do as well) that led to the barrett's, weight problem, high blood pressure, and by extension, my anxiety issues.

The issue for me, as for many, is that food is a comfort. I've grown so accustomed to certain tastes that even now I ponder how I'll get by without them. To make matters worse, I'm a terribly picky eater. My palette is highly unsophisticated. I'm as "meat and potatoes" as they come. That vast majority of healthy foods are difficult for me to eat. I love my mother dearly, but at 30, I wish she would have been a lot more strict about eating my veggies as a kid. I never had to, so I never grew accustomed to them. And as I'm sure anyone else here would agree on, the older you get, the harder it is to form new habits.

I think a gradual change makes a lot of sense. The "gung-ho at the get-go" approach seems to lead to failure and even worse problems. I am starting simple... cutting back on staples like soda, being a bit smarter about the excessively salty and greasey foods, and so forth. Eventually I'm going to have to figure out what to replace these things with. We don't really have any time to cook elaborate meals at our home; with 5 kids in school, the Mrs. working full-time, and myself in school full-time and working part-time, we're lucky we are able to share dinner at all (which we do, religiously, every night). When we do, those quick frozen meals are often what we have because of their convenience.

It'll be a challenge to find some balance and figure out how to make it all work. Healthy meals that are also quick would be a boon, if anyone knows of any websites or resources for such things.

I'll be seeing my doc tomorrow to see about laying out a plan. I have a gym membership which I would like to begin using again, but with more realistic goals so I don't get burned out as I did before. I also need to know how hard I can safely push myself without sending the ol' ticker or BP into overload. I would expect a dietician and personal trainer would also be helpful, and while the former is feasible, the last one is far too expensive at the moment.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 1/19/2009 1:13 PM (GMT -6)   
My kids have chronic GERD and have had it literally from birth. We went through an ordeal with the doctors and trying different formulas. Two of my kids were hospitalized because of blood in stool and spit-up. PH probe tests revealed pretty bad reflux. It has improved somewhat in recent years. And even though our kids do share many of our dietary habits, we are far more rigorous in making sure they get some healthier foods. They eat a lot of stuff I don't or can't, like apples, bananas, veggies, etc. (For some reason I physically can't swallow apples; everytime I try to swallow, it comes right back, immediately; applesauce, too... no clue why...)

They're all young. My four biological kids are 6, 4, 4, and 3 (about to turn 7, 5, 5, and 4). My oldest (7, about to turn 8) is adopted and does not have reflux. (He was abused though, so he tends to eat in "survival mode" and scarf everything down in ten seconds, which leads to upset tummy and indigestion; he is working on that!) The reflux is the only issue they have at present; their weights are normal for their age, and they get plenty of exercise; they are very active. We are continually monitoring their reflux and their dosages are changed as needed.

Having said that, getting them into better habits now will insure they will not have to deal with the issues I am (at least, not due to poor eating habits).

My visit went well today. She said that since I've had some success with dietary changes bringing the BP down in the past, I should work on that. She did say the meds would probably be a life-long thing and that I needed to consider that carefully. This is nothing to mess around with, so when I see my PCP in a few weeks, my plan is basically going to be this: give me six months to make the necessary changes and see the impact those changes have. If they are not drastic enough, or if it is not working, then I will willingly go on the meds as they recommend. I may adjust that time frame according to what my doc says, but I think that is the best route to take. I'm already on Prevacid for life, I don't want to be on anything else if I can help it. (Then again, I won't spurn potentially life-saving medication just because I'm stubborn.)

So... the food plan is the next step. Should be an interesting journey given my picky palette.

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Post Edited (grimmly) : 1/19/2009 12:37:14 PM (GMT-7)

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