VIRGINIA LUCAS HART

Health Update

healthVirginia Hart7 Comments

Health Update

I shared this nearly two months ago, and I wanted to give an update. In March, my doctor wanted me to start hypertension medication. My blood pressure was consistently and dangerously high (~160/100) and test results showed that it was affecting my kidneys. Against her advice, I asked if I could have some time to see if I could lower it on my own. She pointed out it would be nearly impossible given my genes and the fact that my health, in other respects, was pretty good. Challenge accepted. Do you see that picture above? That is my blood pressure today!!! I seriously couldn't ask for a better reading.

My doctor was so impressed with my new daily results, and my other tests showed my kidneys are functioning normally again. She also said that as of now, I no longer need medication! (So, so thankful.) I am doing a last part of "treatment" sometime in the next couple weeks where I will wear a 24-hour monitor to see how it changes throughout the day based on what I'm doing.  As cumbersome as that will be (um, new spring accessory?), I'm actually interested to see how it differs throughout the day.

How did I get to drop so much in two months? Three lifestyle changes:

1. WATER INTAKE. I chug it like it's my job now. I keep a glass/bottle of water with me at all times...on my desk, in my purse, at the gym. It seriously makes me feel like a different person. I always knew water was important, but I didn't take it seriously enough.

2. EXERCISE. Before, if I was busy, getting to the gym would easily fall off my to-do list as I prioritized other things. Now? My mantra is, "Schedule your workout like it's your most important meeting of the day." If it's a busy Saturday then I drag myself first thing since I know I won't go otherwise. It gets it out of the way, and I can start my day on the right foot. My current schedule is 5 days a week even if that means a couple days are only for thirty minutes. When you think about there being 168 hours in a week, it makes you realize how easy it should be to dedicate a few hours per week towards it, and it's motivation for me to continue increasing that amount. I wish I could say that my bp is lower because my little life is less stressful now than it was in March. To be perfectly honest, my stress levels have only tripled. BUT exercise has - without a doubt - helped me manage it. And don't worry, I see clearer skies ahead!

3. MINDFUL EATING. I've made it a point to be more mindful of what I'm eating and why. Do you ever stop to think, "Who decided cereal was a breakfast food?" No, seriously, think about that. Why would a man-made sugary item be the best thing to start your day? Why are donuts, waffles, and pancakes all considered breakfast and not dessert? And why are vegetables considered a "weird" breakfast? Well, it's okay to break the rules! I've been switching it up and feeling such a difference. I've been trying to avoid extra sodium (a contributor to high bp), sugar, and processed food. I'm not some crazy person that's never going to eat a cookie ever again (I love them far too much!), but choosing/adjusting your typical and routine meals is what's important and can have a direct effect on your blood pressure and overall health.

So yes! I'm definitely thankful I was able to attack this bp situation and lower it with lifestyle changes. I consider it a blessing in disguise as it was a wake-up call to prioritize my health. As my mother always says, "You're no good to anyone unless you take care of yourself!"