186 over 110. That’s the reason I started this 28 Day Blood Pressure Challenge. My systolic had reached over 186. and diastolic over 100.
What the systolic measures is the pressure exerted when the blood is pumped from the heart into the arteries. The pressure exerted in the arteries between beats of the heart is what the diastolic measures. So those numbers 186 / 100 were cause for serious alarm. Not very healthy especially when you crack the age of 60.
Reaching 60 is like standing on a ridge and looking down a long valley with an easy gradient. Perhaps you’ve taken it too easy when you turn around and look at the peak that you’re anticipating when you make it to when you’re 65 and ready for retirement. Ooops, the track just got steeper. I’ve got a bit of work to do for my health to enjoy my retirement.
I’m reminded of something I heard Zig Ziglar say once, “If you work hard now your life should be easy later on. If you take it easy at the start, life could be challenging in the future. I’m not sure I got that word for word, but I think the essence of the saying is in there. So health is paramount.
So how am I planning to get healthy.
How I started with The 28 Day Blood Pressure Challenge
Over the past couple of weeks, I have had a blood test and visited both a Doctor and a medical herbalist. Based on the numbers that came through on the blood test my Doctor noted that my cholesterol was high. He prescribed a Statin. See the side effects HERE!
At a previous visit had asked me to note my blood pressure on a chart for the following seven days as I mentioned the blood pressure numbers I’d got at home even though when he took it it was around 130 / 90. Over those seven days my blood pressure averaged around 155/100. Still not good. For this I was prescribed Candesartan cilexetil. See the side effects HERE!
Not particularly happy with the side effects I decided to seek the advice of my medical herbalist. As well as giving me a thorough examination he asked that I send through the results from the blood test I’d had.
He suggested that I was probably a prime candidate for what he called Metabolic Syndrome. This syndrome is described in Wikipedia as a cluster of at least three of these five medical conditions: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high serum triglycerides, and low serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
So What Is In the Tool Box For The 28-Day Blood Pressure Challenge?
When the motor in your car is sick the mechanic dips into his toolbox to tinker with the motor to discover the solution to the problem. Likewise, there are tools we can use to get our motor running better. So what’s in the toolbox for the 28 Day Blood Pressure Challenge.
Thanks to kerdkanno on pixabay for the image above.
The herbalist started me on a capsule he called Mag 5 a supplement containing 5 elements of which the most predominant is magnesium citrate. The other herbal supplement that he prescribed was St Mary’s Thistle as a liver cleanser. I was already taking a B vitamin supplement he’d suggested at a previous appointment and I was told to continue with that.
He also suggested a keto or low-carb diet. One of the questions that nagged at me was how do I get my cholesterol down when I’m an omnivore who loves bacon and sausages? All those things that I enjoy. The answer he gave me seemed counter-intuitive, it goes against what I’d imagined would happen. Apparently, when you adhere to the diet and the body goes into ketosis it begins to burn fat. As this progresses our numbers for cholesterol decrease. I look forward to the blood test that tells me the process is working.
Both the doctor and the herbalist were quite helpful on the diet front with suggestions that not only included the meat products I like but added salmon and avocado as well. The herbalist mentioned a keto diet or in the event that was too severe a Low Carb diet. The best suggestion he gave me was to sign up with Diet Doctor. It offers Recipes, Meal Plans, Diets, Weight Loss, and Health information at a minimal subscription per month.
I don’t engage in traditional meditation, but instead, I follow a practice of Heart-Focused Breathing that I was introduced to through HeartMath. Sometimes I sit, sometimes I stand, or sometimes a combination of both. I have an app on my iPhone called Inner Balance which measures my Heart Rate Variability, the beat-to-beat changes in the Heart’s rhythm as it does its job for our bodies. The app is free and the Bluetooth sensor I attach to my ear is purchased through HeartMath.
By using this heart-focused breathing technique we can induce coherence in the heart rhythm. In doing so we balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic channels of the Autonomic Nervous System.
As this happens we receive the benefit of increasing levels of DHEA, the vitality hormone. Consequently, levels of the stress hormone, Cortisol, decrease. Another benefit is the amount of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) in our systems rising. IgA is one of the first defenses against pathogens in our bodies. It is an agent that helps to both inhibit and neutralize bacteria and viruses.
Using traditional meditation has myriad advantages as well, including stress reduction, increased emotional intelligence, managing anxiety, and pain, improving self-awareness, extending attention spans, creating a kindly attitude, providing defense against addictions, enhancing sleep, reducing blood pressure, and it can be done anywhere for as long as you find comfortable.
I often go to YouTube to find meditational music and have subscribed to many channels. Most of these channels provide music that contains binaural beats. These beats entrain the brain to attain a certain mental state whether that be meditative, creative, learning state, analytic, cognitive, relaxing, or as a portal to the unconscious mind.
The herbalist was particularly explicit about the need for exercise. He challenged me to be really blowing hard and my heart pumping when I finished doing any exercise. This gave me the impetus I needed to get back on my mountain bike and to crank out a few kilometres each day.
Getting back to work fitness has also added to increasing my flexibility after having been off work for a few months with a non-work injury. First an Achilles sprain and then a back injury. All the required stretches and exercises from the physio have been a boon.
You can download a sheet with the exercises here
Tomorrow is the 28th day since I began the challenge. Over the last couple of weeks, I have had some added stresses as the department I work for has overpaid me after I’ve been off with the injury. And now they want the money they overpaid me back. Happy Days. Time for a budget.
Aside from that I am feeling better within myself and have just received the second round of the supplements to take. Even though I signed up for the Diet Doctor I and have had some good meals I’ve found myself slipping back into old dietary habits. Definitely a work in progress.
On a visit to the doctor on Thursday to get a fitness for work certificate I also asked to test my blood pressure. 140/80. So my diastolic is in the normal range which is heartening. and my systolic still needs a bit of work.
Thanks and I hope this helps you on your journey to wellness.