…With A Side of High Blood Pressure

I left out a pretty big detail in my last post. When I first arrived at the hospital, I went into the triage area and answered questions about my symptoms and also had my bold pressure checked. It was 188 over 100. The nurse was surprised and so were my parents. “Have you had this checked up before? It’s really high for someone your age.” Honestly I still have no idea what the numbers mean. “It’s probably because I’m in so much pain” I said. The nurse took it again and it was 177 over something. So it got better pretty much instantly.

After triage, I ended up waiting for a bed for almost 3 hours. By the time I was called, the pain from the kidney stone was gone. The new nurse took my blood pressure again and it was 144/88. She said that was fine.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve been told I have high blood pressure. About 3 years ago, I was at the eye doctor having my eyes checked. The doctor, when examining my eyes, noticed the blood vessels in the back of my eyes were dilated. She said that was a good indication of high blood pressure. But I didn’t think much of it being so young. There’s no way that could be something I have…

Another time, at a regular doctor probably getting checked up for a cold or something, my blood pressure was checked. Again, the doctor said it wasn’t normal at all that someone my age would have high blood pressure.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention I got another kidney stone just a week after my first one!

So this past weekend I did a lot of research online on kidney stones and high blood pressure. What causes them and how to prevent them. All that good stuff. After a ton of digging around, I think I’ve pinpointed what caused the stones for me. But in addition to that, I read from countless websites that reducing sodium and animal protein are key factors to reducing the risk of having kidney stones again. On the high blood pressure side, reducing sodium and alcohol help lower it.

I haven’t had meat since Christmas. I haven’t really decided if I’ll completely cut it out or not, but for now I feel great without it.

Other than one celebratory beer after my last race in November, I haven’t really had a drink since Halloween. My goal is to go all the way to my birthday (the day I’ll finish my 100 mile race) without any alcohol. This again, I feel great doing. I’m having just as much fun with my friends when we go out. I’m saving money. I don’t wake up a little dehydrated with a slight headache weekend mornings for my long runs. Which I feel has helped me run better.

And now, while most people count calories, I plan on starting to count sodium on food labels. I really don’t want to take medicine for this. I’d rather do things naturally. I plan to eat more fresh foods. More veggies and fruits. I think I’ve just about kicked my cereal addiction too….damn I really miss me some Lucky Charms!

To bring up the same point as my last post, the idea of “I’ll just run whatever I’ll eat off” needs to go. Even though I feel young, I need to not treat my body like it’s sixteen still. Our health should be the number one things in our lives. Put shit into it, you’ll end up feeling like shit.

A lot of people will probably think I’m missing out on life by not indulging on little treats. Who knows, maybe they’re right? But I feel if I don’t take the right steps now, I might end up missing out on life later on. I might be that person you read about who dies during a marathon and everyone is surprised because they thought he was so healthy just because they were a runner.

I’ll just think of these small changes as long term investments.

Anyways, can someone pass me the hummus!?

10 thoughts on “…With A Side of High Blood Pressure

  1. kathleenahulbert

    When I was 21, the doctor told me that I had dangerously high cholesterol. I seriously was devastated. Since then, I have been able to naturally lower it to a healthy range and maintain it for six years. Hopefully this can be done for your blood pressure as well!

      1. kathleenahulbert

        Well, I was at a very different place than you physically (in bad shape), I was never overweight, but needed desperately to make life changes. I started running, counted calories and dropped 20 pounds. I think, more than anything, being more conscientious about my diet made the difference.

  2. Ruaca

    Hmm…that sounds a little scary for someone as young as yourself and in such physically fit condition. I would be curious is diet alone fixes it. I hope so. Keep us posted. I have low blood pressure 102 over 60’s most times. I am very lucky as I am not in my best shape. I am working on it though. Look forward to your follow up. Good luck!

  3. Jesse - Questionably Texan

    When I was 23, my blood pressure was diagnosed as being roughly 200/120. The nurse (she seemed fresh out of school) who took it tried three times before giving up and saying “I’m going to have the doctor check your blood pressure – I must be doing something wrong.” I was put on meds (and probably would have been admitted to a hospital if I had insurance at the time). I didn’t stay on the meds for long, opting instead to lower it through lifestyle changes. Worked like a charm.

    1. Joey Post author

      That’s insane! What kind of lifestyle changes did you do?

      I absolutely love my job, but I’m living paycheck to paycheck and I’m sure that has a little to do with my high blood pressure.

      1. Jesse - Questionably Texan

        Quitting my job and moving away from where I was living had the greatest effect. I also stopped eating so much fried foods! I eat substantially healthier now than when I dropped my blood pressure, but it was a big change for me back them.

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