I always knew this rap ish would be the death of me. Here’s my story about fighting high blood pressure for the last few weeks.
It all started about six weeks ago when I went to Walmart with my good friend, who happens to be morbidly obese (sitting just under 300 pounds) and he wanted to check his blood pressure at the pharmacy. Since I had never checked mine, I figure I might as well try it out for fun, what’s the harm I thought? Well ignorance is bliss as it turns out my blood pressure registered at 149/90. Oww.
Now considering you probably don’t know anything about blood pressure, because quite frankly I didn’t, until I went online and did some “research”. It turns out that normal people should have a blood pressure of 120/80 and some doctors are even recommending to have a reading of 110/70. Now again these numbers probably won’t make any sense to you if you have never checked your blood pressure. But simply put if you have a high or mild blood pressure which is considered anything over 120/80 in varying degrees than you are putting yourself at risk for heart disease in later life and will probably die from a heart attack or stroke. I know scary stuff.
What’s even more scarier is that Black people are more at risk for getting high blood pressure because our genes can’t handle the sodium and cholesterol found in most American food not to mention we don’t like going to the doctors. So faced with my mildly high blood pressure reading, my girl (god bless her) calls my doctor to make an appointment to get a physical done, which I have never had done.
Since I had two weeks before my physical I decided “okay time to get healthy fast”. I immediately cut out all fast food and alcohol, which for the last six months had been a staple in my diet twice a week. I also hit the gym and started doing cardio 30 minutes a day, which had been absent from my daily routine for the last six months. I also reduced the amount of meat I was eating as I was pretty much having three servings of chicken for lunch and dinner (6 servings of chicken a day!). If you don’t know what a serving is for meat, it’s about the size of a playing card and in a day you should only have 3 servings (yes 3 playing card sizes of meat). I also increased the amount of vegetables greatly to about half the plate per meal, considering I wasn’t having any greens for the last six months this was a big change.
I went to the doctor’s to get my physical and it wasn’t such a bad experience. He took about six samples of blood from me to test for cholesterol, vitamin deficiencies and all the other bad stuff. He took my blood pressure and it was 136/86. Although I was happy that it had lowered from my previous reading, my doctor said it was in the “mid-range” and would test it again when I came back for my results in two weeks.
I continued my health routine for another two weeks, reducing my chicken and red meat intake almost entirely and replacing it with fish and soy. I also continued 30 minutes of cardio a day as well as introduced more vegetables into my diet and even began drinking milk again. In addition to all of this I started watching how much sodium I ate as Black people are only supposed to have 1500 mg of salt per day. Considering one slice of pizza contains 1000 mg, it is no wonder I was going way over my daily salt intake. Two weeks went by and I went to my doctor’s and he took my blood pressure and it was…132/80. I was really happy but knew it had to get to that 120/80 mark. I told my doctor about what my health conscious lifestyle and he was happy but said I would have to be doing it for at least four months for it to really reduce my blood pressure.
So he told me to come in, in another three weeks and this is where I currently am and man is it tough. I’m actually having dreams about eating a whopper or BK’s chicken sandwich. It’s actually hilarious. Considering I look like I’m in great shape, I now know what it’s like for fat people who just can’t stop eating and we skinny folk look at them like they are unhealthy pigs. I am now convinced fast food is an addicting drug because I’m going though fast food withdrawal.
As you can probably tell I’m taking this whole thing serious, because my doctor said if my blood pressure was still high at my next appointment he was going to have to put me on medicine. Although one side of me thinks he’s just playing to scare me into being more healthy (or make more money), another side of me doesn’t want to be taking blood pressure medicine as I know how much it costs as my mom takes it, not to mention the negative side-effects. I am confident I can beat this, but it’s going to be an uphill battle -but I do enjoy the challenge.
So the moral of this story is: don’t go to your doctors unless you want to hear something that will save your life -which really means get your annual check up done. Now wish me luck.