Well, there must be something going on around the Blogosphere (or maybe my Atkins buddies) because my friend Kelly had a bit of a health scare a few weeks ago.
It looks like it’s my turn! I’ve been doing Atkins for seven weeks now and have lost 12-ish pounds. The first week I felt weird, but I attributed it to being an out of balance electrolyte thing. I had some chicken stock and everything was fine. Clearly the diuretic effect of the Atkins diet is screwing with me. Or maybe it was just the Atkins flu.
Fast forward to last weekend where I was completely miserable. My throat was disgusting. My tonsils were enormous and covered in puss. I considered sharing the photo on the blog, but decided that was just TMI. So, I showed the photo to one of my doctor friends at work and she told me that I needed to get antibiotics. On Saturday, I took my sick butt to Your Doc’s In. The PA took one look at my throat and burst out laughing, “YEAH! You NEED ANTIBIOTICS!!” I told her that I knew that already.
Then she says, “There must be some mistake… you say that you’re not on blood pressure medication.” I said no, my blood pressure is always low – 110/70. She shakes her head and says, “No, you’re hypertensive. Your BP is 140/110. Are you sure you aren’t on any blood pressure medications, because you should be.” I convince her that it must just be because I’m in so much pain. My discharge papers list my first condition as hypertension instead of the strep throat that I came in with.
So I’m thinking this must be some kind of mistake. For the last month and a half, I’ve been dieting and exercising my ass off, have lost weight, and now I’m hypertensive?
So all this week I’ve been stressed about it and my chest has felt tight. I chalk it up to anxiety. I still think that a lot of it has to do with anxiety. If I could just freaking relax, it would be better. But now the seed of doubt has been sowed and every weird pain or tightness doubtlessly sends my blood pressure into stroke country. Which makes me more anxious. Which makes my pulse race and my blood pressure skyrocket.
It's a vicious cycle.
It's a vicious cycle.
Earlier this week, I mentioned my doctor's office experience to my friend at work Grace, who also happens to be the ED manager and my favorite coffee buddy.
“That’s really high. You need to check it. Landra is in triage, ask her to check it for you.”
I suppose that I inherited some of my dad’s stubbornness when it comes to health problems. I’m in denial. Oh… and yes, my dad suffered from high blood pressure. So my denial is stupid, since I know these things can be genetic.
So of course, I put it off. Grace asked me again today how my blood pressure was. I sheepishly told her that I hadn’t had it checked.
She hauled me out to triage and checked it herself. It was 133/105. Still high. She said that it’s the diastolic (bottom) number that is the concern moreso than the top. She gave me a bit of a lecture on how important it is that I take this seriously. Consider me admonished.
I think that it may have something to do with my sodium intake. I also mentioned it to my boss, who agreed that the high blood pressure could be due to my excess ingestion of sodium. Looking back through my LoseIt app, I’ve been consuming between 500 and 1000 more mg of salt than is recommended. So I’m going to be reducing my sodium intake big time. Hopefully reducing my sodium to a normal level will make my blood pressure decrease to something that won’t kill me. Like back to my usual 110/70.
That said, I’ll be checking my blood pressure each day at work and I’ve agreed to call my doctor next week if it’s not lowered by then.
Fingers crossed that salt is the problem. If not, I suppose that genetics are finally catching up with me. Which sucks, since diabetes also runs in my family.
On the bright side, at least I work in the ER where medical help is only steps away!