How I Fought High Blood Pressure and Embraced a Healthful Life
A warm welcome to my new blog where I’m looking forward to helping you with any health issues and weight loss. I’ll be offering practical, clinical advice on topics like lowering high blood pressure without medicine. And, as a dedicated mom who has created a healthy home for my family, I’m excited about sharing the ‘mom hacks’ I’ve learned. Similarly, you’ll love creating food for your family using my healthy recipes! I’m passionate about helping others and will be extending my reach outside of my friends, family and client base. Above all, I hope my blog makes a difference!
High Blood Pressure Sufferer to Nutritionist
In order that you can get to know more about me, I’ll begin by sharing my personal journey. I wonder how often you think to yourself ‘If only I knew then what I know now’? Without doubt, one of my biggest regrets is not having known as a child how detrimental my diet and stress were to my health. Moreover, they were contributing to the life-threatening health issue I was suffering at the time. It was when I finally changed my diet to manage my high blood pressure symptoms that I learned how powerful healthy food was. For that reason, I decided to become a nutritionist. I know now what it takes to win and am thankful to be in this position of sharing my experiences and expertise with others.
High Blood Pressure Diagnosis
My health battle began when I was only 12 years old. A shockingly high blood pressure reading after a summer camp medical felt overwhelming. I didn’t feel sick at the time but learned later on that high blood pressure is called the ‘Silent Killer’. That summer my high blood pressure determined where I’d spend my holidays. I swapped camp for a hospital ward after ending up in the ICU. I had been diagnosed with Renal Artery Stenosis and had angioplasty on my kidney. This was to see if they could open up the arteries without surgery. It was a failure. It was difficult knowing that I’d been one of the first to undergo this procedure in the United States. Another surgery took place a month later. This also failed.
The 7 inch scar on my stomach reminds me of waking up in fear in hospital and noticing the effect of morphine in my body. I must’ve worried if my high blood pressure might cause me to have a stroke, heart attack or heart failure. During a 12 month recovery period I began taking blood pressure medication. Therefore I missed school and time with my friends and was unable to enjoy gym or sport at school. This meant I gained 20 lbs which prompted a spate of bullying. I remember feeling like an outcast.
High Blood Pressure and Diet
My father is Argentinian so my family had enjoyed a variety of foods at our home in Long Island. We always ate plenty of vegetables, meat and salads. More importantly, my childhood vice turned out to be salty foods. I’d buy big bags of chips and eat them all on the way home from the store. I loved hot dogs and pickles! If we ever visited Burger King we’d put salt on our burgers and fries! Looking back, I was a salt addict. Like a drug, the more salt I ate, the more I craved.
To save my health and happiness, my parents identified what would lower my high blood pressure. As a result, we overhauled our diet at home and in some ways, our lifestyle. We stopped using salt and replaced it with spices and herbs from around the world. Additionally, fast foods, canned vegetables and canned soups were struck off our shopping list. We drank more water and ate at home. For snacks my mother would prepare fruits and vegetables. I later learned that salt makes your body hold on to water. If you eat too much then the extra water stored raises your blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure, the greater the strain on the organs. This can lead to heart attacks, strokes, dementia and kidney disease.
High Blood Pressure and Stress
Afterwards, my parents helped us all to exercise more. We discovered my blood pressure was high when I felt nervous. It would rise when it was taken. I could feel the heat in my body rise up to my face and a wave of anxiety rush through my body. For this reason, we began to learn relaxation techniques to relax and breathe deeply. I learned to try and hold back. My parents took me to learn biofeedback. This is where machines monitored my breathing and blood pressure. Besides this they made tapes for me to practice biofeedback at home. My mother even imported special water from Germany. I drank this every day for a month. It worked for a while!
These days I exercise to keep my blood pressure low and any stresses at bay. If I’m stressed or upset my blood pressure rises. It’s dangerous. I take daily medication and am aware of my blood pressure. Sometimes my doctors change my medications around – which I do have a hard time with. I have to watch my salt intake. Likewise, I cook without salt and ask restaurants not to add it to my food.
I hope my personal story is helpful and you’ve gotten to know me more! Finally, I’m looking forward to having you with me in this empowering, new community and to helping you begin your own journey towards a healthful life.
My Tips to Lower Blood Pressure:
- Stop cooking with salt – replace with herbs and spices
- Consume more (much more) fruits and vegetables
- Eat at home – it drastically reduces sodium intake as you know what you are eating
- Try more potassium rich foods like romaine lettuce, kale, swiss chard, beets, arugula and bananas
- Beets are high in Nitric Oxide which opens vessels and reduces blood pressure
- Eat Fatty fish – salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, mackerel – omega 3’s will lower BP and reduce inflammation
- Reduce stress
- Exercise most days of the week