Hi everyone. I wanted to open up and speak about something that I have recently been diagnosed with and discuss how I deal with it. I hope to spread some awareness and offer advice to anyone who is in the same boat as me. Disclaimer – I am not a professional, I am merely just sharing my story and how I cope with having high blood pressure at such a young age.
High blood pressure, or as it is otherwise known as Hypertension has been within my family for years. It is something that has been passed down through generations, and something that my Dad has suffered with since his last twenties/early thirties. So I suppose it is something that I’ve always been made aware of, something that I’ve seen difficult to manage and most importantly something that needs medication for life.
It was the summer early 2017 when I started suffering from migraines… something that I wouldn’t wish on anyone! I would have these migraine spells on and off, I would struggle with my vision, I would feel extremely nauseous and I wouldn’t be able to do anything. Completely bedridden in a dark room with no noise. No amount of pain relief would help, only time. After dealing with migraines for several months I decided to go and see my GP to get some help. I tried various different types of beta blockers to reduce the migraines but nothing worked. My GP then suggested a form of anti-depressants, now the type that I was prescribed actually had an unlicensed use to treat migraines. I was on these for 3 months and suffered from no migraines – which was fab. I felt as though things were getting better.
I decided to see my GP after 3 months of taking the medication. I wanted to express how I felt they had put an end to my migraines and that I felt I had better control over my body to help prevent them as much as possible. However, while I was there I asked if I could have a routine Blood Pressure (BP) check to see how things were. Now, some of you may not be aware of BP readings and what they actually mean. So a typical GOOD (average) BP reading should be around 120/80, my BP reading was 190/120. Scary right? That’s when I thought… maybe this is why I was suffering from migraines?
From that moment on I was under a close eye by my GP (who was amazing BTW)! I had weekly visits to have my BP monitored, I had regular blood tests and I was even referred to the hospital to see a specialist. There were great concerns for my health, this was because of my age (23 at the time, very young to be diagnosed with BP issues), my healthy and active lifestyle and the fact that I am a non-smoker. It seemed that no one could understand why it was so high. I had multiple tests but everything came back all good. It was great that my GP and hospital specialist wanted to find out WHY my BP was high, instead of just saying it was a hereditary issue. However, with no real contributing factor as to why my BP is high, it is very likely that I suffer with hypertension because of my family history.
As a result of being diagnosed with High Blood Pressure, there was really only one outcome. And if I’m being completely honest, it was the outcome that I was most dreading. Medication. So last December I was put on two different forms of medication to stabilise my blood pressure, and I am thrilled to say that they are effective in doing so. Yes, this I will be on this medication for life, but at the end of the day if it is going to regulate my BP then it is so worth it. To clarify, I take one tablet to lower my BP and another to slow my heart rate.
In order to help regulate my blood pressure as much as possible, I try and follow a healthy lifestyle. I try and go to the gym a few times a week, but I do not push myself if I really do not want to go or if I am tired after work (as this can cause more damage than good). I tend to eat healthily, I try and get my fruit and vegetables in with most meals. I try not to snack on sugary foods. I limit my drinking to ‘every now and then’. I gave up drinking tea and coffee to reduce my caffeine intake. I try and keep calm in stressful situations. I suppose for me this is now a normal lifestyle which I have become fully accustomed to. Having high BP is not something that holds me back in life, but it is something that is always at the back of my mind when making everyday decisions.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post. This is something very close to my heart and something that I have really struggled to get to grips with – mainly because I know that I will be on my medication for life. I would love to know your thoughts. Lois xx