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Thursday, February 2, 2012


It has been a month since I began to track my blood pressure.  Click on




My normal blood pressure is 135/85, but can drop to 115/65 under certain conditions, as will be explained.  Using my body as the test animal, here are the results after 150 measurements.:

1.  Excessive salt increases my pressure.  This was expected, and the key is the term excessive.  But recent studies seem to say that sodium can be neutralized by potassium.  Thus, a little salt on a banana or sweet potato might not be all that bad, I guess.  Tuna is also good.  These foods are high in potassium.  Thus, maybe sashimi with some hot mustard and shoyu might almost balance, as long as the shoyu is minimized.  Whew, I like sashimi, and until reading this article, was sacrificing too much.  Leafy vegetables and nuts are also good for potassium, plus also magnesium, which relaxes your blood vessels.

2. My pressure jumps even more when I am really hungry.  Readings of 170/95 are possible.

3.  There seems to be an inverse relationship between pulse rate and blood pressure, that is, my typical measurements are 125/75 when my pulse rate ranges from 80-90, and 140/90 when the pulse rate is 50/minute, the norm when I wake up.

4.  The pressure increases when I need to use the bathroom.

5.  Thus, when I wake up in the morning, my blood pressure is high (140/90), and logically so because I need to discharge impurities from both ends, my pulse rate (50) is low and I am hungry.  In fact, anyone is  most susceptible to a heart attack or stroke upon awakening.

6.  My pressures rise when I write a tense e-mail or participate in a stressful meeting.  As high as 165/90.  I'm glad I retired.  Why I keep responding to these e-mails and participating in these discussions is so illogical.  Clearly, I really should eat, golf, drink and watch TV, only.

7.  My pressure drops a bit when I am walking on a golf course.  Part of this is because my pulse rate increases to 85 or so.  In any case, regular exercise lowers blood pressure.

8.  I've checked with scotch, red wine and white wine every fifteen minutes for two hours.  In all cases, my pressure tended to drop at least 10 points on the high side and 5-8 on the low.  Pulse rate goes up a small bit.  I should add one more compelling factor.  When I took a blood test after a week of no alcohol, the high density lipoprotein and tri-glycerides were stable, but my low density lipoprotein jumped ten points.  One such reading is no confirmation, but good enough for me to drink with limited abandon.

9.  After walking 18 holes and taking a long bath with some alcoholic drink, my blood pressure tends to drop to 120/75, and even lower.  My pulse rate ranges between 80 and 90.

Most of the above includes taking 6.25 mg (I cut the pill in half) of Avalide 300 every morning.  I haven't quite tried taking the whole pill for a long period, but limited measurements suggest that my blood pressure is at least a few points lower on both the systolic (high) and diastolic (low) with the doctor's prescribed full pill.  I will someday soon try a month of 12.5 mg, but my logic is that half works (and has for a decade) and more can only impact my liver and kidneys.

Here is something really interesting, though.  There are various kinds of hypertension pills:   calcium channel blockers (which can bring on headaches), ACE (click on this for details, including what ACE stands for) inhibitors (can cause a nasty cough), beta blockers (higher incidence of heart attacks and strokes) and diuretics (but 23% higher incidence of heart attacks, and partly because this flushes the good magnesium and potassium out of your body).  Avalide is a combination of an angiotensin II receptor blocker (enlarges blood vessels, but there are various side effects too numerous to mention) and a diuretic.  Thus, these high blood pressure pills all have numerous negative repercussions, the primary reason why I take half a pill (plus, I do save a few bucks/month).

My life has dramatically been changed by this white rat experience.  While I continue to drink more alcoholic drinks than I really should (cartoon on the left from The New Yorker), I do use less salt, add more potassium and magnesium to my diet, and avoid  getting too hungry.  For example, at one time I walked 18 holes and only drank water, partly for the exercise, but also to lose weight.  I now have small amounts of fiber gummy bears (sugars are supposed to raise blood pressure, but this food additive neutralizes the more dominant hunger factor) , dried fruits and low salt nuts.  I am also very careful upon awakening, and without much delay, have a quarter apple or half a papaya to minimize hunger.

Of course, I add, again, that this is my body.  Yours could well be materially different.  Check with your doctor before following my solutions to overcome hypertension and high LDL.  For sure, I certainly don't recommend drinking copious amounts of ethanol.

Oh, for all of you in those parts of the world that suffer from something called Winter, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today, so no doubt you will excruciate from six more weeks of cold discomfort.  I close with Groundhog Day, one of my favorite movie, for I've found that my life closely resembles the drift of this film.  Every day I wake up is the same, but better.

The Dow Jones Industrials slipped 11 to 12,705, with most world markets up.  Gold increased $7/toz to $1757, while the European Brent Spot is stable at $112/barrel, with the American WTI Cushing dropping to $96/barrel, now a $16/barrel differential.  Is it the crummy European economy or worry about Israel doing something overt about Iran this Spring?  Incredibly, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said so today:


1 comment:

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