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Thursday, November 16, 2017



I have had more than half a dozen postings on blood pressure.  Here was my latest, four months ago.  Then, of course, if you keep up with these things, the medical profession has again changed it's mind.  What was once okay for 140/90 has now been reduced to 130/80, adding 30 million more Americans to those in possible jeopardy.  Oh, that also means an additional 600 million endangered souls worldwide.

My initial reaction was, Big Pharma has struck again.  But, then I learn that this is one of those ailments where almost all the prescribed drugs are now generic, meaning relatively cheap.  Thus, perhaps this adjustment was made mostly to extend longevity, for there is little doubt now that hypertension does increase the risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, peripheral disease, vision loss and kidney disease.

An important consideration, however, is that someone just added to the unsafe category does not necessarily need to go on pills.  Lifestyle changes can make a big difference:
  • reduce salt intake
  • sensible physical exercise
  • healthy diet
  • weight control--don't be morbidly obese, although, interestingly enough, a controversial posting I had last year suggested that OVERWEIGHT PEOPLE LIVE LONGER THAN NORMAL PEOPLE
    • I should indicate, though, that my personal doctor, and another physician, my neighbor, don't accept my contention
    • however, the latest evidence suggests a Body Mass Index at the high side of normal, even into the low side of overweight (around 25), could well increase your life expectancy
    • read this Journal of American Medical Association article
The above comes from the Mayo Clinic.  However, contradictory to their ten ways to reduce blood pressure, it is more and more appearing that caffeine from tea and coffee--four cups/day appears to be ideal--lowers blood pressure.  I, however, think Mayo is stuck on moral principles, for studies seem to also indicate that two drinks/day for men (only one for women) also lowers blood pressure.  I've personally made various tests (I carefully do experiments with my body, which I refer to as Pat the White Rat, as you'll see in the next paragraph) with wine and scotch to verify this assertion.

My problem is that my blood pressures have been mostly too high at home, but also, too low on a golf course:
  • 150-160 / 85/95 when I first awoke, with a pulse rate of 49-54
  • 160-180 / 90-105 when I missed a meal and got really hungry
  • 135-145 / 80-90 as my normal rang
  • 80-85 / 50-55 around the sixth hole when I quickly walked
So how can one both lower and raise your blood pressure?  I've largely succeeded:
  • Don't miss lunch, or any meal.  I fail a couple of times annually, but at least I know what to do about quickly dropping my pressure:  just eat something.
  • The waking up in the morning lows were long worrisome.  Here you have a worst case situation:
    • I'm hungry.
    • There is the shock of awakening.
    • My blood pressure increases when my pulse rate is low, and this is when it is the lowest (50 beats/minute).
  • However, I'm taking two blood pressure pills, Irbesartan-Hydrochhlorothiazide (12.5 mg) and Amplodipine Besylate (2.5 mg), which are at minimal prescription size.  The solution: 
    • While I'm not supposed to do this because the temporal adjustment is affected, I cut the larger AB in half, take one piece in the morning and the second at dinnertime.  Yes, my cutting technique is faulty, but they add up to one pill/day.
    • I wake up once or twice/night, so at some point around 3AM I take the IH, with three gulps of cranberry (there are more effective berries, but the cranberry at 15 Craigside is free) juice.  Apple juice and milk are not as effective.
    • When I wake up, my blood pressure is now around 135/80, which is 20 points lower on the systolic and 10 lower on the diastolic.
  • The golf course problem is something that was affecting me for long time without my understanding why.  When I walked on a golf course, I got dizzy picking up my ball in the hole around the 6th hole.  
    • I bought one of those wrist devices, and this is what I found on average:
      • before the first hole:  145/85
      • after second hole:  125/80
      • after sixth hole:  90/60 (and as low as 80/50)
      • after ninth hole:  100/65
      • after 18th hole:  135/80
      • at home after a bath:  110/65
      • after dinner:  130/80
    • What I was doing was to eat a large lunch, typically, a Rainbow Drive-In or Zippy's bento, then immediately went to play.  So I instead had a large breakfast, waited a couple of hours, then only had an apple for lunch around the 8th hole.  The results:
      • before the first hole:  140/80
      • after sixth hole:  110/70
      • after 18th hole:  130/75
      • at home after a bath:  110/65
      • after dinner:  125/75
I'm getting hungry, so I'd better listen to my body.