Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Strokes and High Blood Pressure.......

My friend Sara G, at Survivable Life, has prompted me to write today's post on my experience with a potentially life-threatening issue---hypertension, or high blood pressure.

Take a look at Sara's blog.  She suffered a devastating stroke because of high blood pressure.  She is making a courageous recovery, but not without much suffering and pain to herself and her family. 

Seventeen years ago, I applied for life insurance.  The life insurance company sent a nurse out to my home to get a medical history and take my blood pressure as part of the application process.

My health has always been excellent.  Good genes, I guess.  My blood pressure had always been lower than the recommended 120/80.  So, I had no worries about the exam at all.

It was like a thunderbolt when the nurse informed me that my blood pressure was 185/115.  I didn't believe it.  I made her take another reading.  Same result.  She advised me to "get to a doctor now!"

I did.  And thus began my education regarding hypertension. 
First of all, I thought the doctor would be able to tell me WHY my BP was suddenly so high.  After all, there was no history of this in my family.  But, after a thorough examination, he could not say why.  He explained that there are many, many factors involved.  Although I was not particularly overweight at the time, he advised me to lose ten or fifteen pounds.  He advised me to get daily exercise.  He started me out on a mild BP drug.

I returned to see him six weeks later.  I had lost ten pounds and was exercising and was taking my meds.  My BP was then 160/98.  The treatment was not working.

He put me on a stronger med.  A month later my BP was 150/92.  Still, not nearly good enough. 

Then, I took matters into my own hands and went to a cardiologist, who prescribed a combination drug that dropped my pressure to 128/84.  That was more like it!  All of this time, I was worried about suddenly having a stroke.  Basically, what happens with untreated hypertension is that the constant high pressure eventually causes a blood vessel to burst in the brain (stroke) and this results in all kinds of things from paralysis to death.  You definitely want to avoid this!

The good news is that hypertension can be easily managed with no side effects with the proper meds.  The bad news is that many folks just avoid going to the doctor.  Either they do not know they have high BP, or they think their high BP is really no problem because they "feel" fine.  Either one of those bad choices can get you paralyzed or dead.

A few times a week, I check my BP at home using my $50 Omron BP meter.  It takes 30 seconds.  For the past 15 years or so, my BP has been running pretty constant at 138/78.

My friends, if you are not aware of your BP, please check it---and get treated if it is high.  You do not want a stroke.


  1. These are words we should all heed, Clint. Thank you for the reminder. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  2. Clint, this is a timely message. I have been battling high blood pressure for the past couple of years. It was an issue in my pregnancy, and it runs rampant in my family. Of course I am African American so that increases my risks. My brother died from untreated hypertension. His was so high for so long, his kidneys lost all but 10% functioning and he was on daily dialysis. By the time he started getting treated, it was too little too late and he could never get it under control. He dropped dead one day, his heart couldn't take the strain.

    I was recently put on a beta blocker, which has not helped. Then I was put on another medication...hydrochlorothiazide. The jury is still out on that one. I have been scared, wondering why in the world my BP is so high. I've gotten to the point where, if I even SEE the BP cuff, up it goes. This is an area in my life that I need the peace of God, and a touch from Him! I've only been on the new med for about two weeks, and I haven't checked my BP at home (I have a cuff)...too scared. :( I'll be following up with my doctor soon to see how it's working.

    Thanks for sharing your story. I'm not really overweight either, but could stand to lose 10 lbs. I don't think it would help...they say that if BP is an issue during pregnancy, then that is a future indicator of issues later down the road. Well, here I am, later on down the road. It is a reminder for us to take care of ourselves!

  3. Good for you, Clint! All the BP related health issues run in my family and I wish the rest of my family would take better care of themselves as you have :) Thanks for sharing!

  4. very good advice. my sis-in-law went to see her doctor years ago and was warned about her high bp. she left in a huff and told him she could take care of it herself w/o meds. she suffered a terrible stroke that left her partially paralyzed and unable to speak for a long. gladly, she has worked hard for many years to regain mobility with a cane, and can now hold almost normal conversations again - altho sometimes haltingly. but truly a wake-up call to everyone...

  5. Very good advice. High bp is definitely a silent killer.

  6. Thanks for this post Clint my doctor WON'T take my BP unless I ask and seeing my mother and grandmother bothed died of strokes I think it's wrong, my dad died of artery problems at the age of 42......I was three. Usually my BP is ok but I would like to know more often.


  7. Wow Clint scary stuff. I have read Sara G,s blog she is very inspirational. I hope everyone listens to both these blogs and heeds those warning signs. B

  8. Good advice.
    The "silent" things are usually the worst....

  9. It's good to see you posted a blog on this important subject. I am like Kimberly (Mining for Diamonds), I get scared having my blood pressure taken. I have perfect blood pressue at home but no matter how many times I try to relax and concentrate on beach scenes at the doctor's office, it is still high. I have to take a record from home to convince them I don't need medication. Same scene at the dentist, fear of BP reading AND the dentist ... High anxiety for sure! I have a fear of having a stroke, too. Living is so dangerous!

  10. Dear Clint, Firstly, let me say, I am so-oo glad that you now have your blood pressure under control. Oh my, I had no idea that hypertension was high blood pressure. My dad suffered from hypertension for about 10 years, before he passed away. Of course, I have asked the doctor's about it (when they ask for family medical history), but their explanation was not always a simple one (with all that medical jargon). Either that or I'm just plain ignorant. A dear friend of mine suffers from high blood pressure. We were only talking about this a few days ago now, because she recently bought a BP monitor. This got me thinking that I might get one, to mostly monitor my heart rate, because of panic attacks. And I can tell you, they feel like I am having a stroke and scare the living daylights out of me. Oh Clint, you are such a blessing! Thank you so much for supporting me and my blog. I really appreciate it! Stay happy and healthy! GOD BLESS. With love and care from Kerrie. xOx

  11. i'm glad you got it under control. pills can have side effects, so i agree with hippocrates when he said let food be thy medicine. i'm glad you have a juicer. be well my dear friend! xoxo

  12. Very scary stuff. My husband has HBP and a history of early death from heart trouble in his family. It makes me very nervous.

  13. Wow - glad you caught it when you did. I actually have always had low blood pressure. Not sure what that means, but nobody ever got excited about it. Keep taking care : )

  14. I also have a blog buddy recovering from a stroke. We are all just one breath away from a life changing diagnosis. Great reminder Clint.
    Glad you are on top of the situation. Keep up the good work. Cindy has what I have, White Coat hypertension. My home readings are fine.

  15. Thanks Clint :) I'm glad you are getting your BP under control. Hypertension runs in my family and my dad and I have issues. So yes meds are working but will be so much better after I have totally changed my eating habits. The "White Coat" sometimes kicks my BP higher like others.

    Thanks for sharing, was surprised when I was reading blogs tonight. Awareness is important. :)

  16. Clint this is an awesome awareness post. I'm glad you have your BP under control and keep an eye on it. As you mentioned there's a lot of people who don't even think twice about their BP.

    I'm so backwards in life, my doctor had to put me on meds 6 years ago to bring my blood pressure up! I stayed on the meds for about a year, I no longer take them and my BP is lower than most but nothing to be worried about.

    Have a fantastic Thursday!

  17. Since I can think about, my blood pressure is down very often.

    But I don't need to measure it, I can feel it by myself and handle it.

    A good friend of mine had to take pills over 35 years, because his BP was so high, since he is living on the Island it is pills, nothing.

  18. Thank you Clint for sharing this. I have a blood pressure meter at home, I should check to see what it is. My BP has been for many years at the point if it were to go any higher they would probably put me on meds and my weight has gone up over the last few months.

  19. Hello Clint, this is a very informative post. It makes me think about getting a check-up which I think is due anyway.Thank you for sharing it. If you don't mind, I'd like to post a link to it in my village health blog.Many folks here would appreciate the info.

    Thanks and God bless.

  20. Thanks for the "BP watch" guardrail. Thusfar I have had no issues with my BP ..but in the last three years the stress level of my life, some extremely hard times emotionally has been a daily experience for me and I know that with the extreme of both these "circumstances" it will effect my BP.....thanks for the "kick in my backside" this morning