Chasing the Big Yellow Taxi again – thy passenger is health

I have been battling with blood pressure issues for several years now. First, it was one medication, then two, and now the doubling of one of those medications. Of course, now my body is having to adjust to more medication and the last couple days have been a real struggle for me.

Yesterday, I did donate blood and that may have contributed to some of my issues, but I really don’t think so, today. I have had lots of liquids and good meals and rest, so I would think a little less blood wouldn’t be a big issue. Not the way I am feeling.

Some of this is obviously genetic. My Dad had heart issues and suffered from TIAs. Some of it is lifestyle. I am loud and clear about my aversion to exercise. You expect me to move?

Some of it is anxiety and stress.  SURPRISE! I can work myself up about just posting a letter! I think this is also inherited to a degree from a very, very, very anxious mother, who fears everything and anything.

Some of it is lifestyle and choices. Show me the fatty, creamy, sugary food and I am yours, dahling. Exercise, as mentioned previously, is moving from one end of the couch to the other.

A very dear friend, the same age as me, suffered a stroke a year or so ago due to high blood pressure. She has recovered remarkably well, but will always have some issues. Other people do not recover, they do not survive. I want to live to be 102.

So, while I  working with conventional medicine and my lovely doctor to control this issue, I have to admit there are a  few things I need to do for myself:

1. Go for power walks

2. Breathe deeply

3. Pick potassium-rich produce

4. Read food labels for sodium

5. Indulge in dark chocolate

6. Take a supplement (Doctor suggested fish oil, which I do take from time to time, but not often enough)

7. Drink alcohol—but not too much

8. Drink tea – more?

9. Work (a little) less (!) Maybe that should be “worry about work less”.

10. Relax with music

11. Drop a few kiolograms.


Some of those things I am already doing. I  don’t think it is physically possible to drink more tea than Mr FD and I consume in a day . We have started to have a glass of red every night with dinner too. Just one glass. However, this now links to a small anxiety as alcohol has been linked to breast cancer (an aunt is a breast cancer survivor).

See what I mean, I can manifest an anxiety for all occasions (thanks, Mum!)  Working on that…

Working on it all, one day at a time.

What has been your experience, or a family members’ experience,  with chronic blood pressure?

15 thoughts on “Chasing the Big Yellow Taxi again – thy passenger is health

  1. I don’t have a history of bloodpressure. However, I inherited anxiety from both parents (and do you know anxiety in both parents doubles up in the kid?), AND a propensity to anxiety-derived acidity and ulcer from mom. Added to which, my mom died of stomach cancer. So, you can imagine my anxiety levels, and coupled with my weakness for spicy food, my stomach is an inferno all the time. Every now and then, when the acidity threatens to burn me inside out, I resolve to get a hold on myself, take my antacids religiously, eat healthy, do yoga and so on, but keep slipping.
    Not sure how I am helping you…just that if I see you stick to your resolutions, it would remind me to as well. See, now you have an added responsibility to take care of yourself. No?


    • Yes, we shall try to do the right thing, together. There are only so many wake up calls in a life, and as we get older we have already burned up more than a few. I have the feeling that exercise would help me with anxiety and BP, and in some ways I think that might be the real issue for me – getting over the exercise hurdle, in more ways than one!


  2. I’d strongly recommend the power walking. In fact I always recommend it…..for other people. 😉 No getting away from it, though, when I start walking my blood pressure and sugar levels always improve, especially if I can lose some weight while doing so. Also, I find that anxiety levels fall, especially if I can think positively about organising my life while walking. I presently walk around the block bounded by Geddes, South, Ramsay and Alderley Streets every day if possible. I’m determined to live until 103 just to be one up on FD…


  3. Walkies are great for all sort of things like lowering BP and actually reducing anxiety. (THere’s a reason I like it so much you know.) Take your camera with you for walks, and I am sure you can find some great places to see, that are always missed when one is traveling by FD carriage.


  4. Can’t mention anything about blood pressure as such. Though my dad did struggle with a lung- disease which forced him to quit smoking. I am guessing his blood pressure wasn’t the best either but he refused to ever mention anything. Go figure. After that he also changed his diet completely and has now again fully functional lungs (has been running marathons for almost 8 years – after smoking 40 cigarets average a day for over 30 years) and is in general a much more healthy man. Saw actually the other day a video clip that my uncle made 22 years ago. My father looks now better then he did back then.
    Obviously you know that you can change the blood pressure thing by changing you diet – so no one really needs to mention that 😉 I am guessing – scratch that: I am pretty sure that ,if you could get yourself to take the step – you could get rid of your medications altogether.


    • I think I have, no, I know I have too much sugar in my diet, so working on that. I joke about having porridge with my sugar for breakfast, not it was to be porridge, and little or no sugar. Can you imagine how fabulous I will be when I achieve inner physical perfection?


  5. You mentioned living to 102. Why? Remember I just watched someone live to 102. I’m so very grateful, but as you know it was difficult. After 90 she kept saying she was ready to go. But not to discourage your worthy quest: I’ll share her secrets!
    Everything in moderation. Discipline. A routine to the very last day. Some exercise, some ice cream, some chocolate cream pie, some wine (more earlier in her life), always a smile, faith, and great genes.
    She may have been an anomaly, but she was and is an inspiration. She didn’t develop any real health issues (except for migraines) until her 90s. High blood pressure and strokes (one sent her to rehab and she came out stronger) were among the issues. She went on a blood thinner which kept her blood pressure low. She also never ate dairy in her life and never took a calcium supplement, never had a mammogram or a colonoscopy. So go figure. I think there’s a lot we can do to have a healthier life, but it’s also a crapshoot as you have so poignantly pointed out in previous posts.


    • I want to live to 102 as long as I have my brain. I intend taking myself off to care when the time comes, and not to burden my family with my day to day care. I want them to enjoy visiting me, and not to take over their lives. I have learnt that lesson. I want to see this world, and see my family grow – and spread the flamingo dancer spirit.

      I have longevity genes on my Mum’s side – her mother and all her aunts lived to well into their 90s. However, the genes on my Dad’s side are horrific. They all died young (there was an alcohol issue in that family as well) I think I have the majority of my genes from Dad, poor man.

      Your mother would have grown up in a world where people were more physical, they ate basic meals, and children played outside. There was also a greater sense of community, and less media bombardment that I think adds to our stress. Times were tough, and they had the stress of wars, but family seemed to be more binding. In her life she had many elements that help us flourish in life, many which are missing from modern life.


  6. I, thankfully, don’t have high blood pressure, but my mom and younger sister do. I believe my dad had problems with low blood pressure.

    But exercise is good, and also not worrying about stuff you can’t control.

    I’ve heard about the studies that link various things such as red wine to higher incidences of cancer and other health problems. But in all actuality, it probably raises the chances from something like 0.0000000583 to 0.0000000938. So the health benefits probably vastly outweigh any “risk.”


    • My sister has low blood pressure. I suffered with blood pressure issues during my first pregnancy which is a strong indicator that a woman will develop it later on in life.

      At least I am treating my BP. I mean at 53 a lot of women are unaware that they even have an issue, so I am minimising the dangers as much as possible. I just have to get it back under control… and when one is a goddess and used to having every whim granted (!) it is not easy to exercise discipline!

      I take my first steps on a walking cure today!


  7. both my parents had high blood pressure, were diagnosed as hypertensive, and put on salt free diets. We went from being a family who heavily salted EVERYthing (include fruit) to being completely salt free. To this day, if I cook, I do not add salt – even if a recipe calls for it.

    The only time I had blood pressure issues was when on Cymbalta. There was talk of meds but lifestyle changes (loose weight; stop eating processed/salty foods) seemed like a better plan. Instead, I quit the Cymbalta.

    And I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder too. I don’t even need a topic to get worked up. I think mine is the result of severe perfectionist issues… which were bred into me as a kid… along with having a very fast brain. I can be in a full scale tizzy before most people have even thought through the first step of something. I should do meditation but it annoys me (yes, I just said that trying to relax is annoying). Mainly, I live with it an down a xanax (or 3) when things get too out of control.

    Good luck with your battles. Keep us posted!


    • I am like you with a “a very fast brain”. I have gone there and back around again twice before most other people have even looked up. I don’t like it, but then again, I am great at organising things and solving problems!
      My sister was addicted to Xanax in the 70s. I don’t like.


  8. aggghhhh

    Eliminating salt can really help.
    Basically what I did was go through my pantry and toss everything with salt (making the local food bank very happy), and then read labels fiercely to figure out what I could buy.
    Things like tuna, tomato products, and beans are easily found salt-free.
    Things like soup are huge sodium sources, and probably better simply avoided.
    Fresh fruit is your friend – it is difficult to feel deprived while eating peaches and fresh raspberries.
    For bread, there are a few local salt-free brands, and otherwise it is annoyingly salty.
    You will become very, very crabby about sea salt.

    Eating out is a problem, but basically there is such a thing as being too careful.
    If you tidy up your habits at home, the occasional treat at a restaurant really won’t matter much.
    You aren’t trying to be perfect at this, only better.

    You may be able to find the thing you can do as exercise – the level of annoyingness varies.
    Yoga can be calming if you can find a situation where it feels comfortable (not filled with twenty-something pretzels).
    Swimming also, though it is more difficult to find some place where there aren’t obsessive people powering through their laps and filling the place with tension.
    Walking is great if you can find a way to fix it in your schedule.
    Waiting until you feel like it really won’t work, because why would you feel like going out for a walk when there is a perfectly comfy couch and a book right there?
    What sometimes works for me is the “every day, but I can miss one” concept.= – which means if I miss one, that’s okay, but missing two isn’t.
    Again, it is trying to make a rule that will help, but not be so strict that you will want to break it.

    Never met a sweet or a fat I didn’t like.
    Again, the best I can do is to keep it out of the house, so that temptation isn’t there under my nose.

    Dang, I have to get back to work on all this stuff too.


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