One of my husband Bobby’s recent visits to the doctor, he got a bit of a shock when the nurse removed the BP cuff from his arm.
At only 39 years old, he certainly shouldn’t have blood pressure at such incredibly dangerous levels. The doctor gave him a prescription to help it come down, along with orders to improve his diet, get more active and follow up with his regular physician.
After that visit, Bobby talked a good talk. He told me to buy healthier food for meals, kicked around the idea of joining a gym. But then everyday life hit, and he fell back into the same old routine — which, for him, frequently involves overeating and constant snacking.
Why does he do it? It’s frustrating for me, though I understand there’s an emotional aspect to it, and that way of living has become a habit for him. When I came home one day to find he had plowed through an entire package of trail mix (which is not that bad when eaten in proper portions), I blew up on him. I asked him if he even wanted to be healthy. I told him that I didn’t want to explain to our recently born son (our first) in a few years how Daddy was no longer around because he couldn’t make the sacrifices it took to get healthy.
Finally, something made an impact. It hasn’t been an overnight change, but now when Bobby wants to make an unhealthy choice, he thinks of how he wants to be here to see our boy grow up. And more often than not that leads to a healthy decision. At his last doctor visit, his blood pressure had dropped to around 145/90; still high, but getting closer to normal.
This month is National High Blood Pressure Education Month, sponsored by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Of course drivers are pressured to get their BP down to a certain level in order to pass their medical certification, but the little tricks many use to get it there are simply quick fixes. If you’ve had a high blood pressure reading, ask your doctor what you can do to get that number down permanently. You may be surprised how small changes to your everyday routine can make a difference.