A while back I posted my challenges getting back into my usual physical activities after this past winter's hibernation. I've done a good job since then of returning to my routine daily walks, a few weekend hikes, etc. No more back pain after an 8 mile hike or 20 mile bike ride - I feel young again. I won't be repeating that mistake again next winter. And, we have finally gotten those kayaks out to work our upper body a bit too. That's all good news. But...
Anyone notice that I didn't post a blog last week? I was a feeling bit under the weather, then a weird problem developed in my eye. So, I went my OD and he confirmed my suspicion of a burst blood vessel on my retina. He also noted that my Blood Pressure (BP) was very high. I've always had slightly elevated BP and (up until now) have managed it through exercise and diet (like avoiding salt where possible). Well, this was different. When I said high I mean very high - and I didn't have a clue. Now I'm on hypertension meds and test four times a day. It's getting better now and the cloud of blood blocking my vision is slowly dissipating. I see this eye problem as a blessing in disguise - an early warning sign to address this "silent killer." If I hadn't burst this blood vessel, I'd have no idea what was going on.
So, this week's blog is a short PSA. If you've ever tested with elevated BP, have a family history of hypertension or kidney problems, or have any of the lifestyle risk factors (high stress, poor diet, a few extra pounds, smoking, little or no exercise, etc.) then I strongly encourage you to test often. Most pharmacies have a free BP station you can use and home monitor kits (get the upper arm cuff, not the wrist style) range from $20-$100. Seems like a small price to pay to help avoid a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and other complications.