12.8 Blood Pressure

Both my par­ents had high blood pres­sure and they had to take med­i­ca­tion to con­trol it. It seems that I have in­her­it­ed their hy­per­ten­sion genes.

In 1988 Mary Ann and I went to Eng­land to vis­it my dad. He was on di­uret­ics and beta block­ers to con­trol his el­e­vat­ed blood pres­sure. I bought a bat­tery op­er­at­ed blood pres­sure ma­chine for him to use.

On the way to the north of Eng­land, where my dad lived, we vis­it­ed my friend from my col­lege days and his wife. I pulled out the ma­chine and ev­ery­one had their blood pres­sure tak­en. My friend’s was 160/100. I was shocked to find that mine was 160/100 also. I was also sur­prised be­cause I was ex­er­cis­ing and watch­ing my weight where­as my friend was seden­tary and some­what over­weight.

When I got home I did some re­search and learned that some peo­ple are salt sen­si­tive. At that time my fa­vorite lunch was Camp­bell’s cream of mush­room soup. This had 2.2 grams of sodi­um per can. I stopped eat­ing the soup and I re­duced salt in oth­er ways, and my blood pres­sure dropped to the 140/90 range.

When I switched to a low fat diet in 1998 and lost weight, my blood pres­sure dropped fur­ther. It was typ­i­cal­ly 126/78 at home.

Skip for­ward to to­day and my blood pres­sure is 134/76. Since the sys­tolic read­ing is over 130, this counts as one point in the metabol­ic syn­drome mea­sure.

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