I have another fun and creative hobby in addition to blogging. My dear friend Joji and I started a podcast in September called Jenn and Joji Podcast. Joji is a registered nurse and a caregiver to her mother, a stroke survivor. Often, our conversations and lifestyle ideas and experiences overlap across nursing, teaching, caregiving, and parenting.
At one of our recent recording sessions the topic of blood pressure came up. For people of Filipino descent like us, high blood pressure is hereditary. My dad had it and my mom currently takes medication for it. I know a handful of other family members and friends (of all backgrounds) who also need to manage it.
At 41 years old, I admit that I had claimed invincibility on this one for the last couple of years. I am generally active, not overweight, and overall feel pretty good. I had never checked my blood pressure outside of routine checkups.
Joji, who had established taking her blood pressure at home routinely for a while now, invited me to give it a go since she owns a monitor.
A healthy range for blood pressure for a female my age should be anywhere under 120/80. I have no shame in my game (obviously) about posting my reading from that day for all to see.
The results cancelled out the invincibility. DARN.
Of course, Joji was a very supportive friend. She helped facilitate a conversation centered around my eating and drinking patterns and underlying stress. Up to this moment of time in the summer, I was still enjoying unstructured snacking that included processed sugar and salt. I was also partaking in nightly hard seltzer and/or wine and/or tequila during a couple of weekend mountain trips with friends and family.
What about that underlying stress? Quitting my job and landing a new one while also dealing with the unknown didn’t just go away over night because it’s officially summer vacation.
It all made sense. Also, when Joji and I podcast, we drink coffee throughout the whole time as we chat, so I was also about 2 cups in when I decided to check my BP.
Here’s the point. Someone may feel physically amazing during their day to day, but the body is still a complex and fragile vessel that scientifically needs the proper balance of nutrients and regular legit check ups and monitoring to function properly. It is incredibly simple but immensely difficult to prioritize best health practices in our culture in the U.S..
Since that fateful reality check day, here is what I did almost immediately:
- Continued checking my BP daily in the morning, first thing. Joji let me borrow hers for a week, and then I purchased my own after that.
- Took a BIG social media break in an effort to decrease sedentary behavior
- Stopped having nightly cocktails
- Steered clear of processed sugary and salty snacks (especially chips, which are my weakness)
- Made an appointment for the following: mammogram, routine physical, lab work
I already feel so much better, and yes, the latest readings prove that I lowered my blood pressure over the last few weeks. What a relief! Even though the numbers have been looking better lately, the motivation to maintain remains strong.
I am SUPER thankful for healthy habits and hobbies, supportive friends, and health/reality checks.
The link below is an affiliate link. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.
As mentioned earlier, Joji let me borrow her monitor, but when I gave it back I purchased my own. The link below will bring you to Amazon if you would like to check it out. Batteries were included!
Omron 5 Series Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor on Amazon (paid link)
” It is incredibly simple but immensely difficult to prioritize best health practices in our culture in the U.S..” For…SURE!
From convenience food that’s constantly in our faces to the emotional complexities of diet culture, I feel that our society needs to do better. Sadly, it’s a money talks issue. Thanks again for reading!
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YESSS! It’s always about money in this society. Anywho, you’re welcome.
Many people with heart failure also have diabetes or high blood pressure. But new research suggests those conditions, even when treated, aren’t well controlled, placing people at risk for worsening heart problems, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
Thank you for sharing. This is really important information. I know that diabetes is a major concern as well, and many struggle with keeping it controlled. It’s motivating to really think twice about lifestyle and consumption. Thanks for reading.