high blood pressure

Systolic Blood Pressure

All my life, the top and bottom numbers of my blood pressure have related to each other in a normal way: 117/73, 120/80, 125/82, like that.

Then I got pancreatitis and stopped cooking with garlic. I never ate mass amounts, but normal amounts regularly. When I had to stop eating it, I developed Isolated Systolic Hypertension: the top number when high but the bottom number didn’t. Turns out garlic contains a compound that improves the elasticity of blood vessels, thus contributing to normal systolic blood pressure.

Once I figured this out and resumed eating modest amounts of garlic, the top number came down again. My pancreas doesn’t much like it, but I feel it’s worth it to keep my pressure normal.







It’s not the Sodium, It’s the Balance

All my life I had low-normal blood pressure, except when exposed to petrochemically-based fragrances and grooming products, then it spiked. The fairly low blood pressure was fine and dandy, until I got where it wasn’t safe for me to cook anymore. I switched to frozen dinners (mainly Marie Callender’s – they don’t taste fakey like some brands). I noticed my blood pressure started running a bit high. Not horrible like the petrochemical spikes, but too high for complacency.

Prepared foods often have higher levels of sodium than scratch cooking, and high sodium intake is often associated with high blood pressure. So I Googled around and learned, or re-learned, that part of managing sodium levels is not just reducing sodium, but balancing it with potassium.

The sites I found talked about eating potassium-rich foods like peas and bananas. There’s only so many bananas and peas I’m going to realistically eat. Eating them did lower my pressure some, but not enough, and I knew I’d eventually drift away from eating that way. So I bought some potassium tablets and added them to my weekly minder pill-keeping-track-thingy.

Well, wow. Within a few days my pressure was back to my normal 117 or so over 73 or so. I think I’ll take the potassium tablets maybe five days out of seven instead of every day, because there is such as thing as TOO MUCH potassium. If you take too much it can cause irregular heartbeat and even cardiac arrest.

Free Drugs! (Prescriptions, that is)

If you or anyone you know takes Lisinopril (generic of Zestril, Prinivil) for high blood pressure, did you know that Publix gives it away for free? They also give away Metformin oral medication for diabetes, and several antibiotics.  Go to www.publix.com, scroll to the bottom of the screen, and look in the list of Services for “Free Medication”, or ask at the pharmacy counter. There is no low income requirement for this; the medications are free to anyone with a prescription.

Harris Teeter Supermarkets have a similar program. Miejer Supermarkets offer free antibiotics and prenatal vitamins. Price Chopper, Super 1 Foods, Schnucks and United Supermarkets will fill certain antibiotic prescriptions for free. Other stores may do the same; it can’t hurt to ask.

If one of these free medications would do just as well as whatever your doctor is currently prescribing, maybe he or she would change your prescription to one that is free.

If not, maybe your med is on Walmart’s long list of $4 generic prescriptions. If it’s reasonable for your doctor to prescribe a 90 day supply, that only costs $10.  Here’s a link to their list: http://www.walmart.com/cp/1078664?povid=cat5431-env198764-moduleB120712-lLinkFC44DollarPrescriptions.

If that won’t work, check out http://www.goodrx.com, a very useful and well-designed site. It shows you the price of your specific medicine at several pharmacies near you. It also has coupons for your medication at the various stores. This is well worth looking into.

For me now it’s not the drug that’s expensive, it’s the $100 doctor visit to get the prescription. But that’s a rant for another day…