Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Let's Get (a) Physical

So yesterday I went to the doctor for a physical.  The last time I had a physical was probably about 4-5
years ago, with my old doctor who left his practice to work at a hospital.

Last week I'd stopped at the lab so they could withdraw some blood so the results would be in my doctor's office in time for my physical yesterday.  I expected this physical to go pretty much like my last physical, with a pat on the back and a clean bill of health.

Instead, my doctor said my blood pressure was high, my cholesterol was high, my sugar level was high, and my weight was high.

Record scratch.

Wha?????  How could this be?  I don't smoke, I don't drink too much, I don't take recreational drugs, and I don't take any medication on a regular basis.  I'm healthy, dammit!!

While its true that I don't smoke, drink too much or use drugs, I also don't exercise or pay good attention to my diet.  And even if I did, I can't help my genetic predisposition.  Both my parents (ages 77 and 80) have had heart conditions, as did both my grandparents on my father's side.

I think I was in shock for several minutes in the doctor's office.  Then I started to freak out a little.  Just 4 or 5 years ago I was perfectly healthy and now that I'm pushing 50, I'm falling apart at the seams.  What a slap in the face!

But at least its 'fixable'.  I mean, its not like I have terminal cancer or an inoperable tumor.  Perspective.

My doctor talked to me about treatment options like blood pressure and cholesterol medications, as well as diet modification, exercise, and weight loss.  He wanted to start me on the medications immediately but I told him I was committed to diet modification, exercise and weight loss which should reduce my blood pressure and cholesterol naturally.  We agreed to follow up in a month to see if those efforts reduced my levels enough to not need the medication.

Its not that I'm against medication.  I just feel that if I can reduce my levels sufficiently in a natural way I'd prefer to do that over having to take pills the rest of my life.

Today I'm over the shock and have begun sharing this 'news' with some of my friends.  Some confessed that they are taking blood pressure and/or cholesterol medicines already, while another is trying exercise and weight loss first like me.

Now comes the hard part:  reducing or eliminating all the delicious and tasty foods that have contributed to my high blood pressure and cholesterol, which is basically everything that is worth eating.  Anybody have any heart-healthy recipes to share?

And then comes the exercise.  Time to dust off that gym membership.


Breenlantern said...

It's always better to know what's "wrong" so you know what to do to fix it. We can all stand to be healthier and eat better and exercise more. I'm rooting for you to be successful, but please don't make us eat tofu and drink water when I come to visit...I must have cosmos with you again!

Anonymous said...

Um, I usually don't offer a lot of medical advice (or any advice, actually), but read "The China Study" before you start on statin meds for cholesterol. The side effects are worse than the "disease" (guess why Viagra is a $1Bil/year drug), cholesterol is NOT a good indicator of heart disease (inflammation of the arteries is a much better indicator), and your body needs cholesterol to maintain cell health. My doctor hasn't looked at my cholesterol numbers in 5 or 6 years after having me on statins for the previous 10 or 11 - after taking a year to research and find out the real poop on that and some other commonly prescribed drugs.

Bottom line, it's worth some research before you start taking a drug that has as one of its primary side effects ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION.

Peace <3

David Jeffreys said...

I agree with Jay. Unfortunately, the doctors are now in collusion with the big pharma trying to boost the bottom line. I have NEVER taken any statins and will not.

How did my grandmother live to be 97? Not by taking any drugs. Living on the farm, she made the best biscuits and cornbread in the world using real butter, buttermilk, and lard!

Some drugs are necessary such as insulin for diabetics and are life savers, but most of the modern pills just increase big pharma's bottom line.

By the way, buy your own blood pressure device and take your blood pressure when you are resting and in a comfortable environment. It will probably be normal. Often, the "nurse" puts one of those automatic things on my arm, when I first get there and it reads high. Being concerned, my doctor takes it himself the old fashioned way with a stethoscope, a few minutes later and it is 120/80!


Ur-spo said...

Its not that I'm against medication. I just feel that if I can reduce my levels sufficiently in a natural way I'd prefer to do that over having to take pills the rest of my life.

Sensible fellow! There is a lot of data to support this - but of course you have to do it! Think of exercise as medicine - something to take daily.

Bob said...

I'm all for going natural, if possible.
Eat greens, go for a walk.
Sounds simple, but it can help.

anne marie in philly said...

don't go for the meds. my old MD insisted I go on meds for hypertention; instead, I fired him and found an MD who is not in league with the (legal) drug pushers.

now you might be thinking: but she is fat, how can she be so healthy? well, it's partially good genes. but my cholesterol is 168, my blood pressure is 130/80, and now that I go to the gym 3x/week, I am seeing muscle definition and I feel stronger.

here is a vegan, healthy chocolate cake recipe.

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup splenda
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (e.g., hershey’s)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup cold water

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. spray an 8 x 8 x 2 square pan with non-stick cooking spray.

3. dump all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.

4. pour batter into pan.

5. bake 55 minutes until a tester comes out clean. your oven, YMMV.

and if you don't tell anyone, no one will miss the eggs/butter/milk/sugar!

we can do this together, honey! I wanna look better for next year's blogger meetup! :) only 357 days til...

PS - I also use www.myfitnesspal.com to track my food/exercise; it's FREE!

anne marie in philly said...

dammit, I just thought of something else. buy a 29 oz can of pure tomato puree (make sure it has no corn syrup or other crap in it). throw in some italian seasoning blend and some garlic powder and whatever else (like onions and shrooms) you feel. bake skinless chicken breasts in this sauce. YUM!

whole wheat pasta or "dreamfields" brand pasta - makes you feel full so you eat less. use in conjunction with above sauce.

Jay M. said...

All of AM's advice is great. I love myfitnesspal, it really helps to see what you're eating. You can do it!

Ron said...


Welcome to the club! Wait until you're my age (71). For most of my life I've been very healthy. Now things are starting to fall apart. I just got a call today that I had to IMMEDIATELY get a blood test prior to my brachytherapy procedure (seed implants for my prostate cancer) which takes place May 2nd, shortly after I return from our annual week vacation down south. I wish they had told me yesterday so I wouldn't be starving today while I fast until 5:30 this afternoon when I go down to Beebe for the blood test. This past year my life has been one series of "procedures" and tests. I forget what life was like when nothing happened and I just coast. Oh how I would like those days again. Don't worry, you have a few years to go until you reach the cycle I'm in now, which was the same one both of my parents were in a few years before they checked out. The lesson here is....make every day count because all too soon things do start falling apart.


cb said...

I got semi-similar news. They want me to lose weight and eat healthier so my sugar levels go down.

I work out 4-5 times a week and don't between meal snack, and don't drink soda.


Travis said...

Limit your carb intake an watch portion size. My husband is type 2 diabetic, he can eat anything he wants but he watches his portion size. He wasn't fat but carried a few extra pounds. In no time those extra lbs just fell off and his blood (blood glucose) fell to a more normal level.