Thursday, 24 March 2011

It's official - I'm getting old....

Last week I went to the docs to have a suspicious rash (that I’ve had for over 2 years!) on my hip investigated in case it turned out to be basal cell carcinoma (like a close relative's just been diagnosed with) - turns out to be ringworm! Yay for 19th century ragamuffin diseases!

While I was there (and ‘cos I don’t go to the doctors very often), they nabbed me for a blood pressure check. As I'd just had a brisk 10 min walk to get to the surgery, I wasn't surprised that the reading was a bit high.  The doctor was a little concerned and insisted that I do a 5-day home blood pressure check so on Tuesday I went to collect the machine to start checking my blood pressure twice a day. Like a motherfucking adult. Or even Old Person.

When I told friends last weekend about having to collect the monitor I was pretty gung-ho and dismissive about it since I felt absolutely fine, and had no doubt that the readings would be normal. Obviously, as I had had a brisk walk to get to the surgery, it had been raised but, it'll be fine, you'll see.

Then, over the weekend, as you do, I hit Google as I wondered what the symptoms of high blood pressure would be (apart from the obviously terminal ones like sudden stroke or heart attack).  Turns out, rather alarmingly, there are no symptoms of high blood pressure.  You bimble along, happy as a sandboy until WHAM! you literally hit the deck and either survive or don't.  Huh.  This must be one of those 'silent killer diseases' you hear of.  Bugger.

I tested yesterday morning (141/87) and yesterday evening (140/80) and this morning's reading was 138/88 with a resting heartrate of between 72 and 75 bpm.  The instructions that come with the monitor says that anything over 135/85 is iffy so mine seems to be at the top end of borderline high blood pressure.  Just for comparison, we tested The Lovely Husband's blood pressure this morning.  His was something ridiculous like 122/77 with a resting heartrate of 62 bpm (I think it was).  The difference between mine and his was a lot more than I was expecting.


I have to take 10 readings and do an average, and then add 10 to the first (systolic) figure and 5 to the second (distolic) figure since "on average, home blood pressure readings are 10/5 lower than readings in the surgery, and targets for blood pressure are based on surgery readings" according to the form the doctor gave me.  And it looks like when I do that it's going to put my readings into the high blood pressure range properly.

Double sigh with additional 'tut'.

From what I've read on the internet (yes, yes, I know one shouldn't consult Dr Google but I like to be informed, you know?), my blood pressure is not so high that I should immediately be put on medication but that the doctor might consider it.  I'll see what she says.

Putting my sensible grown-up hat on for once, this is actually a good thing for me to discover.  My genetic inheritance is Not Good regarding heart problems as I have it on both sides of my family - my maternal grandmother (who was an ill woman all her life) died of her 5th or 6th heart attack aged 64 - so that's heart problems on my mother's side of the family - and my dad dropped dead of a massive heart attack (his first and only one) aged 55.  I'm almost 48.  And, as far as I'm aware, he'd never complained of chest pains and wasn't on any kind of medication.  He was also a non-smoker, didn't drink much, played golf, squash and swam, and it still got him.  However, he did run his own business and was under quite a lot of stress most of the time.  But, still, 55 is no age to go and I really, really don't want to follow in his footsteps.

Guess I’m going to have to watch the salt and start doing exercise. Can’t I just sit on the sofa and eat cake  instead?


peevish said...

No, you may not sit and eat cake, Mrs. Jones! You must get moving. I know this because I am only two years younger than you. I am getting myself into shape and it is much more difficult now that it was ten years ago. Don't delay, it will only get more difficult.

The up side is that exertion does pay off. I'm firming up and slimming down and feel great. Besides, it is Spring, the perfect time to get up and out. A time for new beginnings, after all.

Anonymous said...

Hey, welcome to the people-monitoring-their-blood-pressure-and-feeling-way-older-suddenly club! (Got to find a catchier name, though. Maybe that should be the first item on the agenda of our first meeting.) Even though mine turned out to be pretty much nothing, it's still a sobering thought that we are truly getting old, and that getting old often means more health issues.

Blah. I'd rather sit on the sofa and eat cake, too.

OmegaMom said...

Bummer! You need a puppy. It'll keep you on your toes and give you an excuse for multiple vigorous daily walks. ;-)

My "I'm feeling old" moment was when the doctor looked at my chest x-rays from a recent visit and said I had "normal age-related arthritis of the spine". Ugh.

Maureen said...

I have to say you are still a 'spring chicken' in my books !! but hey ! you have to take care especially when you have heart disease in the family. I hope it all gets sorted and that you don't have to go on meds.
Keep us all informed.
M x

Harper said...

Turns out the women on my maternal side get high blood pressure at menopause. I'm right on schedule. But I'd rather know now than 10 years from now when I stroke out (strokes run in my family). And because mine is borderline high as yours sounds I am taking rather low-key meds -- mostly diuretics which are okay now that I'm off the first one -- it gave me its lovely side effect of chronic coughing that, trust me, when you need to go pee a lot is not a fun side effect to have.

Mrs Jones said...

Peevish - you are, as always, totally correct. Yesterday I went & bought some proper clothing to run in and am just waiting for Amazon to deliver my iPhone armband and some decent earphone thingies and I'll be off, wheezing and grunting my way around the local neighbourhood. New beginnings indeed.

Pinklea - yeah, I've considered lying about my readings just so I can stay on the sofa & eat cake but I'm just fooling myself. Which I'm normally very good at but I don't think it will work this time. I've added a home blood pressure monitor to my Amazon wishlist as well but have told The Lovely Husband that I'll cut him a new one if he dares to consider buying it for my birthday!

OmegaMom - I'd love to have a puppy but while we still have an elderly cat pottering about the place it's not really possible. But I've always thought having a dog was a good way to force you to have exercise. My hands have started to stiffen up noticeably in the last year as well. This getting old is not all its cracked up to be....

Maureen - thanks. My dad died when I was 28 - 20 years ago this year - so it's always been at the back of my mind that I will need to look out for my heart some day, and I think that day's finally arrived.

Harper - I'm definitely pre-menopausal and my mother's on various medications including, I think, a blood pressure one (she's also diabetic - very late onset - and takes statins) so it's a major factor in both sides of my family. And, like you, it's a much better idea to find out now rather than when it's too late.

Anonymous said...

Best of luck with the exercise etc. I have been trying to lose some weight for some time with varying degrees of success - I have now put back on everything I lost last year. It gets harder as you get older (and I am older than you).

What was done said...

Getting old is only in our mind.
Age never prevented people from doing things: