High Blood Pressure. High Cholesterol. High Triglycerides. Insulin Resistance. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
These are conditions and risk factors I deal with on a daily basis.
It's not pretty. And it's not uncommon. More importantly - these conditions have been apart of my life since I was in my early teens: fit, young, and relatively healthy. Some were brewing just below the surface - others were full-fledged apart of my life.
Now let's factor in age and weight, and we just might have ourselves a little problem.
I admit - I am the worst about being completely healthy. My main issue is sticking with a heart healthy/low carb diet and exercising more often. As for following my meds and staying away from certain things that could aggravate my conditions - I follow the rules to a T. But there are a few other items that are not my strong point.
So - before we go any further... I think I want to just lay it all out on the line. This is what I have to do. This is going to be a part of my wellness. This is going to HAVE to happen - and honestly, my dear friends, I need your help and encouragement.
I will document my journey, as I always do, but I need constructive feedback. I need you to call me out when I am slacking. No one is holding me accountable. I realize ultimately it is my game to call. But I KNOW me - and I am a slacker.
Let's start at the beginning of this little saga. At 13 (and according to my mom - years before that) my pediatrician said I suffered from a "white coat" syndrome. Meaning my blood pressure would elevate at the doctor's office. I was petite, healthy, and exercised (ballet several days a week) - and yet my blood pressure was high. The doctor would make me lay in a room with a book and try to relax. Then they would come in and take my blood pressure several times for one hour. Eventually it would drop to a normal level.
At 16, there were more issues with my blood pressure. The docs thought maybe it was a sensitivity to sodium, so they sent me to a nutritionist at a hospital. I was put on a heart-disease prevention diet. I weight 110 pounds and exercised often. In two month, I weighed 105.
At 18 I ended up gaining a few pounds - made it a whole 130. Went to college and lost a few - then gained a few more. I was eating whatever I wanted, not exercising and drinking large quantities of beer. I continued this behavior up through 24. By the time I left college I had added about another 20 pounds. Blood pressure at mild hypertension. Docs said - just control it with diet and exercise. Yes, that would have worked - but I did not see the big issue.
At 24, I started working at a television station and ended up taking a beta blocker for an accelerated heart rate and mild hypertension. (my dosage was low.) By 27, my cholesterol was 2 points over the recommended level. By 30, I had a hysterectomy (during the attack of the cancerous cells) and they discovered I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. (cause metabolism to bottom out.) By 32, my doc added a diurectic. It was too strong - so he took me off. At 33, we tried a different diuretic that would help with PCOS symptoms & blood pressure. By 35, my beta blocker was increased and by 36 my diuretic was increased. My cholesterol is 50 some odd points over the level, my triglycerides were 3 points off and I was diagnosed with insulin resistance (a common side effect of PCOS.)
Different meds - blood pressure still not good - cholesterol was not checked this quarter, nor my triglycerides. I feel like crap most days. I am sure stress does not help. I ended up leaving my exercise routine due to a chronically sprained ankle.
Today - I decided that is ENOUGH. I called one of the top cardiologist in town. (note: officially I cannot say who the top cardiologist is - but I have to say I have a very good idea.) October 16th is the day. I want someone who specializes in this. I want to fix this blood pressure situation. I want the cholesterol down. I want the trig.s in a safe range. I figure with whatever he and I talk about - and the official lifestyle plan he puts me on (with all of my risk factors) - I am sure it will help with the PCOS/Insulin Resistance.
Yes - I know what I should do. I write about it everyday for work. I work for the American Heart Association. But that does not mean I will follow it. Obviously!
I need this d-o-c to scare me a little. I need him to be soooo honest with me. I am going to tell him this. (PS - we have met several times, he is a spokesperson for me for various scientific releases thru AHA.) I need him to spell it out for me - for my way of living, and develop a plan to help me reach my goals.
When I asked my internist if she thought the extra weight was causing my blood pressure to be high and my ankle to swell - she crinkled up her face and said.. maybe...
I knew then and there - I have got to take control of this. I have got to seek someone who can really help me - once and for all. Before this gets out of control.
Now I know this may seem dramatic. But it is serious. High Blood Pressure is no joke. With the meds I am on - I feel drugged up all of the time. I am tired, unmotivated, and sluggish. I want to eat better, and I make small strides. But with the PCOS - it's not enough. I need a specific diet (and I realize my next appointment will be with a dietitian) to handle the sodium, fat, and sugar issues. (Please note - my blood sugar is normal. It is the insulin that goes off the charts.)
With all of this being said, I feel like I am taking a really important step. One that will drastically effect the way I live my life. I know I need to reduce stress. With that - I am going to seek holistic options. I know I need an extra push for eating right - and with a "prescribed diet" I can do that. I also want the proper meds in my system - if that is what is needed. I also need to take it easy and slowly and enter back into the world of movement. I am still having ankle issues - so I think a water aerobics class may just be the ticket until the issue is fixed.
It is a start. I am a little freaked. But I want to be around in 10 to 20 years.
Today I took the first step.
Now... let's see what else I can do with what I obviously already know.