OK. So I've always had "borderline" BP--in my 20s, when I was at normal weight, it was always around 140/80 or so. The lowest it has ever been was in 2000, after I had gained and then lost 70 lbs on my first McDougall go-round -- then it was 120/70. I weighed 128 and was running 40 miles a week (I was then 38).
In the last few years it has been higher--155/98 or so--but I was obese, having gained back all that weight, and I assumed that was why. In 2009 I let the doctor put me on meds--but just a diuretic (HCTZ). In Nov. 09 my BP was 144/72 (on the HCTZ) and I weighed 207.
I ran out of meds and there was a mixup re: doctors and so I was off the meds for several months. When I saw the new doctor in May 2010, I weighed 198 and my BP was 155/96. The doctor wanted to put me on Norvasc and I agreed, but this pushed me into action. I got back on the McDougall plan, and w/in a month I discontinued the meds (going along w/ the studies that indicate that there is no benefit to artificially lowering BP below 160/100 or so ( explained here by Dr. McD in his article about how he treats hypertension: http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2009nl/nov/bp.pdf
Since then I have lost 70 pounds. I have a median-normal BMI. I look great. I feel great.
BUT I had a nagging fear that my BP might still be elevated. I can still feel the blood "beating" in my veins sometimes. I wanted to know what it was b/f I went to the doctor (b/c I know there will be a battle).
Went to CVS yesterday and had it done in the Minute Clinic. They use a real BP machine--she even re-did it using a manual one b/c I was so freaked out.
My BP yesterday was 158/98.
Now, my heartrate was only 51 (down from 88 in May), but that's small consolation.
Let me just add that I not only McDougall--I am on MWL and I restrict sodium to an extreme degree!! I add no salt to my food. I stopped using Braggs months ago. I buy only no salt added tomatoes and beans. I eat almost nothing processed and if I have to, I read the labels obsessively.
I CANNOT understand how my BP can be essentially the same NOW, having lost 70 lbs and having restricted sodium to this degree as BEFORE, when I was fat and not worrying about sodium at ALL (and eating lots of processed and prepared foods).
I'm really pretty upset. I am dreading going to the doctor now--I know my cholesterol will be down, it's nice that my HR is down, etc., but I don't know what else I can DO.
ALL I CAN COME UP WITH SO FAR:
(1) I eat the salad bar at work for lunch every day and there are beans on it. I usually have a good helping of those. I'm sure they don't pay extra for no-salt added, so that may be a trigger.
(2) This article says that potassium lowers BP. Of course, I already eat TONS of the foods that they mention as being high in potassium (except fish, poultry, yogurt and bananas). But maybe I should take a potassium supplement?? http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updat ... 705c.shtml
(3) Caffeine. I gave up coffee more than 6 mos ago--I still occasionally have a cup (like once every 2 weeks) but I DO still drink tea -- 2-3 cups a day of caffeinated in addition to some herb tea. Is this enough do you think? I can cut out the caffeinated tea altogether.
(4) When I go to the doctor (which I guess I have to do in order to get my bloodwork re-done and b/c I can't put it off forever), I could say OK to chlorthalidone, which is the drug of choice per Dr. McD. He would probably NOT treat me at this BP, but the risks of chlorthalidone are low and it would make the doctor happy and alleviate my worries a little.
(5) I bought a BP monitor this morning and will take it at home a number of times to see if I get the same result.
(6) Exercise more. That may have been the one deciding factor when my BP was lower in 2000. I have no desire to run 40 miles per week anymore, but I can go to the gym. I live on a farm, I ride horses, and my second job is as a barefoot hoof trimmer (horses), all of which count as exercise, but it's not sustained cardio. So I did bring my workout clothes today and will try to do the elliptical 3X a week.
I know I can write to Dr. McD, but I already did that a while back and he pretty much reiterated what is in the article I linked to above (re: how he treats BP). I know he can't make specific recs over the internet, so I'm not sure there's much point in asking him again.
Does anyone have suggestions? I really am just so bummed about this.