I love those blood pressure cuffs found at supermarkets and pharmacies. I’m the first one to jump on the seat. Quiet is my mind, while I feel the cuff tighten around my arm and open my eyes to magical numbers.
My healthy blood pressure has always been a feather in my hat; it made me feel relieved. No matter what phase I was in during my life, I was always buoyed by my perfect readings, until 2006. With the coming birth of my first child, my blood pressure was so high that I could feel pressure behind my eyeballs. I was admitted immediately for an emergency C-section; it was preeclampsia.
Thankfully I recovered from that episode and later found out that we had a history of preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) in my family. Since then, I’ve been healthy as a horse, writing, teaching and raising children.
And then, three weeks ago, my blood pressure reading put me into the “RUN DON’T WALK” edge of the scale. I freaked. I put my arm through the cuff again, took a few deep breaths, set my mind to calming images…no change.
During these three weeks, I tested my blood pressure several times without any significant changes. I avoided calling the doctor; scared of having hypertension confirmed. My need to know pushed me to do the following: a. find a reputable internist and b. make the appointment. I had to face the fact that I had to see a doctor, STAT!
Randi Hutter Epstein wrote an article in the New York Times, “Major Medical Mystery: Why People Avoid Doctors” explaining the phenomenon of why millions of people avoid doctors.
Evidently there are some, like me, that want to believe we are indestructible. Others don’t want to be lectured about healthy living habits. Some people are afraid of what they are going to hear.
Declining to see a doctor on a regular basis (one in addition to your gynecologist, ladies) will impact your efforts to live a healthful life. As Boca Raton internist, Dr. Rene Crooks, said, “It’s better to collect data while you are healthy, so we can track if anything goes wrong from that healthy baseline image.”
Preventative health includes regular check-ups with your doctor or other health care provider(s). There are affordable options and programs if you need assistance, you can start by visiting your local Health Department. And yes, today it was confirmed that I have mild hypertension. We are going to watch it, and I will see her in two weeks. Making the choice to talk with a health care professional has relieved me of speculation.
Keep tabs on your body now so that it’s not too late. Burying our heads in the sand only squelches our pursuits to live fully, vibrantly and healthfully!
In good health,
Heidi Aspen Lauckhardt-Rhoades
Professional Fitness Instructor, ACE, AFFA, TRX, Indo, PIA, GROOVE
Dance and Creative Movement Productions
Writer and Social Media Correspondent
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