I was diagnosed with high blood pressure about seven years ago. Since my mother suffered from high blood pressure for over thirty years, learning that I had the same problem was scary. My mother took several prescription drugs specifically for high blood pressure, but her doctors believed her anxiety exacerbated her condition and so she had tranquilizers as well.
Nevertheless, her blood pressure would often spike. Her greatest fear was that she would have a stroke. She decided to take a proactive stance and though she never stopped taking her prescription medicine, she tried every alternative known at the time to keep her blood pressure in check. She went on the Pritikin diet--reducing her fat intake to the lowest level possible. She ate raw garlic. She tried juicing her vegetables and tossed into the mix every vitamin that experts claimed would help reduce blood pressure levels. She kept a careful record of her blood pressure readings. None of her tireless efforts cured her. Her blood pressure was never truly under control.
She had a stroke at the age of eighty-six. She died a year a half later. Maybe all her healthy eating did help--there are a lot of folks with high blood pressure who never get that far.
Last week, my heart rate plummeted but my blood pressure went up. I went to my doctor who ordered another medication for me. (This is the fifth one.) However, he also became very serious and told me I will have to start walking--a lot--everyday. I was relieved that he did not suggest tranquilizers. I do not want to live in a Xanax-induced haze for the rest of my life--especially since it never did help my mother.
My father was quite surprised by my doctor's advice since none of my mother's doctors had ever mentioned anything about walking.
Obviously, times have changed and medicine is continuing to evolve. Maybe someday the doctors and the pharmaceutical companies will figure everything out. For now, I'm happy to put on my athletic shoes and take a walk. It's great medicine!