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dmer 11-21-2007 09:29 AM

Anyone, after HBP diagnosis and lifestyle change, eliminate or drastically reduce med
 
I've read one account on the cholesterol board of a guy who got off meds after major lifestyle changes (weight loss, diet, exercise).

Given that the NIH describes someone with my BMI as obese, the surprise for me would have been a normal BP. At any rate, I would certainly harbor the hope that if my weight were in the normal range with corresponding diet and exercise, I could reduce the meds if not eliminate them.

Anyone reach such a point?

joe86 11-22-2007 12:36 AM

Re: Anyone, after HBP diagnosis and lifestyle change, eliminate or drastically reduce
 
I was lucky to catch my hypertension quickly and I was able to avoid medications. But I know a guy who quit after 20 years of medications. He was on diuretics and a second category I'm not sure of at the moment. Yes, it can definitely be done.

In fact, if you're obese the changes from losing weight can be dramatic. There's no guarantee but even if you did have to continue with medications you'll still be way better off.

Machaon 11-22-2007 08:25 AM

Re: Anyone, after HBP diagnosis and lifestyle change, eliminate or drastically reduce
 
Because of dietary and lifestyle changes, I've been able to significantly reduce medication, and significantly improve my blood pressure, heart disease and overall health.

I have taken my blood pressure an average of seven times per day over the past 9 years, so I have over 23,000 bp readings, and eight pounds of notes of what worked, for me, and what didn't work.

For the entire years of both 2002, and 2003, my blood pressure averaged about 151/96. I had been on a lousy diet of fast foods, potato chips, beer, constant snacking and large servings. When I was younger, I think that my body was able to tolerate my poor diet, even though I had significant heart disease.

During 2003, and the first half of 2004, my health worsened, and I couldn't sleep unless sitting straight up, and I couldn't watch TV unless I was sitting straight up. Perhaps, after I entered my 60's, my body hit that proverbial stone wall.

So, in 2004, for the first time in my life, I started eating a healthier diet. I am now on a modified form of the Dash 2000 calorie diet.

The results speak for themselves:

For 2004, my average blood pressure, based on over 2000 readings was 146/90, down from the 2003 average of 151/96.

For 2005, my average bp dropped down to 139/86, based on over 2500 readings.

For 2006, my average bp dropped down to 136/79, based on over 3200 readings.

So far, for 2007 my average bp reading is 126/74, based on over 2300 readings.

I have dropped three medications, have reduced my calcium channel blocker by 50% and am on a minimal dose of an Ace Inhibitor.

The Dash Diet has been touted as an effective diet to reduce blood pressure and to improve health. The difficult job is staying on it. If I could go back on my old, gluttonous diet, I would do it in a heartbeat. But, if I want to continue to enjoy my current good health, I've got to behave myself at the dinner table, and avoid the [U]high blood pressure triggers[/U] that I have uncovered via my 23,000 blood pressure readings and associated notes.

dmer 11-22-2007 09:10 AM

Re: Anyone, after HBP diagnosis and lifestyle change, eliminate or drastically reduce
 
Beerzoids,

That's great information from which other people can draw inspiration!

If you don't mind my asking, what is your weight in relation to the optimum and what was it before you achieved these results. Also, do you include any exercise regimen?

I've significantly altered my diet, probably not as strict as the DASH, but sub 2,000 calories per day.

I hear you about the "old ways". I live in LA where the fast food isn't nearly as tempting (at least for me) as in my previous home, Chicago. A good Italian beef and sausage sandwich or Lou Malnati's pizza would put me in jeopardy!

Machaon 11-22-2007 09:46 AM

Re: Anyone, after HBP diagnosis and lifestyle change, eliminate or drastically reduce
 
[QUOTE=dmer;3318249]If you don't mind my asking, what is your weight in relation to the optimum and what was it before you achieved these results.[/QUOTE]

I was at 178 pounds, and am now at 125 lbs, with a bmi of 18.5. The only negative is that my wife does not like a skinny hubby. But she understands, and prefers a skinny, living hubby, to a bulkier dead or sickly hubby. My illness had really been difficult for her also.

Hmmmm!? Another negative is that my clothes don't fit me any more.

Another positive is that I get filled up easily, so being on a small portion diet is no longer a problem. At first, it took a lot of self control to get used to it.

[QUOTE]Also, do you include any exercise regimen?[/QUOTE]

Not much at first. Just some walking each day. But, as my heart failure improved, I was able to do more. I am now lifting weights, several times per day. The weight lifting really helps my morale, and helps me burn calories. I read on the Diabetes Board, from a Type I diabetic, that weight lifting really helped in controlling his diabetes, so I started weight lifting early this year.

[QUOTE]I've significantly altered my diet, probably not as strict as the DASH, but sub 2,000 calories per day.[/QUOTE]

How long have you been on the diet? What improvements have you noticed? How often do you go off of it?

[QUOTE]I hear you about the "old ways". I live in LA where the fast food isn't nearly as tempting (at least for me) as in my previous home, Chicago. A good Italian beef and sausage sandwich or Lou Malnati's pizza would put me in jeopardy![/QUOTE]

Boy do I miss pizza. And beer. And subs. But, I don't miss being sickly.

Have you noticed an improvement in your blood pressure while on your diet? How often do you take your blood pressure reading?

The next few days might be rough, with all of the smells of turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing and gravy, etc. Shoot me now!!! :(

cartner 11-22-2007 11:44 AM

Re: Anyone, after HBP diagnosis and lifestyle change, eliminate or drastically reduce
 
beezoids,

Friend I love reading your posts :D, it give me hope that I can live a better life. I have a question, you said " I am now lifting weights, several times per day. The weight lifting really helps my morale, and helps me burn calories". How can you lift weights several times per day? I don't get it. I know that after a weight lifting session you need to rest your body for at least 24 hours so your muscles can recover. I use weights, dumbells of 10 pounds not more because I have a dislocated shoulder. I may add more weight in the future when I get better. Happy thanksgiving to you and to all the members.
Thanks for help and inspiration,
Michael

dmer 11-22-2007 12:50 PM

Re: Anyone, after HBP diagnosis and lifestyle change, eliminate or drastically reduce
 
[QUOTE=beerzoids;3318287]

How long have you been on the diet? What improvements have you noticed? How often do you go off of it?



Boy do I miss pizza. And beer. And subs. But, I don't miss being sickly.

Have you noticed an improvement in your blood pressure while on your diet? How often do you take your blood pressure reading?

The next few days might be rough, with all of the smells of turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing and gravy, etc. Shoot me now!!! :([/QUOTE]

I've been on my focused eating plan since October 24th, when I was given medication for my BP. Until now, I've lost almost 14 pounds. My BP seems to now be trending lower. I take it twice per day, once after my exercise and again at varying times.

On the diet front, I'm trying to get into an eating habit that I can live with and you are right that the downside of high BP, potential diabetes and all that go along with that, keep the motivation reasonably strong. Thus far, I'm only popping pills and the thought of having to take blood frequently helps me deal with thoughts of pizza and beer!

Regarding exercise, I've had a fair amount over the years but also numerous lapses, during which my weight usually ballooned. On this go around, I had actually resumed exercising last May, but didn't pay any attention to my diet. Since the BP diagnosis, in addition to diet, I've really increased the pace of my exercise going from a 4.6 mile, 6 day a week walk into 3 miles of running and walking the rest. Running is something I've done on and off for years so it wasn't radical shift for me. I'm 55, 6'02" and 2 weeks before my official BP diagnosis, I weighed 273lbs. At the moment, I'm about 256.

Thanks for all of the info!

Machaon 11-22-2007 05:23 PM

Re: Anyone, after HBP diagnosis and lifestyle change, eliminate or drastically reduce
 
[QUOTE=cartner;3318377]How can you lift weights several times per day? I don't get it. I know that after a weight lifting session you need to rest your body for at least 24 hours so your muscles can recover.[/QUOTE]

I don't know anything about the rules of weight lifting, but, then again, I don't have, what would be normally considered, a strenuous workout. I use ten pound dumbbells, in each hand, and lift 30 times above my head, as high as I can reach, followed by 30 curls, about ten times per day, usually prior to eating or snacking.

It's about all I can do. Usually, I don't have problems, but my last set of weight lifts must have strained my heart a bit because it resulted in some breathing problems, along with an erratic heartbeat. I took a nitro, and will avoid any additional stress on my heart today, and just watch some football, and then resume lifting tomorrow, if my heart will allow it.

[QUOTE]Happy thanksgiving to you and to all the members.
Thanks for help and inspiration,
Michael[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the kind words. My best wishes to you and your family! :wave:

tamu45 11-22-2007 08:14 PM

Re: Anyone, after HBP diagnosis and lifestyle change, eliminate or drastically reduce
 
A major health scare can work wonders for lifestyle changes previously thought difficult or impossible. A family history of heart disease as well as a few cardiac episodes that landed me in the ER in my early 40s cleaned up my act pretty quick. Lost 23 lbs, religiously got on a cardio and light weight lifting regimen every day, heavily researched supplements, and ate my own version of a Mediterranean diet with some Asian elements to it (except the high sodium part!).

I firmly believe it has helped, a lot with BP and other health issues.

tamuprof45

cartner 11-23-2007 12:27 AM

Re: Anyone, after HBP diagnosis and lifestyle change, eliminate or drastically reduce
 
beerzoids,

Why don't you try to do the weight lifting exercises only 2 days per week? I think this will give your heart and body more time to get stronger. Maybe you can do anything else in the rest of the week if you can?
I don't know much about heart failure and I don't know much about your condition, but I'm sure that lifting weight everyday is not a good idea. Even me who is 25 can't do that without getting very tired and maybe I can't do it at all.
Good luck,
Michael

Machaon 11-23-2007 05:17 AM

Re: Anyone, after HBP diagnosis and lifestyle change, eliminate or drastically reduce
 
[QUOTE=tamuprof45;3318745]A major health scare can work wonders for lifestyle changes previously thought difficult or impossible.[/QUOTE]

I agree. Blood Pressure Medications work wonders, but they can't always do the job without help. Diet and lifestyle changes are needed, not just for reducing blood pressure, but for many other health problems.

But, most people, like myself, need a lot of motivation before we are willing to make major changes to our diet or our lifestyle. For me, I didn't make major changes until my legs and ankles swelled up, and my fatigue and chest pains got worse, and I was not being able to breath after eating, and I was not able to breath unless I was sitting up, and I felt that I was losing my battle against Heart Failure.

[QUOTE]A family history of heart disease as well as a few cardiac episodes that landed me in the ER in my early 40s cleaned up my act pretty quick.[/QUOTE]

What caused the ER visit?

[QUOTE]Lost 23 lbs, religiously got on a cardio and light weight lifting regimen every day, heavily researched supplements, and ate my own version of a Mediterranean diet with some Asian elements to it (except the high sodium part!). I firmly believe it has helped, a lot with BP and other health issues.[/QUOTE]

Congratulations on making the difficult choices and staying with them.

Machaon 11-23-2007 05:45 AM

Re: Anyone, after HBP diagnosis and lifestyle change, eliminate or drastically reduce
 
[QUOTE=cartner;3318879]beerzoids,

Why don't you try to do the weight lifting exercises only 2 days per week? I think this will give your heart and body more time to get stronger. Maybe you can do anything else in the rest of the week if you can?[/QUOTE]

I take my blood pressure, and keep associated comments, multiple times per day. When I make changes to my diet, or my lifestyle, I track the changes with reports and charts. If I get unusual or unexpected results, I do research on the Internet in order to see if my experience was common, or just an aberration.

During the time that I have been lifting weights my blood pressure has charted downward, and I have been able to increase calories, and I feel better and stronger.

Now...... perhaps my analysis is wrong, or perhaps I'll find out that my current weight lifting regime is just coincidental to my improving health. After all, statistics do occasionally lie.

But as long as I'm experiencing significant improvement to my health, and my data backs it up, I'm going to keep with what works for me.

[QUOTE]I don't know much about heart failure and I don't know much about your condition, but I'm sure that lifting weight everyday is not a good idea.[/QUOTE]

"The proof is in the pudding." (Author unknown)

Heart Failure is basically a weakened heart. There are many different levels of heart failure. Some hearts are enlarged and stretched out. Some hearts have thickened muscle walls. Some have both. Someone with diagnosed heart failure could have a heart that is working at 90% of capacity, or at 20% of capacity. Some could have heart failure only in their Atrium (top portion of heart), some could have heart failure also in the Ventricle (bottom, pumping portion of the heart).

Many can live a somewhat normal life, with heart failure. Unfortunately, heart failure is a progressive condition that ultimately gets worse over time.

[QUOTE]Even me who is 25 can't do that without getting very tired and maybe I can't do it at all.
Good luck,
Michael[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the feedback! I always enjoy your posts, and your input.

Regards.......

cartner 11-23-2007 06:02 AM

Re: Anyone, after HBP diagnosis and lifestyle change, eliminate or drastically reduce
 
Thanks beerzoids,

I also feel breathless after I eat, I have done EGK and that other test you have while u r exercising to check your heart performance. I think it's called stress test?
Anyway, everything is fine and I don't have any problems except High BP, Anxiety combined with Depression and unstable Thryoid, but the dr said that I don't need to medicate it now.
Maybe because I eat a lot I get this breathless feeling?
I hope that you will research the exercise regime, maybe because you are lifting the same weights everyday it's not effecting your muscles. My point is, because there is no overload on the muscles you don't need much time to recover.
I'm not an expert, it's my personal opinion which might be wrong. I'm sure that you are a great researcher.
Good luck,
Michael

dmer 11-23-2007 06:37 AM

Re: Anyone, after HBP diagnosis and lifestyle change, eliminate or drastically reduce
 
I would like to say thanks for all of these comments. PErsonal stories are really usefull in getting perspective on some things and finding motivation to change others.

When I was between 35 - 40, my diet and exercise regimes were very rigid. At the time, I travelled throughout the world on a regular basis and my first priority wherever I went was to find a suitable place to run. The diet part was pretty easy - just avoid the excessive starches, fats etc. Towards the end of that period in my life, my alcohol consumption picked up. Most days I would have 1 or 2 glasses of wine, but frequently 4, with the odd beer thrown in. At first, the degradation in my exercise routine was not extremely noticeable, but over the course of 6-8 months, a 6 day per week regime faded to 2-3. During this time of course, my calorie intake was slowly increasing and the alcohol represented empty calories.

About 10 years ago, I eliminated alcohol (not because of any strong objection to it) but I had a sugar craving and where I previously had the 2 - 4 glasses of wine, I'd now have some sort of pie or other desert. It doesn't require a rocket scientist to figure out where this goes over a period of time, with exercise routines coming and going but the diet getting worse.

Conventional wisdom says that 2 glasses of wine per day are therapeutic for our health and studies are cited which show people who have these 1 or 2 glasses are generally in very good shape. I'm inclined to challenge that conventional wisdom because the people who have these 1 or 2 glasses are generally very moderate in their habits to begin with and benefit from that. Alcohol, beyond a certain point, is very toxic to the human body and the trick is in determining when that toxicity kicks in for each individual.

The other problem I had was that I preferred red wine and when a bottle is opened, it needs to be consumed because absent any effective sealing device, it quickly turns to vinegar!.

So at this stage in my life, I'm back to where I was 20 years ago in the sense that I'm digging out my old diet books and exercise help sheets. A diagnosis of HBP is a good thing in the sense that it can lend a more enduring form of motivation to our lives. When we are in our 30's, there is still a tendency to feel immortal. Now I feel motivated by wanting to preserve as much reasonable health as possible and try to ward off the cumulative effects of a bad lifestyle that can make the 60's onward more challenging than they might otherwise be.

cartner 11-23-2007 07:11 AM

Re: Anyone, after HBP diagnosis and lifestyle change, eliminate or drastically reduce
 
dmer,

I agree with you. being hypertensive is a sign that something is wrong, most of the time it's the way we live, eat, think and move. You know sometimes I feel that it's good that I have HBP early, so I can improve my health. If I'm not a hypertensive I wouldn't go for a good diet and fast food would be my life, by 40 I might get the first heart attack and by that time the one can be on 4 medications.
I guess you are in 50s? can you tell me more about your diet and exercise regime?
Thanks,
Michael


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