Thursday, April 11, 2013

my achy breaky heart

Have you ever gotten some news that just completely changed your outlook on life? Most people have, at one point or another.

I've always been a relatively healthy person, not overweight, I eat pretty well and exercise regularly. I have a pretty crappy family history, but I thought that my lifestyle would make up for it, and besides- I wouldn't have to deal with health problems until I was at least 50, right?


If you read my post here, then you know about the allergy shenanigans I've been dealing with (still haven't figured that out... my allergist is clueless!). Well, every time I went to Urgent Care or the doctor with hives, my blood pressure was extraordinarily high. I never had any health problems throughout my entire pregnancy, no pre-eclampsia, nothing. Imagine my surprise when this blood pressure issue came along, and I realized that the headaches and blurry vision I've been dealing with for months wasn't just allergies, it was from my blood pressure being sky high (it was so high, the nurse at the allergist said she was afraid I'd have a stroke in the office... a stroke. At 26 years old??)!!

My doctor immediately put me on a beta blocker, and ran all kinds of tests to make sure there wasn't something wrong. My cholesterol came back high, too!!! Basically, I'm a 50 year old man with a beer gut in a relatively thin, 26 year old female's body. The doctor said if I didn't make some changes, I'd have a heart attack by the time I was 30.

Oh heeeey. About that.

I'd like a new one, please. With less cholesterol, if you don't mind.

Nothing will kick you in the pants quite like hearing something like that. You see, my dad had a heart attack a few years ago, and underwent bypass surgery, and it was the scariest time for my entire family. So this hit realllll close to home for me. I never thought I'd be worrying about it so early, though. Plus, my awareness of my own mortality has been at the forefront of my mind since D was born. It's more important than ever that I maintain my health, so that I can be here for him, and teach him how to grow up healthfully, as well.

So, I headed to the grocery store to stock up on the healthy essentials. I will occasionally every day indulge in a little sweet treat, so I had to cut all that out. Veggies, fruits, and lean meats are my new best friend.

Check out all that health. Plus my snazzy BP monitor. I felt like a 60 year old woman when I was checking out.
P.S.- that pepperoni pizza is for my hubby. Can't expect the man to eat ground turkey every night!

And let me tell you guys, it is so hard. Willpower is not my strong suit. I'm the type of person that as soon as you tell me I can't have something, I obsess about it. I could go days without a cookie, but as soon as I know I can never have another cookie, I start dreaming of dancing chocolate chips. And cutting sodium out of your diet is awful. I hid the salt shaker from myself.  Did you know the average American consumes 3,500 milligrams of sodium each day? We are only supposed to have 1,500 mg... next time you grab a snack, check the label. You will be appalled at what you've been putting in your body!!!

But, this entire experience has increased my awareness. Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States? Not breast cancer, not car accidents. Heart disease. Every minute of the day, a woman in the U.S. dies of cardiovascular disease. 50% of African American women and 34% of Caucasian women are living with it daily. And it doesn't just effect the older, overweight demographic. 

It could happen to you.

So, this is my challenge to you. Put down the cheeseburger, go to the doctor, and get checked out. Get your blood drawn, and know your levels. Watch your diet, and exercise daily. Just because you are young and thin, does not mean you are healthy!!

 Be aware of what you put in your body, and it will reward you!!

Writing this is embarrassing for me, because I've always prided myself on my health, and admitting a weakness is always challenging. But, I feel like it is important for young women to be aware of their bodies, and what can happen!

Want more information about heart disease in women? Head over to The American Heart Association.

1 comment:

  1. Takes guts to post personal stuff like this... After we moved to aus and i got together with lewy he pretty much whipped me into shape... im talking veggies every day hardly any sugar except for the occasional coke, my job has me doing swimming 4 hours a day and once or twice a week depending on the weather we both walk our dogs... down here the cholesteral scale goes from 1-10 and normal is 3-4 when we first moved down here mine was a 7! They put me on lipitor and i change my eating habbits for a while, but the tablets always made me feel sick and i missed my food lolz, moderation is the key, i took myself off the tablets and worked really hard and now mine is down to the 3.5 mark within the normal range, tonight we are having buttered chicken for dinner with rice while its not entirely healthy its is better than mcdonalds lolz, after what has happened on our family, with all the heart problems stemming from it, we all need to reassess our lifestyles and change them for the better <3 love you cuz!