Are You Feeling Pressure? I’m Feeling Pressure from My Blood Pressure

So I wrote this little bit on my resting heartrate and blood pressure. Long story short, I have a low resting heartrate and mild systolic hypertension (elevated systolic blood pressure).

First off, why am I putting the modifier “systolic” in front of hypertension? Because my diastolic (lower number) is perfectly normal. Only my systolic (the higher number) is elevated, therefore I don’t have hypertension, I have systolic hypertension.

Now, don’t y’alls worry, ol’ Andrew is in no risk of developing heart disease. Okay, not NO risk, just very low risk. Why? Because my (systolic) hypertension is very mild. Unfortunately, “very mild” does not mean “non-existent.”

If you recall, I mentioned that my doctor of long ago told me not to worry about my BP because I had exercised my heartrate to a well below normal number, so my heart had to pump harder each time to move the same amount of blood in fewer heartbeats.

Fast forward 30 years. My present doctor now tells me that my (mild) hypertension is cause for (mild) concern. I’m nowhere near the systolic number (again, that’s the higher one, from when your heart is actually pumping the blood) that is recommended for medication. For those interested, that number is 140.

Which brings me to two questions; why and what? Why do I have systolic hypertension, and what do I do about it?

First, let’s have a quick peek at the main causes of high blood pressure:

  1. Smoking
  2. Drinking
  3. Obesity
  4. Sloth
  5. Salt
  6. Stress
  7. Age
  8. Genetics

Let’s address them in order.

  1. Nope
  2. Nope, haven’t had a drink since 1996.
  3. Nope, 6’ ½”, 184 lbs, 31” waist (that’s 184 cm, 83.5 kg, 79 cm)
  4. Nope, I mean, c’mon, you’ve read about my workouts
  5. Nope, don’t add it to anything
  6. Okay, but I’ve reduced my stress dramatically over the last few years, and I exercise regularly to rid my body of cortisol, the stress hormone.
  7. Ehhhhh, okay, it’s a fair cop, I’m over 50 now.
  8. Yes, dad’s been on medication for 10 years, and his mother was on meds for her last 10 years.

So, of the main causes of hypertension, I have three risk factors. I’m doing the most I can about the stress, and the only others are the two I can do precisely nothing about. So, then, what else can I do?

More on that to come.