I am a Millennial, and I have High Blood Pressure

I have High Blood Pressure

I am 30 years old. and I was diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension) at the age of 29.

To say I was in shock when I was diagnosed would be an understatement.

I thought I was healthy overall. Eating healthy, staying active and fit.

I have never been overweight – my BMI is 21. I am active on my days off: I do yoga, Irish-step dancing (don’t argue with me, this is a sport) and go hiking in the mountains.

Fortunately, I caught it early while attempting to donate blood. Surprisingly, two months previous my blood pressure had been normal at 122/80.

I was up to 153/109!

I immediately made an appointment with my primary care doctor. She was not overly concerned at the development of high blood pressure at my age. Routine blood and urine tests were done and returned normal. My doctor chalked it up to genetics since my family has a history of hypertension.

Being a 4+ year cardiac nurse, I was not completely satisfied with this conclusion. But, I had to go on blood pressure medicine (lisinopril) to get my blood pressure under control.

What’s the Big Deal?

High blood pressure is known as the silent killer. High blood pressure puts extra strain on the heart and blood vessels (the cardiovascular system). This increases the risk for heart attacks and strokes, but it rarely causes noticeable signs and symptoms.

Hypertension is the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes.

 

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In most cases, the damage done by hypertension takes place over time. But, high Blood pressure that us not controlled or diagnosed can cause:

  • Heart attacks — High blood pressure damages the arteries in the heart that can become blocked and prevent blood from flowing to tissues in the heart muscle.
  • Strokes — High blood pressure can cause blood vessels in the brain to rupture (hemorrhagic stroke) or clog (ischemic stroke) more easily and prevent flow of blood through the brain.
  • Heart failure — The heart has to increase its workload to combat high blood pressure which causes the heart muscle to enlarge and fail to supply blood to the body over time.
  • Kidney disease and failure — High blood pressure can damage the arteries supplying the kidneys and interfere with their ability to effectively filter blood.
  • Vision loss — High blood pressure can strain or damage blood vessels in the eyes.
  • Sexual dysfunction — This can be erectile dysfunction in men or lower libido in women.
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD) — Atherosclerosis caused by high blood pressure can cause a narrowing of arteries in the legs, arms, stomach and head, causing poor circulation, pain and/or fatigue.

I am Not Alone

According to the CDC, one in three American, which is about 70 million people, has high blood pressure. And, almost half of these people don’t have their blood pressure under control.

An estimated 13 million adults in the U.S. have hypertension but are undiagnosed and aren’t even aware they have it and are, therefore, not being treated.

These are some pretty big numbers: 70 Million Americans!

The Take Away: Why am I Talking About This on Finance Blog?

Taking care of yourself and living a healthy life will pay off in dividends in the long run.

With skyrocketing healthcare costs, managing illnesses and chronic medical conditions can be expensive.

We millennials are not immune to medical problems starting in our 20s and 30s. It’s important that we take control of our health now and hopefully prevent large, expensive medical problems in the future.

Make sure you are seeing your doctor on a yearly basis, and get your blood pressure checked regularly. Even if you are still young and healthy, make sure you know your numbers.

Remember, I was only 29 when I was diagnosed whith high blood pressure. And, I am lucky that I caught it early.

And, if you do have high blood pressure, please make sure you are being treated and your blood pressure is under control!

Next, I will be posting on what I have done this past year to take control of my health and blood pressure. I am still on lisionpril, but I have managed to decrease my dose from 10mg daily to 2.5mg daily.

 

Disclaimer: I have not been managing my blood pressure independently. I have always been under the careful guidance and monitoring of my primary care doctor. I have routinely followed up with her in the office every 6 months, and continue to do so.
You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical conditions you should consult your doctor or professional healthcare provider.
If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, please seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.
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About The Author

Lara

Lara is a registered nurse, living near Denver, Colorado. She has a passion for personal finance and strives to find financial security and independence while integrating minimalism and green living.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Team CF | 31st May 17

    Can imagine that this scared the cr*p out of you. Ever considered trying a whole food plant based diet for a while to see it if would work? As a nurse you probably appreciate medial literature, have a look here to see the best possible (scientifically proven!) ways to limit your blood pressure:
    https://nutritionfacts.org/?fwp_search=high+blood+pressure&fwp_content_type=video
    Suffered similar issues and after switching my diet it all disappeared!

    • Lara | 31st May 17

      Yes, I was terrified. Plus, everybody I tell is so shocked that I have high blood pressure. I am definitely making diet changes, and yes, the plant-based diet has had the biggest impact. I will writing about it in a few days. I hope to be off my medicine in a few months.

      I am glad you have had success to with diet changes too!

      Thanks for the video link! ~ Lara

  2. Josh | 31st May 17

    I am glad you’re taking an active role in finding health. As a cardiac nurse I’m sure you take a diagnosis like hypertension very seriously. I am not a doctor but I have some comments that I hope are seen out of benevolent concern for you.

    The majority of hypertention cases are due to lifestyle factors. I can see that you’re active and young but hypertension is 100% preventable with diet. I would urge you to analyze your diet and see if your blood pressure improves by eating less inflammatory foods (animal products, salt, sugar, oil). There are many resources online that can help you with that (a whole nutrition blogging community exists out there similar to the finance blogging community!). Doctors know nothing about it either (why? Pharmaceutical companies don’t make much money by recommending a vegan diet instead of prescribing pills). I’ve been following a whole food plant based diet for the last 9 months and I’ve managed to reverse all of my own chronic diseases using this approach. Trust me, at the beginning it was a mind-boggling proposition to which I said “I could never give up meat!” But I tried it and I am so so happy I did. I am no longer suffering from acid reflux and I had been on medication for over 3 years. I believe that health is not found by taking pills but by naturally removing the inciting causes of disease. These diseases may be minor at first (hypertension, high cholesterol, fatty liver etc) but eventually lead to serious disease and morbidity (diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc.) I encourage you to watch some documentaries on netflix (forks over knives, food choices) and of course email me if you have any questions. Nutritionfacts.org is the single best source of information I can recommend for finding health. It was like stumbling on MMM when I first started learning about finance.

    I also work in healthcare and I have helped a handful of my coworkers reverse their chronic diseases and get off medication with nutrition. Anyways, I wish you the best and I’m glad you spoke out about your health. It’s something we should all be paying much more attention to. After all, if we’re trying to reach FI to enjoy a long life with good health, then finding health ought to be our primary goal right? Even more so than saving money.

    Cheers,
    Josh

    • Lara | 31st May 17

      Thanks, Josh! Yes, I have been trying really hard the last several months to change my diet, and that has had the biggest impact (over activity). I was really shocked as a nurse that the DASH diet is pretty much cr*p and doesn’t really work. What has worked for me the most is reducing animal meats, reducing processed foods and sugars and eating more whole foods and cooking from scratch. I will be writing and posting in a few days about my diet changes and my sugar free challenge.

      I am so happy to hear that you had great success with your diet changes. I found a quote recently by Hippocrates that I love that went “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.

      Have you watched “That Sugar Film”? It’s a very interesting documentary about the enormous amounts of hidden, processed sugars in our diet.

      Thanks for the suggestions. I will definitely look into them! ~ Lara

  3. Take Control of Your Finances by Taking Control of Your Health * One Millennial World | 2nd Jun 17

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