Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Joys of Genes

Apparently, my genes are stronger than my healthy habits. That is the sad discovery I made this week.

I have a family history of high blood pressure. Both my parents have high blood pressure, several of my grandparents. I grew up hearing warnings from my parents of my grandparent's unhealthy lifestyles that had led to their heart disease.

I never had a problem with my own blood pressure until I was pregnant with Violet. During my last two months of pregnancy my numbers would climb higher and higher with each visit. I went from being advised not to exercise anymore to being told to rest and sit down as much as possible to being induced for labor because they didn't want my blood pressure to rise any higher.

However, six weeks after delivering Violet, my numbers had gone back down and I was taken off the medication they had prescribed me after her birth. Having taken my blood pressure reading at several machines in the last sixteen months though, I was fairly certain my blood pressure problems weren't over.

So at my yearly physical on Wednesday, I wasn't surprised when the nurse told me that my blood pressure reading was high. My doctor sent me to the lab to have blood drawn so they could test to see if any underlying medical conditions were causing the high blood pressure. The tests came back negative, meaning I don't have liver disease or thyroid disease or any other condition causing my high readings. I was informed that I will be prescribed a daily low dose of a diuretic to help lower my blood pressure.

Now, I'm not a physical specimen of health, but I take good care of myself. I exercise four to five days a week and try to incorporate cardio, strength training, and stretching. I am not fastidious about what I eat, but overall I am a healthy eater. I rarely eat red meat, incorporate fruits and vegetables every day, lots of whole grains, etc. I get at least seven hours of sleep every night and don't have an overly stressed lifestyle. (Unless you count my two little ones as overstressed...) I've never even been a smoker.

Despite all this, in my late twenties, I am going on daily blood pressure medicine. Oh, the frustration! Despite all my efforts and prevention, my family's medical history has defeated me.

It just goes to show you... well, mostly me- that there are some things you can't control. Some things that simply are, and all we can do is to accept them and move forward. Taking a pill every day is not the worst case scenario in life, it barely counts as a blip in the story of me. So I will continue with my healthy living, and take a little pill every morning to help me along. (Oh yes, and I will blame my ancestors and Violet for laying this medical mantle on my shoulders. Grr...)

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