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  1. #1

    Blood pressure question

    I actually had one other question that isn't about therapy but I thought I would just stick it on the end of this post anyway...

    That psychiatrist I saw took my BP and told me that it was borderline high where something would be done about it. I've had high reading at the doctors in the past too... But my question is, can stress alone cause elevated Blood Pressure? I exercise, diet, don't take any medication that would cause that I don't think (right now I'm not taking any at all) and I'm young, and no family history that I know of (although no history from one side of the family). Apparently my pulse is normal, which is confusing because when I get stressed I thought it was my pulse that went up (heart pounding, etc).

    Can stress exclusively cause High BP and what is the difference between high BP and pulse?

    That doctor recommended yoga to help it...how would that help? Would it be through relaxation?

    One more thing...I do consume a lot of sodium, could that have something to do with it?

  2. #2

    Blood pressure question

    Quote Originally Posted by Toeless
    That psychiatrist I saw took my BP and told me that it was borderline high where something would be done about it. I've had high reading at the doctors in the past too... But my question is, can stress alone cause elevated Blood Pressure?
    Yes but if it is consistently high over a period of time, regardless of what is causing it, doctors these days look at even "high normal" or "borderline" blood pressure as a risk factor. The way my doctor put it, in that range you're not likely to keel over tomorrow but 20 years from now you have a significabtly higher risk for a stroke or heart attack. With the increasing focus on preventative medicine, it makes sense to do whatever is necessary to bring it down into normal range, even if that involves medication.

    Can stress exclusively cause High BP and what is the difference between high BP and pulse?
    Yes, stress can elevate BP. Your pulse rate is how fast your heart is beating, BP in essence is how hard your heart has to work with each beat to circulate the blood.

    That doctor recommended yoga to help it...how would that help? Would it be through relaxation?
    Basically, tes, although depending on the type of yoga there may also be some aerobic benefits.

    One more thing...I do consume a lot of sodium, could that have something to do with it?
    Definitely. So can alcohol.

  3. #3

    Blood pressure question

    Thanks Dr. Baxter.

    Maybe then I will see my primary doc about the BP med because it has been over a period of about 5 years.

    I will also try to cut down on my sodium intake and hopefully those things will make enough of a difference.

  4. #4

    Blood pressure question

    hi toeless, here's some websites on bp, yoga, etc... :o)

    Yoga: reduces stress...
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/yoga/CM00004

    Read the food label for sodium...
    http://hin.nhlbi.nih.gov/nhbpep_kit/label.htm

    High BP, has links to a site where you can click on parts of the body to see how high BP affects that part etc...
    http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/treat/treat.htm

  5. #5

    Blood pressure question

    Thanks for the websites...I'll check them out, except for maybe the last one because, no doubt, once I click on a body part and see what can go wrong I will immediately come down with mysterious unexplainable pain in that region. I'm really good at tricking myself like that=)

    Furthermore, now that I have been avoiding sodium I have decided that there is officially nothing left to eat. One you eliminate carbs (which is not so simple), sodium, most types of fat, cholesterol, meat, fish that leaves nothing but veggies (which are good but I mean come on...). It seems like mostly food just makes you sick in a variety of ways. I'm totally sick of it. I already read food labels for so many things and now for sodium too!!!!!!! Ugh. I guess the ticket is just nonfat lattes (and probably vitamins).

  6. #6

    Blood pressure question

    hey toeless... from everything that you are or already have cut out of your diet, you're right there's not a lot left....but even lattes have sodium (170mg for a tall, n/f latte), lol. It's all about moderation, really. Your body needs all of the things that you are cutting out; everyone needs moderate amounts of carbs, sodium, fat, cholesterol, meat, fish.... they're not inherently "bad" for you, like candy is b/c it has no nutritinal value (but then again it has some other much appreciated value!). You can cut some of those out but you have to know why you're doing it and make an effort to get your protein from different foods if you cut out fish or meat for example... any of these can be bad when you consume too much, but it's also not good for you if you cut out all of them. It's no fun really spending your days trying to "cut out" all the "bad" foods, it comes down to knowing about foods, having an awareness about proper nutrition, and changing maladaptive behaviours, but if you want to live healthy in the l/t cutting out entire food groups in itself is only going to do harm, and not good. If you think of truly healthy people, they have a balanced diet, do moderate amounts of exercise, treat themselves to "bad" food once in a while (ie. cake) but they generally have differing amounts of each food group (think food pyramide) in their diets... a diet is supposed to be a lifestyle, not an obession w/ declaring certain foods as "banished".

  7. #7

    Blood pressure question

    Lattes have sodium in them??? From what?

    I also wanted to say that I do have reasons for everything I have cut out...there are a lot of reasons. I'm relatively well versed on getting protein from other sources though, as I have been a vegetarian for 13 years for ethical reasons.

    I just find it hard to find foods that are in moderation...like when you read the label most of them are pretty high in one of the things...like pretzels for example...low fat but high sodium high carb. It just seems like the foods usually are high in something for flavor. It doesn't seem like there are a lot of foods that have moderation.

    But, could you please expand on that statement about lattes containing sodium? What ingredient is it from?

  8. #8

    Blood pressure question

    Personally, I don't worry about carbs as long as I eat healthy foods. As you know, there are healthy carbs like whole grain bread. Regarding fats, there are good fats like olive oil that I don't think anyone has to worry about using in moderation, esp. since essential fatty acids (omega3s) are, by definition, essential.

    Some of my favorite of healthy vegetarian staples: yogurt, black beans with (or without) rice, whole grain bread with peanut butter, nuts, those frozen soy products like Morningstar Farms soy burgers or soy BBQ ribs, instant oatmeal with berries, fruits, veggies like spinish salad, greek salad, and prepared or frozen veggie side dishes, and all dairy products (since I don't have high cholesterol).

    As you probably know, the American Heart Association has a good website that may help. A small, related excerpt:

    Any type of vegetarian diet should include a wide variety of foods and enough calories to meet your energy needs.

    - Keep your intake of sweets and fatty foods to a minimum. These foods are low in nutrients and high in calories.
    - Choose whole or unrefined grain products when possible, or use fortified or enriched cereal products.
    - Use a variety of fruits and vegetables, including foods that are good sources of vitamins A and C.
    - If you use milk or dairy products, choose fat-free/nonfat and low-fat varieties.
    - Eggs are high in cholesterol (213 mg per yolk), so monitor your use of them. Limit your cholesterol intake to no more than 300 mg per day.

    American Heart Association: Vegetarian Diets


    Also, the American Dietetic Association's webiste (EatRight.org) has a lot of Google hits for "blood pressure."
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  9. #9

    Blood pressure question

    Also, if you haven't seen it already, the National Institutes of Health website provides an excellent, 24-page PDF file on the DASH diet for high blood pressure. The PDF file includes a 1-week sample menu that could easily be modified for vegetarians since meat intake is already limited:

    http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  10. #10

    Blood pressure question

    I realize that you are a vegetarian, and I am sure you have enough knowledge to have a balanced diet.... as I said, you have to know why you're cutting out food groups or certain foods, and being a vegetarian is certainly a valid reason. Some of the foods that you're cutting out though wouldn't be missing from a "typical" vegetarian diet, so I was just trying to say that as "bad" as some of them see, you can't eliminate everything that has the potential to be unhealthy from your diet; you can cut down on things and make informed decisions as to which products to purchase and what to eat though, as you are doing. Sodium is good in moderation, too much and too little can be a problem.

    I originally got the sodium content in a latte (tall, n/f) from this website:
    http://www.starbucks.com/retail/nutr...age_detail.asp

    As to why sodium is found in a latte, I found the following:

    Sodium occurs naturally in most foods. The most common form of sodium is sodium chloride, which is table salt. Milk, beets, and celery also naturally contain sodium, as does drinking water, although the amount varies depending on the source
    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/e...Food%20Sources
    Also:

    ... 1 cup of low- fat milk has about 125 mg of sodium...
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sodium/NU00284
    - talks about sodium surplus and how to 'shake the habit', plus some links related to high BP
    Similarly,

    "coffe, brewed from grounds, prepared with tap water = 6 fl oz (common measure)= 4 for content per measure (so 4mg Na/6 fl oz)
    http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcom...k/sr17a307.pdf
    - list of sodium in every food/drink you can think of
    I'm not saying lattes have too much sodium, by no means, I was only trying to give an example of how these things people sometimes try to cut out are still found in virtually all foods or more than one would expect, thus you can't really "eliminate" something, but you can moderate its intake. For example, if you have a food that is high in "x" and then eat another type of food it may not be high in "x" but now high in "z"... so you can never really win, b/c something is always high in one thing or another. I hope all of this makes more sense than before.

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