About three weeks ago I woke up with a headache. I rarely get a headache. I thought I had eaten to much salt the day before and that I had a “sodium headache”. A term my daughter and son-in-law introduced me to. So I drank plenty of water to flush my system and had no salt that day. However, the next day I woke up with a headache and I was nauesous. I knew my blood pressure was up.
I knew I had to respond immediately, as having a headache and being nauseous, were warning signs that this could be worse than I thought. My first and closest choice was the clinic where I have my insurance. The people at the reception desk said I would have to wait and they wanted to charge me $25.00 just to take my blood pressure. Ridiculous! I went to Walgreen’s and found out they no longer have this service. I went to Walmart. Finally, an arm cuff. By time I answered about five questions that were getting more personal I stopped. (I have an issue with giving out my personal information.)
By this time. I am almost in a panic, which was just making my situation worse. I called a friend who recommended JPs Hair Design. Why did I not think of this, since Aaron Perry is one of my graphic design clients? My answer was, I thought the service was just for men. I drove over and was welcomed without hesitation. JC had me take a seat in the Rebalanced Life center and proceeded to take my blood pressure. It was 234/96. The young man, who looked very surprised, jumped up and informed me that I needed to go to the clinic or emergency right away. The look on his face said it all. I immediately drove myself to the emergency room, where I was promptly lead back and hooked up to equipment and monitors. My bp was 226/117 not any better. I was put back on my blood pressure medication and given a doctor’s appointment. That experience really shook me to my core.
“Thank you Aaron Perry, Founder of Rebalanced Life and JPs Hair Designs for saving my life.”
Until that day I had not taken any blood pressure medications in approximately three years. I had a strong feeling that this experience was my wake up call. I was originally diagnosed with high blood pressure at 24 (In my case it is hereditary). I started doing research, thinking that after almost 40 years surely there may be a “quick fix” or at the very least new new treatment developments. Alas, that was not the case.
However, over the years there have been a number of studies on African Americans and high blood pressure. The facts are alarming, the following is a summary of what I found:
- African American adults have the highest rate of hypertension, in the world, at 44%.
- 75% of black people in the United States develop high blood pressure by the age of 55.
- Black people develop high blood pressure earlier in life and their average blood pressures are higher than the blood pressure of white people.
- Having high blood pressure tends to run in families.
- Studies suggest that African Americans are more sensitive to salt, causing as little as half a teaspoon of salt to raise blood pressure
High blood pressure is a largely symptomless, often referred to as the “silent killer.” If you ignore your blood pressure because you think a certain symptom or sign will alert you to the problem, you are taking a dangerous chance with your life. If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. You could be having a hypertensive crisis that could lead to a heart attack or stroke. The following are warning signs when it is dangerously high including:
High blood pressure brain symptoms: Headache, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting.
High blood pressure heart symptoms: Chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, nausea and vomiting.
Traditional management treatments include medications and lifestyle changes, such as: Exercise at least 150 minutes a week; Lower your sodium intake; Eat a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables; Drink alcohol and caffeine in moderation; Quit smoking; monitor your blood pressure regularly and most importantly take your medications.
What else can you do? “Add lower blood pressure to the list of reasons to say your prayers.” A new study of more than 5,300 African-Americans shows that religion and spirituality may help to keep blood pressure under control. The study, the largest on the topic in blacks to date, showed that people who were involved in religious activities had significantly lower blood pressure than people who were not, contends researcher Sharon Wyatt, RN, PhD, of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Spiritual methods and techniques offer numerous alternatives that can also be used to control your high blood pressure.
First, let’s look at why and what of the metaphysical meaning behind high blood pressure? The heart represents the center of love and security. High blood pressure can be the result of our living out of balance, out of sync with how we are meant to be. Nothing is separate or random when it comes to our health: whatever we feel manifests itself in our body. Louise Hay’s acclaimed book “You Can Heal Your Life” suggests that high blood pressure is about a long standing emotional problem not solved and/or lack of joy.
We have got a lot here, so let’s put it all together. Emotionally, you may be feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and out of control about your life. You are probably a bit or lot of a perfectionist and have little tolerance when your expectations are not met. You are rigid about your standards and therefore have a difficult time trusting that you or anyone else can meet them.
You can take drugs to lower your blood pressure, but the underlying emotional stress will still demand attention. Band-aiding the symptoms does not solve the problem; it only masks it. To truly heal, to ensure that your life is healthy and full, you need to confront the tension and release it. Easier said than done? Read on to learn how. You can do it.
Meditate, pray; sleep; do something you enjoy; healing touch, reiki, massage, yoga, deep breathing, use affirmations, journaling, get in touch with nature, aroma therapy, color therapy, gem therapy.
Give yourself a break. Relax your standards. Surrender your need to control, know the outcome or be right. Discover the humor in human imperfection. Relax and enjoy. High blood pressure is telling us that both your body and your spirit needs attention. Your heart is telling you something: Listen.
Have you checked your blood pressure recently?
This is a reprint of my Capital City Hues article of August 2019