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Saturday, March 17, 2012

My Doctor said: Eat a bag of Funyuns and call me in the morning...

Just kidding. He didn't really say that. But he did tell me to eat more salt.

I've been feeling really tired for the past few months so when hubby got a home blood pressure monitor I started checking my blood pressure each day. It's a velcro cuff you slip your arm into, hit the start button then wait for the digital meter to give you a read out. Imagine my surprise to learn that my blood pressure is low. Not run-to-the-doctor you have hypotension low, but it definitely runs on the low end of normal.

Sometimes I feel so tired I don't even want to leave the house to go do something simple like have coffee or eat breakfast. Hubby suggested I go check my BP at one of those moments and it was 92/59, pretty much right at the borderline of the lowest readings to still be in the "normal" range according to this blood pressure chart. Average BP is 120/80. Hubby exclaimed "How are you alive?" Which was a bit of an overdramatic response but still, it did possibly explain why I felt so tired.

So high blood pressure is called hypertension and most people have no idea they suffer from it. Low blood pressure is called hypotension. To treat hypotension a lot of online websites say to:

Eat more salt
Drink more water

Now that actually makes a lot of sense because I've cut salt out of my diet whenever I eat at home and never add table salt in restaurants. So if I need more salt what better way to get it then to eat my favorite sodium coated Japanese rice crackers or Funyuns? OK, I know there are much healthier ways to ingest more salt but for a brief moment in time it seemed like a perfect solution.

After visiting my doctor and having a complete blood work up done (red and white blood cells, platelets, iron, thyroid, cholesterol, etc.) that came back as everything in normal ranges he did tell me to eat more Funyuns. . . Er, I mean salt.

He's also suggested that since nothing is physically wrong with me, my exhaustion may be a sleep issue and I'm not getting enough rest. He said even when I sleep part of my brain may stay awake so I may be suffering from sleep deprivation. Hm. That sounds very possible as I've suffered from insomnia pretty much since high school. Last night I began working on trying to create a better sleep schedule and environment and called for a consult at the Stanford Sleep Clinic. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

If you know me and want to check your blood pressure ask me to bring my monitor along the next time I'm going to see you. Again, most people don't know when their pressure is high and it's a leading cause of heart attacks and stroke so it's good to know where your levels are so you can take any necessary steps to improve your health. You know, like eating more or fewer Funyuns.

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