Thursday, May 16, 2013

Of mini bombs and salt

A mini bomb fell over our heads yesterday, a warning sign that I knew was coming straight at us. Except that I didn’t think it was going to hit J. He’s been experiencing heart pain lately, the kind where you feel like your heart is constricting. As if that wasn’t scary enough, he was always tired and sleeping everywhere. I though, diabetes, for sure. Brought on with the fact that diabetes is very present in the First Nations community, and that Jeff loves everything sugar, I thought, this is it, what we’ve been waiting for. I mean, let’s be honest here, were both overweight, not exercising enough, and even though the food we eat has tremendously improved in the last year or so, there is still vast  grounds for improvement.
But it wasn’t diabetes. It was high blood pressure. My husband had 160/120 bp, and now needs to go get some blood and stress tests done. Did I mention he’s 23? This is scary. As. Fuck. I’ve been reading up on what it means to have those numbers, and I’m honestly terrified. I mean out of the two of us, I’m much bigger and less in shape than he is, so why did he have that, instead of me? Life is stressful in general, but obviously he’s been feeling it more, and I’ve had a part to play in it as well, I’m not the most relaxing person to have around, sometimes. I feel very guilty, guilty for the stress that I may have caused, guilty for not forcing him/us to eat better, guilty for not putting my husband and my own health as a priority.
So before we know the results of those tests, we know how to help our situation. We need to watch the sodium levels of everything we intake, drink more water and less everything else, and exercise. This is like a major, nasty, brutal wake up call for me. My doctor’s always been honest and upfront, and straight up told me that if I didn’t change my ways, I’d be heading straight for blood and/or heart disease. I acknowledge that fact, and I also acknowledge that it didn’t scare me very much. My twisted lazy logic told me that I was already sick, and quite honestly, I’ve always been a bit on the extreme side of the live-for-the-moment movement, but that’s another story. But this, THIS, is different. This isn’t me, I can’t suffer through this in silent, this is J. Never in my craziest day-mares did I imagine him getting sick with anything more than what I have, and I can’t let this slide anymore. This being our lifestyle. Thank God, I have my sister Cat who just graduated her CEGEP in nutrition and heading to McGill to help us out with our food, and my older sister Amanda who is a nurse to help us out with what we can do NOW, and what all those medical references mean. Thank God for family.
This is our wake up call. This is what we knew was going to happen, but never really fully understood its consequences. We can’t play around with this, with our health anymore. Time has run out, and we need to get a move on.  If you know anything about HBP, lived through a similar situation, or have any tips that could help us, please don’t hesitate to comment and let me know! And for anyone up in God’s corner, remember us in your prayers please, were going to need all the help and courage we can get!


  1. Magnesium! I will keep eesearching.

  2. Some alternative views on hbp:
    Unfortunately, for the second one the doctor doesn't provide references, particularly about drugs improving outcomes. I found the following on the Cochrane Collaboration:
    which seems to contradict the wapf article (though it pertains to folks age 60+)
    more from the cochrane collaboration about drugs:

    About salt you of course have to make your own decision, but it seems that research is inconclusive:
    A lot of folks online suggest switching to real salt (eg unprocessed, raw salt, often coloured, which has tons of minerals processed table salt does now)

    Has the doctor prescribed anything yet?

    Was the reading of 160/120 taken just once? It might be hasty to recommend aggressive treatment without first trying home monitoring...

    Bottom line is yes, diet needs to change, as the Standard American Diet seems to be linked to several chronic diseases such as hbp, diabetes etc. and
    but I might also in that position use meds, perhaps as a scaffold (eg just until lifestyle changes are well-integrated enough to make meds unnecessary)

    Of course this is all just how I approach the situation, how I would attack the research as well as the alternative theories, if it was me or my loved one. As you know I used to be a pharmacy tech, and so I know that meds can do a lot of good, but also that they are produced entirely to make money, the research on them is funded by drug companies, and so on. Alternatives don't tend to be as well-researched because if there's no profit to make, there's no funding for research, but that doesn't mean we can't trust anthropological suggestions and/or combine therapeutic approaches.

    Praying for y'all!!

    1. Oops "A lot of folks online suggest switching to real salt (eg unprocessed, raw salt, often coloured, which has tons of minerals processed table salt does now)" should have been "A lot of folks online suggest switching to real salt (eg unprocessed, raw salt, often coloured, which has tons of minerals processed table salt does NOT)". And of course don't be fooled if it says "sea salt"; all salt is from the sea originally and that tells you nothing about how processed it is.