The title of today’s article may have surprised you—Sherry is taking blood pressure medication?
Alas, not everything is as it appears, my friend, so let me tell you the whole story.
As you may recall, I found a dynamic new integrative physician down here in Florida who is truly focused on health—not disease—and is helping me to maintain optimal health as I (quickly!) approach age 60.
Part of his very thorough workup was a series of cardiac blood tests and saliva hormone tests.
Although my bloodwork and hormone levels all came back within acceptable limits, he was still concerned about my family history—specifically, my Dad having had two massive heart attacks. The first one occurred when he was just 35 (!) and the second one killed him at age 58…and here I sit at age 59.
Doc just wanted to make sure there was nothing going on in my arteries that perhaps bloodwork would not pick up on right now, so he asked me to have a cardiac CT scan.
That should be easy!
I am of the belief that being extra sure is a good thing, so I agreed to have the test done to know for certain that my father’s fate would not be mine. Although I’ve never had one before, the process of a CT scan certainly seemed pretty easy.
Until it wasn’t.
You see, the prep for this test required that I slow down my heart rate…and that was accomplished with Metoprolol Tartrate (aka Lopressor)—a beta blocker used to treat high blood pressure.
While I wasn’t crazy about the idea of the meds (since I take no medications whatsoever), the instructions said to take one tablet the night before the test and a second tablet two hours before the test. I figured, OK, how much harm could two little tablets cause?
Answer: A lot.
I almost called 911
I took the first tablet at 9:20 pm last Sunday night and went to sleep.
I woke up at 12:22 am on Monday with such severe ringing in my ears that I would swear I had attended 10 consecutive Rolling Stones concerts.
I was also jittery, had a raging headache, my heart was racing, and I was sweating profusely.
Honestly, I was so scared I almost called 911.
But then I quickly grabbed my phone and searched “Lopressor side effects.”
EVERY SINGLE ONE of my symptoms was a side effect of the medication.
And while it was comforting to know I wasn’t dying at that moment, it took me over three hours to fall back to sleep.
Once asleep I proceeded to have a nightmare in which I dreamed I accidentally ran over a dog and killed it, which is especially traumatic for an animal lover like me.
I woke up again at 4:01 am upset from the nightmare, and with the same symptoms I had at 12:22 am, and after again researching on my phone, I saw that nightmares are also a side effect of Lopressor.
As the morning progressed and I drank a lot of water and herbal tea, I felt a bit better, but then I had to take the second dose at 12:30 pm on Monday (2 hours before my test). By the time my boyfriend Rick and I arrived at the scan center at 2:30, I had a horrible headache and was exhausted.
The end of the story for me…but not others!
I’m happy to report that the CT scan itself was a breeze—all I had to do was lie there and hold my breath when they told me to—and more importantly, there are no problems with my arteries.
But that horrendous experience with the beta blocker made me think of all the people who are taking these meds every day and probably feeling like I did, or worse!
And that positively maddens me because there is SO much you can do to naturally help lower blood pressure without resorting to medications that make you jittery, make your ears ring, give you headaches and palpitations and cause horrible nightmares…and heaven knows what else.
If you are already in this boat, or your doctor is recommending medication, then it’s time to have a conversation with him or her about exploring natural measures.
Here are some very effective options to try:
Avoid packaged foods, fast food and refined carbs
Avoiding packaged foods, fast food and refined carbs (like bread, pasta, chips, sweets and soda) helps you naturally eliminate two of the biggest dietary culprits behind high blood pressure—salt and sugar.
Get enough Omega-3 essential fatty acids
Omega-3 essential fatty acids have been proven to lower blood pressure, but sadly most Americans are deficient in these crucial fats. Our food supply doesn’t have nearly the Omega-3 fats that it used to, and even much of the fresh fish that was a significant source of Omega-3 EFAs is now farmed and toxic.
The best way to engage the natural anti-inflammatory power of Omega-3 fats to help lower your blood pressure is to take a pharmaceutical-grade fish oil supplement like VitalMega-3 that includes EPA and DHA, which are crucial to heart health.
Squeeze in some exercise
Regular exercise has been shown in countless studies to help lower blood pressure.
You don’t need to get fancy or join a gym! You can walk in your neighborhood or on a treadmill, join a class, or use DVDs in your home.
Stress and hypertension go hand in hand, so do whatever you need to do to reduce stress in your life.
Regular exercise is a natural stress reducer as well as a great way to lower blood pressure, so that’s another good reason to dust off those sneakers.
You can also try meditation, acupuncture, deep breathing, prayer and even adopting a pet.
Now you can start on a path to healthier blood pressure and improved overall health and stay far away from the awful side effects of medications!
To your health,Sherry Brescia