Running with Hypertension (by Andrew) and Bootcamp ate me alive.

We did it.  We got ourselves to bootcamp last night and were all smiles before class:

I stole this from Megan’s Instagram story.  She ended class with high knees and then down to our chest every time she said ‘down.’  My heart rate was soaring.  There were plenty of squats, single leg squats, push-ups, burpees and everything else imaginable to ensure I will be sore for the rest of the week;)

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Sure love her.  Known each other since I was in the 5th grade!

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Brooke gave me a sticker to wear for my workout and somehow it lasted the entire time.

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Brooke hung out with my mom and dad for the 45 minute class and when I got back she really wanted to be held.  Not the easiest thing to do when my arms feel like jello but I take any snuggles I can.

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We had a late dinner after talking to my parents for a bit but it is always a good sign when this bowl comes out with a bunch of sweet potatoes!

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Plus a salad (bless Andrew’s heart for still using the barbecue to make our chicken even though it is freezing).

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Okay, just a few random things before we get to the topic for the day:

Brooke and Andrew looking up pictures of puppies.  Their faces look like this for pretty much the entire time they do this together.

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Her latest selfie face:

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Knox is going for a new fashion statement below:

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A random post run treadmill picture with the kids and Beretta.

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Last week Andrew mentioned his hypertension on the blog and a few readers wrote to me that they are struggling with the same problem.  Running is hard enough on it’s own and there are so many different runners out there struggling with some sort of disease or problem that can make running even harder.  I’ll let Andrew tell you more about his situation and how it effects him but I just want any of you reading that also struggle in whatever way, you are incredible.

Below picture taken right before Andrew took Beretta on a run!

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Hey everyone!  Thanks for the comments last time around.   It sure was nice to hear about some of the people who are going through the same thing or have people they are close to going through similar things.  It was awesome to hear from a few nurses and NPs out there too.

I first wanted to hit on how I was diagnosed with hypertension then I will talk about a few other things.   To start off, no one in my family has any history of hypertension, heart problems or anything specific to what I have so it has been a weird journey for me.  I first knew something wasn’t right when I was 19.  It started when I had routine physical as I was getting ready to go on a mormon mission.  (I served an LDS Spanish-Speaking Mission in Cincinnati Ohio for two years) I was getting ready to leave my family and home for two years so they do checkups to make sure you are good to go.  I don’t remember what my blood pressure numbers were but I remember my doctor and mom (who has her Doctorate in Nursing) were worried about it and wanted to make sure I took my blood pressure regularly from then on to ensure we got correct numbers. I was 19 and didn’t really pay too much attention to that.  Fast forward a year and half.  I was in a local supermarket that had a blood pressure cuff by the pharmacy and I went to check it.  I remember the blood pressure was 168/80.  I realized that as a 20 year old that wasn’t normal so I went to see a doctor who did some tests on me.  Once again I didn’t realize how important it was to get on top of this.  He told me that I had hypertension and said that I would have to take pills the rest of my life.  I just remember being so mad about having to rely on meds the rest of my life.  He prescribed Lisinopril which I started taking so my mom wouldn’t fly out to Cincinnati and beat me up.  Right away I felt something different when I was exercising and it really bothered me.  I don’t remember everything but I do remember it was hard to catch my breathe and I was dizzy.  So I decided I wasn’t going to take meds anymore.  I didn’t need them.  Well I stopped taking my meds and finished my mission.  When my mom found out about my meds she about killed me and then sent me to a doctor.  I can’t remember what his specialization was but he took my blood pressure twice and told me that I had, “White Coat Syndrome,” or in other words I was just nervous and scared about doctors.  Well I just laughed it off and went home.  I was living with my parents when I got home from Cincinnati and getting ready to go to school at BYU in the next few weeks.  Needless to say my mom was furious.  To keep this story much shorter, because it is getting longer, I saw a few doctors and everyone had their own reasons of what I had or just said watch your salt intake.  The level of care that I received wasn’t great and I lost my desire to even find out what was going on.

Well we finally got an internist that was very curious about my situation and ordered up almost every test he could to find out what was wrong with me.  He diagnosed me with hypertension and an enlarged left ventricle.  My resting heart rate seemed to be very high to me.  My resting heart rate is around the 80s which the doctors told me was in the “normal” range and never really looked into it.  I would think it would be lower with my exercise and habits.  He couldn’t find a cause of why I had hypertension and especially why it was so high.  Again this really made me mad because no one in my family had any of these issues.  I was in the best shape and always exercising, doing triathlons and other races.  So he prescribed Losartan Potassium 100mg which is an Angiotensin II receptor antagonist.  Slowly my blood pressure started to go down but not fast enough.  I was prescribed an additional Calcium Channel Blocker, a different drug that I don’t remember the name, and it made me feel absolutely horrible.  I went from running sub 7 minute miles on a 10 miles run to not even able to run more than 3 miles.  I stopped taking that drug and only focused on taking my Losartan and making even more lifestyle changes like eating less processed foods, decreasing my salt intake, meditating and more.

So if we fast forward to today.  I have been on blood pressure meds for about 8 years and usually keep my blood pressure below 130/80 range when I am on my meds.  The hypertrophy that I had in my left ventricle has gone down to normal and it seems that I am “normal”.  To be quite honest I hate being on meds to this day.  I don’t like admitting I have high blood pressure to other people and even new doctors crack jokes to me when they walk in to the room that they were expecting somebody older and not active with the medical history I have – I don’t like this.  At times I think about if I were to really eat clean and try some supplements or other remedies that I might be able to rid myself of the drugs but I wouldn’t do this unless I had a cardiologist working with me.  The fact is it sucks having hypertension.  It sucks taking meds and having a condition that I can’t really change; or I haven’t been successful to change without medicine.  I can’t say I feel like a perfectly healthy person because I realize that I have a really hard time with high intensity workouts.  It feels like my heart can’t keep up and I can’t catch my breathe.  So running and biking are my workouts of choice.  Moderate exercise is what I do best and I just focus on that.  If I find myself doing something with a high intensity I really have to pay attention to my body and how I am reacting to it.  It isn’t hard to overdo it and I still do from time to time.  The way I look at it now is that we all have our struggles and even though this isn’t a huge one, it is mine.  I don’t let it stop me from living.  I do the best I can with the situation I have and that is all I can do.  For those who struggle with this or other things just know it’s hard and reach out, many people struggle with things that we don’t see.  Sorry for the novel.

THANKS ANDREW!!!

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Anyone else struggle with hypertension?  What about other diseases?  How does it effect your running?

Who else goes to a bootcamp type of class?  How long is it?  How is it organized?

What is your run today?  Indoors or outdoors?

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49 comments

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Kudos to you for turning your condition into a positive and choosing a career path that will allow you to help so many others!

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Thank you for sharing this. I know that’s got to be hard. I’ve had some different issues recently that have impacted my running. I have a kidney infection that won’t go away and has started causing me so much pain that I wasn’t able to run the half marathon on Sunday that I’ve been training for for months now. I’m going back to the doctor this week to see if we can get this figured out. Medical issues can be so frustrating.

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Thanks Andrew for sharing! I can relate to many things you say. Running is my main weapon to fight cystic fibrosis. I’m in pretty good shape considering the disease I am fighting and my age but I also have to listen closely to my body. Having to run pretty much every day is challenging with a full time job and a kid. But it is the only thing that keeps mucus out of my lungs so I got to do it! doctors are great and very helpful but each one of us is unique and we have to find out what works best for us.

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Just want to say you are incredibly inspiring!!!! Living with CF sounds so challenging and the fact that you are a runner as well … amazing!

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Thanks Andrea for your kind words!

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Mel, you are incredible. Incredible.

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Thanks Janae. What’s incredible is the community you have built here! You are an amazing person.

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Thanks for sharing. I don’t have Hypertension (as far as I know) but I am struggling with the recovery from bilateral pulmonary embolisms and some of the doctors I’ve seen have said funny things (like white coat syndrome, or the new high heart rate is just my new normal.) Reading your story reminds me that I need to continue to search for a Dr that can give me better answers. Your story is proof that being active is better for the body but sometimes we also have to work with the health-cards we’ve been given.

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A couple of years ago I fell pregnant, I was still running in the mornings. The one morning I just wanted to fall over with every step. I went to see the doctor and my blood pressure was 170/95. I lost the baby and I’m still on meds for hypertension. I’m just glad that there’s meds to help live a normal life.

15 km (9.? miles) run outdoors.

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My digestive issues have sidelined me from running for a while. The running jostles my insides too much and with the already existing inflammation, it’s too much to run for longer than a few hundred meters.

:(

I feel so grateful for the other ways I’m healthy — so I try not to dwell on it too much. Instead, I’m launching myself into strength training and Crossfit type workouts (that I can handle) — I feel myself getting stronger in ways I never thought possible.

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This is pretty interesting….thanks for sharing.

My sister runs every day and is the healthiest by far in our family….she is the one who has been on blood pressure meds for years now. Her count always comes back high too. I don’t know what she takes exactly but, I do like to jab her a bit that even thought she is majorly fit and I am not quite there at least I have great bp. ;-) Oops…maybe I will stop doing that now.

Ha!

(Although, she does tease me about plenty of other stuff so I think we are even.)

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I love the positivity Andrew has, thank you! I struggle with asthma and year round allergies (sucks!). And I absolutely hate taking med’s every. single. day. But if I don’t I can’t breathe. And high intensity workouts I also have to be careful with or I will start wheezing. It’s hard but you do what you got to do!

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For almost 1.5 years, I struggled with allergies (food, environment) and vertigo, which sidelined me from pretty much any sport and sometimes walking at any pace. After getting lots of tests and no answers, I figured out by elimination what the primary triggers are. I am also on medication for another issue, but I am hoping to work with doctors and get off of it. Medication stinks, but I am thrilled to hear that you are not letting it rule your life. It’s fantastic that you are pursuing a degree in nursing and your patients will be lucky to have you work with them. Thank you for sharing your story and hang in there!

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I, unfortunately, can relate. I have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. For years, I tried natural, homeopathic solutions all of which brought no relief to my many symptoms. I broke down and tried a natural thyroid medicine that brought some of my symptoms to a more normal level but my numbers were still SO far off i gave in to modern medicine…Synthroid has been my saving grace even though every single day when I take it i wished that I wasn’t. However, I have found pairing the meds with a healthy, holistic life style, I’m soaring through life again!! You seem to be doing so as well and I wish you the best of luck maintaining it!!!

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Thanks for sharing your story. My Mom has had hypertension for a very large part of her life. She’s a nurse as well, retired now. But for years, maybe 20 or so, she got the run around with doctors and their meds, it was almost like she was a test rat. I know you have to figure out what works for that individual. But so many just seem so ‘prescribe’ happy and don’t listen to everything detail the patient is telling them. Just this year, we think she may have found a doctor who really cares. They are running some tests, switching meds around, and she’s felt better than she every has in a long time. We hope it continues. And I wish you the best dealing with your hypertension. The medical field will be lucky to have you, as you seem like you’ll be a great nurse. I had a heart murmur detected when I was in my early teens. I was lucky and it only caused minimal problems. Until my 20’s, I still had it and had frequent fainting spells. For no apparent reason that anyone could find. Let me tell you, that’s not safe to just faint anywhere. Both disappeared as I hit 30. I also became much more health conscious then as well. Either way, haven’t had a murmur detection or fainting spell in 12 years. No outdoor run for me, it’s 15 degree’s in my area. And I wimp out about 25-30, with no wind.

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Andrew, I was diagnosed with hypertension right before I got pregnant with my daughter. My doctor was shocked just like yours were, I am a otherwise healthy woman who was training for her 2nd marathon at the time and they could not believe it! It got worse after I had my daughter, and finally I was put on two blood pressure meds. Not happy about it but you do what you have to do. I also started to eat better, dropped about 15 lbs this year and it is now controlled.

Thanks for sharing your story! We got this!

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Thanks for sharing your story, Andrew! I don’t live with these conditions, but this is a great source for other readers, for sure.

Random: I just now decided that, no matter what we’re having for dinner, I’m including sweet potato fries. Janae! It’s National Hot Cocoa day! GET OUT THERE AND CELEBRATE! *clink*

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This is very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

Today consisted into an early outdoor run with my Dad:)

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I don’t have hypertension, but I do have abnormally large red blood cells. None of my doctors can agree on what type of anemia they want to diagnose me with and I don’t have the money to keep getting tests done. Essentially, my circulation is trash. If I am not moving, I am cold. My core body temperature is 97.4 degrees. When I get moving, I heat up pretty quickly, but within 60-90 seconds of ending exercise, my body temp drops back down and I shiver uncontrollably. My muscles also tend to seize up/tighten, which is worse in cold weather, so I usually have to time my runs to end exactly at my home or my car. My family has a history of struggling with this issue. Apparently even though they’re larger, our blood cells don’t carry oxygen as efficiently as they should. This is exacerbated by poor diet, lack of exercise and poor health habits (smoking, etc). My grandfather actually died from complications of this and my mother is headed the same way.
The effects it has on my ability to be active are interesting. I get tired, physically, faster than other people, but I’ve found that if I keep active, keep a solid base of fitness, I can cope better and work my way up. This is hampered by my chronic knee and back injuries, which are permanent. I’m actually just getting back into fitness again after being sidelined for the last couple of years and I’ve found that I’ve had to take it very slow. It’s frustrating, but for the first time in over a decade, I’m able to run and be active without the pain and fatigue of years past.
My blood issues are kept in check with proper diet and supplements, carefully chosen by my doctors, since medication won’t do anything for me at my current stage. Thanks, Andrew, for sharing your struggles, because it is always heartening to know that someone else is struggling with a chronic health problem, and succeeding in keeping it at bay.

i’m actually in the recovery portion after my 5k on Saturday and if I’m up to it, I’ll be running 1-2 miles at a very slow pace outside. It’s cold, but I don’t own a treadmill and I don’t have a gym membership. It really isn’t that bad, since I heat up so well once I’m moving. If it is about 32 degrees, once I’m moving, I rarely need more than running tights and a t-shirt, though I keep a hat and sweatshirt with me for the moment I stop moving.

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Wow, Andrew. Thanks for sharing. No wonder you want to be a nurse after that experience! It must have been so frustrating to hear doctors all give different opinions, none of which really seemed to work for you. It’s a good thing you love exercise, because it’s so important to take care of yourself.

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super interesting read, thanks for sharing Andrew! I actually have the opposite problem where my blood pressure is too low, so it’s always weird to hear about the other end of the spectrum.

today was some indoor speedwork. I had been running more outside, but with it being colder and slippery-er, my ankle was having to work overtime and it just wasn’t ready for it yet. good thing the treadmill and I are best friends haha.

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I have the same issue – hypertension for no known reason and it doesn’t bother me at all taking meds. I just try to think positively about it – if a single daily pill that doesn’t cost much at all keeps me healthy and helps not enlarge my heart due to working too hard if the BP is high, it’s worth it. I used to take lisinopril as well until my body got aclimated to it, so now I’m on chlorthalidone and haven’t had any side effects yet *knock on wood*

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I feel your pain, Andrew! I found out about 6 years ago that I was diabetic. I lost weight, ate clean, and started running and STILL had to be put on medication. My doctor called me her “mystery patient.” I got mad about the medication a while back and stopped taking it for a while. It does stink being young and fit and having health issues. Thanks for sharing your story!

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That’s great you are affiliated able to exercise and have found ways to run. I can’t imagine going through everything you do.

My run today was outside in the humidity of Dallas. I’m flying back to NJ today and it’s going to be a rude awakening…

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I can understand the frustration having to depend on a drug when you do all you can to be healthy…….then some folks don’t exercise or watch what they eat and don’t have to take meds………seems unfair! But maybe with your studies you can find some more information on situations like yours. I don’t HAVE to depend on meds but was given an inhaler for exercise induced asthma my senior year of high school and after using it for cross country season I got rid of it…….I have been running for years without it and hope I never have to rely on that again…..it made me feel weak or vulnerable…..if that even makes sense. Best of luck in classes!!!!

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The most important part of this post is when you say, “The way I look at it now is that we all have our struggles and even though this isn’t a huge one, it is mine.”.
Yes. Everyone has a story. The person with no issues is a rare breed indeed. It doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed a day to wallow occasionally (I do that..I do) but then we forge on because we remember we really have so much and what we deal with is, in the grand scheme, not that terrible. I’m glad you have some kind of a handle on it and of course look at where it took you. Maybe that was the plan all along.

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Next time put the sweet potato fries on the salad. You won’t be disappointed!

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Thanks for sharing that, Andrew. Really interesting!

Run today was 9 miles of speed work on the treadmill because it’s SO cold outside.
Anndddd then I may have come home and eaten half a cookie :) Not the best post-run recovery but I had to jump on a conference call for work as soon as I got home and was desperate!

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Thank you, thank you for your post about hypertension. I was nodding my head while reading because your story sounds very similar to mine. You have definitely encouraged me to contact my doctor and find the RIGHT medicine for me. I’ve been on Lisinopril on and off over the past two years. I definitely need to find something that actually works and just stick with it.

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This past spring I found out that I am prehypertensive during a health assessment for work. Hypertension does run in my family and I have a couple family members on meds for it. This was a really good reminder that I need to put in more effort to get it under control (and hopefully push off the onset to full-blown hypertension). Thanks for sharing!

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Great post Andrew. I too have hypertension (very genetic in my family however), I struggled to find the right meds about 6 years ago. Beta blockers had a horrible effect on me (similiar to what the calcium channel blocker had for you), I complained about it to the cardiologist I had at the time and she told me that it wasn’t possible that my running could be so poor. Fortunately that month Runner’s World had an article about some common health issues and medicine…. sure enough beta blockers were in there and some renowned physician said he would never prescribe them to a runner for exactly that reason. I went back to the doctor with that info and she took me off them, tried something else… and I have been on that for 6 years now. I actually stopped going to her after that because I didn’t trust her anymore.

I now just see my internist and I have been able to ween down one of my meds (amlodipine) to half the dosage I used to be taking. I also take quinapril (randomly, through this all I found out that I am HIGHLY allergic to hydrochrolothiazide – ingredient in quinaretic, so that was super fun too hah).

I have been dealing with this all for about a decade (I am 38 now), and I feel really strong… so have faith that the meds will get figured out and you will find our perfect combo!!

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Great post Andrew! I empathize with your feelings about dealing with something like this when you’re an overall healthy person. I have had Rheumatoid Arthritis since I was about 13 and have also been diagnosed with high cholesterol. My reaction to both was, no. Just no. My choice has been to treat with Naturopathic medicine and it has worked really well for me. Doctors just really didn’t have any answers that made sense as to why my young active body would be showing these symptoms. Meanwhile, my Naturopath sees everything in my body as connected and has found ways to heal things without side effects. For instance, my cholesterol was caused by a hormonal imbalance and as soon as we fixed that the cholesterol dropped down into a normal range immediately. My regular doctor had prescribed a statin and left it at that.
I’ve also learned over the years that I just can’t get away with things that other people can. For me to feel 100% I have to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, sleep well, exercise every day in some form, etc. I’m not always successful at all these, but at least I know why my joints are bothering me when they do. It can be hard to watch my beloved boyfriend eat whatever he wants and feel great, but that’s just not me!
I still see a Rheumatologist, Internist and my Naturopath, but it’s really me who’s in charge of my health. I’m the only one who knows everything about my body, and I’m the one who cares the most. So when something doesn’t make sense to me, or I don’t like side effects….I speak up and ask for a better solution from them, or even do research myself and try something new.
Good luck with your health journey!

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Andrew, did you have any previous heart conditions OR kidney issues as a baby/ kid? I just find this so interesting. I’m a nurse, of course, and am absolutely fascinated. Thanks for opening up, I don’t have these issues, but I know a lot of people read this blog and it’s going to help when people read that some athletes still are able to exercise and take care of themselves despite struggles! Kudos to you!

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I found out a few years ago that I suffer from hypothyroidism and, even though my thyroid is regulated with medication, I find that I still struggle with fatigue and exhaustion. I think a lot of people assume that because you are taking medication, the disease no longer affects you, but that is very rarely the case.

Thanks for sharing, Andrew. I had pregnancy-related hypertension and it was miserable. I can’t imagine having to deal with that all the time. My hats off to you for still exercising and being active when it’s harder than it should be.

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Thanks for sharing your story with us, Andrew. As a health coach, I have a couple clients who are like you and don’t understand why they have hypertension. Keep being proactive about getting your blood pressure checked and exercising!

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Thanks to Andrew for sharing! It’s great that he has made sure to get to the bottom of what’s going on and get the right meds for him. I work in a hospital (as an RD) and see a LOT of young patients with heart failure, in their 30s and 40s. Most of them do not take good care of themselves! A lot of people are in denial that diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes can have an effect on your health and it’s so frustrating. It makes me happy that Andrew is taking charge of his health! (Also, Andrew is my son’s middle name so that makes me happy too ;)

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I ran outside today but my lungs did not like the cold! I am not looking forward to the even colder weather to come this winter! I have the opposite problem, I have low blood pressure which can affect my running at various times which I have to be careful about so that I don’t faint! (like during my period, right before or right after my period, if it’s really hot, if I didn’t drink enough water, eat enough salt etc).

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Andrew I liked your novel and I hope you write more. Also great job on adapting and knowing yourself!

I had a light cardio/heavy weights day. I’m pretty stressed and tired from moving drama etc. #fridayisthebigday #stillnohouseinLA

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I can empathize with you, Andrew. My husband had an undiagnosed illness that causes transverse myelitis (not the same disease at all, I know). He was treated medically but it’s frustrating not to know the cause. Especially when he was perfectly healthy before that and now needs 2 canes to get around. Feeling limited when you’re physically active is just maddening. I wonder if y a doctor who practiced both holistic and traditional medicine would be able to help. Or perhaps an RD in tandem with a cardiologist?

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Andrew, what a trial you have! I’m sure you had CBC’s and you know the size of your red blood cells; you would write about it if there was a problem. My recent CBC surprised me with the size of my red blood cells. It appears to be iron-related; until it rules itself out…. The impact it has on my ability to take in oxygen is interesting. All this time I thought clean eating and appropriate exercise were the answers.

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Andrew-
Thanks for sharing your story! I am a nurse, and I applaud you for going back to school! it is a great profession. I know that going back to school can be overwhelming, and then add kiddos on top of it! I am currently, in grad school studying to be a nurse anesthetist. I use running to help stay focused and relieve stress.
As far as your hypertension- Have you tried hibiscus tea? It is supposed to help lower BP. A friend of mine’s husband has hypertension (he just turned 30) and it healthy and active. He started drinking it and it dropped his BP.

Best of luck to you with school!
Hilary

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Andrew,
Thanks for sharing your story, and staying active. We may never realize how important our health is until it’s gone. My daughter is 23 and after 2 years of misdiagnosis, was diagnosed with stage 4 pulmonary hypertension. She is on oxygen 24/7 and has a central line and pump for medicine. She was perfectly healthy until she wasn’t. So that brings me to my point, we know our bodies, don’t rest, if you think something is wrong, keep searching until you find an answer.

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I feel your pain. I have the opposite issue – hypotension. I didn’t realize it was low blood pressure until I was in my 20’s. I had just been passing out ALL THE TIME since I was 5! haha. I passed out EVERY year in the school play until 8th grade, and then just random other times that never made sense until I went to Cleveland Clinic and got tests done when I was 20. I’ve been tested twice now from 2 different hospitals, about 10 years apart, and both results were the same: I have normal to low BP, but it will just suddenly drop and I’ll pass out. They determined that the causes for it dropping suddenly and me passing out, is from pain or stress or dehydration. (I HATE being in front of people, so passing out in school plays made sense then! lol) There really wasn’t much they could do except install (weird word for this explanation, but my mind isn’t thinking of a better word right now?) a pacemaker. And at the time, I was 30, so no thanks. haha. Anyway, they just basically said since we pretty much know what causes it to drop/me pass out, to either avoid the things that cause it, or, when I know I’m about to pass out (I can tell you when I’m going to pass out), then lay down. So that’s what I do! Well, the laying down part. I’m not about to avoid ALL high intensity workouts and stressful situations are just unavoidable…so it still happens, but for the most part, it isn’t life threatening…BUT during marathons, I have to be careful b/c I’ll get that lightheaded dizzy feeling towards mile 20 and I have to walk…haven’t figured out how to handle it yet…and sometimes I’ve had to jump off a spin bike and go lay down in the back of the room because I was pushing too hard…lol. Burpees? Nope. The up and down movements make me lightheaded…Its just funny in races though, if I start to get lightheaded toward the finish line, I’m like, “great, I’m gonna pass out in front of EVERYONE, next to the finish line, Hus is gonna get a picture of me on the ground, someone BETTER drag me across the finish line!” LOL
I think the worst part about it all, is having to explain everything to EVERYONE…it isn’t something you just walk up to someone and say, “Hi, I’m Nikki. I MIGHT pass out – just a heads up!” So I have woken up MANY times, when with new groups of people, with 911 standing over me and I’m like, “LEAVE! I’m not going to the hospital! I’m fine! This is totally normal and I do this all the time!” LOL Now I DO tell new people I meet though so they don’t freak out…Needless to say, My Hus is SLIGHTLY (ok a LOT) worried about me starting to train for an Ironman next year…LOL

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Thank you Andrew for sharing your story!! I am sorry for all the frustration and running around you got but I am glad that it was finally figured out and you have learned to maintain it while staying active doing the things you love. It’s inspiring and motivating for those of us who do not have a medical condition like that to keep going, so thank you!!

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Hi Andrew

I know I am late to reading the blog, but I usually try to read on my lunch break at work. I am a clinical dietitian in Houston, TX and actually work on the heart failure unit. It is so important to continue following a lower sodium diet to continue controlling your hypertension. I encourage you to seek a registered dietitian who can tailor your specific needs.

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Would love to know what medication you feel helps most so you can still work out. I was taking two diff meds and felt it made me so slow and just tired if my workout was longer than 30-45 minutes.
SO frustrating and makes me feel old and slow….

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Thanks for your story, Andrew! I was diagnosed with high BP in 2005, just a few months after I had finished my second marathon. Go figure, I get diagnosed after I had trained for two big races! It turns out I have Polycystic Kidney Disease – I am a genetic mutation as this is passed down usually from parent to child and neither of my parents have it. I have done a medical research study and have come to terms with taking meds every day. If that’s what I have to do to keep my body in good working condition (besides eating well, exercising and not putting it under too much stress), I will do it. I’m sorry to hear that your meds tend to keep you from pushing yourself too hard. Maybe keep trying to find something that will allow you to push yourself? But do keep listening to your body to know when it’s time to quit!

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Thank you for sharing, Andrew! great post :) you are doing amazing things!

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I remember that this post on hypertension was coming, but I completely missed when it was first posted.

I thought I was perfectly healthy (well, not perfectly) up until earlier this year when I had a very serious heart attack. I was 52, had normal blood pressure, and was running with some regularity. Recovery is very slow, but things were coming along until October. Something has felt different since then, but all my tests have been coming back normal, even a stress test. Obviously something isn’t right. I backed off any running after that (a foot issue I am seeing the doctor about in the next year ensured this was so). My body started feeling better until last night after a walk that was a little over a mile. I am feeling some of those same things I did in October. It’s frustrating because for a while I thought I was making progress. Maybe my heart attack was just hat serious that I was doing more than I should. I just need to keep starting over until I get things right.

There is a nearby holistic doctor–not sure insurance would help. He takes a complete survey of your health history and anything you might have ongoing issues. Seems like a good way to practice medicine, but it’s increasingly rare.

I get it about medications. I am not convinced the lifelong medications really look to address the underlying issues, and sometimes the side effects are not worth it.

Still looking forward. Thanks for sharing your story.

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