OpinioN8

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I've been checking my blood pressure (bp). I own one of those little machines you can have at home which claims to measure bp and pulse rate, and I chanced to find it again recently. I've got a set of scales in the basement so I think I can measure my weight fairly accurately and I have a vague recollection of my height from years ago (though I am at a time of my life when I might be shrinking). What a splendid chance to combine two interests (hypochondria and computers) and create a graph (just call me Mr. Interesting).

This is not the world's best graph but I have packed a lot of information into it. 

First the blood pressure - the two dotted blue lines represent the two numbers you get from the little machine and it can be seen that both of these are stubbornly just above the cut off limits which this Net Doctor article on hypertension gives as the upper limits beyond which doctors will start prescribing. I don't really want any prescriptions, so I'm trying to tackle the problem with a combination of exercise, diet and will power (day by day in every way I'm getting better and better). I think maybe I'll give it a month before I start taking drugs.

But things haven't started well - my weight (the top green line) stubbornly refuses to come down (naughty weight) and as a result my BMI (in West Ham colours at the foot of the table (sorry page)) should be less than the blue but is actually up around claret.

I'm trying to cut out salt and fat from my diet, and I hardly every take booze anymore. I'm training twice a week at the athletics club, and generally do a parkrun on a Saturday. I did have fish and chips last night, but I've restarted baking my own, salt-free, bread. I haven't bought a bar of chocolate since using up all the Christmas supplies a couple of weeks ago. 

Humour is supposed to be important so I have self prescribed daily doses of Frasier and Malcolm in the Middle. Occasionally I have a dose of haemorrhagic heart-stopping House. 

I'm sure you all can;t wait for an update!

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Tags: Blood, Pressure

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Comment by Adrian Essex on February 3, 2012 at 10:54

I've been recording these figures for three weeks now and I'm out about a bit for the next week, so here's an update. Today (3rd Feb) is the first day both bp readings have been below the red line. Hurrah!

On the bad news front the weight has hardly changed - and that despite quite high levels of activity, leaves and tuna for lunch and proxy participation in a weight watcher's diet. Maybe its the home baked bread with golden syrup arresting the loss.

I have discovered that my bp machine gives me a higher reading than the bigger machine used for screening in the doctor's surgery. I might go to the lengths of taking my machine up there and doing two near simultaneous readings to check the two for consistency. It would be a bit worrying if the GP machine were under reporting, because that might mean some poorly people were going undetected. On the other hand it might mean the GP gets a bigger bonus for keeping her patients healthy.

I think my next move should be to look on the internet for "how to keep your bp down without drugs". As I've already said laughter is close to being a panacea, and there should be few giggles in the search results.

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