So, two days ago on Saturday, by a convergence of circumstances much too convoluted to explain here, my employer required me to attend a "Health Check" hosted by a local grocery store. This snapshot of my health included weight, height, BMI, blood pressure, blood glucose, total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. Now, take note there were NO physicians at this health check. There were NO nurses at this health check. There were NO physician's assistants at this health check. So, who was running the show, you might ask? The grocery store employees who work in the pharmacy...in all fairness, there name tags said "pharmacy technician". I have no idea if this is a position that requires special training at all. There was also a pharmacist available to answer your questions after you received your results.
Everything came up within normal ranges except for weight, BMI (no surprise there...already knew that going in) and my blood pressure. The girl doing all of my readings looks over at me and says, "Your blood pressure is 220/140.". WHAT?!?!?!?!? Seriously? That's like....ready to have a stroke high! To say I was a tad FREAKED OUT would be an understatement.
Not only am I an insulin-dependent diabetic, but I also suffer from chronic anemia and iron deficiency. My anemia is so bad that I have monthly visits to a hematologist where I have to be given iron intravenously through an I.V. Because of both of these conditions, I see at least one doctor every few weeks. I have NEVER had a blood pressure issue. I am even on a low dose blood pressure medication, as are many insulin-dependent diabetics to help prevent kidney disease.
I gathered my wits back about me and politely told the pharmacy technician that I thought perhaps her blood pressure machine had not recorded my blood pressure correctly, as I could not believe it was that high. I politely asked her if she could check it again. She gave me that look...you know the one...the one that says, "yeah, fat girl, keep your head stuck in the sand and deny you have any issues". Well, the second time...again, my blood pressure was sky high.
To say that I was a bit panicked would be a fair statement! One of the reasons that I was so worried is that the only thing that I have changed since my last visit to the doctor was starting the Paleo diet. Surely eliminating all grains and dairy couldn't just elevate your blood pressure 100 points, could it? I felt fine. I had energy. I didn't feel like I was about to suffer a cardiac arrest or aneurysm...but good grief, that darn machine was saying I needed to start making reservations at my local cemetary...and soon. I had felt so good since beginning to eat Paleo and for the first time in a very, very long time...I saw a light at the end of a very dark tunnel of long-term obesity and fatness. I had become convinced that I was enjoying this diet and felt great...and if all of that was true...then why in the heck was my blood pressure all of the sudden registering at near-death levels?
Finally, yesterday afternoon, I had worried enough and while shopping, I decided to go ahead and purchase a blood pressure monitor to keep at home. I brought that baby home, plugged it in and it said my blood pressure was 112/72. Ahhhh...feeling a bit better. Maybe the people at the Health Check had a faulty machine...
Then, the clincher came this afternoon. I had my monthly visit to my hematologist for my office visit and iron I.V. My blood pressure was 102/68....perfectly healthy and normal. I asked the doctor about it and she looked back through my chart of having visited her over the past 3 years and told me that I had not once had a high blood pressure reading. I explained the Paleo diet to her and she was intrigued and said to "go for it"...that there was certainly nothing unhealthy about eating protein and fresh fruits and vegetables!
So, crisis averted...I'm not going to drop dead...at least not tonight. I was going to be really ticked off if I had finally found an answer to my long-term food and health woes to have it just jerked out from under me that quickly.
Of course, now I am wondering how many other people left the Health Check on Saturday morning also thinking that their blood pressure was about to kill them? Ugh.