You may or may not know this, but I’m a total nerd about certain things! I love data. At work I do a lot of report analysis and that is right up my alley. I just LOVE looking at data and analyzing it and figuring out where improvements can be made.
In a non-work related sense, I still love looking at data. I am over the top when it comes to logging my workouts, my food, my measurements, my weight. If it can be over done, I over do it.
At the beginning of the year Mark went to the doctor’s office because he’s been feeling a little…. off. They ran blood work (which I promptly logged onto my “bloodwork spreadsheet” so I could compare it to his last round of bloodwork from two years ago) and everything came out looking perfectly normal. All indications in his bloodwork say that he’s super healthy. However, his blood pressure is high. Not high as in “pre-hypertension” high, but high as in “full on hypertension” levels. There is no rhyme or reason (except genetics) as to why his BP is so high. His cholesterol is perfect. His sugars are perfect. No signs of diabetes (except these weird symptoms he displays). Nothing that would traditionally cause blood pressure to elevate. The doctor told him that she wanted him to check his blood pressure three times a day and then jot down the average of those readings onto a little BP chart card that she gave him. She said that he could come into the office to have that done (3 times a day? I don’t think so). Instead, he bought a blood pressure machine to keep at home.
Our new toy (ahem, I mean his blood pressure machine) arrived!! We opened it up to figure out how it worked and we both took our blood pressure. Mine is normally pretty perfect but it was high when I took it. Well, hello, Freakout! I took it again. And again. And again. Still high. Not hypertension high, but high end of the normal range, which for me is high. As I’m doing my little bit of freaking out, Mark is reading the directions.
- Do not take your blood pressure after eating.
- Do not take your blood pressure after exercising.
- Do not take your blood pressure after drinking coffee.
I had just finished breakfast and two cups of coffee. So I relaxed a little. Then I read through the whole list of normal, every day things that will cause blood pressure spikes. And I began taking my blood pressure after each of those times that they say not to.
Bio Feedback, Baby!!
I love bio-feedback. Remember this? Bio feedback was helpful. (warning – do NOT click that link if you’re afraid of information about my prolapsed lady-bits) The bio feedback from that experience was super helpful in teaching me what and how I needed to be doing things to heal my body from a really frustrating health issue. Data. YAY!
So I took that list of times where it said I wouldn’t get accurate readings and what did I do? I began doing exactly what it said not to because I NEED TO KNOW how everything affects me.
Coffee? Elevates it within 15 minutes after beginning to sip on a cup of coffee. It goes back down within an hour of finishing my cup of coffee.
Wine? Doesn’t elevate it after soon like coffee does. But about an hour after I’ve finished a glass it’s elevated slightly. Returns to normal within an hour after that.
Working out? Elevates it immediately. Goes back to normal within 15 – 20 minutes following my workout.
Heavy duty “makeout” session (wink, wink)? Off The Charts! (It’s science, y’all – I’m doing this for science!)
Drinking water? Elevates it immediately if the water is ice cold from the fridge. Does not elevate it at all if it’s at room temperature. Returns to normal levels within 15 minutes of drinking ice water.
Watching Furious 7? Oh, it was elevated a good portion of that movie.
Middle of the day at work? Hard to tell. Monday it was ridiculous! But Monday was the last day of the month and it was stressful. Tuesday it was very much normal.
Stress. It’ll kill ya!
It’s possible that I have a problem. But really…information is power. After a week of monitoring my blood pressure in an over the top, obsessive fashion, I can look at my data and be that much more educated about my body. I have a baseline for where I am, and I can keep tabs on that and make sure I’m staying within a healthy range, just like I do with my bloodwork, my exercise, and my food.
Guess what kind of column has been added to my monthly measurements/weight spreadsheet? You guessed it! Blood pressure!