My Experience with High Blood Pressure kicked off when I got internship and moved to Lagos, Nigeria. At the medicals, my blood pressure was remarkably high. The doctor that was examining me made a mark on the blood pressure reading.
She asked me of any family history of hypertension and I responded in affirmation. We talked around the basic theory on prevention and management…
I was a bit tensed when I went for the medicals, which may suggest why the blood pressure was high. Moreover I came into Lagos by 12 am that same morning of medicals, but I believe it’s not just about just having little or no rest, it is about the fact that nobody comes into Lagos and remains the same.
However, few months into my internship, I became sick. My blood pressure was checked as one of the routine tests in the treatment room and it read 198/112 mmHg. That was how my experience with high blood pressure began.
I must say I panicked a little and I could see the obvious worry on the face of the attending nurse. She was my friend and she couldn’t really understand why I had such a high blood pressure….
When I went in to see the Doctor, he insisted that he would start me on an anti-hypertensive. I declined because I knew I was terribly stressed (stress outside work hours though) and just a good rest would be enough. I was however not very sure, because I have an overwhelming family history of hypertension. I just wanted to give proper rest a shot.
Thank God I worked in a sane environment and my request to take a day off from work was even extended to 2 days plus the weekend.
The next two days, saw me sleeping like a new born baby. The only time I stood up from my bed was to eat. This made my blood pressure to crash to 109/76 mmHg.
I write this because of the picture above. Sometimes we glorify suffering so much in Nigeria (and most other parts of the world), such that we can’t draw a line between hustle and suffering. We even write and brag with “ability to manage stress” on our curriculum vitae, just to land a job that will thoroughly reduce the quality of our lives
In my lockdown story (Click HERE to read), I reminded everyone that we are easily replaceable in our various places of work. If you remember this, then you must begin to take better care of yourself.
READ ALSO - Part 1 of my lock down story
Well, this is not a call for you not to give your best in your place of work or not to hustle for your daily bread. This is more of a call to take good care of your health while at it. Good health is a big luxury that you can’t afford to lose for anything on earth; not for that job, money or hustle.
What My Experience with High blood pressure should teach you
- Those bills will never go away. Family issues will keep piling up and the stress your body absorbs in trying to solve these unending problems will definitely damage your health. Take care of yourself first!
- Forget all the old sayings that hypertension is a disease for older people. Now very young people in their early 20s are on various drugs to manage hypertension. You’re not too young to develop hypertension too.
- My experience with high blood pressure should make you appreciate the fact that stress can ultimately contribute to an increase in blood pressure. You can drop dead anytime if you don’t manage your stress triggers properly
- Money is not always the motivation, it is always better to work in a sane environment and take lower pay, than work in a toxic environment with higher pay. Your peace of mind is priceless, never play with it.
- Resist the urge to brag with suffering or convince yourself that what you’re suffering is called hustle. When you have a serious health condition, your salary may not foot the bills and remember the health insurance system is almost dead.
That being said, here are a few things you can do to manage stress and live a healthier life
1. Find a fun activity
It could be hanging out with friends, going to see a movie, playing musical instruments or even sleeping for some. Just engage in something entirely different from work that gives you strength and joy.
2. Leverage on good friends
Take out sometime to visit old friends in their homes or at other cool places. Have quality conversations, discuss your worries and challenges, appreciate your achievements and plan on new survival strategies. Visits as such can be refreshing, try it out sometime.
READ MORE - Stress management tips
Register with a gym if you can, go on morning jogging or take a quiet walk around your vicinity in some of your free time. I underrated the importance of exercise earlier; perhaps my experience with high blood pressure wouldn’t have been the same if I didn’t.
4. Eat better
Try and eat more of home cooked meals. Even as a man, learn to make your food, some contentment and fulfillment come with that. Most importantly incorporate more fruits and vegetables on your diet
5. Get enough sleep
Set a specific time to sleep and to wake up, it will make your body to adapt to a particular circadian rhythm. Take siestas if you can or just simply keep all your gadgets out of sight and rest. Your body will recover from stressful events when you mindfully practice these things.
Read more on ways to manage stress by clicking HERE