LIVING WITH HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
“I am only 52 and I don’t want to die”
– Maggie*, 52 years old
Maggie* is married and has two teenage children. She is of Asian descent and has a strong family history of heart disease. Her grandparents, father, aunts, and uncles have all suffered from high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, with some passing away due to these conditions. This prompted her to start seeing her GP for check-ups early.
Maggie was diagnosed with high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes in her late 30s. She started taking a blood pressure lowering medicine straight away and managed her blood sugar levels through diet and exercise, hiring a personal trainer at a local gym. Her blood pressure was controlled on that medicine for six years. She exercised regularly and was at her fittest and lowest weight during this time.
At 45, Maggie had a hysterectomy. Soon after, her blood pressure increased and became uncontrolled. Her GP switched her to a combination of two blood pressure lowering drugs.
She was not able to exercise much, other than some walking.
Over the next six years, she began experiencing worsening joint pain, lethargy and eventually debilitating leg cramps. After 4 years with no improvement in these side effects, Maggie decided to see a heart specialist who stopped one of the medicines she had been taking. Unfortunately, the side effects got worse. Even a short walk caused her immense pain and exhaustion. Despite this Maggie persisted with the medication for a further 3 years. She was also put on a blood sugar lowering medication in 2017.
“I am only 52 and I don’t want to die.”
Maggie finally had enough of the pain and exhaustion and saw her GP who switched her to a different type of blood pressure medication. Finally, after many years, the cramping, pain, and exahaustion stopped. However, her blood pressure increased to 165/120 mmHg. This worried her. “I am only 52 and I don’t want to die” she said through tears.
She saw her GP again, who added another blood pressure lowering medication to her existing one. Her blood pressure has dropped to 125/84 mmHg. She is now very happy and extremely relieved. To keep her blood pressure under control, Maggie has also changed her lifestyle. She has switched to a plant-based diet and fasts for 16 hours every day. This has improved her blood sugar control and she has lost 6kg of body weight, which she is thrilled with.
*Names changed. Stock photo shown.