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High blood pressure…

Posted by: Shark-Fu

I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss a health issue impacting women and black women specifically.

A couple of weeks ago I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. My blood pressure was so high when the nurse took it that my doctor didn’t believe him and took another reading.

Yep…no doubt about…I’ve got high blood pressure.

Shit!

There are a lot of contributing factors…stress, poor dietary habits (wince) and no enough exercise to name a few. But high blood pressure also runs in my family.

Once I received my diagnosis and scheduled an appointment for a second opinion, I began to fuss about this new health status with some of my friends. And through those conversations a picture of black women and high blood pressure emerged that is at once alarming and empowering.

High blood pressure is more common and more serious for black women. All women…hell, every body…should get their blood pressure checked and begin a dialogue with their doctor about the warning signs, prevention and treatment.

Our health is important. We don’t own that enough, but it is.

So, let’s all commit to educated ourselves, our friends and family about high blood pressure so that we can thrive and make our own history.

And yes, I’m making the changes I need to make too.

Be well.

Shark-Fu practices the fine art of bitchitude at AngryBlackBitch.com.

7 comments to High blood pressure…

  • My maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather suffered strokes within five years of each other. Both admit they had been neglectful in taking their medication and monitoring their diet. My grandmother recovered very well but my grandfather wasn’t so lucky, losing a lot of his eyesight and mobility.

    I’ve read several articles that recommend black people ingest 1500 mg of sodium a day compared to 2400 mg for everyone else due to the higher frequency of high blood pressure. I think this is an oversimplification. My grandfather loved to put salt on everything and here in the South everyone loves pork and fried stuff. Those factors certainly played a role and likely pushed my grandparents’ sodium intake well over 2400 mg.

    But yeah, monitoring my diet is important, I don’t want to repeat their mistakes.

  • Just to clarify, their medication was for high blood pressure which both my grandmother and grandfather had.

  • Nora

    I just got diagnosed with high blood pressure myself. I was shocked — I’ve been overweight for years, but I bike regularly (er, except during the winter — I hate the cold), and I eat very healthily compared to the fatty Southern diet I grew up on. Now, some of this could simply be that I’m getting older — I’m 35 this year. But I think there’s one factor that none of us thinks about, or at least not as much as we should: stress. I have a job this year that’s kicking my ass — long hours, a long commute, and it just wears me out. On top of that I’m involved in a very stress-inducing ongoing conflict with a co-worker. One aspect of the conflict is that I frankly think she’s jealous of me — I’m almost half her age, better-educated, in a higher-ranking position and making more money, and on top of all that I’m black. Dealing with this kind of person in the workplace is a new thing for me, and I think the HBP is the result of that. (And yeah, I’m already job searching.)

    I’ve seen studies which suggest that one of the reasons black people, and black women in particular, suffer so badly from HBP is because of this — racism, sexism, all the little indignities that the privileged are so quick to dismiss (“Oh, that wasn’t racism, she was just really rude”), all that crap takes its toll. The dismissive attitude of this country towards incidents like this just makes it worse — for every offensive incident denied, the person gets a double-stress hit (first from the incident itself, then from the denial).

    But hey, one way to relieve stress is to express rather than internalize anger, so that’s why I’m on ABW. =) Being angry is good for your health!

  • Nora, I have a bunch of stuff here to help you de-stress! I just finished a newsletter on it, not coincidentally. (Ignore the first section, it’s mostly bull. Or maybe I shouldn’t say so since my boss reads this blog. Nah, it’s bull.)

    But back to seriousness, I have no doubt that the stress of being a minority in America contributes, in part, to the high rate of HBP. Then add to that stress from our jobs, from our lives (I have no health insurance, so when my heart races, I think — is this a heart attack? I don’t know because I cannot afford to go to the emergency room, much less a doctor for diagnosis, and then my heart beats EVEN HARDER from panic). My diet sucks, as much as I hate to admit it, and exercise rarely happens.

    I’m doomed!

  • Stress is a real contributing factor to HBP, but it helps to learn ways to deal with it such as deep breathing techniqes. Also, laughter is a great release. I laugh at the little amusing things througout the day and then say a prayer. My husband said since he read “The Angry Black Man’s Guide to Success” he is less hostile because he understands now how to use his anger to be a better person than those caucasions around him. Try going to sleep earlier

  • Thanks for this. I was diagnoised with HBP as well and I had to make some major changes. As hard as it is I had to stop getting angry ALL THE TIME. I walk away a lot more and I also avoid folks who I know are going to piss me off.

    Excellent, excellent points.

  • Leroy

    I have HBP too. I am 46 year old and black. It seem my hole life i have been stressed out by racism, whether it’s been because of the white man or the fact that my ancestors from africa sold our peoples out to the white man. it’s like we’re homeless. africa didn’t want us there and whitey don’t want us here.

    Do you recommend any other good suggested books for dealing with these frustrations?