Back in March of 2010 I started feeling slight chest pains. They were slight at first and only occurred for a short time. After a couple of weeks they grew stronger and they lasted a lot longer. I know I had been suffering from some heartburn previously so I was thinking all of this may be related to acid reflux. I could tell something wasn’t right so while I was at lunch I went at one of those blood pressure booths at a local drug store. My blood pressure was 197 over 150. I knew something was wrong since my chest pains were increasing and lasting even longer.
Hospital Time – Hello Emergency Room
I called a cardiologist’s office that a friend of mine recommended and they suggested that I go to the emergency room of a nearby hospital. I ended up going to the emergency room. I was very fortunate to see that nothing was really wrong with my heart. I was sent home that night but the next day I made an appointment with the cardiologist.
Cardiologist Visit – An Eye Opening Experience
I have always been one that hates to go to the doctor. Especially when they say they are a practicing physician. However, this visit and the subsequent other visits really did help me out in understanding what I was feeling. My doctor let me have it. He told me I was too young to be feeling this way and said I would have to start eating healthier and exercising more.
What My Tests Revealed
My tests revealed that I had high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The doctor immediately put me on high blood pressure medicine and wanted to put me on cholesterol medicine. I told him that I wanted to wait to be put on that medicine because I heard once you get on it, you usually cannot be taken off of it. He told me that was not exactly true but the majority of people do not come off the meds. I told him I wanted to prove to him that I could lower my cholesterol without medicine and do it with diet and exercise. I told my Doc that I understood the condition may be hereditary but I wanted to try. Thankfully, he obliged me.
Getting to Work – Eating Right And Exercising
I could not believe that I was in this position. I was once such an athletic person. I used to love to play sports and loved working out. Now I was going to “have to” work out but it was my own fault. I was eating a terrible diet. You name it, I was eating it and if it was fried, I was eating twice as much. This is a horrible thing due to my southern upbringing where there is fried everything.
So what did I do? I cut out everything. I ate a very strict diet. I went from eating Hardee’s biscuits in the morning to eating Oatmeal and Honey Nut Cheerios and let me tell you I do not like Oatmeal. It’s funny though, when you think you might die just from eating something, you learn to eat things you may not like. I ate only whole grain (multi-grain) wheat bread. More salads and smaller portions. I really ate lean and only things with low cholesterol. I was starting to feel a difference in a lot of things.
I also started exercising more. Not just lifting a few weights in the gym either. I would start off with 20 minutes of cardio before I ever started lifting. This really made a big difference. I started playing tennis with a friend of a friend of mine. we would play a couple of days a week after we got through working out in the gym. However, we would some how get banged up or pull something. We were always feeling something the day after. Me mostly with my back and my buddy with a terrible wrist problem.
So I started running more. It was something that never really appealed to me. For one thing, I like to compete. There is nothing better than having a chance to win at something. I just never saw running something I wanted to do on a daily basis. I could not have been more wrong. Now I look forward to running. It is the one thing that I can tell that really make a difference in the way I feel. Another thing about running, it is something that I can do at any time. I do not have to get others to participate. I can just throw on some shoes and hit the road and I’m in business.
Results From My New Diet And Exercising
A month after my applying a strict diet and exercising, I lost 18 pounds and I started to feel a lot better. Overall, after about 6 months I lost about 30 lbs and now I was really noticing a lot of things were changing. My sleep was better and my stomach even felt better. The benefits were really great. I visited my cardiologist again and he was really surprised at the change in me. All of my levels came down. My cholesterol came down a huge amount and so did my blood pressure. My doctor said he definitely would not put me on cholesterol medicine and that he was thinking about taking me off of the high blood pressure medication. I asked him to reduce it in half since my blood pressure had dropped so much. He decided that would be a good option at the time.
My new average blood pressure was now 116 over 70. It has been a little lower than that lately so I think the running is doing the job. I hope to be taken off the blood pressure medication on my next visit.
There is no doubt that my increased exercise through running has had a major influence on lowering my cholesterol and blood pressure. This along with eating a proper diet has had a profound effect on my life. If you are someone that has not been feeling well, I suggest going to a physician and getting checked out. Ask them if you are healthy enough to start exercising more. If that answer is yes, I highly suggest incorporating running / jogging into your exercise regimen.
I thank God for my wake-up call.