How (Not) To Lower Your Blood Pressure

I haven’t written a blog post in a few months and noticed that one of my “recent” posts was about slowing down. I’m sure you are wondering, “How’s that working for you?”

According to recent blood pressure readings, not too well. At a doctor’s appointment a couple weeks ago, a nurse checked my blood pressure and mentioned that my blood pressure was higher than normal.

I was too afraid to ask what she meant by high, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I went to a local grocery store to get my blood pressure reading at the machine in the pharmacy department. After sticking my arm in the cuff and pressing the start button, I nearly fell off the seat because the machine started yelling.

“ARE YOU A MALE OR A FEMALE?”

“WHAT IS YOUR DATE OF BIRTH”

“PLACE YOUR ARM IN THE CUFF AND TURN YOUR PALM UPWARD.”

“RELAX.”

“BREATHE.”

“YOU ARE DOING GREAT!”

“ALMOST FINISHED!”

“DONE!”

While I appreciate the accessibility of the machine for visually impaired users, I believe the volume is a bit excessive. Not only did the machine startle me, but I imagine shoppers across the store and possibly in the parking lot heard the instructions.

Why the machine didn’t yell my results for all of west Little Rock to hear is beyond me. Yes, I know all about HIPAA privacy rules, but if people can’t see the instructions on the machine, how can they see the results?

My results weren’t terrible but not great either, so because of my recent milestone birthday and a family history of heart disease (both sides), I decided to make some changes.

I have made a conscious effort over the past two weeks to eliminate obvious stressors such as checking Twitter every ten minutes or reading comments after news articles, especially comments related to the current presidential campaign. In fact, I can imagine that the demand for blood pressure medication is at an all time high.

Today though, after two weeks of working somewhat consistently on better eating and exercising habits and trying very hard to relax more, I expected a good result when I stopped by the grocery store.

I have been out of town for a week and completely forgot about the loud volume of the blood pressure machine. My result, 143/81, was not a total surprise since the only thing keeping me from jumping completely out of the seat was my arm stuck in the blood pressure cuff.

Time to find a new grocery store.

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Image found on Flikr.com, Mark Turnaukas, licensed under Creative Commons

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