March 7, 2012

Update on my Annual Physical

"A healthy outside starts on the inside." Robert Urich

I won't have the mammogram until April but other than that I'm done with this year's physical. And I'm feeling vindicated in one area and foolish in another. 

When I went for my first visit, my blood pressure was high. I explained that I monitor it at home and it's been just fine, but they said my meter must be wrong. On a second visit, it was still high but I forgot to take my cuff and the doctor was talking about meds but I said no. This morning I went back to discuss my blood work. Before going, I walked my dogs and took my bp and it was 133/74. At the doctor's office, they got 160/97; I took it with my cuff and got 159/96. Sheesh! I showed her my home reading in memory and she said, "You're fine. You definitely have 'white coat' syndrome." I told her I've checked it at all times during the day, active and resting, and it's fine--I informed her that visiting her is bad for my health and she laughed. So, no blood pressure meds.  She did say that being more active might help even out my highs and I confirmed I'm planning that anyhow as I've been a slug this winter and I'm ready to get going as the days get warmer (not today, though--brrr!)

Now, about the blood work. I'm feeling foolish about that because as the day of my blood draw approached I got more and more nervous about what my results would be. There are quite a few people--much younger people--on Paleo Hacks reporting sky-high cholesterol. I've always had normal cholesterol readings, but obviously this was going to be my first one since changing to a high protein/fat diet last April. During the week before my test, I ate more fish than usual although I also had some beef. I feel foolish because my reading turned out to be 178--there's definitely no need for me to avoid beef! I do plan to continue eating sardines more frequently than I used to because I felt a good reaction when I went from a can every week or so to 3-4 cans per week. BUT, beef is back where it belongs as my primary meat. 

All of my blood metrics were stellar, even thyroid, so when I've been saying I feel fabulous eating real whole foods (including whole fruit, which many foolishly avoid) I've been RIGHT. I'm not going to lie, I'm feeling pretty smug and it was worth giving up my full-time junk food diet to feel this good and have another year of no prescription meds.

Kidding aside, though, I do think it's important for older people to get annual blood tests and make the changes needed, if any, for best possible health. For example, if I had bad thyroid results I was prepared to take meds but I was going to decline meds for either blood pressure or glucose (if they had been bad) in favor of stricter diet and increased exercise. I'm planning to crank up the exercise anyhow.

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