|Very strange identity crisis...
||[Jun. 7th, 2012|05:55 pm]
So... because of my exercise weirdness - I exercise hard, I feel *fine* while exercising, but then feel like crap the rest of the day - I'm on a blood pressure medication (a beta blocker) to slow down my heart a bit. |
Beta blockers caused me some confusion about blood pressure. See, according to the doctor, blood pressure is *not* caused by how hard your heart beats. Blood pressure is how hard your heart *must* beat, according to all your body's feedback systems.
Here's what I asked her: is the blood pressure how hard/how fast your heart tries to lift the weight? Or is it the amount of weight the heart is trying to lift? And she was clear - she said that it was definitely how much weight.
Blood pressure is *how hard the heart has to work*. It's not *caused* by the heart beating heavy; it's caused by your body demanding more oxygen and nutrients, and your heart beating harder in response.
Now, she could be wrong - or this could be a point of debate, or it could be one of those "well, we're really not sure, entirely, but the best model says, it's how hard the heart is forced to work."
But as near as I could get it, the heart is the battery, and blood pressure is the resistance, and a high blood pressure means more energy being used to keep voltage constant.
(Um. Boy, do I hope I am remembering my Freshman Physics right. Someone please let me know if I flubbed that.)
So, stuff that reduces blood pressure might help me.
Now, salt hurts *some* people's blood pressure. Not everyone's. Really, it's sodium versus potassium - if those are in balance, cutting salt won't help. And I already use a "lite" salt, a sodium-potassium blend, and try not to oversalt foods. Plus, I'm eating so few processed foods, I'm probably not getting as much salt as a lot of folks get. (Cheese is probably my worst offender!)
The other big lifestyle change is caffeine. Caffeine can raise blood pressure. So I've stopped it for now.
And I realized how weird it feels.
I've learned to make espresso - not perfectly, but okay. I've learned to roast coffee. I bought a fancy, fast coffee maker. I've developed a love for a good Irish breakfast tea, with milk and honey, made from actual tea leaves.
Am I willing to give that up? Like, forever?
And the answer is, of course, I don't know.
There aren't any good answers at first. The first few weeks of caffeine reduction are about losing the addiction and building new habits. I'm not even two weeks out, yet.
But I do wonder.
Do I want to be "that guy who doesn't drink coffee (but can tell you some of the finer points about it)?" (I've had to give up tea for now - milk and honey aren't that good for my blood sugar at the moment, and cream and stevia is fine in coffee - but stevia is a bit sickly for tea.) Or do I want to do it just for now, until I (hopefully) build up my heart and then let myself fall back into caffeine control again?
(Because, alas, it is true - caffeine does own you after a few weeks drinking it daily.)
It's something to ponder.
On the plus side, the meds are helping - I worked out today, and my brain isn't so tired I can't ponder :-).