Hyper-Tense? Medical Stuff

So, mentioned in the last post that I was going to the doctor this morning. I had an appointment to talk to her about my cholesterol (for which I had a blood test last week, finally), and I also wanted her to act as my referrer to Avalon Employment Inc., which helps people with developmental and intellectual disabilities find and handle work. (And considering some of my work requirements, I could use the help!) Not to mention, I also wanted to talk to her about what happened Wednesday and yesterday.

Please note that if you’re triggered by medical issues, you may not want to read the following.

I was feeling well enough (aka the headache around and behind my eye had calmed down enough) that I had no real issues with driving there. It was raining, but in some ways, that made it easier – no sunlight to deal with. Just the roads and the potholes, which are as bad here in St. John’s as they were in Costa Rica (and there was a pothole in Costa Rica that swallowed a bus once!).

So, I got in to see her quite rapidly (within minutes of entering, and just about as I was about to ask if there was somewhere darker and QUIETER that I could wait), and handed over a print-out of An Eye for An Eye (sans comments, because I printed them before they were made), so that she could read what had happened. We ran through the checks, and it wasn’t sinuses (which is always a possibility around the eyes) and it wasn’t glaucoma (as I mention in my reply to JRG’s comment to An Eye for An Eye). That, at least, was a relief.

But here in St. John’s in can take a year to see an eye specialist, so I’m to go to an optometrist to get a report for her, just in case there’s something there to expedite things.

Then I reminded her that I was really here to go over my blood test results. I was expecting her to immediately start talking about my cholesterol results, but instead she explained that my storage iron was low. (7 micrograms per whatever rather than the 15-160 micrograms per whatever that it should be; ideally, at my age, it should apparently be 30-40 micrograms per whatever.) So, okay, I have low iron anemia again. It’s something that happens to me on and off. This time my GP wants to try controlling it with diet, so I’m to eat more spinach (I’m already eating broccoli) and red meat.

Then she mentions that there’s also an issue with protein leaking from my kidney. Okay, I have no idea what that means… until she explains that it’s a sign of hyper-tension, AKA high blood pressure. I’m a bit bewildered, because usually my blood pressure floats on the low side of normal, and occasionally dips into low. (I’m starting to suspect that if things were normal, it would be low a lot more often… read on.)

So, she takes my blood pressure, and it’s 143/98 (or 143/90, can’t remember which), which is high. Cue jaw-drop. I have high blood pressure? Why?

Well, apparently it’s called “hyper-tension” for a very good reason – you can end up with high blood pressure from being super-tense. Considering that for the past several weeks my shoulders have felt like an iron bar, and my neck and the area between my shoulder blades has been just as bad. Usually I don’t feel the tension in my muscles so much as just know that it’s there, but lately I’ve been feeling it as well (and boy, is it unpleasant and painful).

Cue the start of a panic attack because of medical stuff. (I get lightheaded, dizzy, cold sweats… the same kind of symptoms as when I’m having a hypoglycemic attack or a low blood pressure issue. Which can make it difficult to tell what’s going on, unless I’m dealing with medical stuff – in which case it’s definitely a panic attack.)

I managed to control it fairly well, and ask her about my cholesterol – and she looked, and told me it was fine, and my sugar levels were fine (aka no diabetes, still at risk for but wasn’t experiencing hypoglycemia then). So between the anti-cholesterol medication and the reduction of butter in my diet, I’ve been doing well. That was good, at least.

So. Hyper-tension. Anyone have any suggestions for me, aside from massage therapy (which I know works, and which I’m going to look into)? I suspect that it’s because of the last several weeks to months of stress, and the stress isn’t going to get that much better, given the fact that I’m going to have to look for another job starting next week (the internship lasts until the end of March, but I’d better start looking before that). Help, please?

😐 tagAught

5 thoughts on “Hyper-Tense? Medical Stuff

  1. Vathara

    Very mild doses of caffeine (say, a cup of hot cocoa) sometimes help me; I think it’s by sharpening my concentration a little, so I can focus on what I absolutely need to get done, and be more resolute in discarding what I don’t need to or shouldn’t do. Other than that, trying to get regular sleep and exercise help. I find that if I can do something destructive – say, shred papers or weed the yard – I can work off the adrenaline without getting mad at a person. So it helps relax me.

    Speaking of tension… I recently read this book from our local library, and found myself needing to calm down.

    “Parenting Girls on the Autism Spectrum: Overcoming the Challenges and Celebrating the Gifts”

    One of the problems with it is that it’s written for parents, not someone on the spectrum trying to figure things out. But the main thing that got my goat was an offhand comment by the author about getting mad at parents of _gifted_ students, who (I paraphrase here) “are complaining the schools don’t do enough for them. Why should they worry, their kids will do just fine….”

    I honestly wanted to reach through the page and shake the author. Who probably has _no idea_ how many of those “gifted” students are highly intelligent _undiagnosed Aspies._

    And no, they _won’t_ do fine.


    1. tagAught


      You may want to check Musings’ posts – one of her most recent ones is about Doubly Exceptional children (AKA children who are gifted and ASD) like she was, I was, you were….

      Chat to you later!

      😉 tagAught

  2. tielserrath

    No one should make any decisions on a blood pressure reading on a single visit unless it is over 200/100. I don’t know how old you are, but if you’re under forty five and your blood pressure is up on three occasions you should probably push to have a twenty-four hour monitor to see if your BP is up while you’re doing ordinary stuff at home.

    Outside of treatable conditions like thyroid and kidney disease, the only lifestyle adjustment that helps significantly lower BP is weight loss if you’re overweight. Increasing your daily exercise may help, but often doesn’t, in my experience. Salt reduction makes a negligible difference unless you live on anchovies and other very highly salted food.

    Massage therapy can lower blood pressure while you’re having the massage, but if you’re stressed the rest of the time it won’t help much. Kind of like driving along a muddy road, going through a car wash and then driving home along the same road again. Your car may have been clean at one point, but it’s spending most of the time dirty.

    1. tagAught

      Tielserrath: {Hugs}

      Don’t worry, the doctor is having me come in weekly (or nearly weekly) for a few times to do regular checking of my blood pressure before we do anything definitive about it.

      The main reason I’m looking at massage therapy (which I’m going to start this afternoon, actually) is because I suspect at least part of the reason for the high blood pressure is the tension I’m carrying in my shoulders and neck. And while I know that one (or even a couple of) session(s) won’t do miracles, I do know that deep massage therapy *can* help me relax further, because I’ve had it done before. It eases the pain / tension cycle that gets set up in my shoulders and neck so that I actually have a chance to relax a bit more. (What tends to happen is that my tension builds in a spiralling effect of positive feedback; massage interrupts that and resets the bar lower, so I haven’t had as bad a time.)

      While my father has familial high blood pressure, my mother has familial low blood pressure, and my blood pressure has always been in the low to normal range before this. *nods re age* I’m in my mid-thirties, going into late thirties the beginning of May….

      Anyway, thanks for your response, and I appreciate you sharing your medical knowledge with me! {More Hugs} It helps reduce my concerns a bit.

      🙂 tagAught

  3. Vathara

    Another odd thought on stress reduction… these two books may be of interest.



    Fixed a running toilet (water is for some reason constantly running – in this case, float was set too high) this morning. That low-level background noise was driving me _nuts._

    In short, I find having information around on how to fix potential problems reduces my stress, because it moves problems from the category of, “if X happened, I wouldn’t know what to do”, to the category “okay, maybe I couldn’t do it without help, but I can at least look up _how_ to do it”.


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