Sunday, 11 September 2016

High Blood Pressure Blues

Google image

I've moped about a bit this week and not done much, not that I have high blood pressure, mine is terrific - 118/73 at last count. It's my husband.  We have a home monitor as he has had pills for years and someone said we should get one.  It has languished unused in the cupboard until recently when M said he was waking up every morning with a headache behind his eyes and didn't feel well.  We didn't think much of it, I thought it might be a residual sinus infection but we did take a test, using me as a control (hence the aforementioned-reading.)  Between 204 and 214 over something. We were scared. He had changed his pills a month before because he had to take a cocktail of 4 different ones, one of which had to be cut in half but it always crumbled so became annoying. These were replaced by only two but clearly, they weren't working. So we high-tailed it off to the local pharmacy where the resident nurse took his pressure on her two machines; the manual one that you pump up yourself:  130/90 (on both arms). Lovely, but short-lived relief - the digital fancy one (like ours) also read a consistent 204 over something. What to believe? For safety's sake we went to our doctor. Also a very high reading - and a lecture. However, she did prescribe new pills, supposedly really really good ones and we went home. My first thoughts were: what if he has a heart attack or a stroke? We live in a small town with the nearest hospital half an hour away. Trying to be pro-active, I googled the first aid, got equipped with Aspirin, and discovered the phone number of a local paramedic service. Apparently, if someone has a stroke, there is a good chance of recovery if they are attended to within two hours. My husband phoned his older brother and made a back-up note of the medicines he takes. A week later, so far so good, M ventured to take his first readings this morning,  175 and five minutes later 159 (over something - I still have to research the diastole/systole thing) 

The chaser to this story - if you have read this far... a couple of weeks ago, my husband woke up one morning, feeling a little better and  fancying to 'play around a little': mission was accomplished, leaving him feeling good for the day.  To my surprise, I was woken up later that night, half an hour after going to sleep with a similar request with a similar outcome.  Having recently listened to a radio phone-in show which concentrated on male 'recovery' times, the expert had said that the average 90-year-old could count himself lucky if he managed one erection a month. Work it back: my husband is 67.  The next morning, he apologised.  He said he had thought it was the next morning (is it all in the mind?) Anyway, on reflection, I am wondering if it was the high blood pressure needing an outlet? Whatever, it would be a good way to go, they say.  Happily, my husband is still alive. We play it day by day. He was hoping to ditch the blood pressure pills altogether by drinking a particularly nasty-smelling health tea which goes by the name of Cancer Bush. He has been taking it for 3 months and it smells like something burnt over in the oven. Huh! Faint hope.  At least, he can stop drinking the foul stuff now and stop polluting my kitchen. Whatever the other lessons in this exercise, it has made me once again, realize how much my partner means to me and how bereft I would be without him.


  1. Not to be an alarmist, but has your husband been checked for an irregular heartbeat? I am drawing a farfetched conclusion here, but it might be worth looking into. Your narrative seems to indicate that mechanical methods are reading lower than the electronic machines. Wild supposition here but could the electronics be getting confused by an irregular heart beat? Mine has a detector for that and it alarms if an irregular heart beat is detected.

    Again I know very little about this, just raising the issue because my unit does have a detector and alarm for that condition.

    As for the other part of your post, on the whole excellent. Loving sexual contact relieves stress and studies have found that men (but not women) live longer with regular loving monogamous sex. That said, it must also be remembered that blood pressure spikes on the build up to and during orgasm. As such, one might want to avoid sexual activity temporarily if going through a period of high resting blood pressure due to a medication change or other reason. However, I (in my medical wisdom Ha!) would also state that loving contact during such periods, that is non-sexual touching, cuddling, and so forth, would be helpful for reducing blood pressure as well. Studies have found that touching a pet can lower blood pressure. As such I think loving touch from a spouse would be very helpful.

    As far as drawing conclusions about arousal rates of a 67 year old from a 90 year old, I doubt it can be done. I doubt the effects of age are linear. Conditions degrade for the elderly because they are suffering the simultaneous collapse of many different systems. As such not only does a 90 year old man have far less testosterone in his system, but they will generally have circulation problems as well. Couple that with less cognitive functions and a societal belief that sex is for young people, an aroused 90 year old is a "pathetic dirty old man," well you have a problematic model.

    Sex begets sex, the old "use it or lose it" adage. I don't find his short recovery time at all surprising. Also don't forget, a couple is a couple, their actions are a joint holistic response to both individuals. Your husband could very well be responding to positive chemistry from you. Well done!

    As far as the longevity of women, I think the problem is in the data not the facts. Women have not been studied with the same detail as men. That said, I feel that women are far more capable of living alone then men are. We pay for that missing leg on the Y chromosome. My own belief is that loving monogamous sexual contact will benefit women as well, but the benefits may not be as obvious as they are in men.

    1. Wise comment as always, Sextant. Thank you. We will definitely get him a full check-up. haven't done it in the last two years.

  2. High Blood pressure is scary and a lot to deal with. The symptoms seem to be so common like a headache. I usually do not think that much of my headaches. I also have a blood pressure machine at my house. Hopefully the new medications work for your husband. I've heard apple cider vinegar is good for high blood pressure.