Discover more from Christopher Titmuss - The Buddha Wallah
A Saga of High Blood Pressure from October 2022 to June 2023.
A spike of 212/93 last December
Dear Readers, You may not wish to read the personal stuff. So scroll down to headings to skip the personal.
You may need reflection for yourself or know a person with high blood pressure. You could copy and paste the non-personal mostly in the five sections in italics.
Photo shows kitchen chair. Could it evolve into the ‘electric chair?’ See section. titled Teaching in Germany. A Spike at Home.
Check your blood pressure if you have health issues. Sections in italics.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
Four Areas for Personal Change
Diet and Daily life
Systolic blood pressure. The top number of your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats to force blood around your body.
Diastolic blood pressure. The bottom number reveals the lowest level your blood pressure reaches, as your heart relaxes between beats.
Healthy blood pressure is around 120/70.
140/90 reveals the start of high blood pressure up to 190/100.
After BP goes higher than 180/100, it reveals the potential for fainting, a stroke or heart attack.
Background to health prior to blood pressure medication.
Weight: 69.5 kilos
BMI body mass index: 23
Vegan diet since 2007
Vegetarian between the 1970s – 2007.
Three Covid injections 2020 and 2021 only take to enter Germany to teach retreats without 14 days quarantine upon arrival.
Severe gall stone attacks in October 2007. 21 gallstones. Resolved through change to vegan diet and major reduction in fat, sugar, salt in food/drink.
My Highest Readings for October, November and December 2022
20 October 203/90
31 November 183/76
8 December 212/93
No wonder, doctors refer to a very high blood pressure as the silent killer. Millions do not know they have high blood pressure forcing the heart/body to work harder than it needs to.
I would like to share with readers my steps between October 2022 and June 2023. If you have persistent high blood pressure, you will probably need:
• A significant change in food, drink and anything else you put in your mouth.
• Changes in lifestyle with mindfulness/meditation/mind/body practices/gym/yoga for wellbeing.
• Develop experiences indoors and outdoors a deep sense of wellbeing for heart/mind/body/consciousness.
August to November 2022
In early August, 2022, I co taught with Ulla Koenig, the 10 day annual yatra (pilgrimage) in the glorious nature near Reutlingden in Germany. I have plenty of experience with various kinds of yatras in the past 50 years.
We experienced hot weather for two or three days, around 33-34 degrees, so far from extreme. Blessed with beautiful forests, plenty of shade, we engaged in a comfortable walking schedule. Yet, I felt a certain toll on the body. Despite drinking litres of water per day, thick black coffee, lots of prunes, yoga and use of rip cords to exercise lungs and muscles, I became severely constipated with only one toilet squat in 11 days. An unwelcome experience.
The day after our pilgrimage, normal rhythms returned – a liberating experience. In mid-August, I found myself experiencing a persistent chronic cough, day and night, relentless, generating much deep yellow mucus, hot sweats at night and losing weight. Yes, the ‘C’ word thought arose and it wasn’t the word Christopher. I tried alternative methods but nothing made any significant difference.
In September 2022, I booked an appointment with a doctor in the local clinic in Totnes. Due to the Covid pandemic, I waited three weeks to see the doctor. I described the cough and symptoms. He took my blood pressure telling me it was high at 150/75.
The doctor suggested that I immediately make an appointment for comprehensive tests. These tests included a chest x-ray, ECG (for the heart) a blood test, urine, mucus test and more. The x rays revealed an infection in the bottom of the left lung triggering the chronic coughing.
I started a 10-day course of anti-biotics (primarily penicillin) – Amoxicillin 500 mg capsules. One tablet three times per day. At the end of 10 days of penicillin, the coughing diminished by 90%. Penicillin offers a remarkably effective treatment.
I started taking a 5 mg tablet of Amlodipine, a common tablet for BP at Waldhaus Zentrum, Germany on 19 October 2022 due to spikes in BP.
On 24 November 2022, I started a second course of Amoxicillin to treat the occasional outbursts of the cough This treatment ended most of the final minor irritation of the cough but not all.
Diet Change to Reduce High BP
I googled information on best foods to reduce blood pressure and foods which increased blood pressure.
Blood pressure continued to rise even when the chronic coughing stopped. The clinic could not see a cause or combination of conditions for the high blood pressure despite two thorough tests.
High blood pressure impacts on people of all ages and diversity of cultures. An estimated 30% of adults have high blood pressure in the UK with the potential to have a long term impact on health.
I kept most days a record from October of my twice daily blood pressure readings.
Eight Causes of High Blood Pressure
It is worthwhile noting that doctors are trained to know a little about the lots of ills facing patients. A patient can find out much more about their specific illness through research and online groups sharing experience.
EIGHT PRIMARY CAUSES FOR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE:
1. Absence of daily aerobic exercise
3. High fat diet
5. Processed food/drink(chemical/additives/food changed from original
6. Excessive salt
If you wish to reduce your blood pressure or BP medication, you will have to address one of more of the above, and perhaps all eight. This is not the case for everybody. Tests and lifestyle may not necessarily reveal anything causing BP.
I could not see a cause or a combination of the conditions triggering my increased BP. It seems to me, the food industry slowly kills its customers through persuading citizens of any age to consume their products to the point of addiction to certain food, drink, tobacco, medication and more. Doctors depend upon taking BP medication as much as anybody else.
Four Areas of Personal Change
Slowly and regularly the blood pressure started to come down with the support of personal change starting in October.
1. I started a course of daily supplements (see below).
2. I took 5 ml of thyme tincture with 5 ml of water in a small glass, two or three times a day. It brought quick relief from the irritating cough. I strongly recommend thyme tincture for such an ailment.
3. I increased my level of exercise at the gym, some jogging and use of rip chords at home.
4. I change my diet to eat and drink, which supported lowering of blood pressure and stopped or reduced unhealthy food/drink – salt, wine, fat, eating out and drank decaffeinated coffee.
I took one tablet per day to support the immune system
Added to Diet and Daily Life
• Blended fruit, oat milk, pure whey protein for smoothies.
• Granola, oat milk, dried fruit, nuts, protein powder (vanilla)
• Tomato Juice (unsalted)
• Herbal Tea: First thing in the morning. Wild Hibiscus plants (strongly recommended (not teabags)
• 1-2 Litres of water per day to drink.
• Thyme Tinctures (5mg three times a day to support healing the lungs)
Teaching in Germany. A Spike at Home
While teaching a retreat in the Waldhaus Buddhist Zentrum in the third week of October, I experienced a sudden increase in blood pressure. Four gods of medicine (doctors) were attending the retreat. I knew all four doctors for decades, three of them for more than two decades. I consulted Dr. S. He first eliminated a possible fault in my monitor. The two monitors in the boot of his car gave the same reading within a number or two. He drove to the pharmacy in the nearby town that evening and returned with a packet of 5 mg of amlodipine blood pressure tablets, as recommended by the Totnes doctor to start upon my return to Totnes.
I joined the hundreds of millions of others worldwide on blood pressure medication. Upon return to Totnes, the doctor doubled the medication to 5 mgs in the morning and 5 mgs in the evening, as the BP remained stubbornly high.
Around 9 am on 8 December, I felt very hot, lightheaded, dizzy and liable to falling over if I stood up. I telephoned my daughter, Nshorna (a former nurse/midwife) for advice. She said to ring 101 (for a non life threatening emergency) to talk to a doctor. She told me to call her back after and not switch off. I put the phone down on the kitchen table, so she and I could talk, if necessary.
I sat on the chair at the kitchen table. With forearms on the armrests of the chair and fingers holding the end of the armrest, I kept the eyes wide open looking into the back garden while being mindful of the physical tremors.
Apologetically, the doctor-on-101 call rang at 7.30 am the next morning due to volume of possible emergencies. Black humour arose in my mind “Doctor, you are too late. I’m dead.” More black humour. I wondered during this 8 December spike if the kitchen chair could become the electric chair due to shaking of the body, heart palpitations and sweat. After an hour, the symptoms reduced back to normal and I got out of the chair.
The cough and mucus had not entirely gone away. The Totnes doctor authorised another complete set of tests showing a trace of infection left in the lung. I took another 10 day course of penicillin. I could now go days without chest/throat irritation and little production of clear mucus.
Waiting time to see a doctor still took three to five weeks. I told the reception after being in the phone queue of around 20 that it would be easier to make an appointment with King Charles than one of the doctors in a town of 8100 people.
She agreed. The second set of tests still did not reveal any underlying cause or range of conditions for the high blood pressure. The doctor told me high BP could be due to genetic factors or age. That meant s/he had no idea what triggered high blood pressure and the spikes.
Rather than face another five weeks to see a doctor or 10 days for the doctor to ring me, I decide to ‘go private’ as we say. I booked a private consultation with a doctor in Bristol specialising in blood pressure. A long-standing friend, Dr A from Germany, advised me on finding the right consultant.
Five days later, I had an online 50-minute private consultation (cost £200.00) with a senior cardiologist, specialising in BP. Dr. C asked me “Have you had the Covid jab?”
I said Yes. After the third jab, I told him I experienced covid symptoms with severe coughing, sweating, headaches and exhaustion for six days. This started the night after the jab. I felt seriously ill, far more than anything I recall before in life, except for the gallstone attack.
Friends have asked me time to time “Did you get Covid.”
I reply: “Yes. I caught Covid from the Covid jab” – since the symptoms were identical.
The private consultant advised me to take 10 mg of Amlodipine in the morning and 2.5 mg of Ramipril in the evening and wear long airline socks to reduce the swelling of the ankles/feet due to medication.
April, May and June
Weeks went by. I did not know whether such changes reduced the blood pressure or the medication or a combination of both. I assumed both. Weekly BP averages showed a gradual reduction to going below the lower threshold of high blood pressure of 140/70.
During May 2023, I spoke on the phone again with an NHS doctor, who (reluctantly) agreed with my decision to cut 10 mg of Amlodipine to 5 gm with 2.5 mg Ramipril in the evening.
In early June, 2023, I stopped taking amlodipine for BP and instead took 2.5 mg of Ramipril, morning and evening. BP measurements continued to drop so I reduced Ramipril to one tablet of 2.5 mg.
On Monday morning of 19 June 2023, I checked my blood pressure. The monitor gave 101/53.
Enough. I stopped the Ramipril.
Upper figure remained under 130/65. for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday 23 June, the figures shot up to 143/73.
Am now back to a single morning does of 2.5 m of Ramipril. With one tablet, BP figures dropped immediately into the healthy range between 116/55 and 130/60.
So, there is still one tiny tablet to renounce. Nearly there.
Some readers will conclude. “It seems easier to take the medication.”
I prefer an ongoing experiment to find ways to heal the body.
It has been an enjoyable and sometimes challenging process, a significant learning curve.
1. Be mindful of everything you put in your mouth. I mean it. Everything. Food, drink, cigarettes, medication, toothbrush/toothpaste, fingers/air and more Keep it simple. Say Yes to this. No to that. Or check it out. Learn from others.
2. It is not that difficult to make changes. Be patient to get into a flow, so you don’t have to think about it.
3. If you start a course of BP medication, see what steps you can take to wean yourself off the medication or get it down to a minimal daily dose. Find a doctor who can advise you without projecting his/her fears upon you.
4. Find ways to get clear air daily into the bottom of your lungs. Lungs and physical heart have to expand. Go for a fast walk to the shops, walk up and down hills. A stroll does not qualify as exercise. Use rip chords for home – cheap and effective – to get air into the base of the lungs and cells of the body.
5. Stand in the shower or bath and pour a bucket of cold water over yourself to stimulate breath and cells.
6. Remember that nothing is worth getting stressed over.
7. Remember to enjoy much in daily life.
8. Find those who share your values for ongoing well being and find the steps towards the peace of mind that comes with wellbeing.
PS. Don’t dig your grave with a knife, fork and spoon.
May all beings explore wise change
May all beings live with peace of mind
May all beings act to support oneself and others.
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