Monday, April 11, 2011

The Dr. Will See You Now...

Last month I spent too much time at the doctor's office. Normally I go in for my annual exam and that's it - see you next time. Of course I normally forget to have my blood work done which avoids a lot of problems. What you don't know won't hurt you, right? This year I dutifully got my blood work done (I forgot to fast for 12-hours so I still have to go back for more) but I was proud of myself for even going at all! And that is when it got interesting...

Vitamin D
I live in Oregon. We are all sunlight deficient which means we are all vitamin D deficient. If you take a regular multi-vitamin you should be just fine. I wasn't taking one. Vitamin D is measured on a scale of 1 to 100 with healthy being above 40. I was a 23. I've been looking up sources of Vitamin D (besides Sunshine) and found it comes from Fish and Dairy but you really need to eat a lot of make up for the lack of sun. For the last month I have been on a prescription does of Vitamin D. A really high dose. The interesting part is that I have noticed a strong improvement in my overall mood. It is like some of the darkness has been lifted. Not the same way my postpartum meds worked but in a more subtle way. I just feel a little cheerier! So, my recommendations to anyone living in Oregon: A) If you don't take a multi-vitamin and you have never had your vitamin D checked - have it done. and B) Take a multi-vitamin or at least some Vitamin D to make up for the fact that you don't live in a tropical location.

Blood Pressure
Now the scarier piece of the visit which has required a lot more follow-up. I have high blood pressure. Not lethally high but higher than it should be for my age (140/90). First they checked my pressure at the beginning of the visit and it was high but they thought it might be nerves so they planned to check it again at the end... but they forgot. Normally I would dash out of there and be thankful they didn't check it but my brother was recently diagnosed with severe hypertension so I stopped them and asked them to check it again. And it was still high. So after a week of monitoring it at home and then rechecking it at the office, I was started on blood pressure medication which is working.
I was pretty disheartened at this turn of events because a)I just ran a half-marathon which means I do actually exercise; b) I eat very little meat and lots of vegetables; c) I don't like salty foods and pay attention to sodium intake. My Doctor was very kind. She helped me realize that this is a hereditary condition (from my Dad's side) and there is very little I can do to change it. I'll be honest, I could loose a few pounds which could get my blood pressure down but I'm doing most things right.
So why am I sharing this? Because I want you to know that having high blood pressure is not something that occurs only in obese people who eat burgers and fries all the time.

You can be pretty healthy and have these issues so don't skip your annual Dr. visit because you think your healthy. We have a wonderful world of medicine that is helping us live longer lives so use it!


  1. After I gave birth to Austin they ran a battery of blood work to see if they could find out why I had such bad anxiety - the only thing they found was my low Vit D (it was 25) so I started taking 3,000 IU a day and unfortunately it didn't really help my mood but did make my level go up into the 50's.
    I think when one is busy with kids it's very easy to forget to check in on ourselves sometimes. I know it is for me!

  2. As a fellow Oregonian with low D levels I hear you loud and clear! I've been taking 2000 IUs a day for the past couple years, I do think it helps. We just don't have the sunshine we need to get those levels up. Sorry about the blood pressure but it is so much better to know that there is an issue and be proactive with monitoring, meds, diet, etc., kudos to you for taking care of yourself.



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Right now I'm covered in flour, haven't showered since yesterday, and I'm sleep deprived. Once upon a time I was using my expensive college education to work as a accountant/consultant. Now I use my high school Home Ec. skills to raise 2 kids and keep my house from falling down.