Call it what you will, circumstances are sometimes synchronous. During the week in Seattle when my blood pressure was plateauing upward between 150 and 160/ 86 and 92, I spent a morning with my 96 year old dad going through family papers that he had carefully cataloged shortly after his retirement. We have four generations of letters, cards, invoices and papers of interest, all of which I love to pour over and which I hope Mary B will someday give even more order by filing in archival boxes.
As I digested the contents of this envelope, I was reminded that high blood pressure runs through the Bain side of my family. Uncles died of strokes. My mom had thrombosis in a leg when I was in high school. No one wanted that clot to move to her heart or brain, so she stayed in a hospital bed for six weeks, almost motionless until the clot dissolved.
Then, just days ago, Kellye, a friend of mine who is my daughter Caroline's age, read my recent blog post about feeling over medicated for high blood pressure. She called for an update and we ended up talking about the relationships between and among high blood pressure, strokes, preclampsia, pre-term births and thryoid issues. All are conditions that run in my family and hers.
I developed preeclampsia preceding Caroline's birth. Caroline gave birth to Charlie almost a month early because of preeclampsia. Just days ago, my niece Laura was diagnosed with preeclampsia as she gave birth to Audrey Catherine, the newest member of our family.
Could we prevent or better manage these 'conditions' in our families, if we and our doctors shared ever more detailed intergenerational histories?
Back to elevated blood pressure readings. The nephrologist I visited late last week (on advice from my cardiologist) declared my kidneys in good shape, declared I am over-medicated and that 'folks my age' with average blood pressure readings between 130-140 are the new normal. If those numbers are my new normal, that is good news. I just need to move the meter down about ten points.
Now, I will turn my attention to stroke deterrence. Am I simply taking this blood thinner through the afib procedure healing process? Or forever? That is the newest question. I am ever wondering about Caroline's thyroid symptoms which remain untreated because...because she is in the 'normal range'?