I never thought I'd be a suspect for anything but in my recent visits to doctors, I have been labeled as a "hypertension suspect." Now, I think I am beginning to understand why people have singled out the age of 40 as the time when life begins.

Prior to my turning 40, my blood pressure was more or less stable. It was usually 110/70 or even 100/70. After I hit 40 though, or even slightly before I reached the magic age, my blood pressure started to slowly inch up and change.

Nurses warned me about being prehypertensive when they suddenly saw blood pressures of 130/80 or 130/90. Recently, I even reached the 140/90 level that my cardiologist wants to see me again in 6 months just so she can see how my blood pressure is.

So far, I have been advised to limit my salt intake and also to stay away from fatty food. Disciplining myself when it comes to food is quite difficult since it is really very enjoyable to eat.

Besides, one doctor-friend of mine mentioned that I am bound to be hypertensive too as both my parents are hypertensive. "Kung ano ang sakit ng mga magulang mo, yan din ang magiging sakit mo. Nasa ugat mo na yan." (Whatever sicknesses your parents may have had, those will be your sicknesses also. They run through your veins.)

Keeping that in mind, does it make good sense then to just throw caution to the wind, eat what you like, and subsequently, die happy? To each his own. We may eventually decide to be more careful with what we eat, in which case we should eat more fruit and vegetables and try to stay away from meat as much as possible.

I like to eat and with the doctor's suggestions as to what and what not to eat, I recall that I thought that the adjustments would take a lot of effort for them to materialize. I therefore warned my husband that he shouldn't mention what I can and cannot eat to which he retorted: "Naku, talagang hindi. Ma-high blood ka pa." (Really. I will not tell you what and what not to eat. Your blood pressure might just increase.)

Something is lost in the translation but that line in Filipino was really funny. But whatever language you speak, make sure that in everything you do, you will think of staying healthy and keeping your blood pressure in check.

[By Angelica Viloria | Tuesday, October 16, 2007]

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