Coping: Seven Steps to Lower Blood Pressure Checks

More than a few readers have written with questions about how the visit to the doctor’s office went Monday.

Surprisingly well is the short answer.

The biggie is the blood pressure:  Down to 140/81.  Back at the August measurement it was 156/89.  And the improvement came despite putting back on a few pounds.  How?  Well, therein lies this morning’s tale…

(Continues below)


I have been researching the hell out of blood pressure and for me it came down to just some very simple things.

The First Step on any meaningful quest like this is to invest what you need for good instrumentation.

I know it sounds silly, obvious, simplistic and all, but I bet the majority of people who take blood pressure meds don’t religiously monitor their blood pressure.  Don’t be that guy!

For a whopping  $22, Amazon will deal you a Clinical Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor FDA Approved by Generation Guard with Large Screen Display Portable Case Irregular Heartbeat BP and Adjustable Wrist Cuff Perfect for Health Monitoring which is all you need.  Well, and batteries.

Over the past six years, or so, I’ve been using an assortment of monitors.  They are all pretty much the same.  On wrist, held at heart height, No crossing extremities – no idea why, but crossed legs raise BP.  Go figure.

KEY:  Use it.  Keep spare batteries around.  Or, get a rechargeable unit.  A blood pressure monitor is worthless if you are not using it a couple of times per day, as I see it.  But THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE.

I just like to measure my problems…

Second Step:  Make periodic measurements of your body’s response to exercise.  I built up a little spreadsheet which you can get ideas from…and as you will see, this dates back to 2014 when I got REAL serious about BP.

What I do is monthly, or so, I get on the treadmill and walk for 20 minutes at 2.5 MPH.  When I stop, I start measuring how the recovery to resting looks:

The goal is simple:  You capture your weight and date and the exercise parameters.

The first column is time:  Times are in minutes.  Time 0 is when you first get off your machine.

Column 2 is Systolic.  The high number.  Column 3 is Diastolic – the small number.  And your pulse figures into it, too as Column 4.

Column 5 (Pulse Pressure) is Systolic (in this sheet cell B4) MINUS tour Diastolic (B5).

Column 6 is Pulse Pressure, another calculation.  Systolic DIVBIDED BY Diastolic.

Column 7 looks blank.  Column 8 is  minutes past the hour when you start taking readings every 3 minutes.

So, in cell H4 let’s say my first measurement was at 27 minutes past the hour. Enter 27 here.  Subsequent rows just add 3 to whatever that time is and that’s when your next reading is taken.

You might not think you need this, but you will.  After a day or two of novelty factor, you’ll start answering emails, planning, making lists, returning phone calls and such.  Now, what time is my next reading?

OCD?  Oh…uh…a bit.  BUT it’s how I have been testing my BP.

Then go look at Vaughn’s summaries here.  Gives you some idea about what BP relations can look like.

While my 140/81 is no great shakes, do remember that I have 20-points of “white coat syndrome.”

When I wrote Monday’s column, the BP was 120/70.  After a lot day of work Monday it was down to 111/59.  Vaughn’s has a summary of systolic/diastolic pairs here that I use often:  My BP is quite variable.  With wheat and salt it runs on the high side.  Oatmeal for breakfast and fasting and suddenly three-days later it’s marginally low in the afternoon.

Your results will no doubt vary…there is just no substitute for real data and keeping food-reaction notes along with it.

Third Step:

I cut out regular table salt  I like salt as much as the next person, but the numbers off the readings told me I needed to drop it back so I went with Morton Lite Salt which is about half sodium chloride and half potassium  chloride.  This latter bumps up potassium a bit.  Make sure to get enough iodine…a lot of “PURE” salt doesn’t have it so I needed to make sure it’s bioavailable somewhere…Lite salt was a good, workable answer.

Step Four:

The coffee weaning has been a beast. Jeez…what I won’t do for a good cup.  But it’s now down to 1 cup per day (though I have a 9 OZ mug for the occasion).

Interesting side-story about coffee.  When I was recovering from my (left) eye surgery, I noticed that if I drank dcaf there was a white fog that was prevalent in the operative eye within a half hour.

Some odd allergy:? Not sure, but hypertonic saline (like Mura 128 which is OTC) clears it up.  Sometimes I get the same thing getting out of the shower:  Foggy operative eye.  One drop of salt saline and presto!  Fog gone in a couple of minutes.

After cutting out decaf  I went back to regular Folgers or Maxwell House, but still noted some “fogging” if I had >1.5 cups of bean-juice.  Don’t notice the effect with tea, though. Figure it’s something in coffee or the way it’s raised (chemmies).

Also, occasionally too much caffeine can lead to PVC’s…so coffee – while great – turns out to have its downside. No health issue – runs in the family.

Remember, this is MY experience and your mileage may vary…

Step Five:

Drink less alcohol.  Yep…into the 70th year, I’m down to 2 -measured shots at martini time.  And yes, that too, seems to have some effect on my eyes the next day.

More importantly, though, if I have three drinks, say, and an evening of playing in the studio and, well, whatever consenting adults (uh..TMI.) the MEASURED impact on blood pressure comes around 8 AM the next day  and it is statistically significant.

I never (or seldom) have hangovers, but gotta tell you, after recording the combined effects of coffee and alcohol’s after-effects. the breakdown of the alcohol into something or-other (my doc had the chemical name for), had to be seriously reduced.

There have been recent studies (my consigliere gleefully informed me) that say 2-drinks and slightly overweight people live longest and best.  Well, the cohort studied was age 90+, but if I make it that far….lol.

Current operating parameters for Ure’s chemistry set (the bag of skin I put food into so my soul has a place to perch) are two 1.5 ounce shots of whatever the mood is at martini time and 9 oz. of not particularly manly coffee the next morning.

Again, not advice, but you may find my occasional notes on aging useful.

Step 6:

There are a handful of herbs and spices and such that do seem to  have a serious impact on my body – and depending on how much chemistry experimenting you’re up for, you might try some of these (check with your doc or healthcare practitioner, though!)

Turmeric:  Pills.  Amazon. Good for circulation and reduces inflammation, or so it is alleged.

Vitamin D3:  Long term use before effects – two months.  Go look for YouTube videos on vitamin D3 – it’s magic.  Get the right kind.

Vitamin C:  A gram a day.  And that’s with the veggies and fruits.

Krill oil. Helps the good cholesterol levels.

And the Best?  ACV – apple cider vinegar pills.  I get the 350 MG with 25 mg of potassium in ’em.  (*Acetic acid in vinegar can leach potassium so keep tabs with your doc.)

Not only does it seem to level off blood sugar, but it reduces appetite and it’s a “home remedy” that MAY (allegedly,  reportedly) have some impact on things like gall stones, candida albicans, and digestion..

If you hit – the government health research website – you could get the idea that the Big Pharma people don’t quite know what to do with ACV.  See “Authenticating apple cider vinegar‘s home remedy claims: antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral properties and cytotoxicity aspect.

Vitamin D is in the same league.  In one YT Video a doc says “I talked to one researcher who said if Vitamin D wasn’t already public domain, we should invent and patent it – because its so much better than other choices...”  (Which we were left to assume were statins…)

IF you take D3, it takes fully two months for the effects to become apparent.  Leaning how to run your own cheminstry set (body) isn’t an overnight deal.

Eat Non Inflammating Foods

(‘zat a word?  Try inflaming.) This is something to be constantly tuning, but I’m not a doctor.  Pretend I didn’t say that.

It’s just that I figured (after we ran out DNA sequences) that knowing geographically where I’m from would be best-served by eating the kind of flora and fauna from those regions.  Reason for the DNA test?  Helps get me thinking about ratios of what from where.  Knew I was Danish and Scottish, but didn’t know I had some Irish…so toss in some Bushmills!

You see, wheat, for example, is not like the national crop of Scotland.  If I were of a DNA that spent more time on the steppes of Europe, it’s be a different deal.  But with the exception of oats and barleys, my DNA doesn’t look good for wheat.  Root veggies?  Bring ’em on.

When I want to drop 5-10 pounds in two weeks, all I have to do is go totally wheat-free.  See the book “Wheat Belly” on Amazon.

Point is that some foods naturally “like” your body type while others – not so much.  Vegetable soups with lots of root and winter vegetables (carrots, cabbage, and such) happen to really like my body.  Phenomenal.  Beet’s rock my DNA.

The other thing is fasting isn’t a bad approach, either.  My friend Jeff in the local ham club has been doing the alternate day fasting diet and reports great results.

Under previous conditions,  (meaning before working out the inflammation-reductions) whenever I fasted in the past, the results would be “shaky irritability.”  But, with apple cider vinegar, the turmeric and so forth, the absence of food is less about collapsing blood-sugar sending panic notes to the brain.

Instead, the brain receives a polite memo along the lines of “Been on the losing side of a knife fight and get your throat cut and didn’t tell us down here?  You can send food along any ol’ time now…”  But not shaky.

Spend some time working of the glycemic index of foods to get an idea as to what pops right into blood sugars (from which crashes follow) versus the unprocessed, slow to convert complex natural foods.

Fermented is good, too.  Things like kefir (half-cousin of buttermilk) and sauerkraut.  Kim chi for the brave, too.  But in any of those fermented cabbages, I can only tolerate those made with no sodium bisulfate.  Sulfites = BAD for me.

Other people I know are allergic to any kind of sulfites (sadly, the ones in red wine, too) and I get the onset of breathing/asthma from ’em.  Rum good…

Again, your body is (as religious philosophers have insisted) the “temple for the soul.”  It has taken a surprising amount of detailed observation, but not  that many tweaks, to transform mine from what was “marginal low-income housing” to an “OK upscale condo for the soul.”

You watch:  Like any other property, I’ll just get it cleaned up and the tenant will move on….(that’s a joke – I hope!)

Wrapping up my report back from the doc visit.  They will have my “extra tests” along shortly.

WHAT?  Extra tests?

Because my eyes are presenting some corneal vascularization, the eye team (my March healthcare adventure) wanted me to have syphilis and Lyme disease tests run.

Syphilis? Lyme? In case you forgot, we did run goats here at the ranch (33 of em at one point) and goats that did get occasional abscesses and (not to gross you out) we had to treat them.  What was it?  Likely not the syph, but then again, this is how doctor’s play the Great Game of Rule-Out…    You have watch House, right?

And Lyme disease?  “Ever have a tick bite?” the doctor asked me in all sincerity.   “In East Teas…on a tree farm…you’re joking, right?”  That was before the golf course work, too…

I don’t expect to have either, but professionals in medicine leave no stone unturned.  Especially when I’m paying for the heavy equipment to turn the stones.

95% (or better) odds it’s just the damn allergies expressing (like with the cataracts), but tough questions come from good doctors…

I’m not interested in 5 percent blind, so test away.  Had one run-in with the blind option last year  and that was plenty, thank you.

Go work with your doctor.  Elaine, who hasn’t had a physical in 50-years and only goes to healthcare specialists on demand (like to remove a mole, or something) thinks I’m nuts.  She like home remedies and the Internet.

But healthcare is a complicated business.  I don’t look at it so much are paying for expertise.  I look at the visits as a way to offload concerns because THEY, not I, should worry about the detail level.

Elaine can spend countless hours of online health research because that’s what works for here. I don’t want to use my time that way.  Instead, I go to the doc with data and a list.  Delegate and project track – next blood work in July.  For me, it works.

It’s all just another rhyme off Frederick Winslow Taylor:

“What get’s measured, gets done.”

Write when you get rich,


Coping: Seven Steps to Lower Blood Pressure Checks — 40 Comments

  1. One suggestion to go along with the need to take medications that are hard on the organs,you might add a dose of SAM-E. This will help organs like the liver and kidneys,ect. to digest meds. I read before on your site that prednisone was mentioned. This medicine is one that side effects are very hard on the liver and kidneys. As we get older meds are a lot harder on our organs. We need all the help we can get. SAM-E is also great for animals on hard meds. The older I get,the more sense “Growing old ain’t for chickens” makes. It is for the brave. I wish all well and good health. I am grateful to You,your site and all who help me keep healthy with all the great info.Not to mention the wealth of other info.

  2. You guys all have some great ideas, so I thought I would chime in with my regimen. I like herbs, turmeric (inflammation), milk thistle (good for the liver), bilberry (eyes, maybe, but I do have good night vision), Saw grass palmetto and nettle leaf (I pee easy). I eat walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and mostly gluten free, but have cheat days with sprouted wheat bread….aww hell, pizza too and a great crusty Italian bread. A lot of vegetables and greens. I make an awesome lentil soup with mushrooms and add a homemade red sauce, not from a can, I dislike BPA. Wild salmon and free range poultry and grass fed beef. I make my own red wine, no sulfites. Not on any meds at 66, BP checked everyday, usually under 120/80. Exercise everyday. I work at a standing desk with music in the background, but when the Supremes come on I have to stop working, I’m a sucker for Motown.

    • “I’m a sucker for Motown.”

      Me too. Old school was the best.

      Pop music went to hell when rewarding mediocrity became the norm beginning in the 90s. The everybody’s a winner belief had good intentions, but its not how nature works.

  3. Hi George,

    I’m totally with Elaine! If it ain’t broke, don’t go looking for trouble. Definitely know Ure body well, and know that some things can’t be delegated. I would love to hire a “perfessional” to find me the ideal girl, make her love me forever, and then have her show up at the door to move in. That won’t happen, so I must do it myself, albeit badly.

    In the same vein, you and only you know how you feel and every subtle change in your body. You can determine what tests(if any) are justified. Consulting with others is legitimate, but never blindly following their advice. Nobody will care about you as much as you(and Elaine). Along with your compulsive spreadsheeting, you can keep a journal of each day, along with details of what you did and how you felt. It may be less precise yet far more informative. I last saw an MD many years ago for a flight physical and have sworn off them completely. This, after studying medicine myself. The studies were a poor use of time, since I could have learned the essence of what I did far more quickly on my own, but I was young and naive. Organized medicine, like organized law, is best kept available for the most dire events, and best avoided otherwise. It’s like having a 12 gauge needle constantly bleeding your wallet, time, emotional energy, and body.

    Since we’re all terminal, we might as well take our chances while we can. We get to try anything that’s legal or otherwise available. We also get to deal with the consequences. Just my opinion, FWIW.

  4. I added niagen and pterostilbene to my routine this week. The biggest, fastest change I’ve noticed with any supplement is when I added KI several years back (I’ve been no-salt for years. 31mg KI was like popping a bennie until my thyroid recovered, now I take one every 4 days.) Hearty second on the Mg, like Riboflavin and cyanocobalamin (and Q-10 after age 55) they’re things in which virtually every North American is mildly deficient.

    As for the plumbing, I take niacin and vitamin C (the real stuffs), choline, and turmeric, daily, and eat a couple eggs (over easy, poached soft, or 1-minute, please) whenever I get the chance. (IMO and NOT medical advise): Liquid egg yolk is high in choline and will lower LDL. The more it’s cooked, the more choline is destroyed. Solid yolk will raise LDL.

    (Anecdotal, pure non-medical comment follows): Note on electrolytes: sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium are synergistic to a degree and HAVE to be in-balance for each person’s individual system. An overload of any one will cause a deficiency in the other three. In the past 10 years I’ve thrice allowed my ‘lytes to get out of balance, and I assure all, the resultant sudden muscle cramps are strikingly lacking in pleasure.

  5. Oh, and stay away from coffee. In the TCM material these days, they are seeing high links to pancreatic cancer in heavy coffee drinkers. It’s about the extreme coldness that it brings to the body. Think about it. Where does coffee grow? In super hot climates, where the inner body of the people there get very hot and need to be cooled by chewing a few beans. We northerners never get that hot so bringing extreme coldness to the body of people in cold climates is not good.

    And its not about the temperature of the served beverages but about the property of the actual food. Warm, hot, cooling, cold, damp, etc. Western medicine is really in the dark about the basic functionality of the human body, and it is easy to see why it is always the 3rd leading cause of death.

  6. A few tips I’ve learned from my TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) doctor wife:
    BP: The ear in their system is representative of the entire body. Giving a thorough massage to each ear, at least 5 minutes, has significantly reduced my BP. And it has ZERO side effects, in comparison to the Pharma Industrial Complex stuff. Remember, every drug you take (alcohol, caffeine, Pharma) has to be broken down by the liver leading to its ongoing toxification.

    Again, in TCM, the energetics of the eye are tied to the liver, so any toxification of the liver will lead to eye issues.

    Another tool I use to help keep everything calm and healthy is the little Emwave device which has to do with increasing `coherence’ in the breathing and heart sync.

    Good luck!


    • John, can you please enlighten us on the “little EM wave device”? It sounds fascinating, and is probably a rather simple device to construct, if we knew the circuit and/or the inputs and desired outputs.

  7. I totally remember ure goats. Lmao! I need to get my ass in gear back to the gym and get back on my diet. I like how it makes me feel more than anything.

  8. I’m with Elaine…I may go to the doctor to get a “diagnosis”, but I’ll take care of what to do about it myself, since all the dr. can do is prescribe a pill. I like how you make yourself a study case, though George, and how you keep the data. I think that is important no matter what route a person decides to take.

  9. I’ve been drinking beet juice 6 oz. with 1 lemon juiced and added for taste and its own health benefits. You need a good juicer i.e.. one with a heavy motor as their tough to juice. With one glass each am my BP is always good. I have cut the ace inhibitor dose in half from Ramipril 10 to 5 mg. and may soon stop the 5mg. At 67 and 15% overweight after 3 months of “beeting it” my BP is 110/60 generally. I was always 140 or more over 90 something before.

  10. My now 93yo mother spent ~20 years with doctors prescribing one BP med or another attempting to get it to stop peaking in the 200+/90+ range every evening with heart paplatations.
    3 meds wouldn’t touch it. Then I read Death by Calcium and stopped her prescribed calcium supplements.
    Couldn’t get off the BP Meds fast enough! Going on 2 years now and her BP this morning was 109/59 pulse 65, and it only rises about 10 point by evening.
    So much for delegating your health to “professionals”!

  11. Forgot to mention, there seems to be some good info on Tocotrienols when you google it.

  12. You mentioned Vitamin D. About 8 mo ago a health letter from a Doc I subscribe to put out a letter on Tocotrienols vs D3. Then shortly thereafter read about a study in Romania (i think) They marked off a space on about 40 peoples scalp and counted the hairs. Six mo later no change but one year later of taking the Tocotrienols they had a 38% improvement in hair count except one person had a scalp problem of some sort. I havent counted my hairs yet but seem to be getting a little filling. I have been buying on internet as vitamin shops dont carry here in Abq.

  13. Maybe I’m just weird (sure many people think so), but…
    I have always had good blood pressure – 115/72- until I discovered coconut oil. I bought a large container, loved the taste (coconut taste-not the ultra processed stuff). Maybe I ate too much, but I BP was all the sudden always above 140/8X, sometimes 15X/8X. Doc was talking about medication (of course). I didn’t connect it with the coconut oil, but when I stopped eating it (sob), my BP is back down to 116/7X.

    BUT, I also have to watch the eggs since it’ll do the same thing. When my doc ready to prescribe lipitor, I said that I wanted to try changing my diet first and was immediately told that “dietary cholesterol” doesn’t have anything to do with the blood cholesterol. I cleaned up my diet, 6 months later, he exclaimed “This is great! I don’t know what you’re doing, but your numbers are good.”

  14. Red wine. God, I love red wine…

    I have A-fib, and the “ticker doc” was unhappy with by “sun is over the yardarm daily ritualistic glass (or two.) But, he relented, grudgingly, and allowed as how it was OK — finally.

    EVERY bottle of red I’ve EVER picked up says on it, “contains sulfites.” Two things about this. Apparently some sulfites (sulfur) are natural to the wine, and some is added by the vintner as a preservative. Different houses add different amounts.

    A high content gives me “nose.” Stuffs me up like a pollen allergy. A lower content, not so much, or not at all. Chianti, as a class, seems to do it the least. Good thing I like it. Try different brands, and you’ll find some are better than others.

    Then, there’s the resveratrol thing. Lotta opinions that clash. I’ve convinced that it’s not a bad thing, and is probably a very good thing.

    So, I have my yardarm glass (or two) and the doctor can go pound sand. I’m doing pretty well in the weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol departments for a card-carrying olde bastarde, so… Fine…

  15. High blood pressure lowers significantly after drinking tart montmorency cherry juice. … Drinking tart Montmorency cherry juice significantly reduces high blood pressure at a level comparable to that achieved by medication, according to new research from Northumbria University, Newcastle.May 5, 2016

    • I’d be curious which ones Sodium and potassium both being required for good electrolytes

      • — lower in sodium, lots of flavor, not stripped of minerals and baked to an unnatural form (or so some say of processed salt).

      • Hi George,
        Generally speaking that would be amiloride, spironolactone or eplerenone. These drugs cause your body to retain potassium, and are known as ‘potassium-sparing diuretics.’ Other diuretics (such as hydrochlorothiazide) cause you to lose potassium–

        These drugs do this by interfering with your kidneys’ potassium- and sodium-management functions. So if you are not taking them, and your kidney function is good, you are probably OK with the lite salt.

        Best to ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are on any potassium-sparing drugs. If not, its likely you are good to go.

      • George,
        Lisinopril is one of the b/p meds that causes the body to retain potassium. So adding potassium by using light salt is contra indicated. Mystery readers know potassium as a favored poison. Looks like a heart attack and does not show up on a tox screen.

      • I’ll second the problem with Liciniprel (spelling, ugh!) – I get hives, and swelling in my face and ended up in the hospital!

  16. Thank you George, we are on nearly identical paths and haploid groups. But (always a butt), you should add a supplemental k/k2 to that daily regime. Can’t remember where I got it, but there was a large meta study that measured D, K, and magnesium of those released from ICU. Those who walked out had high amounts of each while those wheeled out on the slab in almost 100% of instances were at zero.
    Regarding the viruses, I thought you took daily doses of colloidal silver which should keep control of those bad boys. Easy to make and extremely effective!

    • Good points – I haven’t been tacking k2 but have it – thanks for the reminder!
      On the colloidal silver, no, only in extreme cases. NOT going in my daily regimen.

    • I have used colloidal silver sparingly also. In fact I have a rig complete with a precision power supply to make it. I only use it when an infection like a boil or other bacteria caused problem appears. I know a fellow in my area that uses it daily and he has white/silver colored skin from it. That is not reversable! You can buy it or make it. The best of it has extremely small particle size. Something that is in the microscopic or nano size if possible. Remember, use it in emergencies only!!

  17. Health? I am with Elaine on health. My Doc sadly confessed that they no longer diagnose, just prescribe. So, watch what you eat and drink as your physical is a result of what you eat and think. In celebration of Elaine and I being on a similar wave length, so to speak, tonight I will have a sip of rum and a cigar (puffing not inhaling). Life is good approaching 75.

  18. I’ll bet the number one cause of high blood pressure is a lack of Magnesium, or low levels. Took me down from super high BP, irregular heart beat, depression to absolutely normal.. My son was advised to see a heart specialist for his high BP. In the three weeks prior to the visit, I made him take 800 mg of Magnesium Chloride every day when he came by.. They took his BP and asked him why he was there…Absolutely normal.. The ticks, invite possums to your area.. They eat the hell out of ticks. Being “psychic” (this time a joke, but have had experiences that amaze even me)Your last two silver coins were a Mountain Man, and one from Canada with the Queen on it. So incase you didn’t realize it, you both were covered.. Get the G*d Damn Magnesium chloride. And thanks for the Acetic Acid and potassium removal bit.. I am looking to replace my ” water pills” in the event they are no longer available

      • what if I tell you if you do the day on and 2 days off alcohol regimen your wife will get jealous because almost overnight you start to look 10 years younger.fasting has marvelous benefits .C,mirror, mirror,..,lol