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Ask Dr. Gott 11/15

High blood pressure calls for home monitoring

DEAR DR. GOTT: My blood pressure has been under 150, and I am 59 years old. Recently, family stress due to illness, the holidays, getting fat, life, etc., all coming at once caused my blood pressure to rise to the 160 to 170 range. I went to the doctor, and he gave me some medicine and told me to come back in four weeks.
    I go to the neighborhood drug store and get my blood pressure checked often in their free machine. I check it two or three times, and, when I am relaxed, sometimes it is 142/90 or in that area.
    Why should I get my blood pressure taken when I am relaxed instead of when I am active, like walking or moving around? Wouldn't my normal blood pressure be somewhere between being a couch potato and walking briskly to come up with an average?
    I hope this makes sense.
    DEAR READER: Unfortunately, the automatic units in commercial establishments are not serviced or calibrated on a regular schedule; therefore, I discourage their use.
    You would be better off purchasing a do-it-yourself blood-pressure machine. They are easy to use and inexpensive.
    Your blood pressure is too high; it should not exceed 120/80. Of course, pressure varies depending on activity, stress and time of day. I recommend that you monitor your blood pressure at home at different times of day, then meet with your physician, show him your numbers, and consider any medication change. At this point, your pressure is borderline high. Your home readings may contradict that (which is good) and will help your family physician adjust the dose or change the medicine.
    In any case, you are now committed to blood-pressure monitoring. Congratulations. I, too, joined the club last year.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Hypertension."

   DEAR DR. GOTT: My husband and I drink most of our water from bottled water. Sometimes the smaller ones that you find in the grocery or from 5-gallon jugs that are delivered to our home.
    We have heard (but with no authority) that bottled water is highly toxic because of the leaching of the plastic container into the contents of the bottle. Could you please resolve this question?
    DEAR READER: Like any good physician, I have done some digging and found a very reliable resource from Johns Hopkins Hospital. Since 2004, the facility has been flooded with erroneous reports of carcinogenic hydrocarbons being released from heating or freezing plastics. Using such containers for food and/or water does not release carcinogens. Johns Hopkins does, however, note that plastic that is not heat resistant shouldn't be used in a microwave. Whenever you heat plastics, you increase the likelihood that chemicals will be released. Drinking unheated bottled water is entirely safe. In fact, bottled water is really no different from standard tap water ‚ except that it is wildly expensive and unnecessary.

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