New Blood Pressure Guidelines

The American Heart Association has announced new blood pressure guidelines.

What does this mean for you?

Usually, when new guidelines for blood pressure are announced, what is really happening is that the bar is being lowered to make more people who were healthy a minute ago be hypertensive now.

I call it “The Patient-ification” of healthy Americans.

By the prior guidelines, you would be diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure) if you got readings (usually three consecutive, but I have heard of someone being handed a prescription for Norvasc after one high reading) of 140/90 or higher. Now the guidelines have dropped the range to allow doctors to diagnose you with hypertension if your blood pressure reading is higher than 130/80. Seriously, now “nearly half of American adults” will be considered to have high blood pressure.

*Please note: when you are having your blood pressure checked, make sure the correct size cuff for your arm is being used, or else you will get a false reading. Some people need the large adult size cuff rather than the standard size. Some adults actually need a pediatric cuff to get an accurate reading. Here is a video to demonstrate how to tell what size you need:

This means that the drug companies now have a brand new pool of people to which they can market their blood pressure medicines. 

Not interested in being medicated for your blood pressure? There is a list of ten things you can do to help yourself improve your  numbers from the MayoClinic.  These suggestions will give you some guidance about how you can begin to take control of the day-to-day decisions you make that may impact your blood pressure.

You won’t be surprised to learn that this list includes healthy eating, adequate exercise, reducing caffeine and sodium, and stress reduction. Oh, and could it be possible that you are still a smoker?

“So what, are you, like, the last member?” Quit smoking already!


The top five mistakes you’re making at the doctor’s office

I have been a nurse for a long time. I have seen a lot of heartbreaking things over the years, but none more heartbreaking than this:

A patient who has given her power away.

When you go to the hairdresser, do you suddenly forget your wants or needs, your values and what is important to you, and just do whatever the professional dictates? Of course not! It’s a two-way conversation where you express your concerns, your preferences, your expectations, and the professional collaborates with you to achieve the desired outcome. This is exactly what you should do with your primary care physician!

Do not hand over they reigns to your health to your physician. The have medical opinions and possibly expertise, but you are the expert on you. 

So what mistakes are you making at the doctor’s office?

  1. Not having all of your questions and concerns for your appointment written out in advance.
  2. Not asking why a test is being ordered and what you will do with the results it provides once you have them.
  3. Assuming that you must take the pill that is prescribed.
  4. Not asking if there is a less invasive option than a surgery to treat your health issue.
  5. Failing to realize that you may be able to help yourself resolve the problem through lifestyle changes, such as by reducing your stress, increasing your exercise, and eating better.

Remember that you are still in charge, even in the doctor’s office!

You are not a sheep (sorry, sheep).

You are an intelligent human being who knows herself better than anyone else. You may need help to discover what is causing your health issue, or advice about how to stay well in the face of a chronic health condition, but you always have the final say and choice about what treatment options you want to try and which ones you want to decline.

You have the power! Don’t give it away!


Happiness at the Saco River Market

jggreenthinking-jenniferNext time you go to the Saco Market in Biddeford, make sure you experience the therapeutic scents from Green Thinking.

I met Jennifer Greiner at the market when I overheard someone asking her about her ‘Grounded’ and ‘Happiness’ rollers and I went over to investigate. She invited me to try out some of the samples, and I had a hard time picking out a favorite. She suggested I put it on and wait a little while, sort of sit with it, until I was sure. This was a great strategy.

Jennifer makes the different blends herself, using doTERRA Essential Oils. I fell in love with the ‘Happiness’ blend and had to have it! I have been wearing it every day since. Her products are all natural and will be a nice addition to your wellness plan.

Two of her bestsellers are ‘Breathe’ and ‘Sleepy Time’. Stop by to see Jennifer at the market and ask for a sample! You can also check out her Facebook page for more information here: Green Thinking



For many years, I was fortunate enough to be part of a small group of women who practiced yoga together at the home of the instructor

Me and Kristen, photo by Bill Creamer

Me and Kristen, photo by Bill Creamer

(and my good friend) Kristen. We were together at least one day per week and we laughed, cried, supported each other, and cheered each other on to be, on any given day, the best we could be.

Then Kristen moved away. Our group disbanded. We were (and are) very sad about this. After many years of practice with my teacher, I was now a woman without a yoga class.
Recently,  I was blessed to be able to revisit the past.
Kristen came to Maine to visit for 2 weeks and was kind and generous enough to spend 3 of her mornings practicing yoga with us.
She also had a small pouch of stones with her. She asked us each to pull one. I pulled JOY.
Which I loved! And then promptly lost. As I looked through all of my (millions of) bags trying to find it, I realized that this whole episode is a metaphor for my life right now: looking for joy in all the wrong places.
I remembered that at the last Enlightenment Expo, I had a conversation with an Angel Intuitive who told me the Angel of Joy was with me because…wait for it…I didn’t have enough joy  in my life. And that was in APRIL! Note to self: Work harder on this!
Yoga at the Wells Harbor Gazebo was a good start.

Never break the chain

I am trying to get motivated and get moving again, now that it’s May. Notice I didn’t say ‘warming up’? Because it was in the 30’s last night, for goodness sake!
I have to get moving though, because when it was in the 70’s for 5 minutes back in April, I thought, hey, it’s time. The clothes are, you know, shrinking.
So here’s my tip (which I am borrowing from Jerry Seinfeld, which you already know if you follow my Metaphysical Nurse Facebook page): cross off every day that you complete your goal. For me right now, it’s exercise. Get yourself a string of x’s and you’ll see: you won’t want to miss a day because you won’t want to break the chain.

calendar 3 calendar 1
Feel free to decorate your calendar! I got mine free at the hairdresser that I go to. You can also find good ones cheap at The Dollar Store, and probably also Michael’s. Make it fun!


Going through the muck

Sometimes, when you start to feel like you’re coming down with something, there are things you can do to ward it off.

  • Rest more.
  • Get to the ocean and breathe the salt air.
  • Drink healing teas (I like Traditional Medicinals line, especially Throat Coat and Gypsy Cold Care, but watch out for sensitivities to ingredients) with some honey.
  • A teaspoon of honey by itself here and there can be helpful, too.

throat coat

But sometimes, despite your best efforts… you

Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it.
Gotta go through it. 

(From The “Going on a Lion Hunt” song)

In that case, break out the chicken soup. You can make your own, even if you are sick, pretty quickly and easily. Some chicken broth, leftover cooked chicken if you have it, pastina, carrots, a tablespoon or so of tomato paste, a clove of garlic (that you can leave whole and take out before you eat it).

You can do it.

And then get back on the couch.