Sunday, October 21, 2018

Fasting Blood Pressure

About six years ago, when I was drinking, smoking, slightly overweight and not getting enough exercise, my blood pressure reached 140/90. It came down during those periods when I had a dry January and once dropped much lower when Caroline and I were dancing to a Wii thingy for a month, but was still in the range now designated as pre-high blood pressure. My reading of it subsequently was intermittent – probably because I really did not want to know – but I do recollect it went up again when I went back on the booze and lack of exercise.

Stopping smoking brought it down a bit and, over the last five years as I’ve steadily given up booze and got a lot more exercise, it dropped further. However, it still stubbornly remained in the pre-high range. Usually it lingered around 130/80. This was despite going on frequent 7 mile walks and hitting the gym for 2 or 3 hours a week. 

About ten months ago I went to the doctor (worried about chest pains that turned out to be the result of a pulled muscle through weight training) and he checked my pressure. It was higher than the readings I got at home, but I noted that he had the wrong cuff for my size of arm. Also referring to my record and a cholesterol test I had many years before, he opined I was on the edge of problems, and suggested statins. I of course read up on statins and ignored his advice. I did not see the point of risking all sorts of unpleasant side effects for a microscopic, positive effect seen in highly-debateable and heavily-biased drug company clinical trials. 

Over last year I was still in that pre-high range, though venturing into ideal on occasion – normally the diastolic pressure what with readings like 125/75. At this point I told myself, oh well, I’m getting old so have to expect this. However, while fasting, my pressure started to come down more and more. Within about 3 weeks of two-day fasts each week (exercise continuing) both systolic and diastolic were venturing into the 'ideal' range. It is now, after seven weeks, firmly there with a reading of 117/69 this morning.

I'm feeling smug.

Note: After a recent conversation I am reminded that while I was suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, my doctor also wanted to put me on the SSRI anti-depressant Citalopram. This was utterly contraindicated because my problems were the result of a delayed grief effect I needed to push through. With that I also looked at the side effects, the trials and people’s experiences with the drug and decided fuck no. There you see it: if I’d meekly done as I was told I would probably be on anti-depressants and statins now, steadily in a decline that in fact can be delayed in a big way. ‘Consult your medical practitioner’ they tell us. We need to be thoroughly aware of the dangers of relying on doctors and their big pharma pushers. 


Jon Hayter said...

I'm pretty interested in this two-day fasting thing. Any suggestions on info resources? I spend my days at a keyboard too, and have some mechanical issues in my feet, so walking/running/hiking can be pretty painful. Looking for ways to help keep at a healthy weight, while I keep my exercise confined to stuff north of my ankles.

Just finished a re-read of The Owner trilogy too. I'm still surprised at how well one can empathize with Alan, even as he gets further and further divorced from his Humanity.

bascule said...

Your enthusiasm for vaping was what led me to give up smoking and get a vape, so after reading your fasting experiences I decided to give it a go.

I ended a 4 day fast last night, not the best fast ever, I still had a sweet coffee in the morning and indulged in alchohol in the evening. I ended it with a quite large cheese and bacon omelette, which I didn't really enjoy, I've just weighed myself and have lost 5lbs since monday which is probably mainly water, but really exciting nonetheless.

I'm still not hungry, I am thinking about going straight back to a fast. I've a few perishables in the fridge though so I'm going to eat those today and fast again tomorrow, for as long as feels right. My ketostix say I'm in the right area for good weight loss.

So, my question is, did you have any trouble getting your appetite back?

Neal Asher said...

Unknown, read up on Jason Fung and watch his videos. He's the one who seems to know the most about it.

Bascule, yes, appetite does come back but there will be a reduction overall because you are bringing insulin to a better level. This is a good thing. It is also the case that you must alternate. When you eat, eat well. Don't try to reduce your food intake all the time else you'll just be dieting and that'll reset your BMR to a lower level, which you don't want.