I am frequently confronted by friends and relatives telling me their blood pressure reading was high after doctor visit.  They often say,  “I never had high blood pressure!”

To me that’s like saying “I never was overweight”,  or “I never had wrinkles”.  The difference is age happens.

First of all blood pressure is not a constant.  It can change daily or hourly.  That is why if it is somewhat elevated when visiting the doctor they will retake the reading again at end of visit.  Blood Pressure reading is a tool used to know how hard your heart is working.  The top number, systolic, is your heart at work or pumping blood and the bottom number, diastolic, is your heat at rest or between beats.  Each number gives important information.  It is not uncommon for systolic readings to be affected by factors such as anxiety, coffee or exercise.

Picture a water hose.  A new hose will pump water freely and can withstand crimping it off in the middle and then letting go to resume free flow of water.  When the hose ages, it becomes more brittle and stiff.    A water hose that is stiff is not as pliable with a sudden gush of water rushing through, therefore, putting more pressure on the hose.  If hard water runs through it there may be some residue on the inside of the hose making water harder to pass through, much like a plaque buildup in your arteries.

Some factors affecting blood pressure are stress, diet, smoking and genetics.  Control stress by exercise and meditation,  watch your diet avoiding  fatty foods and those with high cholesterol.  Quit smoking or never begin smoking in the first place.  If overweight, try to lose a few pounds (not an easy task).

Good Health.





About a month ago I took a significant tumble.  I was feeling good, walking well, but wasn’t paying too much attention where I was walking.  Thus the tumble.

As one gets older we don’t have the quick reflexes we did during our younger days.  Our balance is off also.  So when I tripped I went down face first.   Luckily my eyeglasses actually offered some protection as I didn’t break my nose or take a hard bump to my head.  However, I was bleeding profusely from my nose.  Any head injury does cause considerable bleeding, which is disconcerting to those who are witness.  Although the couple who aided me will unlikely read this blog, I do want to thank them for their help.

I do want to pass on a few recommendations to those who fall and those who assist them. First of all do not be in a hurry to get up, sometimes an injury could be more involved and you need to assess yourself.  Did you lose consciousness, even momentarily?  Do you have any sharp pain, can you move all your extremities?  Is there immediate deep bruising, especially in your abdomen, this can signal internal bleeding.  Any deep gash or laceration causing profuse bleeding.  These are all signs of more severe injury and in need of medical intervention.

Now in my case none of the above applied except for copious bleeding from my nose.  If you get hit in the nose, there will be lots of bleeding.  Not necessary to make an immediate trip to the ER unless you happen to be on blood thinner medication.  When a person’s nose is bleeding, do not tilt the head back, this does not stop the bleeding but only redirects it down one’s throat.  Hold head straight and pinch just below bridge of nose, bleeding will slow and eventually stop.  At that time one can gently blow their nose as clots may have formed.

I was sore for at least two weeks.  Healing takes time, be good to yourself and don’t rush it.   Lesson  learned; I will stay focused on my surroundings and slow down.

Good Health




Exercise is not about losing weight, but rather keeping fit.  You probably heard the saying “use it or lose it”, well that is very true.

When we are young we can”t help but exercise by running, skipping, jumping, being involved with all kinds of sports and dancing.  As we get older we are not as nimble or flexible.  Our bodies protest by causing aches and pains, and calling to mind body parts we no longer take for granted.

When I was younger, I could clean my house from top to bottom in one day and still had energy in reserve for more interesting activities.  As the years crept up it began to take me two days to clean and then my more interesting activity was sitting in front of the T.V. rewarding myself with a good snack.

Yes, we all slow down as we age, but one must keep on moving.   One can get a lot of exercise just by doing household chores, exercise and a clean house.  For example, weight lifting, picking up a full hamper of dirty clothes and again lifting a laundry basket of clean clothes.  When folding your laundry try standing and bending down for each item to fold, (our mothers and grandmothers used to hang clothes out to dry using this same technique.   Emptying the dishwasher, stacking plates and moving them to cupboard.  I find putting my dishes where I have to reach up, lifting several plates at a time is not only lifting some weight but stretching at the same time.  Try placing some items you use everyday a little higher so you stretch to reach them.

Grocery shopping incorporates walking, reaching and lifting items onto belt, loading bags into car, unloading bags into car then unloading again at home.  Think of it as exercise.

Vacuuming, the push and pull of maneuvering he vacuum throughout the house, try changing hands every so often.  Sweeping, can be done with waist twists.

To spice it up a bit, put some lively music on so you keep beat with the music.

Think of your routine activities and how you might use your different muscles.  Remember as you get older you may slow down a bit but pace yourself and keep moving.  Every movement means something.

Good Health.



A friend and I were talking and she wondered why it took her doctor so long to tell her what her physical symptoms and complaints meant.  

I know it can be frustrating and worrying to not get answers, and having to play the waiting game.  Doctors do not have a magic ball, they must listen to complaints, gather lab results and other diagnostic tests then eliminate what they know it isn’t.

Similar to how a mechanic would diagnose your car troubles.  In fact the body is very much like a car.

Remember getting a brand new car.  The body shiny and sleek.  Hardly any miles on it.  Started quickly, ran smoothly and had many exciting miles to go.  As the car got older it might not have run as smoothly, or started quickly, sometimes stalled or had slow pick up.  But, the engine was still good, getting you where you wanted to go.

There were major and minor problems along the way and a good mechanic often could pinpoint the problem through diagnostics, elimination of what is not wrong, and perhaps replacing a few parts.

In both situations it is unsettling and worrisome as you don’t know what to expect or how it will effect you either physically or in your pocketbook.  Thoroughness takes time and a diagnosis will come.

You will usually get the same advice on both counts, “Give it good fuel and regular maintenance.”

Good Health 











 Fall is rapidly approaching and soon we will be seeing signs and reminders to get your flu shot.  This is certainly a good reminder and getting a flu shot is something I strongly recommend.  However, pharmacies will want you to get this shot as soon as possible, the end of August and beginning of September.   This is not the best time to get a flu shot.  Mid October through November is the best time to get your flu shot.  The flu usually starts after the Christmas holidays and generally peaks in February/March.  If you get your shot too early you may not be totally covered by vaccine at time when the flu peaks.

I have heard people saying, “I always get the flu after getting my shot.”  First of all the influenza shot contains the dead virus in a small amount to get your immune system prepared to fight off the flu virus.  There probably have been some people who did get the flu after shot, but they may be already  infected with the virus.  If you get the live vaccine, a nasal spray, well that could happen but it generally doesn’t if you are healthy at time of administration.

Fall also brings us all the fresh fruit and vegetables.   Most of us wash our fruit and vegetables before eating them.  This is just a reminder to wash fruit such as cantaloupe, and melons too.  Even though you do not eat the outer shell, a knife cutting through the fruit can and has contaminated the fruit inside.

Stay healthy, get your flu shot and wash your raw fruits and vegetables as well as your hands.



When a person gets a cut the wholeness of the skin is broken.  It doesn’t matter whether it is small or large, shallow or deep, your body’s defense has been broken.    That is why it is important to clean any wound thoroughly to prevent infection.                                                                                                                                      

Bleeding takes place, sometimes in copious amounts and other times a small smattering of blood, depending on the depth or severity of the cut.  If the cut is deep there is no immediate pain as nerve endings are severed also, the pain comes later when nerves not severed get the message to your brain.

If the edges of the wound are brought together and sutured or glued, there will still be a scar, but one barely visible and in time may be forgotten.  If, however, the wound is left open, a mesh work of blood and cells fill in the space and a scab begins to cover the wound.  This scab protects and the cut begins healing from the inside out.  The scab becomes hard and begins to shrink as healing takes place.

A scab is rarely left alone, however, and one starts picking at the edges and perhaps removes the whole scab.  Then bleeding starts over and the process of scab formation starts again.  When the healing is complete the scab will fall off, a white patch is in place of where the skin was, always a reminder of the past injury.

Emotional scars have the same anatomy.  A small or well approximated injury will leave a scar, but in time may be forgotten.  Wounds left open need time to fill in and protect.  Like a physical scab, it is often not left alone, opening up to rawness and bleeding and in need of a new scab.

If it is a deep wound, there may be no immediate feeling, but a numbness that takes time to feel the pain.  And when healing is complete and the scab falls away, there is a scar, always a reminder of past injury.,


Visiting your doctor

Visiting your doctor can be intimidating, especially if you feel there is something wrong.  You may have procrastinated about seeing your doctor, (no news is good news, right).

Having been an R.N. for thirty nine years I have witnessed anxiety and denial, both of which can add to your symptoms of something wrong.

Remember no one knows your body as well as you do.  Your doctor will rely on what you tell him/her, plus lab values and other diagnostic tools.  This is why it is important to tell your doctor exactly what you are feeling.  Describing pain as sharp, dull, achy or throbbing, as well as giving it a number on a scale of one to ten with ten being the most severe pain is most helpful.

If you have not felt well for awhile, keep a log of diet and activities that may precipitate discomfort.  This log could be kept while waiting for your scheduled doctor appointment.

Anything that you know is “just not right” is worth mentioning to your doctor.  It may be “I get a little short of breath lately after going up stairs”, or “I’ve noticed I have a some pain in my stomach and it goes away when I lie down” are just a few examples.

Of course, any emergency should be dealt with immediately by calling 911 or going directly to the ER.  

Have a healthy life.