Over the past couple of years I’ve written and published quite a few articles about natural methods to lower blood pressure. One article that has been very popular with my readers on my blog is “9 Steps to Lower Your Blood Pressure.” In this, as well as other articles about lowering blood pressure, I mention one of the most troublesome habits a human being can follow—smoking cigarettes.
Of course it isn’t just me that lists tobacco, and the nicotine it transports, as a contributing cause for hypertension. Many of the world’s leading health organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, American Heart Association, etc., all strongly suggest that if you are serious about keeping your blood pressure under control—you must quit smoking.
Easy for you to say, Bubba!
Actually it is not easy for me to say “quit smoking.” I have been saying it to myself for nearly 50 years… and with little hope of quitting. Yes, I have high blood pressure, having been diagnosed some 46 years ago. And there’s a very high probability that smoking contributed heavily to the problem.
Testimony of a long-time smoker
I have managed to keep my blood pressure under control for these many years, but I wasn’t using natural means to do it. I have been taking two medications that control my high blood pressure—but they will not cure it.
But now I am ready to begin paying more attention to what the Mayo Clinic and others have been trying to tell me… you see I did quit smoking! And I am already seeing the benefits in lower blood pressure readings.
I used to think it would take a bolt of lightning to get me to quit cigarettes. The truth is that what did happen to me may have been just as deadly.
My Near Death Experience
I’ve read several accounts from people who relate that they died and went to heaven—or were well on their way. A personal friend tells her story of how she was unconscious on the operating table when she found herself floating above the table and watching the doctors and nurses scurrying around in an attempt to revive her. Well… she did suddenly awaken and heard one of her attendants say, “We thought we had lost you.”
My near death experience was nothing at all like that. But I did come within a very short time of dying. It began as a urinary tract infection. It was a Saturday morning and my wife Margie drove me to the Emergency Room at Rex Hospital In Raleigh, NC. A nurse inserted a catheter into my urinary tract and the relief was instantaneous. I was given an antibiotic and a prescription for more—and was sent home.
I was exhausted from a sleepless night so I tried to take a nap. In about an hour I was awaken by chills that seemed to radiate through every part of my body. I was trembling all over and was having considerable difficulty breathing. I didn’t learn until the next day that my usually high blood pressure was down around 75/50.
Meanwhile… back in the ER
Back in the ER at Rex I heard one of the nurses mention the term “sepsis.” Another catheter was needed, but this time it was inserted into the jugular vein in my neck. The powerful jolt of drugs I needed to elevate my blood pressure back up to normal was pumped directly into my heart. An hour later I was sitting up in bed eating my dinner.
This condition is listed as “Septic Shock,” a condition with only a 40% survival rate. It occurs when an infection (bacteria) gets into the blood stream and the body’s immune system cuts loose with a vengeance in an effort to kill it. In the process the usual scenario is for internal organs to shut down. Apparently mine were on the verge of doing that.
The next couple of days were in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and one of the ER doctors told me that had we delayed any longer getting back to the hospital, I would have died at home.
Now if I could only have a cigarette
I spent from Saturday to Tuesday afternoon in the hospital. And at some point I realized that I really needed a cigarette. But that was not to be.
I had tried different methods to quit smoking over the years. At one point I went 10 full years without a smoke. This time a decided that I would try those nicotine lozenges. After going through two batches of them, I decided it was time to get off the nicotine all together.
No… it has not been easy. The septic shock left me in a much weakened physical and mental state and recovery has been slow. But I am determined to free myself from the clutches of tobacco once and for all. And you know what… I haven’t had a coughing fit in over a month. I am still taking my BP meds but plan to quit them after consulting my personal physician. Right now my normal blood pressure reading is averaging around 112/65.
I know this sounds kind of weird but I’m re-reading all the HBP articles I’ve written and am following my own advice and am making lifestyle changes in diet and exercise.
As I mentioned back in the beginning of this article, I maintain a blog that offers information and resources on a variety of topics. My blog is directed toward senior citizens and I offer a lot of updated, factual information on Health Matters. Please take a few moments to visit me at my other pages and posts, If you plan to quit smoking, I’m rootin’ for ya!