Thursday, March 6, 2014

Five electrodes and two motion sensors


I picked up my sleep study equipment this morning, and was instructed in how to use it. So tonight I get a lovely night's sleep with a band around my chest, another one around my waist, five electrodes taped to various places around my head and neck, a motion sensor pad taped to each food, a sensor clipped onto one finger, and (most fun of all) little tubes up my nose! Everything plugs in to the box on the chest band, with all the cords taped down all over your body so they don't get tangled, and you're ready to go. How delightful.

The sleep doctor guy said that my sudden high blood pressure was quite usual with sleep apnoea. Also, obviously, the extreme tiredness and the restlessness at night. And my weird heart palpitations which I hadn't even mentioned to anybody because, well, I moan about my health so much and that just sounds so overly dramatic. A sort of fluttering in my chest combined with breathlessness, just for a few seconds. But he said that is such a common side effect of sleep apnoea that it is one of the main reasons doctors refer people for a sleep study! So, there you go.

After a bit of a dip in mood yesterday, during which I ate a Magnum chocolate-covered ice-cream (because, you know, that is how I deal with stress, I eat), I got a hold of myself. You know the best thing about having pre-diabetes, hypertension and (maybe) sleep apnoea? They can ALL be benefited by the same treatment of losing weight and exercising!

The Mayo Clinic has these 10 tips for dealing with hypertension (high blood pressure):

1. Lose weight. I'm on it. Restricting calories, plus see points 2 and 3.

2. Exercise. I've started with extra walking (On top of getting kids to school and getting around uni, which was still more than I had been doing in the holidays). 9783 steps so far, will make sure I get to 10,000. Today I walked around the university between a tutorial and going to the sleep clinic. I went up and down some unnecessary stairs as well. When half an hour of walking no longer leaves me sweaty and exhausted, I'll start adding in some jogging. I don't need to spent every second of the day studying.

3. Follow the DASH diet which is specifically designed for people with hypertension. I need to investigate it further, but it seems to be a real-food plant-based low-diet. I've had about 24 hours of eating healthy (healthier) so far, and I'll do some research on DASH and see if I need to tweak more.

4. Reduce sodium to 1500mg per day. Salt is a biggie for me. I love salty food and add salt to everything. I'm going cold turkey on added salt, there is enough in foods naturally for human health. I use lots of other spices anyway so I just have to deal with temporary seeming-blandness. I haven't had dinner yet, but I am up to 919mg of sodium already on my online tracker, probably mostly from the (wholegrain) bread I had at lunch and some dressing. Urg, wholegrain. Like pieces of rock in your food. But I'm dealing with it.

5. No more than one alcoholic drink per day. No problem. I have maybe two drinks a week.

6. No smoking. Easy.

7. Cut back on caffeine. I only drink tea, but I'm thinking I'll cut back from two to one cup per day. I suppose chocolate has caffeine too, but I'll be eating a lot less of that anyway, see points 1 and 3.

8. Reduce stress. Tricky one. What I am mostly stressed about is my health! Exercise is supposed to help.

9. Monitor blood pressure regularly. Ok, will do.

10. Get support from family and friends. No problem there.

I'm on it!

1 comment: