MF 288 : How do physicals work while you’re self-isolating and monitoring your health
Today, I talk about monitoring your health, including your BP, while self-isolating. I also share what a telemedicine physical is like. More at www.bemovingforward.com.
Updates on PPP, sleep and books
Last week, I shared how the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), was depleted of funds and the application for my dad’s business was still pending. After the episode aired, Congress approved additional funds to re-up the program. Shortly after, we got an email from my dad’s business bank saying that his application would be rolled over once those additional funds were in place.
If you’re running a small business, it can be awfully confusing to sift through all of these programs especially with no time frame as to when they will be reviewed and approved or declined.
The best advice I can give you is to work with your accountant and / or business lawyer or advisor to figure out the best programs that fit with your business, understand the terms and conditions of each, apply as soon as possible and hope for the best.
In other news, I’m finally getting better sleep and I credit Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker (****) for helping me prioritize it by understanding better why it’s so important to our overall health and longevity.
Telemedicine – what does a physical look like in these times?
Last week, I also had my annual physical. Normally, this entails me going to my doctor’s office, waiting in the waiting room with magazines and meeting with my primary care physician who takes my metrics (BP, heart rate, etc.), discuss my overall health and then do blood work to get other important metrics.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, all of that changed. I got a text message a week and a half ago, notifying me that this year’s physical would be done via telemedicine, along with a link to a video chat with instructions to log-in 15 minutes before the appointed time.
Since my biggest ongoing medical concern is hypertension and my blood pressure (BP), I made sure to measure that at home with a home measuring device I have and get several measurements to provide an accurate overview of my BP health.
The appointment went well and my doctor, who is new to doing appointments via telemedicine did a great job as always. I was also pleased that they’re scheduling a part 2 sometime in the summer so that she can do a more in depth physical and complete the blood work.
For now, we’re all making adjustments to stay home and stay safe. It’s challenging to say the least.
Maintaining your health if you have hypertension while self-isolating
As mentioned above, I have high blood pressure. I’m one of those unusual cases in that it’s not tied to diet or lifestyle. Rather, it’s likely due to genetics. I’ve had hypertension since I was in my late teens and have been on medication since my college days and probably will be for the rest of my life.
I’m not a doctor or medical expert so let me add that disclaimer now. Below, I’m going to share how I monitor and manage my hypertension and keep my BP controlled. This will not necessarily work for you so if you have hypertension or any medical condition, consult with your primary care physician. It’s vital you follow your doctor’s recommendations and take any necessary medications as prescribed.
Sleep: I sound like a broken record but prioritizing sleep is one of the best ways you can manage your health and exercise self-care. Why We Sleep really gave me a better understanding of the connection between sleep and health, and some specifics on how this impacts BP.
Exercise: Normally, I get 1 hour of physical exercise a day, which consists of a mix of cardio and a cool down swim. Since the gym at my condo is closed, I use a treadmill or take a walk to for at least 30-40 minutes of cardio. I also add in some strength training and stretching. Be aware that exercise will raise your BP. This is normal so don’t measure your BP after because it will always be higher. Exercise is important for managing stress and keeping your heart in good working order.
Cooldown: For me, I have found the following cooldown routine to be really effective in combination with my BP medication in keeping my hypertension controlled:
A hot bath followed by shower: I hate baths but taking a hot bath for 20 minutes helps me relax and loosens my muscles. I also perspire and am able to decompress after a morning workout. From there, I take a quick shower to wash off.
Mediation: Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten back into meditation. I use the Calm app and do a 10-11 minute session, focusing on breathing. I regulate my breathing to a slow, steady 4 count inhale, hold, 4 count exhale. The Calm app is excellent. There’s both a paid and free version. The free version comes with some great sessions that are more than adequate for a morning meditation session.
BP measure: I find that the act of measuring my BP can actually raise my BP! It’s a number that I’ve had to struggle with so naturally, I feel stressful when I measure it or get it measured at the doctor’s office. To counter this, I listen to soothing music (lately, it’s been Coltrane: Amazon | Spotify) and close my eyes as I measure my BP.
I’m happy to say even during this pandemic and these stressful times, I’ve managed to keep my hypertension well controlled. For me, it’s about taking my medication daily, watching what I eat and creating routines that support a healthy life.
What I’m reading / read
The Mist by Stephen King (***): a novella about a father and son who get trapped inside a grocery store with a group of town folk as a strange mist covers the area, unleashing horrible predatory creatures. If you like horror, it’s a fun quarantine read.
Books by John
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