On being diagnosed with hypertension at 37!

We all joke about our blood pressure skyrocketing from time-to-time, like when the kids stuff play dough up their honker and end up in A&E.

It’s not quite as amusing when you’re told you have hypertension stage 1 a little too early in life and are sent for a gazillion tests to check for secondary causes.

Despite my fake assurances I’d get in tip-top shape, stop drinking, reduce my caffeine intake and start yoga and pilfartes, my GP told me none of that would help reduce my blood pressure enough.

Even when I suggested I adopt out the kids, stop working and send myself on a world tour to reduce my stress to zero he still gave me a glassy-eyed ‘you’re not funny look’. Shame that, as I was looking forward to jetting off across the globe.

In my case having high blood pressure is a bit like big boobs, you’ve either got em’ or you don’t and that’s your lot. Sure you can find ways to adjust them up or down but the fact still remains.

I’m not going to lie, I did have a wee poor me moment in the car as I booked 4 tests for various other secondary causes but then I dragged my silly billy self together and realised how fortunate I was in that I wasn’t facing a potentially terminal illness. Well not yet, maybe just a few serious health complications.

Did you know high blood pressure is a silent killer? I did, as my dad has had it for as long as I can remember. It was always fun using his BP monitor to squeeze the bejesus out of my friend’s arms.

So how did they find out I had proper ridgey didge hypertension? Well every BP reading I’ve had since the birth of my youngest has been high and after my recent operation it was still up despite the fact I was high as a rainbow-coloured-unicorn kite on endone.

My astute GP thought it wise I have a 24-hour monitor attached to get an accurate reading.

BP monitor fitted

Making jokes with the mean woman fitting my blood pressure machine!

Delightful it wasn’t, noisy and hard to sleep with it was. Mind you it sure was fascinating because even when I had been lying on my fat bum on the bed for 1.5 hours watching TV it was still 152/112 – for some that’ll mean nothing, for others, you’ll be wishing you were nicer to me when we last met. #stroke #heartattack #notreally.

My 24-hour reading was 136/97.

Some blood pressure facts if you’re interested – if not scroll down:

  • A perfect, ‘I’m shit hot and you’re not’ reading is 120/80.
  • The top number is called systolic and the bottom is diastolic.
  • When your ticker beats it contracts and pushes blood through the arteries and this creates pressure on them, this is called systolic blood pressure.
  • The diastolic blood pressure indicates the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.
  • Pre-hypertension is 120-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic.
  • Stage 1 high blood pressure (hypertension) is 140-159 systolic or 90-99 diastolic.
  • Stage 2 high blood pressure (hypertension) is 160 or higher systolic or 100 or higher diastolic. GET HELP NOW and no more pies.
  • Hypertensive crisis (a medical emergency) is when blood pressure is above 180 systolic or above 110 diastolic and you’re in DEEP SHIT.

Just chilling at my desk with high blood pressure.

So the kicker is, it’s okay if the top number is high every now and then but the bottom number is the evil dude that must be knocked down at all costs or he’ll cause MAJOR long-term problems. Cue a VERY boring healthy lifestyle and blood pressure pills.

But my thorough GP can’t prescribe pills until he’s ruled out any other nasties that are causing a relatively spritely and portly but not obese 37-year-old to have hypertension. I can’t stress enough (get it?) that you don’t just get high BP because you’re prone to stress, although it doesn’t help.

Some of us are just lucky I guess. I just wish my GP was as concerned about all the wrinkles and grey hair that I have at such a young age.

I promise not to turn into a boring, I’m so sick all the time blogger, but it’s a big part of my life just now so if a post about one of the 5 medical tests I must have rears its head from time-to-time then you’ll just have to suck it up princess and know I won’t bore you too much. Something funny always happens when you have to wee in a bucket for 24 hours or have an X-ray right?

The whole process might also be interesting for others going through it.

Do you have high blood pressure? Are you medicated? Tell me ALL THE THINGS?

Or maybe you don’t even know what blood pressure is – good for you probably don’t even need to!


  1. It’s interesting to me cos I was sent for lots of tests a couple of years ago although I never had the monitor. I have a feeling mine goes up dramatically when I’m at the doctor because I’m terrified when they take it. Don’t ask me why. I bought a machine for home and even when I take it myself the first time it’s high. When I relax or take it if I’m half asleep it’s normal. Hypochondriac I am. I knew a very fit, slim lady who was on BP medication from her mid thirties. She inherited it from her mother. It’s really good that they’re on to it so early Em. You’ll be fine 🙂

  2. I love the way you write Emily! No matter what it’s about it’s always done with heart, honesty and a splash of humour – exhibit A ” pilfartes ” – you are a crack up.

    I sure hope that answers come to the fore front for you quickly! Xx

  3. Welcome to my world . Diagnosed at 23 while trying to get contraception post wedding .
    Now aged 58 , I exercise fanatically 5-6 times a week , active outdoor lifestyle . No junk food , healthy weight . Still on BP medication and when I’m stressed it stillblows !
    It’s the genetic lottery that I didn’t put in for ?

    • Gosh that’s an eye opener Di, thanks for sharing your experience. Must get my fitness back to start with I suppose – I will miss treats! x

      • I’m new to your blog. Quite loving it. I can’t move on from here though without letting you in on some super healthy recipes cavorting about as hardcore treats. It just wouldn’t be fair.
        Chocolate mousse (that really tastes like chocolate mousse, not your frozen banana rubbish):
        150g cashews blitzed in a blender until they resemble bread crumbs
        Add 350g ice cubes and blitz until they also look like bread crumbs
        Add 20-30 grams of raw cacao (yes, it must be cacao, not cocoa as that’s sweetened)
        Add 120g of medjool dates
        Add half to one avocado and a tablespoon of rice malt syrup. Blitz until smooth. Eat straight away for mousse, or freeze it for icecream.

        This came from raw food blogger (unfortunately I can’t remember which) and I might have added a little extra sweetness with the rice malt syrup and extra dates. Have a go. It’s truly awesome and healthy.

    • If you dont mind me asking, what was your average blood pressure at 25 when you were diagnosed?

  4. Cat Jones says:

    What a bummer! Yay for your GP who seems to be on-to-it and hopefully the tests don’t show anything more serious. And BP stands for so many other things like Bestest Person/ Beautiful person/ Brilliantly popular….. and at least you still find the ability to write funny things – even in the midst of an unfunny situation 🙂 Love ya lots x

  5. not so good news hun!
    I gave up the booze! … all good!
    healthy eating is a good thing too!
    pilfartes! well that’s another matter!;
    all the best hun!
    only got one chance at it, so might as well do the most we can!
    love m:)X

  6. Love your question ‘are you medicated?’ I’m laughing at that one right now…yep, LOTS of tablets being swallowed every day over here! Trying my hardest not to go blind in my left eye atm while my insides do all sorts of weird things but the one thing that’s always kind to me is my blood pressure. I hope yours gets sorted soon. Nothing worse than having the unknown hanging over your head x

  7. Yep! Did all that in my early 30s after slightly elevated BP continued after 2nd child was born. It’s in my family. There were no reasons (I am fat but that’s not a contributor) so it’s called essential hypertension. Been on meds since then. I’m 65 and going really well. Time to be grateful for modern medicine! I’m cool with that, you?

  8. Mate. I’m sad to read this.
    Glad you’re in good hands though.
    Wish I could trade you a little of my low blood pressure.
    A x

  9. Elesha burkart says:

    I was diagnosed at 23 (I’m now 39) and had the seemingly millions of tests done and found no other issues, also no family history either, then i was 20kg lighter and fitter and my bp is no different now. It was only noticed when my wisdom teeth were removed.
    Eventually i was given medication and its been well controlled since. Aside from pregnancy where it was up and down and no fun ?

  10. Ah Em so sorry! You’ve taught me a whole lot about BP in this post! Your GP sounds great. Hope you can get it sorted/managed asap! Xx

  11. Yes I have high blood pressure too 157/100 before being placed on medication which has reduced it somewhat. Unfortunately mine runs in the family so its back to lean chicken and salad for me and some more regular exercise.

  12. Gosh, I hope they are able to find out why your blood pressure is high. So many of my fave bloggers aren’t having a great time with their health. I hope you can get some answers and if not… hope the changes won’t be too hard to do. xxx

  13. Ah, genetics sucks, right? Good to know what to lookout for though and be onto it, I guess. Hope it’s all clarified soon. And you say, gee parents, thanks for this. I’m adopted so I get hit with surprises. There I was doing the right thing, cut out sugar, not drinking, giving blood … until the blood bank didn’t want my blood. Great. So I’m anaemic. I had thought my six year old had succeeded in wearing me down to exhaustion, but no, it is the bloody blood! Here’s to us both finding the (best) answers as to ‘why’. And to reading your journey without laughing too much at your expense. Pilfartes. Ha! xx

  14. Totally get your fears & your bargaining!! I’m 34 & have been medicated for high BP for about 3 years now. Been in emergency 4 times over that period, my worst time by far was when my BP was 210/120. They couldn’t believe I’d walked in (I really wasn’t feeling well)…..and I still consider myself incredibly lucky to survive that episode. High BP shouldn’t be messed with!! I’m glad you’re on it 🙂

  15. Eek, that’s not good. and no fun either. I seem to get hypertensive when pregnant, currently on meds to control it during my second pregnancy, Seeing the specialist to find out why a 35 year old is having issues, i’m sure ‘ll be getting all the fun test after bubs is born.
    I’m sure my BP is perfect when not pregnant, but being obese, i don’t think the doc believes me, as i don’t get it tested often. Just have to wait and see. Hope you get some answers, and take a holiday anyway 🙂

  16. Dave has had high blood pressure since he was 17. They first discovered it when he went to join the gym and he wasn’t allowed to join until he got clearance from the doctor. This led to extensive tests that failed to find the cause, and he’s been on blood pressure medication ever since (he’s almost 35 now). Every 5 or so years, or whenever he gets a new doctor they insist on doing every test under the sun to see if they can find the cause but none ever have. They always eventually put it down to genetics, both his father and grandfather had high blood pressure from a young age too. Even at his fittest, while taking the pills it can still run a little high which shits him no end!

    I guess it’s kind of like me with high cholesterol. It runs in my family and it doesn’t matter what we do, it’s always higher than a normal persons. Funnily enough I’ve always had perfect blood pressure, even when pregnant, except with Zee I had abnormally low blood pressure towards the end which gave me lovely dizzy spells even when lying down! The day I was admitted to be induced it was 98/40! They never found a reason but thankfully it didn’t cause too many issues.

    Hopefully they can figure what is causing yours and it’s something you can get control of, it’s no fun to have unexplained medical stuff going on.

  17. Oh that sucks:-( Blood pressure’s ok in our family. It’s cholesterol I have to look out for. Ah, the joys. I hope they rule out everything else out quickly and that the meds work well and you don’t have any nasty side effects x

  18. Oh lovely, you poor thing! That must have been really stressful to find that out. Still I’m glad the doctors and you are on top of it to keep you fighting fit and that nasty blood pressure down. Take care and look after you xx

  19. My doctor only put me on medication when I was trying to get pregnant when I was in my early 40s but my BP had been high for years (like… the bottom reading over 100 most times). I’d usually promise to try to lose weight and we’d leave it.

    I think my highest has been 198/120-something and that freaked her out a little, but I’d run out of my medication and hadn’t taken anything for a week or so.

    My mum had high BP and my brother’s is apparently scary-high (and has caused some issue for his heart) so I really should be more careful. (Though I’m pretty good now at taking my medication each day!) 🙂

    Glad your doctor’s onto this though to reduce any chance of anything worse etc…


  20. Radmila Dyson says:

    Finding out l had high blood pressure at 39 shocked me completely! GP put me on a 24 hour blood pressure monitor in Dec 2014 and it showed my highest readings were 180/100 and lowest were 150/90. He put me on medication straight away. He also sent me off for every test he could think of to rule out that anything was causing my high blood pressure but found nothing so told it was genetic. I was so convinced that this must be wrong that l asked him to redo the 24hr monitor in July 2015 to double check. Sadly it came back 145/85 on medication. Just a coincidence that a week later a girlfriend and l took a bet of who could last the longest to not eat sugar as a diet incentive to loose a few kg. I am 70kg 167cm tall. After not eating sugar for 5 days l woke and as l was getting the kids breakfast ready when l told my husband l felt terrible and thought l was going to faint. I took out my blood pressure monitor and the reading came up 91/46! Rang the Dr and he had me come in straight away. Took me off medication and went back weekly for a month to check it. I have not eaten sugar since or taken medication since. My average reading is 115/75 now. Sorry long comment but l wanted to get this out to tell someone as l am frustrated that this might work for other people and no one knows! Yes it could be just me but imagine if it was as simple as this for everyone. Mind you my Dr does not think blood sugar is food related. But for me this worked!

    • My goodness this is very interesting – I’ve been looking a my dietary arrangements and might do a no sugar test – will be hard I’m sure – but it might be interesting to see how things go. Glad to hear you’re off medication. Emily

  21. sharron says:

    I am 37 and was diagnosed last week, 185/111 I am overweight and like a little gin but this has seriously freaked me out. I have been put on rampril 2mg daily. However, this hasn’t brought my bp down. I suppose not been on them long enough. I have stopped smoking and changed my diet and now exexcise walk doggies as much as I can. Thing is I am a worrier and now am I worrying about this is sure to raise my bp even more. Vicious circle at the moment. I am googling everything under the sun. …again more worry.

    I just hope things settle.down, I am due to go away in June which I am now worried about lol…yes worry should be my middle name!! I found this blog and thought it would be good to get it off my chest with likeminded people.

  22. Found your writing trying to look if someone my age (35) has high blood pressure. Surprise surprise I’m not the only one. Well I had been having a lot of headaches for the last 2,3 months. Two weeks ago I had a sharp pain in my belly button wen’t to my doctor and he told me it was high, send me to get an ultrasound (for the pain in the belly button) and the nurse there told me again it was super high, when back to get the results for the ultrasound and again it was high. My doctor didn’t said anything else but something inside me got into the idea that it would be good to go get my blood pressure checked at a pharmacy and there it was high as a kite over the clouds. So I went home sad and thinking, why me? Eventually stop thinking of having a stroke and put matters to it. I stopped eating any kind of meat only vegetables, fruits with yogurt, no salt at all, and taking one 81mg aspirin a day, 2 cloves of garlic as soon as I wake up, changed coffee to limon or lavender tea have oatmeal for breakfast. “Yes I know that it is not for me to do so first I had to go to my doctor to see why I have high blood pressure but I was panicking.” My readying have been 148/95 or 150/100 all last week. Well the day before yesterday I checked it and it was 137/96 last night I checked it again and it was 129/95. OMG I was happy happy that I even sleep early and had a wonderful rest. I got to say that I checked it this morning and its 138/94 well I think I’m getting there. I listen to friends and family and schedule an appointment to see my doctor tomorrow and see what he will say about my readings and we will go from there.

    • Hi we are on the same page. 3 days ago I experienced some blurry vision and I went to the clinic to check my BP it was dramatically high 180/110. I was so freaking nervous and panic. I went to the doctor to check they ran some test and I was diagnose with high blood hypertension. I am also 35 years old att. They gave me a medicine to take to lower down the BP and I also started not eating meat, salt and sugar. Today my BP is 110/80. I have 1 month more to take another test because I hope My sugar and cholesterol will go down so that way. I dont have to take any pills for medication. I will stop drinking alcohol, coffee, cigarette,eat salt and sugar. Clean living is a best policy hehe.


  1. […] fat nothing. There is no nasty reason why I have hypertension. I’m just the lucky winner of high blood pressure at 37 for no reason at all, well except genetics as my beloved dad was diagnosed at the same […]

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