I'd just started university. My thoughts and feelings about the future clung in the air, I was full of hope and naivety. I'd eaten way too much, I'd consumed enough VK's to sink a ship and I was feeling tired and sluggish. I worked in a night club to earn a little extra cash so it was difficult to avoid the copious amounts of alcohol!

My close friend and I found a local gym at a nearby college that were offering huge discounts for students to join up. I'd never been to a gym before and I was hesitant and nervous. We booked for an induction and part of the process involved having your blood pressure taken. Again, something I knew nothing about. She wrapped the inflatable cuff around my arm and a look of shock crossed her face.

'Are you a little nervous today?'

I felt a few butterflies but I'm a fairly confident girl.. Nothing too overwhelming that it would affect my body! 

'Take a look around the gym. I'll take it again before you leave'

After several attempts, it seemed nothing had changed. She wrote down all my readings and advised that when I get home to book in with the GP. In all honesty, being 19, I thought nothing of it so as any teenager would do, I ignored it! 
It had come up briefly in a conversation with my parents and after a lovely holiday in the Caribbean, I found the yellow post it note in the pocket of my coat. My mum took one look and explained the numbers! It was through the roof.

Once we'd arrived home I booked in with the GP and after numerous and extensive testing, including peeing into a huge jug and carrying it around with me, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. 

I cried. Hard. The thought of being medicated at 19 with no end in sight made me so apprehensive and extremely sad.

They can't tell me why, how or explain any of the long term affects medication might have on my body, all I know is that I have 6 monthly blood tests and 2 yearly kidney scans.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, I guess as a warning to those of you out there, make sure you regularly check your blood pressure, go to the doctors if you have any concerns about your health and do some research. It's important to understand the affects things like blood pressure can have on you long term and reminds us to take our health seriously. No one is immortal.

Another reason is that after 7 years of taking medication daily, I've decided to do some research into alternate ways to take care of myself. If there is something natural out there that I could do or take to influence my blood pressure I'd love to try it! So I'd love for you to follow me on this journey and I hope that it might help somebody going through the same thing as me in the future.

My blood pressure is something I've learned to manage and live with but I do hope that the future is bright and that some day I can say bye bye to regular prescription visits.

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