Hypertension - Ashley's Story
Most people may not relate hypertension to youth and genetics, but there's a lot more to it than you might think. Ashley exposes her disorder and puts into perspective the dangers of neglecting it. This is her story.
Hi. My name's Ashley. I'm 22 years old, and I was recently diagnosed with hypertension. I guess it kind of started with work and I'd be a little stressed out, and then my heart would start beating really fast and abnormally. Then I would get a headache, a really bad headache, and then I would start to feel faint. This happened a few times.
It was accidental. I was going for a -my annual. I was put on a 24-hour ambulatory monitor and my blood pressure skyrocketed to 200. My dad was diagnosed with the same thing around the same age, so I guess it was expected. Before I just always thought that maybe I was dehydrated, but now I realize it was because of high blood pressure.
For me I was wondering about my lifestyle, like can I drink, or should I not drink, and I love food, and what can I not eat, and I don't exercise. Now I have to do that. I hate going to the gym.
What my doctor was trying to get through to me was that you can have a stroke and die, you can have a stoke and die, but it just never really registered because I'm 22 years old. What are you talking about? A 22-year-old doesn't get a stroke. So I had to stop -just my eating habits because I love food, and now I just -I don't put salt or anything and I try to drink more water. And I haven't started exercising, but I try to live my life in, I guess, a more healthier lifestyle, which is really difficult for me because I'm not used to it.
A lot of people wouldn't think that at 22 year old they would be diagnosed with hypertension and have such extreme high blood pressure, but it's actually really common in the African-American community and it's actually called the silent killer because you have no symptoms and you can randomly get a stroke. It's scary, but it's manageable. I'm just kind of taking it day by day.