Those of you in the trade already know this.
Move along, or share it with those who need to hear it.
This is for the laymen (and women) out there who read this, and their cute doddering parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts, older siblings, and dopey next door neighbors.
The medical word for "hypertension" is High Blood Pressure.
They are not two separate ailments.
If you're taking medication for it, YOU HAVE IT.
It did not go away, it's simply "controlled". We hope.
The only way you know this, is if you CHECK your own pressure at least once a week, if not daily.
If your pressure is too high, you have to check it at least daily for several days until it returns to normal, to know that you're doing it right.
Yes, EVERY TIME it's too high.
Anything higher than 140/90 is TOO HIGH.
And BTW, Anything higher than 140/90 is TOO HIGH.
Did we mention that anything higher than 140/90 is TOO HIGH? Okay then.
If you're on anything that makes you pee more, you should be checking your weight DAILY.
And yes, a "water pill" is called that because your kidneys make more.
If you gain more than a pound or two in a day, and it's not the Friday after Thanksgiving, you're retaining water.
And need to call your doctor.
You can't take your blood pressure medications only when you "feel bad".
They don't work when you take them randomly like that.
They also don't work when you don't take them at all.
Even when you "ran out of them last month."
They also don't work when you stop them abruptly, because you don't like some/any/all of the side affects.
That's what the telephone number to your doctor's office is for.
When you do any of the above bone-headed steps, the medical term for what you have is UNCONTROLLED HYPERTENSION.
The laymen's medical term for what you are is IDIOT. (cf. MORON, JACKASS, FUTURE STROKE PATIENT, etc. )
When you walk around with a blood pressure of 200/anything, it won't kill you today.
Probably not tomorrow. (But avoid sharp objects.)
But eventually, like driving your car 100MPH from red light to red light, something's going to blow up.
But it won't be in your engine, it'll probably be in your head.
BTW, when grandma's face looks droopy on one side, and she's babbling incoherently, and/or can't move her arm and leg, it's not okay to wait "until the playoff game is over" before you come to the ER.
It's not okay to "wait a couple of days" afterwards "to see if the symptoms get better", or listen to her when she says "I don't want to go to the ER now, I'm fine".
(Or when she says, "Ib dwwwn wahhh du koh du the blarg marfletthhhwwffft.")
We can fix some strokes, IF you get to the hospital right away.
Two days later is NOT "right away".
Even on "island time".
Call the effing ambulance.
That's what it's FOR.
If you want to spend most of your golden years re-learning to talk and walk again, sort of, or worse, being used as a doorstop because you can't walk and talk anymore, but your family/kids/friends don't have the heart to put you down like Old Yeller, please, ignore all these notes, skip/stop your meds, and get ready for a decade or more of falling down, drooling in your lap, crapping and peeing your pants, and wearing really badly-coordinated clothes, and socks with sandals, because you can no longer move around or dress yourself, as you decompose slowly and agonizingly for a decade or more in some elder-care purgatory you wouldn't send terrorists to, but which is all your family can afford.
Or, lose 50 pounds, take your goddam BP meds now, EVERY DAY, know what meds you take, why, how many milligrams, how often, keep it written on a card in your wallet/purse 24/7/365, check your BP and weight every day, write it down, bring it to your regular doctor check-ups, and enjoy your sunset years doing whateverinhellyouplease without having your family look at you like a cat that needs to take that last trip to the vet, or having people like me deal constantly with your irrationally ignorant and generally jackassical non-compliant behavior.
Or a least have the decency to have "DNR" tattooed on your forehead, and forbid anyone from calling an ambulance to drag your stroked out big-old-brain-bleed ass into the ER, so the ICU nurses can treat you like plant life after your next massive stroke: by feeding you, watering you, and turning you towards the light.
And remember, I yell because I care.