Profile of Hope: HHPC’s Project SHARE participant Melanie Smith tells why she decided to take action instead of medicine to reduce her blood pressure (part 1 of 3)

Editor June 3rd, 2014

Melanie Smith, a retired 58 year old nursing assistant and a resident of Washington Heights knew that she had a family history of heart disease. She decided to have her blood pressure taken at a Project SHARE (Support for Hypertension Awareness, and Education) screening events, where she discovered that she had high blood pressure. After participating in the program for only six months, she lost 12 pounds and lowered her blood pressure. Here she talks about why she decided to take action to improve her health by joining Project SHARE and how it has helped her.

 

Q: Why did you decide to work with Project SHARE to lower your blood pressure instead of using blood pressure medication?

A: Well there are side effects to a medication and there are a lot of benefits that come from attempting to adopt the lifestyle changes recommended by Project Share instead of using medication for high blood pressure (hypertension), and I’ve achieved some of them.

Q: Can you tell us more about the health benefits you achieved through Project SHARE?

A: By increasing my exercise and watching my diet, I’ve lost twelve pounds. In addition to reducing my blood pressure (hypertension), my cholesterol  has also come down a little bit. So there were other things that I accomplished. And because of the weight loss and increased physical activity, I feel much better. I used to get a little bit of chest pain (Angina) once in awhile, but I haven’t had it since the weight loss,

Q: Why do you think your blood pressure became high?

A: I wasn’t so observant of my diet; for instance, I ate a lot of prepared foods that have high sodium content. Because of my diet, I wasn’t surprised that it was high.

Q: Are you taking medication for high blood pressure now, and if not when did you stop?

A: When I first started the program, my doctor was already talking about medications, and I told him about Project SHARE and how they could help me bring it down through diet and exercise rather than medications. He agreed, and now at my last visit, he wasn’t suggesting that I take medication anymore, because my blood pressure is down to a reasonable level.

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