what are the causes of high blood pressure?

Happy Thursday! Today, I will talk about the causes of High Blood Pressure, or Hypertension. The two short videos below I do recommend you watch. I really wish they had stressed the importance of Stress as a cause of High Blood Pressure. All of the things they talk about can be a stressor that leads to Stress. Remember that Stress is simply a reaction to a stressor. If you didn’t get to read my series of posts on Stress, last month, they are available in the archives. I urge you to read them. Stress is a huge factor in High Blood Pressure. Everyone should consider monitoring their blood pressure at least monthly, and more often if you already have High Blood Pressure, or are borderline.

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Hurricane Prep: Wrapping It Up

So,this is the final post for preparing for a hurricane, or any disaster.  You can read the other 2 posts in the archives.  Here are some things you might not think of when preparing your kit.

1-  What are you going to put everything in?  When we first moved to FL, I would put out a large bin, and almost everything went into the bin.  With the thought that everything could just be grabbed, and you go.  That is a good idea,  but now I really just make sure I check the tropical storm reports daily, and always have bottled water, and non perishable foods on hand.

2-  Keep all your important documents in one place, especially if you have a family.  For example, birth certificates, social security cards, account info for various accounts, mortgage and home owners insurance.  We use a small fire proof safe that is very easy to grab should we need to go.  We have our name, address, and phone number written on the top of the safe should we become separated from it.

3-  Don’t forget Dr’s names, numbers, diagnosis info, medications you take, and any allergies you may have.  It is best to keep these in the same spot as the other important papers.

4-  Pets-  Pets can be a burden in a disaster.  But, with some planning they don’t have to be.  The year we evacuated we had ogs, and while it was tricky we managed. Not all places will allow dogs, and they sell out very quickly the ones that do.  This year, I found a large tent at a garage sale, and bought it.  If we have to ever evacuate again, it will go with us, and if we can’t find a hotel that takes pets, we will camp for a night or two.  If you choose that option, of course you have to be prepared to sleep outside, and have proper supplies.  Here in FL the shelters will let you bring pets, but they will be boarded at the local shelter, they can not stay at the people shelter with you.  Remember food and water for your pets.

5-  Bring medications, and or prescriptions.  These should again be kept with your important papers, if possible.

6-  Phone chargers, phones, and other electronics for entertainment.  Cards, board games, drawing pads are also important to keep kids entertained.  A good book that you always wanted to read.

7-  Be prepared to be without power up to 1 week, or more, in some areas.  We were without power for a whole week.  We had just taken down our pool the winter before, and I was sorry we didn’t have it.  You will be amazed how hot and humid it really is after the storm passes.  It was brutal trying to sleep.  Even though we evacuated, we were only gone a couple of days.  The 5 days after we returned were brutal.  We have lots of coolers, and there is an ice machine close to our home, so we were able to save some food, and keep water nice and cold.  Have a grill for cooking, and we used solar lights, instead of candles for seeing in the dark.  This was the best idea I had, the solar lights.  No fear of fires, just set them back outside when the sun comes  up, and bring in when it gets dark.  They last all night.  We have local springs near us, but they were all flooded, so no hope to cool off there.  Our local McDonalds had a generator, and they must have made a few million dollars that week, because everyone was there enjoying the AC, food, and Wifi.  Verizon gave all its customers free data for a week, which was a true blessing.  You could of course buy a generator, which I don’t want to deal with one.  If you are on oxygen, or home dialysis, sign up with your local electric provider so you get turned on before others.  It is a nice feature.

8-  Don’t forget a few days worth of clothes, and toiletries, if you evacuate.  Even if you don’t evacuate, these should be included in your kit.  Honestly you just never know when a tornado can strike, or a tree fall on your house, and you have to leave whether you want to or not.  Just grabbing your kit with everything in it, will save a little stress.

Hurricanes are not fun, and I grew up with blizzards, which is a completely different beast.  We never had to evacuate for a blizzard, or really ever lost power for very long.  You just hunkered down and waited to shovel all that snow.  With a little preparing  you can be safe, and ready.  Don’t forget about your elderly neighbors, parents, etc.  It is very hard for them to evacuate, and some are very stubborn, trust me.  These storms can be cruel, and painful, lets not make that worse.  I have to say here in Florida, the local counties, where we are have great teams in place to help people get out, and they will encourage those who refuse to do so.

We have been in our home for 12 years, and only had to evacuate once.  We live in a double wide, but we are inland, so that doesn’t usually happen, however sometimes even inland has to evacuate.  This year we were rezoned as a flood zone.  We have never been in a flood zone, and it doesn’t flood here.  So, that makes me a little nervous, and is obviously due to climate change.  So, we may get ordered to evacuate again, should another large storm come this way.

Hurricane Prep with CKD

In March of 2017, I was officially diagnosed with stage 3 CKD.  In April of 2017 I did a blog post, on my homeschool blog about food prep for hurricanes, with CKD.  I am sharing that original post below, and will write what I have learned, and edited from the original list.  We did end up having to evacuate that year, so being prepared was very helpful.  For the month of May my Thursday posts, will be concerned with Hurricane Prep, for CKD people, or really any chronic disease.  Today, will focus on stocking up on food.  We start stocking up in April, or May.  Anything we don’t use, that can’t be carried over to the next year, we donate to our local food pantry.  What I edited will be in Bold.  We have been in FL, 14 years, and only had to evacuate once.  However, each year we improve, and get better prepared.  It is definitely a learning curve, compared to Blizzards where I grew up.  This will become second nature, if every year you prepare.  It is May 2, and we already have a tropical entity they are watching.  They do not expect it to develop, but will dump a lot of rain on us.  The original list mentioned, is from Davita.

So this is the items they recommend for a 3 day diet kit for CKD, I will state changes I would make for me due to preferences.

1-  3 packages of dry milk or 4 eight ounce cans of evaporated milk.  Evaporated milk can be high in sodium, calcium and protein, so they do recommend watering it down before using, half and half.  Be sure if you choose evaporated milk that you have a way of opening the can, or it will be useless to you.  I did not include this in our kit.  I suppose I may this time, do one powdered milk, just because of the nutritional benefit it can have.  I will have to think about it.  My kids are not babies, but if they were this would definitely be included.  

2-  1 to 2 gallons of distilled or bottled water.  They noted that if you are on dialysis, and you have no power, you should drink only 2 cups of water per day until dialysis can be restored.  This is a very small amount of water so be prepared for that.  We start storing water in April.  With CKD, you have to be sure you have bottled, purified water.  I know a lot of people are against plastic bottles, and would love to do away with them.  But, in the eyes of someone who suffers with CKD, this is a necessity.  Impurities even in tap water can be detrimental to someone with kidney issues.  Be sure to read the part if you are on fluid restrictions, or if you are on Dialysis.  It is very hot and humid, when these storms come through, and can be very dangerous.  If you are on Dialysis, or have a fluid restriction, it is probably best for you to sign up with your local shelter, for individuals with medical needs.  You must do this early, and each year update your info, so they know how to prepare for you.  

3-  Powdered fruit drink 1 can or single packets.  I personally will not be doing this for me, way too much sugar.  Straight water will work best imo.  I will be adding these this year.  I will probably choose ones that have added electrolytes, and the least sugary one I can find.  I don’t like fake sweeteners, so those won’t work well.  Just water is great.  But, it is easy to lose electrolytes in the heat and humidity, with no power.  That would be for storms we did not have to evacuate for.  Losing power is always the biggest issue for where we live.  

4- 1-2 cans of soda, except for dark colas.  Again, I will just add extra water here, or 100% juice, and Ocean Spray is pretty much the only one I use because it has the lowest amounts of sodium, and no preservatives.  Apple and Grape juice are low in potassium so good choices there too.  No soda, Welch’s, Ocean Spray, or Juicy Juice are all 100% juice, and will work fine in an emergency situation.  V8 splash, or V8 juice are also good options for us.

5-  6 boxes of single servings of cereal.  Don’t use Raisin Bran.  Cereal is actually a very good source of iron, since almost all of them are fortified with iron.  They are usually low in sodium, potassium, and protein making them an even better choice.  Always read the labels to be sure, and keep in mind most are very high in sugar.  I have already started to stock up on Organic dry cereal, not in individual bags though.  That is not cost efficient.  We can always split them up in baggies if we need to. 

6.  1 box of sugar, or sugar substitute.  I don’t know about this one being in my kit.  I just don’t see a use for it.  However, if you are a diabetic, it probably would be a very good idea to have some kind of sugar in your kit, in case your sugar drops.  We used hard candy, easier and neater.

7.  Cans, or fruit bowls, they suggested 12.  These need to be low in potassium, so no raisins, oranges, or bananas.  I think most other fruits are low in potassium, except maybe kiwis, but be sure and read labels before adding them to your emergency food kit. This is self explanatory.  I found Pop tarts, cereal bars, pudding cups, and even chips or crackers work well for a family unit.  You can pick and choose which you would decide to eat.  

8.  8 small cans of unsalted meats.  I have never seen completely unsalted meats, especially in a can.  I have seen low sodium tuna, but the others suggested I have not.  I will be putting peanut butter in my kit, not meats. Peanut Butter is high in protein, however it is also high in iron, and other important nutrients.  I will add low sodium crackers, not bread, to my kit.  If you add the unsalted meats be sure to add mayonnaise, or something to make it with, unless you are going to eat it straight out of the can. We will still stick with peanut butter.  Crackers of whole grain bread works fine.  Both have Phosphorus, so it doesn’t matter which I pick.

9.  Like I said above, a loaf of bread, small jar of jelly, and small jar of honey.  I will be adding all these to my kit, except the bread.  Will substitute crackers for bread.  Ritz makes a low sodium cracker, and it is the only brand that I have found that does, at least where I live.  Not much to change here.

10.  A box of Graham Crackers or Vanilla Wafers.  I will add both of these to my kit, as everyone likes these. I have not checked the sodium levels on either yet.  If these are high in sodium, cereal bars will be used.  They have good amounts of iron as well as other nutrients, and everyone at my house likes them.  I think they probably have preservatives, but I guess in an emergency I can’t be too worried about that.  Graham Crackers worked well for us.  Don’t choose Chocolate, unless you don’t plan on eating them.  Chocolate is high in Phosphorus.  You could add cookies here, Fig Newtons are a good option.  The Walmart Great Value brand are higher in Iron, than other varieties.  Again, watch for Potassium, and Phosphorus with Fig Newtons.  I like the strawberry variety.

11.  4 to 6 bags of hard candy. This one is probably the easiest, lol.  Of course these will be high in sugar, unless you buy sugar free.  Peppermint, Cinnamon, and Lifesavers are what we use.

12.  1 package of marshmallows.  Nah, no thanks.  I will probably do bags of pretzels or something.  I hate marshmallows.  No Marshmallows, lol, but a can of nuts, and pretzels worked great.  Again, the nuts could be eaten in small amounts with CKD, especially if you don’t pack any meats.  Try to avoid potato chips, which are high in Potassium.

13-  I am adding coffee, tea, and non dairy vanilla creamer.  

That is the list.  Of course always remember a can opener, and utensils.  I mean you could eat like a caveman.   That is it for food items.  Next week’s post will focus on other issues, related to preparing for a Tropical system with CKD, or just preparing in general.  

Do you live where there are tropical systems?  Do you have a chronic disease?  If you would like assistance in learning how to be better prepared, use the contact form below to message me.  You can check out my May calendar of availability, and read about my available packages, here.  


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