Friday, December 5, 2008


My mum checking her blood pressure. She does this everyday for a few years now. It's really simple to use, easier than learning how to use that TV remote control.

About a year ago, my mum's high blood pressure (BP) had become unstable. It would go up and down rapidly, all in one day. It would jump up to 160 over 90, and then suddenly drop to 140 over 90 and so on.

Now, any doctor will tell you, that's a dangerous sign. At that time, I was really concerned about her hypertension, but I was quite hopeless on how to help her as I didn't live with her, so I can't monitor her BP.

She consulted her doctor who was also very concerned and changed her medicine to see if it would help.

It didn't.

My mum's body was telling her something was seriously wrong.

Mum would get headaches, and feel weak. She often needed to lie down to rest.

Now, I knew that cucumber juice was an excellent remedy for people who wanted to reduce their BP, but you know, like most everyone else, juicing just wasn't her thing.



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About 3 months ago, I made it a point to juice a glass of cucumber for my mum everyday, and monitor her progress. So far, so good. Her erratic BP reminded me not to take my parents for granted. You know, we would all love to see our parents nag us until they live to be 130. And, thus, I made a conscious decision to take a more active role to improve her well being.

My mum's trusty old Mercury Sphygmomanometer. My cousin, a doctor says a Sphygmomanometer is more accurate than a Digital Blood Pressure Monitor

My mum's stethoscope which is used to listen to her BP while she's using the Mercury Sphygmomanometer

Right now her BP hovers around 130 over 90, and sometimes, it even goes down to 120 over 90 (yippee).

It was tough going at first. Mum said she preferred fruit in it's original form so I varied her diet with fresh raw cut oranges, apples and other fruits. The downside was a person could only chew THAT much of fruit only, and my toddler son meanwhile kept swiping her fruits because he's such a fruit bat, and darn it, she let him eat practically everything!

I also served fruit on a platter for her just before we have our meals so that she didn't miss the ritual of sitting down to eat with the family. The plate of fruit would fill her up somewhat before she ate other stuff on the table. By doing so, she wouldn't feel deprived of her cooked food. Now this is an important aspect. When we deprive ourselves of comfort food, we tend to want to gorge on them even more. The purpose was to reduce my mum's BP, not to make her want to binge on her favorite greasy, high caloric, carb filled food. The increase of fresh fruits and raw vegetables from the garden (she also increased her intake of ulams) helped her feel more alert and she had more energy, but when she checked her BP, it was still erratic. I could also tell when her BP had shot up. It was on the days when she complained of migraine. Didn't need the Sphygmomanometer to tell me that.

Finally, I persuaded her to just drink cucumber juice everyday and to measure the results to see if it works. I mean, what harm can a glass of cucumber, with a spoonful of honey to make it all go down easier, do. So she agreed. And ... yes, it works. The numbers in the diary don't lie.

Nowadays, our whole family just buy bags of cucumbers when we visit the market or to Tesco for mum. So we have like bags of cucumber sitting right next to the juicer on the kitchen counter as a reminder to juice those cukes first thing we see them.

Lest you think we threw the doctor's phone number away, no, we didn't. The doctor is an important person in our quest to reduce her hypertension. Till today, he helps monitor her progress. Mum still takes her hypertension pills, but at a much reduced amount. It helps that we note mum's BP in a diary everyday, and that mum shows him the results when she see him. Seriously, I'm just pleased as punch that her BP is at a much better level.

A simple and cheap pill box from Guardian Pharmacy to hekp mum remember to take her daily pills.

A doctor is very important. But really, the most important person is the person who has hypertension ... and the family members take on the serious supporting roles. We need to take our health seriously, and not to expect the doctor to track everything for us. We have to take charge and monitor our health. Only then, can the doctor really help us. Most patients see a doctor like only once every 3 months. The lazy ones even skip some appointments. How is the doctor going to help these people if they don't try to help themselves?

You know what they say, prevention is better than cure. Why wait for a stroke or a heart attack to attack before we take things seriously.


Tips to reduce blood pressure


ps please do show this article to anyone you think has serious hypertension problem. Show them, they can take control of their health if they seriously monitor their BP constantly. However, the BP info presented here was simplified for easy understanding. Please consult your doctor on what to do, to track your BP levels.


Jen AO said...


How does the cucumber juice work? By reducing the BP? My mom has high BP too and would really be happy if this will reduce hers! She measure hers everyday too!

Also, how much cukes to juice? Any amt will do? Not sure if my mom will take to it but no harm trying right? Thanks for sharing this.

RawFoodie said...

My mum takes one cuke a day. Juicing makes it go down really easy, as oppose to chewing the entire fruit. Basically, we just make enough for one mug a day.

Tomato is another great fruit for high blood pressure, but my mum's not crazy for it. If your mum likes tomato, you can make tomato juice with a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of salt. You can juice a stalk of celery with the tomatoes too. That'll make it really taste more like V8 tomato juice. And celery is also an excellent veg for high BP sufferers.

Do keep a diary to show your mum the progress she's making. It's a really good moral booster.

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Cecelia Dowdy said...

Do you remove the skin when you juice your cukes?

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