One of the questions that we are asked a lot is what does having chronic hypertension mean for your life? Many of us equate "needing medication" with "being sick," and I want to offer my perspective and some reassurance that CHT does not have to control your life.
In an ideal world, our bodies would always perform exactly as they were intended to. But most people find, especially as they get into adulthood, that life isn't always the ideal. I've taken thyroid meds for years. Those meds allowed me to have my precious babies. They don't mean I'm sick; they mean I am *not* sick! Some of us need glasses to see properly or stepstools to reach high shelves, because those are the genetics we were born with, and we wouldn't think twice about using those. Medication for chronic conditions works the same way -- to give our bodies the boosts they need to have healthy, happy, and productive lives. Some of you have wondered if taking BP meds makes your body dependent up on them, unable to regulate BP without meds. That is not the case; your body was unable to regulate BP on its own first, and the meds are there to help. If you need BP meds and don't take them, your body will not start regulating BP on its own, and you'll remain hypertensive, with the associated risks.
I was probably borderline chronic hypertensive going into the pregnancy in which I got preeclampsia at 26 weeks in 2016, but I was definitely chronic afterwards, and I've mostly been on BP meds ever since. Is taking meds the most fun thing ever? No, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not so bad (and non-pregnant, a wider range means you can find one that works well for you). I take a tablet every morning, check my blood pressure at home occasionally (and know what numbers my doctor wants to see), see my nephrologist and PCP yearly for screenings for heart and general health, and go about my life. It really and truly does not impact me on a daily basis, but just as my thyroid meds allowed me to get pregnant, my blood pressure meds allow me to keep my heart and kidneys healthy so I can enjoy my sweet children and be the mom they need.
Many women do end up hypertensive later in life, like after menopause, and for some of us, preeclampsia brings out our genetic tendency toward hypertension earlier than it might otherwise have appeared. I realized that is not necessarily encouraging news, but what it means is that we and our doctors can pay close attention early. We can make it a point to make what lifestyle changes we can, aiming to be active and maintain a healthy weight, and our doctors can keep a close eye on things like glucose and blood pressure. If anything does change, we are in a good position to take action early, as opposed to brushing anything off as being "too young" and letting ongoing low grade damage to our bodies happen in our 30s, 40s, and 50s. I am glad to know my risks now so that hopefully when I get to my 60s, I will be able to be the mother and grandmother my family needs.
If your doctor has recommended meds for chronic hypertension, I hope this helps you think of yourself as not sick but empowered.