High Blood Pressure under duress – white coat syndrome

Here we are back again. It’s Coach Garey. We’re talking about immunity and there are some of the more interesting details about immunity. 

We’re going to get to the point of strengthening immunity, boosting immunity, and balancing immunity. Balancing may be really the keyword here, but in the meantime, I wanted to talk a little bit about how the immune system is actually constructed and how it works in your body. It’s pretty dang interesting.

You may know this. If I ask you where the immune system lives, you might say the gut, a lot of people say that these days, but in fact, the cells that are in charge of preventing illness and wiping out those invading pathogens, those cells originate, they originate in the bone marrow. Okay? Basically there are STEM cells in the bone marrow that mature over time. Some of them turn into B cells. Leukocytes, those are white blood cells. And some of those cells, as they’re maturing, they leave the bone marrow. Now how do they do that? They travel with the blood. Okay? They get into the circulatory system. They wind up in this gland called the thymus, right? It’s here in the center of your chest and it is a gland that operates and turns those STEM cells from B cells into T cells.

Let’s say B is for bone. That’s where the B cells mature and then T for the thymus. The T cells actually grow, occur, and mature up until the age of about puberty. By the time you’re 13 or 14, this thymus gland has actually devolved. Instead of evolving it devolves and is no longer a gland, it becomes sort of a piece of fat and all the T cells you need for your entire life have already been produced by the time you reach puberty. You’ll never run out. You’ll have T cells the rest of your life. But that is just the very interesting, weird thing about the body and how it operates. The thymus gland is no longer a thymus gland, it’s just a little lump of fat in there, and it’s done its job of creating those T cells.

What we’re talking about here is white blood cells. That’s how they travel around in the blood system. And I want to ask you a really quick question. 

How many cells in the body are touched by blood? 

Where does the circulatory system extend to? You see a picture in an encyclopedia or in a book or on a website. You see arteries and you see veins, but more often than not, you don’t see the full extent of the circulatory system, which 80% of it is comprised of capillary beds that spread through your entire body. So, if you just thought about it for a second, if you remove the skin, what you would see is a very red body. Blood is everywhere.

I had an accident the other day I was walking the dog and another dog was coming I was going to pass over to the other side of the road, but there was a ditch and a gully, and it was a little deeper than I thought and I didn’t get up to the road. I fell, I slipped, and crashed down on my knee. When I got home, I had a skinned knee and there was just all red. All these capillaries are just extending out everywhere, touching every cell.

The point I’m getting to, is that white blood cells travel in the circulatory system and they’re actually bigger than red blood cells, quite a bit bigger. And they just lumber around the edge of the capillaries, the edge of the arteries. And it’s like a little eating machine. One of those little munching machines that gobbles up all and scavenges all the debris, all the metabolic debris and things that aren’t needed anymore and too much cholesterol hanging around, it gobbles it up, and it disposes of it through a process of detoxification, which has to do with your liver. 

I just wanted to impress upon you that we’re not scientists here, but it’s very, very interesting how the immune system is pre-programmed to work and do everything that you need it to do throughout your lifetime.

 

 

Coach Garey back again and we’re going to round out this series by taking action on the very simple steps you need to take to reduce blood pressure.

We talk about 120 over 80 as being the perfect blood pressure score. And as we get older, it’s going to rise up a little bit just because we’re wearing out. We’ve got 60, 70, 80, 90 years in our lives and we’re pumping blood every single day, every moment, every second. And those pipes will wear out eventually. But in the meantime, we’re going to keep good maintenance on things, right? And the number to also be careful of, or to be very aware of, is if your blood pressure reaches 180 over 100, then things are very, very high and very dangerous. And just call 911, get the ambulance and go to the hospital. That’s what you need to do. However, most people don’t get there except for this one situation. I had my blood pressure at 180 and it happened in a very particular circumstance when I was driving in the beltway after a very severe rainstorm. Thunderstorm, it was the end of August three years ago. Yeah, on the beltway, traveling 60 miles an hour, come up over the bridge, all of the traffic in all the lanes is completely stopped, hit the brakes, and slow down as fast as I can. And I was really, really lucky not to smack the car in front of me. I just managed to stop just in time. Of course, the natural thing to do is a lookup in the mirror and see who’s behind you. And that guy was not so lucky. He slammed right into my rear end and knocked me into the car in front of me. And I managed to move my car off the road into the side. And we waited for the police and the EMT to arrive. I didn’t feel like I had any physical … I’d hit my head. I definitely had a concussion that we figured out pretty quickly, but the EMT took my blood pressure and I was like 179 over whatever the bottom number was. My blood pressure was elevated because, because why? Huge amount of stress, all of a sudden my adrenaline just spiked out of control. And I’m pumping like crazy because I was in danger, right?

The danger passes, they waited 15 minutes or 20 minutes, and they retook my blood pressure and come back down to 140 something. And it was fine.

I didn’t feel like I needed to go to the hospital, but when you’re in a very severe circumstance where there’s trauma, your blood pressure is going to spike because you need that adrenaline. That’s the chemicalization of our body that works that way. That when we need the extra energy, when we need the extra resources, when we need even a greater amount of insight and focus, your blood pressure will spike, you will release epinephrine and adrenaline, and you will be on point to get done whatever needs to get done. That’s how it works. There’s another place where a lot of people get into trouble with blood pressure, and that’s called the white coat syndrome, where it doesn’t matter how well they’re doing when they’re at home or doing their normal activities when they get to that doctor’s office, the heartbeat raises, the blood pressure starts spiking. And it’s sort of this inset panic or subconscious feeling like something may be wrong with me. The heart starts going, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. If you have that one reading at a doctor’s office where it’s really high and off the charts, generally one reading does not a diagnosis make. We want to get on a program where we’re testing regularly outside of the doctor’s office. You may invest $50 into a blood pressure monitor that you can keep at home. But you’ve got to make sure you go to a medical supply store where they can actually fit you with the right size cuff. That’s very important. If you have the wrong size cuff or you don’t know how to do it properly, you will get really weird readings and that’s not good for anybody. Those are two little pieces of advice about high blood pressure.

I’m going to get to those topics on how to prevent high blood pressure at the beginning in a minute.