BPPV, Blood Pressure, and Salted Peanuts

I’ll start by saying that I’m fine.

However, I did not feel fine during a recent, early morning visit to the emergency department of our local hospital – a huge vote of thanks to the wonderful staff at Maroondah hospital!

I woke at about 5am that morning feeling nauseous and horribly dizzy…in bed.

That’s the BPPV part. BPPV stands for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo:

‘BPPV causes brief episodes of mild to intense dizziness. It is usually triggered by specific changes in your head’s position. This might occur when you tip your head up or down, when you lie down, or when you turn over or sit up in bed.’

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vertigo/symptoms-causes/syc-20370055#

Almost an hour later, the triage nurse at the hospital took my blood pressure, and it was 180. I’ll get to the peanuts in a moment.

For me, the BPP vertigo happened when I rolled over in bed. The doctor at the hospital made the diagnosis after a slew of other tests came back negative – no heart attack, no stroke, no tumour etc. That diagnosis was confirmed when the phsyiotherapist came down and fixed the problem. Apparently, little crystals get dislodged from their correct position in the inner ear and move around, eventually causing the BPPV. This is the positional exercise she made me do:

I admit I was a little sceptical at first, but the physio did a test that made me feel as if someone had hit me with an anti-gravity machine. I literally had to clutch the sides of the bed I was so dizzy. After the exercise, though, it was all better. Weird but true, and I haven’t had an episode since – knock on wood.

When I asked about the blood pressure, however, the doctor kind of shrugged and said that blood pressure tended to increase with age.

I am getting older, but I’m not sure that diagnosis is 100% accurate. Yes, BP may increase with age, but I’m almost positive that the gradual increase in my blood pressure coincides with…ta dah…salted peanuts. Don’t laugh! Seriously. πŸ˜€

When it comes to food, I’ve always preferred savoury/salty over sweet, so when I decided it was time to cut down on all the gum I was chewing [ex-smoker, don’t ask], I opted for salted peanuts instead. It would have been a reasonable decision if I hadn’t started binge eating the damn things. It took my local GP to point out that too much sodium – i.e. salt – could raise your blood pressure.

Long story short, I stopped eating the peanuts and started chewing raw almonds instead. That was over a month ago now, and I do feel better generally. I’m still not sure what sent my blood pressure sky high the day I went to the hospital, but I get the shivers whenever I think about how high it might have been if I’d still been guzzling all that salt.

“But how can you be sure it was the peanuts?” I hear someone ask.

The answer to that is simple: we eat very little processed food, and I always under-salt when I cook. I prefer to add a little salt directly to the plate rather than hide it inside the food. I guess that’s one reason it never occurred to me that I could be ingesting too much salt. I’m still clueless about why I had such an awful episode of BPPV, but I’m almost certain that the higher-than-normal blood pressure was caused by too much salt.

I still miss my salted peanuts, but I don’t trust myself not to binge again so the almonds are here to stay. Not only are they no-salt and little fat, they also contain magnesium, which is also supposed to be good for you. -sigh-

cheers,
Meeks

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

51 responses to “BPPV, Blood Pressure, and Salted Peanuts

  • daleleelife101.blog

    My aunt who aged in her 70’s has a saying… Diagnosis D.O.B. Which I hate. But she is right.

    Liked by 2 people

  • D. Wallace Peach

    It’s weird (but not surprising) that our bodies start doing strange things to us as we age. I’m frequently asking the old bod, “What the hell is it now?”

    I’m glad the dizziness was nothing but dislodged ear crystals. Lol. Now I know! The BP is another story. Good for you for looking at what you were doing differently and making a change. Unsalted almonds are a great choice. Keep up the healthy diet and sleep on your right side. πŸ˜€ Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  • MELewis

    Oh my. How horrible for you, Meeks! I’m well familiar with BPPV. Probably due to my acoustic neuroma, my balance has been bad for years. Learning the Epley manoeuvre was a relief. Now I avoid anything like bumpy bike rides, even dentist’s drills, that cause too many vibrations. Haven’t had an episode in years. Are you sure the BP spike wasn’t caused by the worry of rushing to hospital? White coat syndrome and all that…? Sounds like you’re keeping an eye on things which is probably smart. Let’s hope it was a one-off! 🀞🏻

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      You too? Damn. I had no idea that so many of you would have similar health issues. Alicia mentioned the Epley manoeuvre too. The BPPV is scary, but I must say that I’ve been reassured by all the feedback. Thank you. -hugs-
      Re the BP, it is possible it was caused by fear, but I’ve had a couple of episodes now where my heart has raced for what feels like hours but there’s no stress involved. Usually it happens when I try to go to sleep. I will look into it further but for now I’m making sure I keep my salt intake to a minimum.
      Ageing is such a joy. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  • robbiesinspiration

    Hi Meeks, I am sorry you had such a horrible episode. Michael suffered from something similar to this as a child so I know about it. Poor little guy has had so many issues. 180 is very high for BP so I’m surprised your doctor didn’t ask you to monitor it going forward. I’m glad cutting out the peanuts has helped.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Damn. I’m so sorry Robbie. It’s so unfair to burden a kid with such things. Is Michael better now?
      Yes, 180 is very high. They did an ECG and put me on a heart monitor for about 5 hours, as well as taking blood and doing stacks of tests so I have to assume that none of the results indicated heart problems. I think I might get my GP to investigate further though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • robbiesinspiration

        I take blood pressure pills because I get situational high blood pressure. It is a real pain because it goes up when I am stressed at work and down when I am relaxed. I have to mess about with the medication as low BP is also awful.

        Liked by 1 person

        • acflory

          I’m so sorry, Robbie. The doctor did say that the BP meds are hard to get right. Must be even harder in your situation. Is there any way to reduce your stress? Could you work from home for some of the time perhaps? -huge hugs-

          Like

      • robbiesinspiration

        Michael has had 17 operations on his sinuses and this aspect seems better now. He has a biofilm and a superbug in his sinuses and his sinus system never converted from cartilage to bone so he will always have issues. Not as bad now. We found an excellent doctor group. Michael is a medical mystery [smile]

        Liked by 1 person

        • acflory

          Oh my… poor kid. That’s a lot to have to cope with at a young age. I’ll bet you were worried sick too, especially before the doctors worked out what was wrong. Hopefully the pandemic has kickstarted a whole new direction in research that’ll lead to a permanent cure. Hugs to all of you.

          Like

  • petespringerauthor

    That must have been quite unsettling, Meeka. I remember Mom getting light-headed when her blood pressure was low. This sometimes coincided with being dehydrated or with one of her annoying yeast infections.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Hi Pete. It was nasty. So nasty that I’ve decided never to become an astronaut. πŸ˜€ Seriously. One of the worst things I’ve ever experienced. I hope your Mum has found ways to get around it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • petespringerauthor

        Mom has since passed, but it makes for a challenging situation when someone is already unsteady as an elderly person.

        Liked by 1 person

        • acflory

          Ah, I’m sorry. My Dad died as the result of a fall. The ambos took him to hospital because he’d cut hid head when he fell, but it was a week before my constant nagging made the staff xray his hip. Broken. Dad had mild dementia and had lost most of his English so I was his interpreter. I hope the fact that he was 89 didn’t influence their…lack of proper care. :/

          Liked by 1 person

  • Jacqui Murray

    Vertigo lying down–who even knew that was possible! Glad you’re feeling better, Meeka.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Candy+Korman

    Glad you are okay. Medical “adventures” are often scary.

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      lol – a week later and I’m starting to see it as an adventure of sorts. At the time though, I was so worried the Offspring would catch Covid. Luckily the doctor was great and swapped out the KN95 mask for a proper N95 one. Knock on wood we’re both still well. Not an experience I’d like to repeat.

      Like

  • babbitman

    I’ve had BPPV too, although I think that may be an off-shoot side-effect of a virus I (probably) had about a dozen years ago. I have now been diagnosed with BVH (Bilateral Ventricular Hypofunction) which basically means my inner ear balance organs don’t work. They’re not entirely absent but I can’t walk with my eyes closed and closing my eyes underwater is a very bad experience – always have to wear goggles to know which way is up. Every now and then I’ll get a sudden brief wave of BPPV which isn’t particularly nice (worst one was when driving at 70 mph on a motorway – I just gripped the steering wheel for a couple of seconds until it passed). Luckily for me, the bad state of my inner ear function means that BPPV is rare and fairly mild. But I also now suffer from oscillopsia which means my eyes can’t compensate for the movement of my head – a bit like watching video where the person holding the camera is walking but doesn’t have a steadycam to cushion the movement. I’ve started to playing tennis to help train my brain to cope with moving objects while I’m also moving. It’s very much a case of keeping active and challenging your brain to adapt to other senses (the feeling from the soles of my feet, stresses on muscles to know which way I might be leaning, etc.).
    Balance problems can have devastating effects on people and cause them to retreat from normal life, unable to work or drive or do the things they used to love. I’m quite lucky in being (so far) able to hang on in there and rely on other senses to cope reasonably well.
    Hope you don’t get another attack of the crystals!

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      Thank you, babbitman! It helps a lot to know I’m not the only one to have experienced this. I have to say I’m totally blown away by your response to your balance problems. I imagine it would so much easier to just accept a reduced lifestyle. I truly admire the fact that you refuse to give in. I know the brain is remarkably ‘plastic’, in the sense of being able to ‘retrain’, so I hope the tennis and your other strategies do the trick.
      Please let me know how you get on. -hugs-

      Liked by 1 person

      • babbitman

        Thanks AC. In some ways the BVH is less problematic on a day-to-day scale than BPPV. I can get by quite easily and often forget I have a balance problem – it’s only when I try to do something more demanding that it hits home (like riding a bike, I can’t ride with no hands anymore & even looking over my shoulder is tricky). BPPV is less frequent but when it hits you’re all over the place. Your inner ear is getting signals that you’re moving, or keeling over and sometimes your eyes try and compensate for the weirdness and you get rapid flickering back & forth eyeball motion (nystagmus). And you can feel nauseous. Not fun at all. But once it’s over at least you can get back to normal actions.
        The key thing to BVH is to keep active, keep moving & keep challenging your brain to understand motion. Having had 2 years of lockdown & not driving to the office I was feeling much worse, so now I try to drive more and play tennis to keep my brain connected to movement.

        Liked by 1 person

        • acflory

          AAAh! When the doctor and physio tested me, that nystagmus must have been what they were checking for. I didn’t have it on the left side but the BPPV hit like a truck on the right. They were pleased. I felt like crap. I don’t have the BVH thank goodness. Vertigo of any sort is no fun, no fun at all.

          Liked by 1 person

  • Chris The Story Reading Ape

    😱 Glad you’re feeling better now, Meeks πŸ€—β€οΈπŸ€—

    Liked by 3 people

  • CarolCooks2

    I used to be addicted to salted peanuts years ago and like you realised there were healthier nuts…Well done for avoiding the pills πŸ™‚ x

    Liked by 2 people

  • Chel Owens

    I learn something new every day. It’s neat that the exercises solved the issue so quickly.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    Had the benign (and horrible) vertigo; cured it by looking up the Epley maneuver – had to do it ONCE and I’m fixed. Maybe six months ago? Scary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Oh! I just looked that Epley maneuver up and it’s a bit like what the doctor did to test me for the vertigo. I think she didn’t do it quite right though, that’s why she got the phsyio to come down. And yes, it was very scary. I’ve never felt so physically out of control in my life. 😦

      Like

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

        I HATE vertigo – you can do nothing else in that state, and it feels like the end of the world.

        I had the husband be with me when I attempted the Epley maneuver – but was very lucky it all worked the first time (and very surprised, even though the online instructions said it often did).

        Ever since then I try not to be abrupt when turning over in bed, sitting up – anything that might set it off again.

        Liked by 1 person

        • acflory

          I’m with you 100%, Alicia. It really is the most awful feeling. I know this sounds horribly dramatic, but I thought I was going to die and the only thing that made me roll out of bed was the determination not to wet the bed. I have no idea why /that/ felt like such a terrible thing to do, but it helped ease the sensation of…being unmoored? -shiver-

          Liked by 1 person

  • ecellenb

    I’m so glad that you’re okay.
    This happened to my mother-in-law, dislodged crystals. We joked that she had rocks in her head. We all do.

    Cheers and stay well.

    Liked by 2 people

  • davidprosser

    I’m Horrified and would like to quote a Dear Friend of mine in saying I expect you to take better care of yourself. Don’t make me set the budgie on you.
    Huge Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

  • Matthew Wright

    Take care! Vertigo can be pretty nasty. Apropos blood pressure adventures, I have a theory that doctors don’t really know about blood pressure. I recall having mine measured two seconds after I’d been bending down dealing with shoelaces, and being Informed (note the capital) that I would be on blood pressure pills for life. Ten minutes later (minutes!) it was tested again. All normal. I’d mysteriously got better and didn’t need lifetime blood pressure pills. It’s as if doctors mindlessly follow rote lists of instructions and have never been thought how to analyse, which leaves me wondering how they can justify charging such swingeing sums for patients to have the privilege of talking to them for 15 minutes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      Yes, I’ve been thinking about how lucky I was that I experienced the BPPV in bed. The thought of what could have happened if I’d been driving or on a ladder [rare] or something. It was not something I could ‘will’ myself through.
      And yes, the whole BP thing is odd. My GP, who is extraordinarily thorough, said he didn’t want to put me on medication because a) once on it was hard to get off and b) getting the dose right was not that sure a thing. I think we’re both lucky to have avoided those little pills!

      Liked by 2 people

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