Hypertension – it sounds almost harmless. Yet, when Lorraine Glazar, at the age of 39, was diagnosed with benign essential hypertension her physician explained that hypertension was by no means benign. Hypertension, also referred to as high blood pressure damages the blood vessels, heart, and kidneys. Hypertension is called a “silent killer,” because you typically don’t see symptoms while it is causing damage. The good news, for many exercise and changes in diet, lowering sodium intake, and reducing alcohol intake can substantially reduce hypertension. Lorraine is committed to taking control of her hypertension.

Lorraine takes on the track

At the time of diagnosis, Lorraine was recently widowed, raising her two sons (ages 6 and 10) by herself, working full-time and adjusting to one income instead of two. Lorraine faced substantial challenges to making time to take care of herself, but the alternative wasn’t an option.”I found a used treadmill and began by walking at home early in the morning before they woke up. As the boys became old enough to be trained in what to do in case of emergency, I was able to begin walking outside.”

14 years later at 53 years old, Lorraine continues to make exercise a priority. She still steps out with her dog Sabra first thing in the morning when the temperatures are coolest. “She (Sabra) accompanies me on my walks and makes sure I don’t miss a day.” Lorraine has added weight lifting and a water aerobics class at the Lighthouse YMCA to her routine. Incorporating bicycling into errands like a trip to the Farmers’ Market makes exercise a natural part of Lorraine’s week.

“I started my morning walks because of concerns about my body and physical health. This daily time has benefited me mentally and spiritually as well. I often find answers to current problems or get brainstorms during my morning walk.”

Lorraine takes advantage of the TMC Walking Club and uses the new campus walking paths to extend her walk in the morning from where she parks to her office. “Seeing the TMC volunteers on campus reminds me that if I age wisely I can continue to contribute in my later years.”

Lorraine’s example is stunning. Amid a challenging time in her life she was able to prioritize and take care of herself, critical to both her and her family. Her example makes us reexamine our excuses that prevent us taking care of ourselves and highlights the reasons to take care of ourselves. She offers these three pieces of advice to those of us struggling to make changes toward a healthy lifestyle:
  • This is a subject in which you SHOULD put yourself first! You can’t take care of others if you are not healthy and calm.
  • Make it social. I walk by myself six days a week, but on Saturdays with a group of neighborhood friends.
  • Find other ways of working activity into your life. I ride my bike to the Farmer’s Market on Sundays.