Arturo's Story: Getting Support for Making a Change
The neighbors can set their clocks by Arturo and his wife, Rosa. Every morning at 6:30 a.m. and every evening at 6:30 p.m., they walk out their front door for their 30-minute walk.
"It's kind of a neighborhood joke," Arturo, 58, says. "People literally look at their watch and laugh when we go by."
But the walks themselves are no joke. They've been a part of Arturo's life for 2 years now. And he thinks they may be saving his life.
"I don't think it's too dramatic to say that. My blood pressure is under control now, and that was not the case 2 years ago," he says.
That's when Arturo was diagnosed with high blood pressure. He started taking medicines—and still takes them—but medicines didn't seem to be quite enough.
"I was overweight, and I never exercised," says Arturo. "And my diet was not healthy."
Arturo says he tried to change his diet and his activity level on his own, but he couldn't stay with it. So he asked Rosa for help.
"It was just the support I needed," he says. Rosa told him it was time for both of them to lose weight and get healthier. They joined a weight-loss program together and learned how to create great-tasting, low-fat, low-calorie meals.
"We have been married for 30 years, and she is my best friend," says Arturo. "As soon as I mentioned that I needed help, she got out a pen and some paper and started writing out a walking schedule."
They took 15-minute walks at first. They gradually built up to 30 minutes twice a day, and they're now working toward 45 minutes.
Today, both Arturo and Rosa are at a healthy weight.
"Do I have advice? Yes, I would say that if you are trying to change some of your habits in order to control your blood pressure, you should ask for help from your family. Or maybe from a friend. I cannot tell you how much easier it is to go on my walks every day because of my wife. Even when I'm feeling kind of lazy, I feel like she is counting on me, so I do it for her as well as for me."
And the commitment they have to each other has paid off. "I feel better than I have in years," Arturo says.
At a recent doctor's visit, he got the best news yet: He gets to cut back on his blood pressure medicine because he's doing so well.
This story is based on information gathered from many people facing this health issue.
For more information, see the topic High Blood Pressure.