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Author Topic: Consumed with health anxiety  (Read 195 times)

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Offline xynder

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Consumed with health anxiety
« on: December 25, 2013, 11:06:30 PM »
I am 28 years old and for the past 5 years have been battling health anxiety, generally centering around blood pressure.

I am 5'11 and about 150 lbs.  I have never been overweight or otherwise, and have always had good physical health.  Around 5 years ago I went to the doctor for something, don't remember what, and for whatever reason my blood pressure was a little high.  I was like 22 or 23 at the time.  The doctor obviously didn't care as nothing was said, he didn't even tell me to keep checking it. 

Fast forward about a year.  I started a new job and had to take a physical... it was a VERY stressful first day and we were forced to all get our blood pressure taken before we could start the training (which involved some running and other physical stuff).   I could feel myself panicking before I got it taken as I was standing in line, anticipating the result... of course it was 150/100... after a few minutes it calmed down enough to where I was able to participate (had to be under 140/90 to participate). 

A few months after that I went to a doctor to ask about the  blood pressure.  He said I had hypertension and gave me a beta blocker.  I took it for about a year until I moved; had to change doctors then.  I ended up going to a hypertension specialist and he told me that I did not have high blood pressure, and to stop measuring it.  This is quoted from his discharge notes for me: "Elevated blood pressures in the setting of stressful situations, doctor's office visits, and underlining anxiety.  This fits a pattern of white coat hypertension rather than hypertension per se. I would recommend him not restarting the metoprolol because of this. I do not believe he would have any long term increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity or mortality based on the lability of his blood pressure. This was all explained to him. I do believe that he may continue to have some "spikes" in blood pressure and that this may occur throughout his life because of his underlying mild anxiety but that the treatment of this wouldnot be antihypertensive medication but instead would be better treatment of his anxiety. This was also explained to the patient. He could be referred to our Psychiatry Department for their thoughts regarding how best to proceed, especially considering his previous intolerance to some medications, but the patient at this time does not wish to do this. Of course, he can contact us at any time in the future if he changes his mind or if his blood pressure spikes get out of control. For now, I tried to reassure the patient and explained to him all of the above."

Since then I have been to two other doctors who said I do not have hypertension and will not prescribe me medication.  My last full physical was a few months ago.  Different doctor again.  Initial reading 170/72.  Subsequent reading 138/72.  Clinical discharge notes: "2. White coat hypertension.  He actually has excellent lifestyle. He is exercising, maintaining weight. He will continue to monitor this periodically but he does seem to be more reassured that his blood pressure is doing reasonably well off any antihypertensive at this time."

I still take my blood pressure several times per day and generally get readings around 118/high 70's.  I spend a lot of time worrying about it.  I still get high readings when I go to the doctor, or sometimes at home when I take it the first time (have to take more than 1 reading). 

Is anyone in the same boat as me?  This is tearing me apart.
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Offline marc

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Re: Consumed with health anxiety
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2013, 08:38:28 AM »
It sounds like you don't have high blood pressure, especially since your readings are normal when you
take them.
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If you're going through hell, keep going.
Never, Never, Never, give up.

Online tinam7

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Re: Consumed with health anxiety
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2013, 08:57:09 AM »
Yes, can relate very well. Your discharge notes are excellent. Even if you spike now and then (and I wonder who doesn't) it takes years and years, decades really, for any lasting damage. My theory is as long as you get periodic low readings, no protein in urine (can be checked by doctor), you focus on keeping as much stress as possible out of your life....and.....

try meditation, you are fine. Now am I a doctor? Of course not, but BP was always an issue in my family.
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