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Author Topic: Very high blood pressure from anxiety?  (Read 625 times)

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Offline AOKAY

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Re: Very high blood pressure from anxiety?
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2014, 01:58:09 PM »
Sunlover, I can totally relate.
Went to my primary care doctor because of a sore hip and they routinely take BP and mine was 170/100.  That really freaked me out since at home it is 130/75 with the diastolic never ever over 85.  But, then again I have white coat syndrome so I wasn't too worried about the high reading in the doctor's office, other than that diastolic was a little higher than my normal doctor office panic, which is usually 140/90.  I was prescribed prednisone for sciatic nerve inflammation at a high dose to start, tapering down over a week.  Two days later I noticed my face was flushed and took my BP at 8PM at night and it was 190/100 AT HOME.  Oh my goodness.  I must be having a bad reaction to the prednisone.  I took it again over the next few minutes and it kept getting higher until my machine started showing error messages it as so high.  Already in panic mode I decided to drive myself to the ER (never a good idea).  They were swamped that night.  When they took my BP it was 201/103 and they left me in the waiting room with all the coughing and sneezing people.  Two hours later they took it again and it was 190/102, two hours after that 175/88 and 156/89 when they finally took me in to see the doctor at 2am.  The doctor looked at me and said they only treat patients who come in with pressures over 220/110 and although I was close, they would just send me home with instructions to see my primary care doctor in a couple of days.  The doctor denied it could be the prednisone, but suggested I stop it immediately anyway since I had only been on it for two days.
The ER doc did not say it, but I know she was thinking panic attack. 
So I went back to my primary care doc a couple of days later, who now has me on a blood pressure medicine, lisinopril.  All because of a sore hip.  And panic.  At home I'm now running about 126/70 with the BP medicine.
I agree with Marc that we "sensitive" types should not have blood pressure cuffs in our homes because we make ourselves crazy.  We can drive our BP higher from panic (or at least I can, apparently).  20/20 hindsight tells me I should have taken a Xanax and gone to bed, rather than go to the ER.  But they say it is better to be safe than sorry.
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Offline Sunlover

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Re: Very high blood pressure from anxiety?
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2014, 02:15:23 PM »
Sunlover, I can totally relate.
Went to my primary care doctor because of a sore hip and they routinely take BP and mine was 170/100.  That really freaked me out since at home it is 130/75 with the diastolic never ever over 85.  But, then again I have white coat syndrome so I wasn't too worried about the high reading in the doctor's office, other than that diastolic was a little higher than my normal doctor office panic, which is usually 140/90.  I was prescribed prednisone for sciatic nerve inflammation at a high dose to start, tapering down over a week.  Two days later I noticed my face was flushed and took my BP at 8PM at night and it was 190/100 AT HOME.  Oh my goodness.  I must be having a bad reaction to the prednisone.  I took it again over the next few minutes and it kept getting higher until my machine started showing error messages it as so high.  Already in panic mode I decided to drive myself to the ER (never a good idea).  They were swamped that night.  When they took my BP it was 201/103 and they left me in the waiting room with all the coughing and sneezing people.  Two hours later they took it again and it was 190/102, two hours after that 175/88 and 156/89 when they finally took me in to see the doctor at 2am.  The doctor looked at me and said they only treat patients who come in with pressures over 220/110 and although I was close, they would just send me home with instructions to see my primary care doctor in a couple of days.  The doctor denied it could be the prednisone, but suggested I stop it immediately anyway since I had only been on it for two days.
The ER doc did not say it, but I know she was thinking panic attack. 
So I went back to my primary care doc a couple of days later, who now has me on a blood pressure medicine, lisinopril.  All because of a sore hip.  And panic.  At home I'm now running about 126/70 with the BP medicine.
I agree with Marc that we "sensitive" types should not have blood pressure cuffs in our homes because we make ourselves crazy.  We can drive our BP higher from panic (or at least I can, apparently).  20/20 hindsight tells me I should have taken a Xanax and gone to bed, rather than go to the ER.  But they say it is better to be safe than sorry.

The reason I have a monitor at home is because I take my BP every day for 2 weeks before I go for my BP check at the doctors and they use the readings I get due to the fact I too have that white coat syndrome.   I can never get below 160/95 at the doctor.  So they don't even count those readings and they put my little chart of my own readings in the file.

And I agree, better safe than sorry!   I mean YOU didn't know what was going on, so it's good you went.
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Offline AOKAY

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Re: Very high blood pressure from anxiety?
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2014, 02:15:02 PM »
Thank you for the kind response, Sunlover.  I won't regret having gone to the ER until I receive the bill for my deductible part of the cost.  UGH.
Also, I completely agree with the necessity of taking BP readings at home, particularly for we "white coat" types.  I have done the same thing for years as they can't get a normal reading in the doctor's office on me.  My current doctor warns me, however, that the super low readings I get at home are not normal either.  She suggested I get a wrist monitor and check my pressure in the car when I'm driving.  But I'm sure that's not a normal reading either.  Also tough to explain to the officer why I was weaving.  "Oh, I was just taking my blood pressure, officer."  Yea, right.
The problem with the cuff at home is that we can become obsessed with our readings and if it's a little high at home we take it again and again until we get a reading we like.  If we are experiencing a particularly stressful period in our lives we may not even get "normal" readings at home which leads to more obsession that something is wrong, when, in reality, we are just conditioned to react when we even see the cuff.  Or at least that's me.  Thanks for listening.
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Offline AncientMelody

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Re: Very high blood pressure from anxiety?
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2014, 02:50:45 PM »
Anxiety WILL make your blood pressure rise.   OK get this:   I was on BP medication and run about 135/75.   One day I took it and it was (I'm going to give estimates) 156/90, I got a little upset so I took it again and it was 170/95...  I got even more upset, but figured well BP can't go up THAT fast.  So I took it again in 15 minutes 196/100...  by now I was starting to freak out, took it again in 5 minutes 200/109...   I was already feeling like I was going to pass out from worry, took it again in 5 minutes 226/111...  I then decided to go to the urgent care clinic!  (turns out it was worry and stress about my blood pressure that made it shoot up like that!) When I got home it was 136/80! 
High blood pressure causes no symptoms unless it is REALLY high (I didn't have any symptoms with 226/111 only from my horrible anxiety!).  I have your kind of readings quite frequently and I feel fantastic - so no, those symptoms are from your anxiety NOT your blood pressure.

That's actually not the case. Hypertension is often called a "silent" disease because so many people are asymptomatic, but a fair percentage of people can have symptoms of high blood pressure: Headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, sometimes even chest pains or exercise intolerance all can be attributed to hypertension even at lower levels in people with no anxiety.
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Offline halesy

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Re: Very high blood pressure from anxiety?
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2014, 07:37:04 PM »
Whenever I go to the doctor she tells me my blood pressure is on the high side. One time I ended up in the ER and was SO freaking out, that my blood pressure and HR were through the roof. After anything dangerous was ruled out, the nurse thought she'd take my BP again now that i knew everything was fine. It was completely normal again. Shows what anxiety can do :P
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“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Offline loverinthecold

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Re: Very high blood pressure from anxiety?
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2014, 04:15:22 PM »
I'm a little late to the party, but still feel compelled to throw in my two cents.

Pretty much everything that others have said is correct. Anxiety is a huge corollary when it comes to high blood pressure, especially systolic blood pressure.

At the height of my anxiety, before I sought help, if I was worried about my blood pressure I could get it up to 190/100 just by thinking about it. Mind you, that's asymptomatically.

Blood pressure is different for everybody and our bodies all tolerate it differently. There are people walking around with blood pressures of 200/100 their entire adult life and they don't even know it. Some will die from heart disease at a relatively young age and some will live to 100. Unfortunately, that's just the way it is.

And while high blood pressure is never ideal, it's also not going to kill you in and of itself.

Besides, the "bad" readings you took aren't even really high for an anxious person.

My best advice to you is to take your blood pressure immediately upon waking and before coffee, breakfast, moving around, etc. This helps me with my phobia of blood pressure taking because I'm still groggy, relaxed and less alert. I tend not to over-analyze or freak out about it when I do it this way.

If your numbers are below 140/100, I wouldn't even give it a second thought. Especially if you're under 50. Young bodies can tolerate blood pressure a lot better than older ones. If your numbers are consistently above those marks, I would consider discussing it with your doctor.

There are no magic numbers when it comes to blood pressure. It doesn't take a conspiracy theorist to see that recommended baseline levels keep getting pushed lower and lower as prescriptions for blood pressure medications skyrocket.
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