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Old 12-01-2010, 02:37 PM   #1
jakep jakep is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: California
Posts: 11
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I've developed panic/anxiety/obsession over my BP!

I've literally been losing sleep over this and I can't focus on anything else. I have a six figure job that I might lose due to my preoccupation with my anxiety. I need to break this cycle.

I'm a 25 year old male, 6"1, 170lbs, athletic. I've been athletic all my life. I cannot believe at my age I'm worrying so much about my health... I'm recently married, bought a house, have a great job, etc. I should be happier than ever but I've turned into an obsessive hypochondriac.

I had bad food poisoning one day recently and went to the ER, when they took my BP I started to have an anxiety attack (I always get nervous as hell when my bp is taken) and it resulted in a ridiculously high reading of 165/95 with a very rapid pulse of > 130. I tried to forget about that.

A couple weeks later I went to donate blood, I took a small dose of propranolol first, 2 hours beforehand, (I take this occasionally for performance anxiety). When they took my BP I was nervous but I could tell the propranolol was doing its job inhibiting the physiological effects of the adrenaline, yet it was still high at 144/92. This pushed me over the edge.

I then purchased a blood pressure monitor so that I can get a better picture of my BP in the calm privacy of my home. And I'm not quite sure how to interpret the results:

I use an OMRON HEM-780 bp monitor
L = left arm, R = right arm, each reading was after a 2min interval

1st reading, (nervous), L, 141/85, pulse 87
2nd reading, (still nervous), R, 140/83, pulse 85
3rd reading (feeling a little more calm), L: 128/82, pulse 74
4th, R: 122/76, pulse 77
5th, L: 127/81, pulse 78
6th, R: 126/81, pulse 74
7th, L: 119/78, pulse 78

The constant pulse rate of > 70 is a little high for me. When I'm entirely relaxed -- which is very rare for me nowadays -- my pulse is usually around 60.

I suppose I should feel relieved with the lower numbers but I cant help but think that they were artificially low due to multiple bp readings in a row (i.e. my blood vessels were constricted from the previous readings or something?). I'm not sure of that phenomenon even exists or if I made it up.

I can't take readings over a 2min interval because with all the time that passes I build up anticipatory anxiety.

I kept taking my blood pressure throughout the day and I kept getting the same trend; i start out at 140 and then with each 2-min interval I drop down, with my lowest reading being 114/69. BUT I ONLY REMEMBER THE BIG NUMBERS.

I can't get that initial 165/95 reading out of my mind.

I also cannot get the 144/92 while on propranolol out of my mind -- I thought beta blockers were supposed to lower my BP!

I shared this with my doctor and he didn't seem concerned, rather, he gave me xanax and wanted to refer me to a psychiatrist.

Yesterday I flew out on a business trip and begrudgingly decided to leave my BP monitor at home. Since I got here I've been in panic about this. I couldn't sleep last night.

Now I've convinced myself that I've done irreparable damage to my heart/kidneys and I have a death sentence. I'm afraid to go back to the doctor to discuss this or have tests done.

Last edited by jakep; 12-01-2010 at 02:41 PM.