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Old 11-12-2003, 05:55 AM   #1
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Question Does BP change during heart attack?

I have a probably naive question. When someone is having a heart attack -- right during the heart attack -- would their blood pressure either be very high or very low? Meaning, could you be having a heart attack while maintaining a 120/80 blood pressure reading? I'm asking because during my chest pain/anxiety "episodes", I always run for the BP cuff to reassure myself that everything is o.k. Perhaps this isn't the best indicator! Thanks.

 
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Old 11-13-2003, 11:08 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amarra
I have a probably naive question. When someone is having a heart attack -- right during the heart attack -- would their blood pressure either be very high or very low? Meaning, could you be having a heart attack while maintaining a 120/80 blood pressure reading? I'm asking because during my chest pain/anxiety "episodes", I always run for the BP cuff to reassure myself that everything is o.k. Perhaps this isn't the best indicator! Thanks.
during a heart attack your blood pressure could go up, down or stay the same

 
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Old 11-13-2003, 05:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jodo
during a heart attack your blood pressure could go up, down or stay the same
I agree with jodo, and just to expand on what...he (I'm guessing if you're a "he" jodo ) is saying, it all depends on where the heart attack is happening.

First of all, stop checking your blood pressure when you are getting chest pains, because it sounds like you are having more of the anxiety pains than anything...checking your blood pressure, even though it's reassuring, only reinforces the behaviour and you'll keep doing it over and over again, and become more and more hypervigilant.

In terms of what I was talking about above with the heart attack, depending on WHERE the heart attack is happening, will result in a certain part of the heart dying and will result in certain symptoms. More commonly with a heart attack, you will get LOW blood pressure for two reasons....

#1, most heart attacks happen in the left ventricle which is the chamber which is responsible for pumping blood to the rest of the body. When this is affected, the ability of the heart to pump blood is reduced, and you get low blood pressure.

#2. Often times you can get a heart attack at the division between heart chambers, which can affect the electrical system of the heart causing arrythmias....this can also result in low blood pressure.

#3. If you were having a real heart attack, trust me, unless you're a diabetic, you wouldn't be able to take your blood pressure...you'd be much more preoccupied with how much pain you're in and how hard it is for you to breathe.

 
Old 11-14-2003, 06:41 AM   #4
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Thank you for your responses.

But, butterflytrans, isn't it true that heart attack symptoms in women can go virtually undetected? Meaning, couldn't a woman have a heart attack without experiencing that crushing pain? I just read somewhere that 43% of women who have had heart attacks reported sleeplessness and fatigue prior to their heart attacks -- and no other symptoms! Some of these women actually showed up at the doctors office after the fact, and the heart attack only showed up on the EKG. How common is this?

I totally agree with you that I am hypervigilant (or hypochondriacal as my doctor puts it), and I have posted to several other sections to this board. I'm trying to believe that's all my chest pain is, but it's so hard. My doctor never ordered a holter monitor or 24 hour BP test. I have had a stress test (non-thallium) and tons of EKGs (every time I complain of chest pain). I do have high BP and am on meds for it -- it stays at normal range unless I get in one of my panic modes (like now). My cholesterol is perfect without medication. The doctor doesn't feel any other testing is necessary. I'm 37 years old and although I am significantly overweight (about 70 lbs. -- working on it), I have no other risk factors.

Thanks again for your posts.

 
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