I wrote last week after receiving my first BP Script. It was a combo drug Atenenol+a diuretic (and a seperate script for potassium). I had consistently been getting readings of 135/145 over 87/102 for about the last year. My numbers are kind of all over the place, but have definately seemed to creep up. I never worried about my BP until I had a panic attack in July of 03 - since then I freak out when I have my BP taken. Anyhow, after reading some responses to the script I was given & because my doc and I have butted heads over how to treat my thyroid, I decided it was time for a new doc & hopefully a different script (since my husband and I are trying to conceive). I am a 28 female by the way. Anyhow - that's the groundwork for my post
I met with a new doc who wants to give me a month to work on lifestyle changes to get my BP down. I've already lost 40 pounds, but my BP went up instead of down I plan on continuing to lose weight. My doctor would like for me to get at least 30 minutes of cardio in EVERY day & quit smoking. Although she said quitting smoking may not make a difference in my BP numbers it will be one less risk factor for heart disease. She asked that I get a BP cuff & log my results at home & bring my cuff in at my next appointment to see how it measures up to the numbers they get there. I asked her if she felt these things would get my #'s down & she said she just didn't know. That sometimes once the high BP gene begins to express itself it's impossible to control it w/out meds.
I was somewhat shocked because I was totally planning on getting a new script. I guess I am happy that she's giving me a shot to effect a change myself. SO, I've picked a quit date of 02/01/05 to stop smoking (after 13 years). I've never tried to quit before, but I feel I don't have an option & I am anxious to quit. I plan on beginning an exercise regimine the same day. I'm curious about the effects (both negative and positive) this may have on my BP. Do you think stopping smoking may make my BP go up for a while because of anxiety? Does anyone know if it's a bad idea to use the patch w/ high BP? To a degree I'm afraid I'm going to be adding a lot of extra stress to my body, but that in the long-run I'll be better off. I've also got to figure out a way to take my BP without stressing out. I'm sitting here looking at this cuff I spent $55 on & I'm terrified to put it on my arm!!
Anyhow - I know this post got long, but I wanted to throw my situation out there and see if anyone had any comments or if anyone was able to answer my questions.
It is my understanding that one of the common side effects of the nicotine patch is high blood pressure. I had to go cold turkey after over forty years of smoking. It was one of the most difficult things I have every had to do, but a stroke made it necessary. Hang in there. If I could do it anyone can.
As bharkins said, the patch is a no, no with hypertension. I quit when I was first diagnosed. It was hard but it was the best thing I ever did for myself.
I think the best way to quit is to not think of never having another, just try to not smoke for 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week and so on. Read all the horror stories about the consequences. And don't give up if you have a set back.
Also think of what a good thing that will be for your baby. My mom was a heavy smoker and I lost her to lung cancer when I was only 16.
I wish you the best of luck,
I love the sound of your doctor. I think you may have found a really good one.
By the way, the nicotine patch is OK for mild hypertensives.
Studies have shown that when you slap a patch on a NON-smoker or a person who has normal BP, their BP increases. However, BP does not significantly change in smokers with hypertension. (At least no more than if they continued smoking!)
So if you find going cold turkey w/o nicotine replacement too difficult, by all means, use the patch.
By the way, you might want to check out the American Lung Association's website. They have a Quit Smoking Online program and lots of other information you may find really helpful. This is a tough addiction and the more help and info you have, the better!
Zekat, it sounds like you have a great doctor. Keep working on those lifestyle changes. I've never smoked but I've had several friends who did and so I know a bit about the hardship they went through to quit. You said you were trying to concieve. If you smoke when you are pregnant, you are basically poisoning your baby in your womb. There is a lot of research that babies born to smokers have smaller birthweights and a lot more problems after birth. Hopefully focusing on giving your bably the best possible start by you not smoking will help you keep your resolve to quit.
Nicotine is a poison and you are addicted to it. Your body will go through withdrawal, and there is a possibility your bp might go up a bit, right at first. Don't let that stop you from quitting. That effect will be temporary.
Thank you both for your replies. I did check out the website & have registered there. It suggested setting a quit date for three weeks, but I've really got my mind made up and tomorrow is my "quit day". I'm going through the site though and writing tips/tricks/advise in a "quitters notebook" for me. I also wrote a letter to myself that explains why I am quitting so maybe it will help when I'm faltering. I also strongly believe it will give me not only a better chance at getting pregnant, but will give me a much healthier pregnancy and a much healthier baby.
On an good note, I FINALLY put the BP cuff on -- my first reading was 122/90 with a heart rate of 103. I don't think it was right 'cause I didn't have it in the right place. My 2nd was 141/92 w/ heart rate of 85 & the third was 140/90 w/a heart rate of 83. At least I'm facing this fear!!! (I know it sounds crazy, but I really have a hard time having my BP taken anywhere!). Hopefully the lifestyle changes I am making will help my BP readings, but if not, at least I will know I've done everything I can to help my numbers & it truly is in my best interest to start meds.
My dr had prescribed the patch & zyban for me to quit smoking. It worked for three months, but after the pills and patch were gone, i starte back smoking.I've also tried cold turnkey and it worked for a few months.
i did notice a great difference in my bp readings during smoking and non-smoking periords.
Back to the patch. I am of the opinion that if a product specifically says that it raises BP, it should be avoided by a hypertensive individual whether mild or not. There are no guages as to how much BP can be affected and all individuals are different. One person might have a slight rise while another may be higher. I always feel that is better to be safe than sorry. Besides, who conducted those tests, the patch maker?
Hi Zekat, I have read your thread, and just want to chime in to say, GOOD LUCK tomorrow and in the days/weeks ahead as you learn to live healthier without cigarettes!! You are young enough to heal the damage they could have done so far and to go on to be so much better off. Your future children thank you.... they want to grow inside a body that's going to nourish and hold them safe until they are born, and then live in a smoke free home with parents who aren't sick!! I don't know if you're a praying person, but I am, and I'll say a special one for you tomorrow as you face your big day.
As for the BP cuff, sit down and get all ready to take your reading, then spend at least 4-5 minutes taking nice, long, slow breaths. Have your legs uncrossed while taking the reading. Think about something wonderful and relaxing (the beach? the forest?) and again, nice slow breaths. Thank your lungs for working so well for you. Think of your BP cuff as your friend! (a nickname maybe.... "cuffy?" haha)
Seriously, I wish you well and I hope to hear how things are going. Please give your future babies and yourself every opportunity to feel great!
bharkins - I've definately decided to go w/out the patch. I agree that if my intent is to lower my blood pressure it would be a contradiction to raise it. I'm definately "high anxiety" today.... I'm staring down my last cigarette. I've got a notebook full of useful tips & a letter to myself. I know I'm naive in this situation b/c I've never done it before, but I really have faith that I can do it. I'm so positive I've told everyone I know At least that will keep my pride in check!! Cold Turkey it is and I believe it's my 1st and only attempt.
Gatormom -- I have to tell you that your post actually made me cry. I think it made me think of my childhood to a degree -- I remember begging my parents to quit & taking a towell in the car with me to cover up my hair so it wouldn't smell like smoke. I also remember sitting in the waiting room at the age of 24 knowing my dad was in a room somewhere with his chest cracked open to repair damage that may have been preventable and he was only 48 (it was his 2nd heart attack). I'm sorry I'm so graphic, and I LOVE my dad -- which is why it hurts so much I guess. I just remember how terrible it felt & even though I do not have children I really don't want to put them through that. You think as a smoker that you are only hurting yourself, but I guess that really isn't true.
I like your suggestion and I think "cuffy" is a GREAT name! I'll think of my honeymoon cruise & continue to try and control my anxiety Thank you for your prayers and I will keep you posted... hopefully with better BP readings!
zekat, you might want to try acupuncture to quit smoking if other methods you try, seem to fail.
I tried quitting about 15 years ago and tried everything they had to offer at the time to no avail. I was a chain smoker and smoked 3 packs a day. A relative of mine wanted to try acupuncture and asked me to go with. I thought it would be a huge waste of time and thought of it as more of a joke at the time, but I agreed to go with.
When I walked out at the end of the session, we decided to have lunch. I had absolutely no desire to have a cigarette after lunch at all. This surprised me quite a bit at the time. But what was even more surprising, is that I had no desire to have a cigarette at all, at any time after that. I didn't even think about it, and when I did, the thought of having a cigarette was not desireable. I was suppose to go back for a few more treatments, but didn't as I was not smoking, not missing it, and have no anxiety at all over not smoking. It was remarkable. I absolutely missed not at all. Didn't even ever think about it.
After about a year, I actually started to force myself to smoke again. I don't know what I was thinking, but that is exactly what I did. And have been smoking like a steam engine again ever since. I have tried to quit again with the aid of patches, zyban, valium, gum, hypnosis, etc etc. I was even prescribed some beta blocker once to help quit, but I kept passing out when I was on it and had to quit it's use. None of it helped me even to cut back anyway. I had not tried acupuncture again, as we had moved to another state and just never tried finding another reliable practioner of chinese medicine. I guess I just really didn't want to really quit yet, as I do enjoy smoking alot.
But last week, I was diagnoised with high blood pressure. Two doctors to get another opinion. Average anywhere between 179/99 to 200/128. I don't want to take the medications, and want to try a lifestyle change instead. The doctors of course are not willing to work with me on this. But all I want to do is "try" at least to make lifestyle changes first. One of the first changes I am making, is going to try to quit smoking and coffee comsuption (2 12 cup pots a day). I am starting my first acupuncture treatment this weekend. Hope I have the results I did 15 years ago with it, and what happened 15 years ago wasn't just some kind of fluke or something. Will let you know how it goes, if you are interested.
Thank you for your suggestion to try accupuncture -- I will definately keep it filed in my brain "just in case". However, I have been doing surprisingly well so far. Obviously, I would much, much rather be smoking, but I keep reminding myself that is not an option. It's only been a day and a half, but I'm setting a new record for myself every second of the day
Good luck to you with your accupuncture appointment -- I hope it, with your resolve will help you quit smoking. I've been reading up on caffein use after quitting smoking and it looks like you really don't need as much caffeine once you quit --- something about nicotine interfering w/ the caffeine or something. Anyhow, I've cut my caffeine consumption down to 2 caffeinated beverages a day and I can tell you that is plenty!
Folgers decaf coffee doesn't taste too bad and green teas are great with flavoring. I think im going to try to quit smoking again. This time i hope it is permanent. I have too many diseases to continue smoking. I CAN stop, but my problem is what to do when very high stress situations confront me.
I think cold turkey is the best way for me too, although i still have my zyban and patches.