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Old 03-17-2005, 05:18 PM   #1
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dtjobrien HB User
How do we REALLY know what our pressure is?

I have several thoughts, and some questions, as my blood pressure has seemed to be rising over the last few years. I welcome all comments and advice on these. First, a little about me before I start:

I'm a 45 year old male, 5'10", 165 pounds. I eat very healthy, trying to keep fats, cholesterol, and salt to a minimum. I also run 3 miles, 5 days a week. I do have a some vices however. I drink 2 or 3 cups of coffee every day, have a couple of glasses of red wine 4 times a week, and smoke 4 cigarettes a day for the last few years.

My first real question is, how the heck does anyone really know what their pressure is, when it seems to vary so much from moment to moment?

After my doctor started seeing some higher readings about 3 years ago, I got a nice home pressure monitor and have been watching it almost every day. But it's interesting how wildly the readings can vary.

--If I check my pressure in the normal, sitting down position at rest, I am getting readings of around from 125/80, to 135/90. Occassionaly I will have a higher reading of 145/95.

--If I check my pressure standing up, I get reading around 160/100 if I'm at rest, but if I have just finished running in the morning, and check it standing up while my heart is racing away at a BPM of 140, my pressure is around 125/75. (why is this?)

--If I check it while lying down with my arm at my side, it's around 105/60.

Add to this, that all of these readings will vary depending on what time of day they are done. I try to check it the same time every day, but still I wonder about all of this.

Now to the other things I wonder about...

--Does the mental mind have a lot to do with blood pressure? Stress, anxiety, being high strung. Do these traits give us our blood pressure readings? Otherwise, why would the readings vary so much from moment to moment? I can literally get a reading of 160/110 by being really nervous at the doctor's office. Doesn't this tell us something??

My work for the last several years is 12 hours a day concentrating very hard at the computer. How does this affect things long term? I wonder if took a low dosage of anti-anxiety pills everyday, if I would have lower blood pressure...(???)

--There is this underlying fear, put into my head by my doctor, that someday I could have a stroke, if I don't keep things under control. Well how do you get a stroke? How high does your pressure really have to get, and for how long before you are in danger of this?

--I wonder about my vices. Is that too much to drink? Has alcohol been causing the pressure to slowly rise over time? If so, I wonder why? I thought red wine was good for you!

--Don't ask me why, but it's true, I never have more than about 4 cigerettes a day, and for the last 5 years. Has this affected my pressure?

Sorry to ramble, but I wonder about so many things. How do we really get to the bottom of what our true pressure is? Has anyone had their pressure taken while they are sleeping? I'm sure it's really low. Why isn't that the true accurate reading of our pressure since the mind and body are at rest.

I welcome comments/opinions about all of this stuff...

 
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Old 03-17-2005, 08:58 PM   #2
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Lenin HB UserLenin HB UserLenin HB UserLenin HB UserLenin HB UserLenin HB User
Re: How do we REALLY know what our pressure is?

Since normal BP is defined as < 140/90 for the AVERAGE, supine, relaxed BP measured over a reasonable period of time, anything else just indicates the elaborate systems the body uses to get just the right amount of oxygen and nutrients to the body depending on what is neeeded at any particular moment. The exquisite hormonal dance that the body does dependant on stress, temperature, activity, and genetics is quite remarkable and NOBODY has a complete handle on it.

Just settle for that AVERAGE SUPINE BLOOD PRESSURE taken over several weeks. All other readings might be interesting but they have little meaning because there are no standards with which to compare them.

Yep, steady drinking if over a couple drinks a day will definitely raise BP over time, as will weight gain.

Anti anxiety drugs DO tend to lower blood pressure.

Last edited by Lenin; 03-18-2005 at 04:14 AM.

 
Old 03-17-2005, 10:56 PM   #3
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Re: How do we REALLY know what our pressure is?

Average BP is considered 120/80. But check this out, this doesnt mean that 135/80 isnt average for a person because that can be normal for a person. All people are unique and BP's can vary often. Exercise and smoking can change this easily, but thats not such a bad thing because heart rate will balance out if you are in good health and it sounds like you are in good health. Now, only 140/90 daily is considered hypertension and that means a BP of this daily. 90/60 can be normal on occasion, but if it is 90/60 daily this could mean possible hypotension. If you are concerned about BP keep a track record for about a two week period and give it to your doctor to look at. Regular annual check ups with the doc is the best thing you can do for yourself, and also give you some peace of mind that you are responsibly taking care of your health by doing this, blood work etc. If stress is causing a rise in BP, there are antidepressants that are known to help especially Paxil and the new antidepressant Lexapro. Benzodiazipines such as Xanax or Ativan are good for short term concerning anxiety but the antidepressants help regulate depression therefore lowering chances of increased anxiety. Hope I was of some help, and remember annual check ups are your best bet all the way around.

 
Old 03-18-2005, 07:13 AM   #4
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Re: How do we REALLY know what our pressure is?

I am 34 now... I am 5'11 152. I drank a 6 pack a night from 22-32. Yes that was the cause of my HBP. You may just have white-coat syndrome and anxiety. I take xanax & it makes a bigger difference on my B/P than the B/P meds. without all of the garbage side-effects. I don't know why docs. don't treat the anxiety 1st & then see if someone really does have HBP before prescring B/P meds.... My opinion is that the anxiety might be your cause. Find a good doc. that can give you a 24 hour test. You will be able to truly see if you have HBP or just anxiety.

 
Old 03-18-2005, 08:07 AM   #5
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Re: How do we REALLY know what our pressure is?

Thank you for these great replies so far. Very interesting stuff..

 
Old 03-18-2005, 08:20 AM   #6
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Re: How do we REALLY know what our pressure is?

Take your blood pressure after you have relaxed for 5 minutes. Take it in a sitting position with your arm relaxed and the monitor at heart level. Your relaxed bp is considered your baseline bp and what should ideally be below 120/80. You aren't considered to have hypertension until your relaxed bp is 140/90 or above.

Smoking can raise your blood pressure. You would be better off all the way around if you would stop smoking.

Several people, myself included, find that caffeine will raise their bp as much as 10-15 points short term. As an experiment, you might cut out the coffee for a week or two and see what your bp is.

A couple glasses of wine 3 or 4 days a week should be fine, unless you have a sensitivity to something in the wine. Many people here say a glass or wine or a shot of alcohol lowers their bp. Again, as an experiment, you might try avoiding alcohol for a couple of weeks and see what happens.

Yes, your bp will vary widely over the course of the day, depending on what you are doing. For normal people the bp is lowest while asleep. And stress and anger will raise it. If you are in a stressful job, try to find ways to relax. This will lower your bp.

Anti-anxiety drugs may very well lower your bp. But unless you only use them for an occasional anxiety attack they are addictive, and if you only take them occasionally they won't lower your bp full time. So ask yourself, do you want to be addicted to anti-anxiety drugs as a way to lower your bp? One's body tends to acclimate to anti-anxiety drugs so you have to increase the dosage over time to get the same effect.

 
Old 03-18-2005, 09:07 AM   #7
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Re: How do we REALLY know what our pressure is?

Graylorn, I know that you really do mean well. I am not trying to be tough on you. We just have a difference of opinion. The meds. over the past 2 years have made my lifestyle much worse, even after trying 3 doctors..... I don't think that I really need them at all. I will start a slow wean next week off of the Atenolol & if I need one med then I will try the Lotrel with the anxiety med. Lifestyle is just as important as having 116/66 B/P. I felt much better when it was 135-140/75 on a consistent basis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgraylorn
Take your blood pressure after you have relaxed for 5 minutes. Take it in a sitting position with your arm relaxed and the monitor at heart level. Your relaxed bp is considered your baseline bp and what should ideally be below 120/80. You aren't considered to have hypertension until your relaxed bp is 140/90 or above.

Then is you have 116/66 consistently with a pulse of 53, shouldn't the doc. consider weaning you off of the meds.... especially at 34 & all of the side-effects.

Smoking can raise your blood pressure. You would be better off all the way around if you would stop smoking.

I agree 100%. I have gone from drinking a 6 pack a night during the week to none 99% of the time. I do smoke, but everyone has vices. Some people eat too much, some people have much worse vices. Smoking is bad. I quit for 5
years, but after a tough time in my life I went back. Smoking causes a short-term increase in raising B/P. My G/F who is 24 can have readings like 150/75 when she is stressed, but last week at the doc. her B/P was 110/80 after 2 cups of coffee and 7 smokes.. My Mom refuses to go on B/P medication & her B/P is 150/100 at the doc. she is 125/75 outside of the doc. My G/F's Dad had 160/100 at the doc. & he refuses to take B/P meds. as well. He usually has much lower readings. He smokes as well. Actually my entire band smokes, my g/f smokes.... most of the people around me smoke. It isn't good I agree, but I handled the drinking.... the smoking will take some time.

Several people, myself included, find that caffeine will raise their bp as much as 10-15 points short term. As an experiment, you might cut out the coffee for a week or two and see what your bp is.

I would be a zombie if I did that. On the meds. I feel like a lethargic zombie. I need to be clear and focused in what I do on a daily basis. With a pulse of 53 and a B/P of 116/66, I feel really exhausted & unfocused. I need a cup of coffee in the morning and at least one soda with caffeine or I won't be alert.

A couple glasses of wine 3 or 4 days a week should be fine, unless you have a sensitivity to something in the wine. Many people here say a glass or wine or a shot of alcohol lowers their bp. Again, as an experiment, you might try avoiding alcohol for a couple of weeks and see what happens.

It didn't do anything for my B/P at all. I tried not drinking at all for 2 months. No change. During the week I don't drink 99% of the time now. During the weekends I have 5-6 on occasion, but that is the exception. On the meds. I get buzzed too easily.

Yes, your bp will vary widely over the course of the day, depending on what you are doing. For normal people the bp is lowest while asleep. And stress and anger will raise it. If you are in a stressful job, try to find ways to relax. This will lower your bp.

Very true. Mine will be 119/69 or so around noon & 110/63 or so around 6 or 7. In a stressful job.... it is tough.

Anti-anxiety drugs may very well lower your bp. But unless you only use them for an occasional anxiety attack they are addictive, and if you only take them occasionally they won't lower your bp full time. So ask yourself, do you want to be addicted to anti-anxiety drugs as a way to lower your bp? One's body tends to acclimate to anti-anxiety drugs so you have to increase the dosage over time to get the same effect.
I have been on anti-anxiety drugs for 2 years. They have lowered my B/P more than the meds. I was told that they are addictive. I have not increased my dose either. Atenolol & Lotrel are also very very diffucult to get off of. Atenolol in new studies has shown that it doesn't even lower B/P that much if any at all from what Zuzu posted..... I was never even told that you have to wean off of the beta-blockers in the 1st place. I have had 2 EKGS, a chest xray, CBC Panel, Metabolic Function & everything is perfect..... Why am I on a drug that like a beta-blocker that doesn't even lower my B/P, but causes me side-effects like Toprol did???? It doesn't make sense.

I know that you mean well Graylorn, but I'm starting to believe like my pharmacist who is a doctor that it is ok to stay on the Lotrel and the xanax, but wean off of the beta-blocker. Eventually, I would like to get off of the Lotrel as well. At 5' 11 152 & in perfect health, there is no reason for me to be on Lotrel & Atenolol. It just ruins my lifestyle & makes me feel like junk. The less meds. the better!

 
Old 03-18-2005, 09:47 AM   #8
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Re: How do we REALLY know what our pressure is?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtjobrien
I have several thoughts, and some questions, as my blood pressure has seemed to be rising over the last few years. I welcome all comments and advice on these. First, a little about me before I start:

I'm a 45 year old male, 5'10", 165 pounds. I eat very healthy, trying to keep fats, cholesterol, and salt to a minimum. I also run 3 miles, 5 days a week. I do have a some vices however. I drink 2 or 3 cups of coffee every day, have a couple of glasses of red wine 4 times a week, and smoke 4 cigarettes a day for the last few years.

My first real question is, how the heck does anyone really know what their pressure is, when it seems to vary so much from moment to moment?

After my doctor started seeing some higher readings about 3 years ago, I got a nice home pressure monitor and have been watching it almost every day. But it's interesting how wildly the readings can vary.

--If I check my pressure in the normal, sitting down position at rest, I am getting readings of around from 125/80, to 135/90. Occassionaly I will have a higher reading of 145/95.

--If I check my pressure standing up, I get reading around 160/100 if I'm at rest, but if I have just finished running in the morning, and check it standing up while my heart is racing away at a BPM of 140, my pressure is around 125/75. (why is this?)

--If I check it while lying down with my arm at my side, it's around 105/60.

Add to this, that all of these readings will vary depending on what time of day they are done. I try to check it the same time every day, but still I wonder about all of this.

Now to the other things I wonder about...

--Does the mental mind have a lot to do with blood pressure? Stress, anxiety, being high strung. Do these traits give us our blood pressure readings? Otherwise, why would the readings vary so much from moment to moment? I can literally get a reading of 160/110 by being really nervous at the doctor's office. Doesn't this tell us something??

My work for the last several years is 12 hours a day concentrating very hard at the computer. How does this affect things long term? I wonder if took a low dosage of anti-anxiety pills everyday, if I would have lower blood pressure...(???)

--There is this underlying fear, put into my head by my doctor, that someday I could have a stroke, if I don't keep things under control. Well how do you get a stroke? How high does your pressure really have to get, and for how long before you are in danger of this?

--I wonder about my vices. Is that too much to drink? Has alcohol been causing the pressure to slowly rise over time? If so, I wonder why? I thought red wine was good for you!

--Don't ask me why, but it's true, I never have more than about 4 cigerettes a day, and for the last 5 years. Has this affected my pressure?

Sorry to ramble, but I wonder about so many things. How do we really get to the bottom of what our true pressure is? Has anyone had their pressure taken while they are sleeping? I'm sure it's really low. Why isn't that the true accurate reading of our pressure since the mind and body are at rest.

I welcome comments/opinions about all of this stuff...

 
Old 03-18-2005, 09:53 AM   #9
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Re: How do we REALLY know what our pressure is?

I know what you mean. I think if your pressure is 140/90 after taking it while sitting at rest for 15 minutes frequently then you may have hypertension. Like you said your bp changes all day long depending on many factors including stress, emotions, physical exertion etc... I also drink Red wine and I asked my doctor and he said not to drink every day and to have no more than 2 glasses at one sitting. I also exercise every day. I don't drink any more caffeinated beverages and I don't smoke. You would have to drink more than 3 drinks a day I believe to have any effect on your blood pressure. It sounds like your drinking is moderate. I think you should check with your doctor on these issues.

 
Old 03-18-2005, 10:52 AM   #10
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Re: How do we REALLY know what our pressure is?

113/65 today..... I am happy. Time to wean off of Atenolol!!!!

 
Old 03-18-2005, 11:05 AM   #11
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Re: How do we REALLY know what our pressure is?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillians Axe
Atenolol in new studies has shown that it doesn't even lower B/P that much if any at all from what Zuzu posted
Just a minor correction of facts. Atenolol was effective at lowering BP. It just didn't improve outcomes. So, even though you will have lower BP from it, you won't live any longer taking it.

Pal

 
Old 03-18-2005, 11:32 AM   #12
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Re: How do we REALLY know what our pressure is?

Thanks Pal.... 113/65 wasn't too bad today.......

Now if Atenolol didn't have a zillion side-effects maybe it would be a decent med.

 
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