I'm new to this forum, and I promise to try and keep this as short as possible, but please forgive me if I don't. A year ago last May, I went to my Dr. and had a blood pressure reading of 132/80. 3 weeks later, I was sick, took 3 days off from work, I hadn't worked for over a year due to my Father's traumatic death. So, while I was working, I drastically cut down on caffeine and nicotine. When I got sick and stayed home those 3 days, I drank bottle after bottle of Pepsi, and chain smoked. I took my blood pressure one evening, and to my horror it was 181/86. I have panic/anxiety disorders, so seeing that high reading threw me into panic. My husband took me to the ER, and the dr. there told me that he thought it had spiked because I had "re-introduced" caffeine and nicotine into my system, which made sense to me. The dr. at the hospital gave me a very mild anti-hypertensive drug, can't remember the name, and when I left the hospital, it was 124/56. He said that the bottom number was way too low, and he didn't think I had true high blood pressure. I called my own dr. the next morning, and he panicked. He put me on 160 mgs. of lisinopril and 10 mgs. of Norvasc. My b/p dropped as low as 50/32, and that's not a typo!!!!!!!!!!!! This has been almost a year, and my blood pressure has stayed anywhere from the 80's over 40 something to sometimes 90's over 50 something with quite a few episodes of it bottoming out really, really low. I felt horrible. Lately, I have cut one norvasc and am now on 5 mgs. at night. I have had 3 drs. tell me that anything over 80 mgs of lisinopril doesn't have any effect on your blood pressure, also have read that numerous times on the internet. So actually I'm taking 80 mgs of lisinopril and 5 mgs of norvasc. During the past year I had absolutely no trouble at all with anxiety. But about 3 weeks ago, the old disorder kicked in on me again, and I noticed a slight elevation in my b/p. I didn't worry about it though. However, I started chain smoking, got up to over 2 packs per day. B/p went up some more. Last Tuesday though, it bottomed out on me again, 82/44 and I called my dr. and told him I had to get off some of these meds. I never got the chance to do that though, because I decided to cut down on nicotine, and also codeine, of which I was taking about 12 of per day for bad knee pain. I cut the codeine from 12 per day to 6, and cut down on the cigarettes from 2 packs per day to 10. Yesterday my blood pressure rose to 149/71. My husband thought maybe it was withdrawal from nicotine, so he gave me a cigarette, and it lowered it to 128/62. So my question is this............could this spike in my b/p be caused from nicotine, codeine withdrawal, coupled with some pretty bad anxiety? I am sooooooooo sorry for this long post, but I am scared to death. This is NOT normal for me. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
In my unexpert opinion, those low readings are dangerously low. Some of the real experts on this forum will help you out, but clearly you've been overly or wrongly medicated. Try not to worry about anxiety spikes, and try not to think about readings clearly influenced by very recent caffeine, smoking, and so forth. There's an argument here that you need to wean off everything--from the bp meds to smoking--and then see where you stand. Your MD may have overreacted on that one very high reading. There is NO NEED to be scared to death, even 149/71 would not likely hurt you for quite a long time. I'd be more worried about the lows than the highs.
Thank you guys for your replies. I've had a morbid fear of high blood pressure ever since my Father died unexpectedly of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. He didn't have high blood pressure though. Just something about his death caused me to develop this irrational fear.
Could the very rapid withdrawal of codeine, coupled with the heavy increase of cigarettes caused this spike? Don't get me wrong, I am very worried about my pressure being so low, I feel terrible all the time, can't work, etc. And I have passed out a couple of times. But, in my irrational mind, a spike of 149/71 is way too high, considering that it's been so low for so long. I'm really scared and anxious about all this.
Again, thanks for your replies. They mean a lot to me. And they did reassure me. I appreciate you guys.
A BP spike of 149/71 is a perfectly normal spike for someone with normal BP. Everyone's BP goes up when they are under stress, have just expercised heavily, etc. A high reading then is absolutely nothing to worry about. If the reading was 200/120, that would be a different story. I would not have even gone to the ER at 181/86, but just checked my pressure again the next day and made an appointment with the doctor if it persisted at that level.
Are you keeping a written record of these unusually low readings and your passing out and feeling lousy, and taking the record to show your doctor when you see him? Though I'm no medical professional, I too believe that your doctor over-reacted in putting you on such a high dose of BP medication and with keeping you there.
When my BP improved after my stress level was reduced and I started getting a lot of systolic readings under 110, I felt too lethargic, so went back to my doctor and had her reduce my Lisinopril from 30 mg to 10 mg. A year later, I took myself off the medication completely when my systolic was again getting down in that same level.
I have no idea how codeine or nicotine use or withdrawal might affect BP, so won't comment on that.
I can add a little bit here. Nicotine robs your body of oxygen, so the heart has to pump harder to get the available oxygen into your system. Caffeine is a stimulent, whcih makes the system speed up, and codeine is a narcotic (which depresses the system). Seems like everything is working against each other, so the body tries to compensate.
I agree with everyone too, that spikes are dependent on a lot of things, and your dr may have reacted too quickly in putting you on all the meds. I only take 30 mg of lisinopril. (plus I smoke, too, as well as too much coffee and was taking Vicodin recently...I too felt awful.)
You should be re-evaluated my your dr.
Anxiety and stress WILL spike your pressure. Ask any one of us nervous nellies in this forum Your high numbers are not that bad. It's the low ones that look postively scary. You need to see your doctor about your meds. Also, do you have a home BP machine? Do you track your BP readings? If so, you may want to give your readings to your doctor.
Thanks to all of you for your replies once again, I really appreciate it. To answer some of your questions, yes, I have a blood pressure monitor here at home and I have kept a record of my b/p. I have also shown it to my Dr., and talked about it at length with him by phone. He told me that nothing over 40 mgs. of Lisinopril is doing me any good anyway, and that he wants my blood pressure UP, and to cut 80 mgs. of Lisinopril. Well, what I don't understand is this: if those last 80 mgs. aren't doing anything to lower my blood pressure, why is he taking me off that first? Why not the Norvasc first? He's very bad about throwing people on high blood pressure meds with just one high reading. He recently did the same thing to my brother. His pressure was 170/103 and he put him on some kind of med, and my brother reacted the same way I have. I am soooooooooooo confused about all of this. All day today it ran around 94/48. When I got up this morning and before I even took the medication, it was 113/58. I can't get any really good answers from my Dr. I felt horrible all day until my husband came home from work, we got into an argument, b/p spiked again, high for me I think, 133/61!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL I just have this horrible fear of high blood pressure and I'm almost afraid to get off the meds, even though I know I have to. I have never had high blood pressure in my entire life till now. It's always been normal to low. So this is all so new to me. Anyway, I'm rambling now. Thanks again for all your help, and good luck to you all.
Get a new doctor and yourself free of bp meds. To repeat what the others have said, you don't really have hbp and you have to get over your "horrible fear." Spikes are part of life--a well functioning body that's supposed to react to stress, threats, and extertion--and prove nothing. The key is whether you're under 140/90 when rested and calm, and you have no reason to think you aren't.