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Old 07-19-2005, 07:44 AM   #1
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Please join me in this experiment to lower blood pressure

For the first three months after I quit my blood pressure medications in January, my BP averaged 126/76. Unfortunately, that has gone up since, and my recent average is more like 135/75. (I'll go back and actually calculate that to see what I want to use as my "starting point" for my experiment.)

My doctor is now spouting the new emphasis of "optimal is 115/75" bit. I may agree that that may be optimal, but I have no intention of medicating to that number. Because my blood pressure is highly volatile around people, I think I'm going to ask for a med I can take on those days I go to a meeting or my stepdaughter comes to visit, etc. only, and go unmedicated on the days I play hermit, which is most of the time. Then I'm going to try to lower my average systolic through deep breathing exercises.

I've considered buying a Resperate device, but have decided to try giving a serious try to just doing some deep breathing exercises on my own. For those not familiar with it, the Resperate device, approved by the FDA as a blood-pressure lowering device, guides one to deep, slow breaths. Clinical studies resulted in an average decrease of 14 points systolic and 8 points diastolic within eight weeks. I'm going to see if I can, without paying the approximately $300 for the device, lower my own systolic by ten points within eight weeks by doing breathing exercises. Since my diastolic is already fine, I'm not going to worry about that.

I tried some deep breathing exercises three times yesterday and measured my BP at an average 135/65 to start. (That diastolic is a lower than my average diastolic, which is about 75.) After just five minutes of deep breathing each time, my average BP was 106/67. That's a drop of 29 points within five minutes! After normal breathing returns, the BP goes back up, but over time the average BP when just breathing normally, is supposed to go down. And my BP when just breathing normally is what I'll base the success of my little experiment on.

Instructions for those using the Resperate device are to use it 15 minutes a day. Since I seem to be able to get my blood pressure down by deep breathing in just five minutes, I intend to try doing several short periods daily, rather than one long one. I can more readily see myself doing a few minutes while lying in bed at night or in the morning, while seated at the table after a meal, or even while sitting on the john than devoting a full 15 minutes at one time. I have a hunch it might work even better that way.

Anyone else want to join me in trying this little experiment?

Last edited by Uff-Da!; 07-19-2005 at 07:48 AM.

 
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Old 07-19-2005, 10:28 AM   #2
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Re: Please join me in this experiment to lower blood pressure

Uff-Da,
if you'll explain basically what the NET is on Resperate, I'll play. I don't want to BUY anything though. I presume it's some device that times your inspiration/exhalation to get a net number of breaths for minute? If that's right, I'm sure I could dream something up using household items. I think I have an ancient metronome around somewhere. What rate do they recommend...is it only the rate of breathing that is of concern or does it have to be something more complicated like a 4 beat inspire, 3 beat hold and 2 beat exhale or some such?

For your med to take when you are going to meet people, I recommend propranolol in either 10, 20 or even 40 mg, before the EVENT. It is touted as THE medication for people with stage fright! Since it is extrememly short lived it won't keep working on you during your "isolation time." It really works for a short term de-boost!

On the other hand, remember that it is the AVERAGE BP you should be worried about rather than the BP during the short visit with MAD AUNT EFFIE!

Last edited by Lenin; 07-19-2005 at 10:30 AM.

 
Old 07-19-2005, 12:43 PM   #3
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Re: Please join me in this experiment to lower blood pressure

> Anyone else want to join me in trying this little experiment?
Count me in!

 
Old 07-19-2005, 01:49 PM   #4
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Re: Please join me in this experiment to lower blood pressure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenin
Uff-Da,
if you'll explain basically what the NET is on Resperate, I'll play. I don't want to BUY anything though. I presume it's some device that times your inspiration/exhalation to get a net number of breaths for minute? If that's right, I'm sure I could dream something up using household items. I think I have an ancient metronome around somewhere. What rate do they recommend...is it only the rate of breathing that is of concern or does it have to be something more complicated like a 4 beat inspire, 3 beat hold and 2 beat exhale or some such?
Nothing to buy! My hypothesis here is that we can come up with our own plans to use deep breathing without any device and get our own BP down, maybe not as low as we would with Resperate, but I certainly don't think the difference is going to be worth $300. From what I read on the information about Resperate, there is not a specific number of breaths per minute used, rather the machine senses the patient's number and takes that as a clue to slow it down. I appeared to me that what was doing the job was deep breathing. And doing it regularly enough to begin to make a change in their own breathing habits.

Most people, I read, breathe too shallowly, and I know I certainly am one. So as I see it, all we need to do is conciously take slow (slower than our normal), deep breaths (really fill the lungs) at a speed which is comfortable to us individually. I don't think we even need to time it, so we can do it in the dark while lying in bed, if we wish. Resperate's method is to do the deep breathing in one 15-minute period every day for eight weeks, then at least four times a week forever to maintain results. I'm going to commit to eight weeks of several short periods a day instead of the single 15 minutes, and see if I'm convinced to continue after eight weeks. Maybe if we are lucky, someone who actually has a Resperate will drop in and give us some additional hints.

I counted my breaths/minute when I tried the deep breathing, and I found that six to eight in-and-out breaths was comfortable for me, and since my BP fell so much after doing so, I think it will be effective for me. But each person can come up with what is going to work for them. After doing that deep breathing yesterday and a couple of times this morning, I already feel my normal breathing seems to be deeper and slower than it was before I started this. And that, I think is what is going to lower BP long range. I really think doing the deep breathing exercises every day is what is going to do the job, not the specifics of how to do it. So yes, each person can develop their own specifics and we can share ideas.
Quote:
For your med to take when you are going to meet people, I recommend propranolol in either 10, 20 or even 40 mg, before the EVENT. It is touted as THE medication for people with stage fright! Since it is extrememly short lived it won't keep working on you during your "isolation time." It really works for a short term de-boost!
Thanks for that information. I remembered someone had mentioned before that one med was particularly good for that, but couldn't remember which one.
Quote:
On the other hand, remember that it is the AVERAGE BP you should be worried about rather than the BP during the short visit with MAD AUNT EFFIE!
LOL! Yeah, but seeing a BP record without the mad spikes would make my doctor much happier, and thus help to decrease my stress during and after subsequent doctor visits! Come to think of it, my biggest spike was at the doctor's office. Maybe I need it for there! LOL!

 
Old 07-19-2005, 03:57 PM   #5
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Exclamation Re: Please join me in this experiment to lower blood pressure

Dr. Andrew Weil has a series called Breathing For Optimum health. Check it out. Count me into the experiment.

Last edited by just1primate; 07-19-2005 at 03:58 PM. Reason: spelling

 
Old 07-19-2005, 05:04 PM   #6
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Re: Please join me in this experiment to lower blood pressure

I'm up for it!

I'm convinced my HBP is anxiety. When I'm with my girlfriend my pulse is low and so is my BP. I average 150/90.

Maybe deap breathing would relax me every day.

-Matt

 
Old 07-19-2005, 05:13 PM   #7
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Re: Please join me in this experiment to lower blood pressure

I'll certainly give it a try.
Some things I have noticed about myself are tense muscles, shallow breathing, clenching my teeth, and holding my breath. I have tried breathing consciously to try to remedy these things but find I can't concentrate long enough.
Maybe the support here will help.
Cass

 
Old 07-19-2005, 08:18 PM   #8
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Re: Please join me in this experiment to lower blood pressure

I'd like to join you all also. I've tried this myself when i first heard of Resperate, but didn't follow through with it. Maybe doing it together will help to stay with it.

 
Old 07-20-2005, 06:10 AM   #9
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Re: Please join me in this experiment to lower blood pressure

OK,

I'll do 15 minutes later today and try for 6/sec. or a 4 sec in, 3 sec hold, 3 second out.
Let's call our method INSPIRATE!

It should be easier than the ENDLESS 40 minutes on the stationary bike to a heart rate of 135 that I plan for late morning. Time stands STILL for those 40 minutes!

Before a doctor's visit I have used 160 mg. propranolol. NOTHING cures white coat hypertension...my BP was sky high when he recorded it, as usual. Dropped to ridiculously low levels once I got home though!

Last edited by Lenin; 07-20-2005 at 06:12 AM.

 
Old 07-20-2005, 06:33 AM   #10
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Re: Please join me in this experiment to lower blood pressure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenin
I'll do 15 minutes later today and try for 6/sec. or a 4 sec in, 3 sec hold, 3 second out.
LOL! I think you mean 6/minute. Six per second would be quite a respiration rate!

Quote:
It should be easier than the ENDLESS 40 minutes on the stationary bike to a heart rate of 135 that I plan for late morning. Time stands STILL for those 40 minutes!
Forty minutes at HR of 135! I'd die! I'm so totally out of shape it is pathetic. My lungs even hurt after doing those breathing exercises several times yesterday! Even they are not used to getting exercised!

Quote:
Before a doctor's visit I have used 160 mg. propranolol. NOTHING cures white coat hypertension...my BP was sky high when he recorded it, as usual. Dropped to ridiculously low levels once I got home though!
OMG, 160 mg! I can't even imagine what my BP would drop to after getting back home if I'd take that. 0/0 maybe.

You know one thing I found with these breathing exercises. They sure help one to relax. I almost fell asleep at the dining room table after lunch yesterday when I did them then. And I am not normally one who ever falls asleep sitting - unless at the wheel or as a passenger in a car. Somehow the sound of the engine always tends to lull me to sleep. But otherwise, I have to assume the horizontal.

 
Old 07-21-2005, 05:29 PM   #11
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Re: Please join me in this experiment to lower blood pressure

I actually bought and used the Resperate device for a couple months. It coaches you down under 10 breaths per minute with an emphasis on prolonged exhaling. At first I found that if you exhale long and slowly trying to completely empty your lungs you end up with an uncomfortable oxygen debt feeling, but after some practice this feeling turns into a deep inner relaxation that really works. When you're feeling stressed you learn to automatically do the prolonged exhaling wherever you are. The trick is to remember to do it on a regular basis throughout the day.

 
Old 07-21-2005, 06:58 PM   #12
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Re: Please join me in this experiment to lower blood pressure

Thanks so much for the info, GTG5. Were you able to bring your BP down during the two months you used it? Why did you quit? Or are you able to do the prolonged relaxed breathing enough now without the devise that you don't feel you any longer need it?

Since most of my BP problem has been associated with anxiety, I'm hoping that the deep breathing should be "just what the doctor ordered" for my particular situation. Time will tell.

 
Old 07-22-2005, 05:11 AM   #13
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Re: Please join me in this experiment to lower blood pressure

Oh NUTS!
I tried so hard not to forget to do my breathing exercise last night and I FORGOT! Mea Culpa...I'll be good today!
I just wrote a note and put it on my pillow!

Last edited by Lenin; 07-22-2005 at 05:11 AM.

 
Old 07-23-2005, 07:26 PM   #14
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Re: Please join me in this experiment to lower blood pressure

Okay, how is everyone doing? Let's try to keep it up so it becomes a habit. I'm already finding that my lungs no longer hurt when taking deep breaths, and I find myself taking deep breaths every once in a while. I'm still getting a big decrease in my systolic pressure after taking deep breaths for a couple of minutes, but one check today really surprised me. I took my BP immediately after lunch and got a reading of 121/68, with normal breathing. I recorded that, then instead of hitting the "off" button, I accidentally hit the "start" button again, so this would have only been a minute or so after the first reading. But in the meantime I had taken a couple of deep breaths. And I got a reading this time of 108/67! Earlier in the day I got a 22 point drop in systolic after two minutes of deep breathing.

Anyone else new want to join us, you are welcome, also.

 
Old 07-24-2005, 08:37 AM   #15
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Re: Please join me in this experiment to lower blood pressure

Unfortunately I can't measure my BP, I don't have the little device, so I can't participate in this little experiment, but this seems like a good idea. My high BP is stress related too. Actually I suffer from high BP and low BP, oddly enough... Last time, during a heart exam, my BP was 16.5! I was hyper-hyper-hyperstressed. At the end of the exam: 13.5.
At another time a doctor measured my BP: 10.5. I was feeling okay then, but sometimes I nearly black out, so my BP must be even lower then.

High BP medication is insane for me, because of the mix of high and low BP. I'm sure I'd faint during a low BP spell...

As for propranolol... Well, I couldn't stand it. It made me tense! Gave me arrhythmias too. Made me feel like I could never breathe enough. And, of course, made me dizzy from low BP... But of course everyone is different. My doc said propranolol would have a calming effect. I guess that makes me a weirdo :-)

 
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