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Afternoon Peaks in Blood Pressure

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Old 09-27-2009, 03:06 PM   #1
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macmai HB User
Afternoon Peaks in Blood Pressure

Hello all,

I am entirely new to this forum, but was hoping to seek some insight into my current situation. For reference, I am male, 35 years old, 5' 8", currently 200 lbs. I have been extremely sedentary these past 5+ years, and have recently lost 26 lbs. (used to be 226 lbs) from excercise, and proper (not crash) diet.

About 6 weeks ago, I went to my GP's office for another reason, but while there, they said my BP was high (152/90). They told me to monitor it over the next several days. My readings were still high, and the doctor initially wanted to get me on Lisinopril. Oh, please also keep in mind that I had just returned from an overseas trip to China, not slept much, and stressed out.

Long story short, I asked the doc if we could try weight loss, diet and exercise before going on meds. He said we'll give it 3 months since he's not sure how long the HBP has been an issue.

Well, that was about 6 weeks ago now. Now, I notice that my readings in the morning range from 119-127 systolic over 79-85 diastolic. This morning was 121/82.

However, my issue seems that for the last several days, I see a consistent peak in the afternoon ranging from 138-152 systolic over 87-90 diastolic. For a while, I would only get these peaks occasionally, but now it seems much more consistent. This afternoon was 152/89.

I am not sure if this is just becoming a real BP trend, or if I'm freaking myself out from taking my afternoon BP now.

In the end, I'm recording this to take back to my GP in two weeks, but wanted to get your insight on this forum.

So really, my questions are:

1) Are these afternoon peaks normal? That is, is a peak to 150 systolic dangerous?

2) Is antihypertension medication safe for someone to start at a young age of 35?

Any help is much appreciated.

Last edited by macmai; 09-27-2009 at 03:22 PM. Reason: Added information

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Old 09-28-2009, 07:31 PM   #2
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Re: Afternoon Peaks in Blood Pressure

Most people have higher BP in the late afternoon and then it drops off going into the evening and again lower while we sleep.

BP has a natural rythym and it goes up and down all day.

I started meds at 33. having to do it all over again, I think that I may have waited a while, because my real issue was uncontrolled anxiety/ panic attacks.

I would drive my BP quite high. The problem was I had anxiety all day so they put me on BP meds to control my BP. If you have anxiety all day and your BP is up all the time due to the anxiety its just as bad for you as essential hypertension, though the treatment should have been different.

All meds have side effects and some of these BP meds can cause wieght gain and fatigue. It is better not to have to take meds, so I would look at other options first.

Weight loss,cut out caffiene,reduce salt increase potassium,relaxation,exercise.

Last edited by mod-anon; 09-28-2009 at 10:48 PM. Reason: Please use the Quick Reply button instead of Quote Reply.

Old 09-29-2009, 05:02 AM   #3
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macmai HB User
Re: Afternoon Peaks in Blood Pressure

Teacup - Thanks for breaking the ice on the replies. I was starting to wonder if I had written my post in an offensive manner or something. Many thanks.

When you say you would drive your BP "pretty high", around what numbers systolic/diastolic are you talking about? I was just curious (if it's not too pesonal of a question) for reference.

I am having that exact debate with myself. I am wondering if my BP is secondary to my anxiety (very anxious and stressed out person right now). I agree that high BP, regardless of cause, is still dangeroud.

However, I'm wondering if it's better to treat the anxiety rather than the BP directly (as in your case). Not sure if anxiety meds are any safer either.

BP yesterday afternoon was 135/91. This morning, 120/78. It's a roller coaster sometimes!

Thanks again for the reply.

Old 09-29-2009, 11:42 PM   #4
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Re: Afternoon Peaks in Blood Pressure

No problem at all. When I heard the words "anxietY", I used to think people have lost their minds. I didn't understand it. Due to some personal issues, I started suffering the symptoms of anxiety about 4 1/2 years ago. I refused to beleive I had anxiety. I spent 3 years having every type of test and examination done thinking I was suffering from a mystery illness. When my GP said I had anxiety, I refused to beleive him and I had no idea how this could have happened to a normal person like me.

At first my BP was 140/90. I use to think that this was incredibly high BP for a woman in her early thirties and I went to the ER a couple times. Then I started obsessing over my BP (as most of us do with anxiety) and checked it like 20 times a day. The more anxious I got the greater the panic attacks the greater the frequency. because I would take so many readings back to back my reading were all over the place and they were probably all wrong anyways. My highest reading was 170/105. Most of my panic attacks I get in high 150's -165 systolic. Then it can crash down in minutes after the panic attack goes away. Also if I take a valium it will go down very quickly too.

I read that the maneuver that weight lifters do in the olympics can make their BP go over 300 systolic. So I started to relax about my BP. My dad had a stroke when he was 52. He had BP of 180-200 over a 15 year period. He never took his pills.

This is why I obsessed over my own pressures.

One day I said to myself, if my fate in life is to drop dead because my BP got too high during one of my panic attacks so be it. I got sick and tired of checking my BP obsessivly and worrying about my BP.

Since then I have relaxed and my BP is 130/74 on most occasions.

I realize that BP goes up and down all the time and we just cant control it all the time. It's not the occassional high pressure spikes that cause issues but prolonged untreated hypertension like my dads.

Hope this helps.

Old 09-30-2009, 06:47 AM   #5
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macmai HB User
Re: Afternoon Peaks in Blood Pressure

Teacup - it really does help, not only the information you shared, but just the fact of sharing your experience with me. Sometimes, esp at the age of 35, I feel very alone in going through this. Never would have suspected that I would have to deal with this so soon...but here I am.

Obsessing over BP...I can DEFINITELY understand. I think I'm giving myself white-coat-symdrome (is that even possible???) :-) for my afternoon readings. I'm still showing a morning trend of 120/79-82, but evening (yesterday) was 140/91 or some such. That was after coming home from work (traffic of course), laying down for 20 mins, then taking my BP.

Oh well, not sure what the doc will say on the 9th, but maybe I'm heading for a low-dose type of a treatment. I'm still working very hard at losing more weight as I'm still overweight after having lost 27 lbs to-date. Perhaps I can still get off the meds after a while. We'll see.

Thanks again for sharing. You've been a big help.

Old 09-30-2009, 07:50 AM   #6
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Re: Afternoon Peaks in Blood Pressure

Hi Macmai,
I am sorry to hear what you are going through. I have also been in the cycle of worrying about my blood pressure, checking it excessively (I had to get rid of my monitor) and then the anxiety caused the high numbers. You can definately give yourself white coat anxiety even on your home readings. I was thinking reading your post you said you checked it after getting home and laying down for twenty minutes but I bet you were anticipating checking it the whole way home then worrying it would be high because of the traffic, etc, etc. I know because I have done it. I am doing better now (I still have trouble at the actual doctor) but I check mine now only once a week when I go grocery shopping maybe a time or two in between. And to top it all of off I don't nor have I had high blood pressure really in fact by average bp right now is 101/71 without meds. All it took was an idea that I would have high bp and off I went. Try to just work it down and only check it when you are calm and not excessively. Also, let your doctor be in charge of your bp and follow his advice.

Old 09-30-2009, 10:45 AM   #7
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macmai HB User
Re: Afternoon Peaks in Blood Pressure

Thank you for your kind words Ivy. It's kinda crappy for sure to be going through this. To your question, yes, you're right. I try to fool myself in believing that I'm NOT thinking of my BP the whole way home, but I am. Also, when I'm laying there resting, I'm of course thinking about it in the back of my mind, though I try not to. Your last point is well taken...I will work with the doc on managing my BP if it comes down to that. Thanks much for responding. :-)

Old 10-01-2009, 06:23 PM   #8
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Re: Afternoon Peaks in Blood Pressure

Sounds as if you need some support. You have my support. I, like you, started having issues with BP at age 33. Too young I thought as well. I can assure you that there is more that doctors don't know about BP than what they do know.

BP is controlled by the hormonal,metabolic,endocrine,cardiovascu lar, & neurological systems. It's not just one system.

There are genetics involved and predisposition to the effects of it. When you have anxiety, many systems are involved including your brain. People can be slim and fit as a fiddle and have hypertension due to mental reasons.

Whats important is that you dont obsess over it,and you dont let it take control. Its like anything else in life it needs to be watched but overmonitoring it and obsessing will lead to much higher BP in the long run.

Remember it wasn't until I stopped obsessing over my BP that my BP went down. I am on half the BP meds now that I started with 4 years ago. My heart and my arteries are clean no plaque,no cholesterol. My BP comes from my head/mind. I had to get my mind into balance before my BP went down. Thats what anxiety does to you. It's your mind taking over your body in a negative way.

Last edited by Teacupforme; 10-01-2009 at 06:27 PM.

Old 10-02-2009, 06:27 AM   #9
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macmai HB User
Re: Afternoon Peaks in Blood Pressure

Teacup - thanks so much. I definitely need support in this, and an ear to bend now and again is always great. I really appreciate you reaching out. Going through this BP monitoring, I have a new found appreciation of the link between mind and body. You're absolutely our mind "thinks" something, that leads to a major chain reaction of chemical processes and signals being released to the body. Now, question is, how do we regain some level of "composure" (note, I didn't say control) over our mind and thoughts? :-)

Again, thanks for sharing your experience and offering your support. It really helps a person feel less isolated in all this mess.


Old 10-09-2009, 10:48 AM   #10
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Re: Afternoon Peaks in Blood Pressure

You are not alone! I'm 36 yr. old woman and I was recently diagnosed with hypertension. I felt very alone in the beginning, too. I began having anxiety attacks...even wound up in the ER thinking I was dying! Had a follow up appt. a couple weeks later, and my doc insisted I begin lisinopril 5mg. My BP in the doc's office was 150/98, and averaged 135/90 at home. I was apprehensive about starting meds, but finally agreed to take them mainly because it was the BP numbers that were making me anxious, and I figured bringing them down quickly would help. It definitely did, but I made lifestyle changes, too (which you've already started, which is great!) In addition to exercise and diet, I started doing yoga and listening to relaxation CD's. I think exercise has helped me more than anything, but a lot of people with anxiety really benefit from meditation/relaxation, yoga, etc. After a couple months, I cut down to 2.5 mg. In answer to your question about daily spikes, it's hard for me to gauge because my med affects the "rhythm" according to when I take it. My averages have been 115/75, but in an anxious moment it can be 130/90. The mind is a powerful thing.

Old 10-09-2009, 03:09 PM   #11
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Re: Afternoon Peaks in Blood Pressure

My blood pressure used to start low during the morning hours, rise all day, with not only afternoon peaks above the healthy range, but getting even higher peaks in the evening. That pattern of blood pressure helped me to determine that I was Pre-Diabetic (Insulin Resistant), and needed to eat more healthy.

I am convinced that blood pressure levels are more of a gauge which reflects the overall health of one's metabolism. If one's metabolism is out of balance then the blood pressure range reflects unhealthy readings and patterns.

I also believe that you can go for years and years with unhealthy blood pressure before there is a price to pay. An unbalanced metabolism will cause all kinds of physical disorders such as with the kidney, thyroid, pancreas, digestive, breathing, nervous system, lungs, heart etc.

So, as long as there are no signs of other health problems, blood pressure readings can pretty much be ignored, so to speak.
Overcame CHF,AFib,HBP,Diabetes,Asthma

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Old 10-11-2009, 02:13 PM   #12
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macmai HB User
Re: Afternoon Peaks in Blood Pressure

Sunshine, Machaon - thanks much for the replies to my thread. For whatever reason, knowing others are going through (or have gone through) similar things seems to help.

Quick update...went in for follow up #2 with my GP this past Friday. He says he still thinks I am "borderline" (which I believe equates the formerly known as category of "high normal"). The good news is that my numbers, I suppose, are looking OK enough for him to extend our monitoring period for another 3-6 months to see if my continued lifestyle changes will keep improving the BP. My morning ranges have been 117-125 systolic over 79-85 diastolic. Afternoons have now been 133-145 systolic over 85-92 diastolic. Evenings have come down as well.

I have currently lost abour 29 lbs. My "easy" weight loss seems to have tapered and am now losing about 1-1.5 lbs per week (for a while, was losing abour 2.5-3 lbs per week). However, I refuse to crash diet and still insist in eating right and excercise to lose weight, so even though it's slower, it'll be better I think in the long run.

The doc also did feel the need to see me next month (had been monthly intervals) and said end of year or in Jan would be OK too. That is of course, unless I notice any odd/abnormal readings as I monitor. I think he's also picking up on my OCD regarding my BP, and insisted that I only take it once per day.

I supposed this is good news for now, and the fact that I'm making enough progress that he's still willing to keep me on monitoring mode for a while longer is also a good sign.

Again, thanks everyone for replying and for your support. It really helps. Cheers!

Last edited by macmai; 10-11-2009 at 02:15 PM.

Old 10-19-2009, 08:22 AM   #13
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Re: Afternoon Peaks in Blood Pressure

I suffer from "white coat symptom" at the doctors office. I actually can hear my heart starting to pound when the nurse put on the cuff. I'm always a lot higher at the doctor's office than at home.

I did lots of reading on this board and found out that, when we take our blood pressure at home, most of us automatically get anxious about the results und get a higher reading. Therefore, it has been advised, after the first reading, sit for 2 Minutes und then take a second reading, which will be lower and the correct reading.

It is surprising how many people do that. One poster even said that her doctor told her to take a second reading after 2 minutes.

Old 11-17-2009, 10:48 AM   #14
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Re: Afternoon Peaks in Blood Pressure

Teacup your words help me alot. I am new to this forum. I've been dealing with broderline HBP for years. Usually related to anxiety and OCD. When I first noticed it was high my OCD would kick in and I would check it 20 times a day and the anxiety and worry that it was high would always make it worse!. My doctor was not too concerned at the time. He thought I should just keep an eye on it and try to reduce my anxiety. I was on Lexapro for 2 years. I havent checked it in a few months. I did last night when I was in a stressed state (i know a mistake) and freaked when I got mutiple readings in the 140s/90s and even a few at 170/105 which totaly scared the crap out of me!! I hope to start eating better and excersising more and laying off the wine. I was worried that it was so high that I might have to do meds ASAP but my wife thinks we can give it a little time to see if I can lower it. I have a bit more to worry about it cause I have 1 kidney (born that way) with fine function and no problems my whole life.

anyways I'm glad to see that I probly wont drop dead of a few readings of 170/105 .

Thank You


Old 02-18-2010, 12:16 PM   #15
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Re: Afternoon Peaks in Blood Pressure

Everyone-I know this is an older post but wanted to add my 2 cents worth--I've suffered from Labile BP (white coat syndrome) nearly all my adult life and I just turned 65 this week! Doctors never used to worry about it but now they take a different stance in that if it continues to spike up and down on a daily basis and isn't controlled by relaxation/meditation/supplements or meds, it can eventually turn into sustained high bp. The upside is that it can be controlled by any of these means. My average reading over hundreds of readings that have been logged in 2009/2010 is 131/70, so I know it can be done. Here is a little of my history so those of you that suffer as I have will have at least one more insight to it. In 2008 I had cataract surgery and during the pre-surgery exam my BP spiked up to 190/85. The doc in the urgent care facility told me I needed to be on meds right away. I went to my regular Internist and he said that my BP was fine but I was dealing with anxiety and he thought the perfect answer right then, was a beta blocker to stop the adrenaline rushes. I took them for the last year and a half and they seemed to work most of the time but not a real change. I couldn’t take a regular BP med as my resting BP was low and on a bp med other than a Beta Blocker it could drop too low. Last summer I lost a dear friend of 50 years to cancer followed by the unexpected death of my ex-wife and mother of my daughter, and it triggered my first panic attack, which in turn drove my BP up again! It had been fairly low with the Beta Blocker but the side effects were getting to me as I work out nearly every day and it kept my HR so low it was hard to get it up over 105 at max exertion! Anyway with the death of my friend my BP went up on a consistent basis--i.e. at least one high reading a day in the 160's/ 70's. My doctor who is highly thought of and retired chief of staff at our biggest hospital and a good friend told me that he'd like me to take Ativan for the anxiety and I started on it--Bingo my BP came down at once. Anxiety can cause massive jumps in BP as can many thing such as ANY movement when taking your BP with a machine. You must be relaxed and sitting straight up in a chair with your arm at heart level (chest level) when taking it. I read on a help line that the best way to do it is to take 3-5 readings and throw out the first one as it is not real—and usually high. Then average the next 3-4 readings. Bottom line is I made the decision with my doctor’s approval to TAPER off of the beta blockers over 3 weeks and am now Beta Blocker free which is amazing in how good I feel. I will experience some BP surges or spikes and some racing heart rates off and on for the next few weeks (like today when my BP went from 114/62 last night after my workout to a high spike of 194/85 this am which was due to ANXIETY--you guessed it. BTW, it came back down to 128/76 once I relaxed). I'm just on here to tell all of you, that you are not alone but with understanding of anxiety and of how anxiety and blood pressure works, and most of all with ANOTHER plan of attack like supplements such as Hawthorn, Magnesium, Potassium and CQ10 plus meditation or deep breathing, you will overcome it all. Again, sorry for the lengthy and late post.

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