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Old 03-13-2011, 11:36 AM   #1
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jlshafer HB User
High Blood Pressure due to Shingles?

Has anyone ever had high blood pressure associated only with Shingles? I am a 60 year old woman, very healthy & fit, except for a corrected low thyroid condition. I do cardio an hour every day, along with yoga and weights. I am trim, have always eaten in a healthy fashion and had enviable lipid and cholesterol profiles. So there is really no reason for me to suddenly develop high blood pressure.

Three days before I broke out into a shingles rash and knew I had shingles (prodromal phase,) my blood pressure surged from it's normal ~110/75 up to 155/110. My eyes flew open after only 5 hours of sleep; I was sweating and hot in my 68 degrees F bedroom; I felt pressured and buzzing inside; and my heart was racing and palpitating.

By taking 2 of my husband's 25 mg Atenolol tablets, I was able to get my blood pressure down to ~128/85. But this went for 5 days, until I broke out into the Shingles, realized what I had and started on Valtrex, an antiviral my internist prescribed me. At that point, my blood pressure dropped down to normal without any medication.

It just so happened I went to several longstanding doctors' appts that same week, my husband's heart doctor, who now wants to permanently put me on blood pressure medication and my endocrinologist, who told me my thyroid levels were perfect and has tested me for a pheochromocytoma, a usually benign tumor of the adrenal gland, which sits on top of the kidneys, that overproduces adrenaline.

I do think this high blood pressure is due to surges in adrenaline, because Diovan HCT, a blood pressure medicine which is a diuretic and widens the blood vessels, didn't help at all. Only beta blockers, which block adrenaline in the body, worked for me.

Then after about 5 days of normal blood pressure, I forgot to take 2 doses of the Valtrex, one whole day's worth, and my blood pressure surged again up into the 150's range for a day and a half until the Valtrex started working again, at which point it dropped back down to normal and has stayed there for the past two days.

Shingles is due to the chicken pox virus, which lies dormant in the body until something causes it to reactivate. But in shingles, the rash only reactivates along one nerve coming out of the spine and on one side of the body. In my case, I had a rash in ~ a 5 inch band starting at my midback and reaching around under my left arm along my bra line to my front. For me, the rash has been only a minor annoyance and not particularly painful. But I realized the other day that it sits right above one of my adrenal glands.

Could the shingles virus somehow be irritating my adrenal gland and causing these blood pressure surges? Since the shingle virus reactivates along a particular nerve branch, could a portion of that nerve reach down into my adrenal gland? I have found quite a lot on the internet about pheochromocytomas, about 10% of which are only found in autopsies and so have been present in that individual a long time and asymptomatic. But I haven't found any connection whatsoever between shingles and high blood pressure.

I really don't want to start on a blood pressure medicine I don't need or have surgery to remove a benign tumor that would normally not be a problem. Does anyone have any knowledge about this? I guess I'm just hoping this problem will go away on its own.

 
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Old 06-07-2011, 12:51 PM   #2
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Brown 1967 HB User
Re: High Blood Pressure due to Shingles?

Have any of the symptoms stopped? My doctor is treating the high blood presure with 5 B/P medications, and not understanding the hot flashes. The shingles pains are gone but I am feeling worce, he stopped the Valtrex when the "shingles symptoms" stopped

Thanks

 
Old 11-09-2011, 02:31 PM   #3
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eileenmonks HB User
Re: High Blood Pressure due to Shingles?

I got shingles around 7 weeks ago and have been having severe headaches that felt like migraines. My blood pressure has always been on the low side so I was amazed to discover that it has shot up to around 162/98 (that was today's reading). Hence the headaches I guess. Your theory about the adrenals is interesting and my rash/pain was in the same place as yours. To add to the problem I've got ongoing neuralgia in that region and still can't wear a bra. I'm not on any blood pressure medication - the doctor didn't suggest it. Tell me if things resolved themselves for you? I certainly think not enough is known about shingles.

 
Old 12-13-2011, 11:18 AM   #4
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ahabot HB User
Re: High Blood Pressure due to Shingles?

Went in for a BP check 1.5 weeks ago. It was 20 pts high. (I usually check my BP at home every week or two. Doc wanted me to come in to get a 6 month reading.) I then checked my BP throughout the day at home and at work for the next few days. Found it didn't drop in the evening when it's usually at the lowest. A few days ago a mild rash started to show along back and shoulders. Now the rash is covering more area and is beginning to itch so now I can confirm it's shingles. I had an outbreak about 15-20 years ago. Took the shingles vaccine last year. Maybe this time the symptoms will be milder and shorter. To sum up, in my case, high BP and an outbreak of shingles seem to correlate! I'll report back when my BP returns to norm.

 
Old 01-23-2012, 10:56 AM   #5
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ahabot HB User
Re: High Blood Pressure due to Shingles?

It's Jan 23 and I'm posting a followup. About 4 weeks after I noticed the outbreak of shingles, my blood pressure got down to the normal range for a day then then next day it was up again. This up and down continued for a couple of weeks. Now it's mostly back to normal. My guess is the body was still in the active process of fighting off the infection during the up and down cycles. It doesn't appear that my current outbreak of shingles was of significantly shorter duration but the symptoms were much, much milder. I was able to survive the itching without using ointments and there wasn't much skin breakage from the rash this time.

 
Old 04-02-2012, 06:30 AM   #6
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colinb333 HB User
Re: High Blood Pressure due to Shingles?

Hi, I've had high blood pressure for many years, it's kept under control with medication but I keep an eye on it by taking readings every week or so.

I'm in my mid fifties, very fit and generally healthy but contracted shingles about 3 weeks ago. It wasn't a bad case, a rash about 2 inches long and an inch wide across the right side of my back, not very painful, more *****ly when pressure was applied to it.

However, I noticed my BP increased quite dramatically, whereas I'd averaged 138/79 for months it shot up and - since the shingles started - has averaged 154/82 and that includes one reading of 133/82.

It would appear that other posters have seen their BP drop back to normal within about 6-7 weeks of first noticing the shingles so I'll keep an eye on things for a further 3-4 weeks and report back.

 
Old 09-23-2012, 12:20 AM   #7
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johnt51 HB User
Re: High Blood Pressure due to Shingles?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlshafer View Post
Has anyone ever had high blood pressure associated only with Shingles? I am a 60 year old woman, very healthy & fit, except for a corrected low thyroid condition. I do cardio an hour every day, along with yoga and weights. I am trim, have always eaten in a healthy fashion and had enviable lipid and cholesterol profiles. So there is really no reason for me to suddenly develop high blood pressure.

Three days before I broke out into a shingles rash and knew I had shingles (prodromal phase,) my blood pressure surged from it's normal ~110/75 up to 155/110. My eyes flew open after only 5 hours of sleep; I was sweating and hot in my 68 degrees F bedroom; I felt pressured and buzzing inside; and my heart was racing and palpitating.

By taking 2 of my husband's 25 mg Atenolol tablets, I was able to get my blood pressure down to ~128/85. But this went for 5 days, until I broke out into the Shingles, realized what I had and started on Valtrex, an antiviral my internist prescribed me. At that point, my blood pressure dropped down to normal without any medication.

It just so happened I went to several longstanding doctors' appts that same week, my husband's heart doctor, who now wants to permanently put me on blood pressure medication and my endocrinologist, who told me my thyroid levels were perfect and has tested me for a pheochromocytoma, a usually benign tumor of the adrenal gland, which sits on top of the kidneys, that overproduces adrenaline.

I do think this high blood pressure is due to surges in adrenaline, because Diovan HCT, a blood pressure medicine which is a diuretic and widens the blood vessels, didn't help at all. Only beta blockers, which block adrenaline in the body, worked for me.

Then after about 5 days of normal blood pressure, I forgot to take 2 doses of the Valtrex, one whole day's worth, and my blood pressure surged again up into the 150's range for a day and a half until the Valtrex started working again, at which point it dropped back down to normal and has stayed there for the past two days.

Shingles is due to the chicken pox virus, which lies dormant in the body until something causes it to reactivate. But in shingles, the rash only reactivates along one nerve coming out of the spine and on one side of the body. In my case, I had a rash in ~ a 5 inch band starting at my midback and reaching around under my left arm along my bra line to my front. For me, the rash has been only a minor annoyance and not particularly painful. But I realized the other day that it sits right above one of my adrenal glands.

Could the shingles virus somehow be irritating my adrenal gland and causing these blood pressure surges? Since the shingle virus reactivates along a particular nerve branch, could a portion of that nerve reach down into my adrenal gland? I have found quite a lot on the internet about pheochromocytomas, about 10% of which are only found in autopsies and so have been present in that individual a long time and asymptomatic. But I haven't found any connection whatsoever between shingles and high blood pressure.

I really don't want to start on a blood pressure medicine I don't need or have surgery to remove a benign tumor that would normally not be a problem. Does anyone have any knowledge about this? I guess I'm just hoping this problem will go away on its own.

 
Old 09-23-2012, 04:53 AM   #8
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colinb333 HB User
Re: High Blood Pressure due to Shingles?

An update: my BP dropped again but I've subsequently found out I had a minor stroke at the end of January - I didn't realise until I had a CT scan in July due to noticing some odd but not significant symptoms - so it's possible my raised BP was to do with that, I also found it interesting I contracted shingles around the same time, but I'm just happy I understand what's been happening even if I'm not 100% sure why.

 
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