I've been dealing with high BP readings for a couple of years, but haven't started treatment. I'm 41 and at an appropriate weight. I exercise vigorously 4-5 times a week and try to eat well. High BP runs in my family, and my dad suffered a heart attack at age 63.
When I go to the doctor, the nurse always takes my BP when I arrive. The numbers are never good. For instance, yesterday she had me at 160 over 86.
Then a few minutes later, the doctor comes in. He's my primary physician. We talk a bit, and then he takes my pressure. He does it a bit differently than others, in that he'll sometimes re-pump after it starts to loosen, if you know what I mean. It always takes him longer to get a reading.
When he does, the reading is usually normal. Yesterday, he had me at 134 over 70. A second reading on my other arm (again by him immediately after), had me at 130 over 76.
Then today, I decided to have my wife check me at home. Bad news. I'm up around 170 over 90 (average of several readings).
My doctor has hesitated to put me on medicine. He thinks if my BP is sometimes in the 130s, as he calculates it, then taking drugs could cause it to go too low and have side effects. This time, I convinced him to prescribe me a beta blocker, and he's prescribing a test in which I'll wear a monitor for a whole day to see how much my BP varies. I'm waiting to take this test before starting the medication.
Does it sound like my doctor knows what he's doing? What can explain the fact that he gets lower readings than anyone else?
when your dr "re-pump after it starts to loosen" my guess he's just making sure he's getting accurate readings, since he listens for the blood to stop/restart, he's double checking a few times maybe to get it accurate. It might be that because you "talk a bit" helps you relax, thus a lower BP reading. This means you might have white coat syndrome with the nurse, but maybe not with the Dr.
I think it's great he wants to monitor you first before prescribing drugs. The lower reading he got with you seems to indicate your BP may be normal when you are relaxed. Remember, if your average resting rate is high then you need to take action. Not just if you have spikes now and then. What I do is take my BP same time each day, after resting (sitting), same chair at home, same left arm, same device, etc. Taking it one day is not enough. Take it over 3-4 days. Then you'll know your average resting rate. If it's in normal ranges I don't think you need any meds. Even if it goes up at other times. Unless it's always way high at other times. Say it's always normal in the morning, but always high at night. That needs action. But maybe still not meds. There are many natural things to try that can help lower BP without meds.
Sorry to hear it runs in the family. High BP can contribute to heart attack. However, we know now that inflammation is just as much a contributing factor if not more. Inflammation of the arteries occurs with poor diet, and causes damage to the arteries, in which they respond with cholesterol to repair the damage, which then hardens, which then causes blockage. It all started with inflammation, not high blood pressure.
Once you have the inflammation-cholesterol hardening happening, high BP simply makes it a lot worse. But if you keep inflammation under control (a very healthy diet) then high BP is not nearly as bad. Toscanini died at age 90 with a lifelong blood pressure of around 240/120! He had enlarged heart and liver problems. But I suspect he didn't die of heart attack because he must have kept inflammation under control, and there was a lot less processed food then.
You can check your inflammation level with a high-sensitivity CRP test. A result of:
1 or less: indicates low risk for cardiovascular disease
1-3: medium risk for cardiovascular disease
3 of higher: high risk for cardiovascular disease
Ever watch Dr Oz tv show? He often has tips on keeping the heart healthy and recommends a CRP test. He had the whole audience on one show take the CRP test! Some had a high reading of over 4! Dr Oz CRP reading himself was a very low: 0.3!
This is proof Dr Oz knows how to eat healthy and has a very healthy arteries and heart and no inflammation. You think he eats eggs and bacon for breakfast? Nope. I know he eats fruit smoothies for breakfast. Smoothies like with berries and flaxseed.
Diet is far more important for heart health then exercise in my opinion. A poor high-inflammation diet with lots of exercise may make health worse, because the faster/harder blood movement actually contributes to the inflammation! Here's a good way to understand inflammation: If you rub your arm over and over for 10-20 minutes your arm will become inflamed- the cells get damaged and start the repair process. Same thing happens INSIDE your arteries when you eat poor diet like high sugar, salt, saturated fat, processed foods- they 'rub' and damage the interior artery cells and cause inflammation.
That simple explanation makes it clear why diet is more important then exercising. Exercise will not stop inflammation, but healthy diet can. Even better- a healthy diet not only stops inflammation but can REVERSE the damage from inflammation! Unhealthy inflamed artery cells can HEAL and become healthy again! ONLY a high anti-inflammatory diet can do this. Not exercies. Not meds. Only healthy diet.
Last edited by easygoingguy; 05-19-2012 at 10:13 PM.
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If you are getting elevated readings at home after relaxing for 10 minutes prior to the readings, then you likely have hypertension, assuming you have the correct cuff for your arm size (check this).
Secondly, I urge you to reconsider your desire to start a beta blocker. ace inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin receptor blockers are all far more effective drugs (at reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease) than beta blockers. Search on the internet for "beta blockers for uncomplicated hypertension" for more info.
I've had the same problem with my blood pressure readings in the past. I was drinking a lot of coffee and diet coke's at the time. I've read that caffeine does not raise blood pressure when a person is not nervous, but caffeine can raise blood pressure sky high if a person is nervous. Also, I've read that there is possibly something in the caramel coloring of coke's which can raise blood pressure.