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    Old 10-15-2016, 05:18 AM   #1
    NewbieChris
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    Confused about my blood pressure?

    Hi it's my first post and sorry it is a long one.. I'm a 48 year old man from the UK and I have well controlled type 2 diabetes, controlled cholesterol (3.8) and all recent blood tests are normal. In the last year or so I have been suffering from vertigo and insomnia but that is another story. I don't drink these days but I am trying to stop smoking and making an effort to cut down on my coffee drinking. My diet isn't great to be honest although I have done better recently and along with my medication my HB AIC levels have come down to 46 from 54 so my GP was very pleased. I am heavier than I want to be and used to be very active but that has become more difficult with my vertigo. No-one is sure what the vertigo is but tests have shown an issue with my balance mechanism.

    My recent problem is a total obsession with my blood pressure which started back in April. In recent years my BP has always been fine, hovering around the 120/80 mark and in fact every time my GP takes it the readings are fine. My readings in his office in the last year taken with an old style mercury machine were (120/80, 118/76, 122/84). The last one was two weeks ago.

    My problem is that I take it at home and have become obsessed with it and have become a little worried about my diastolic pressures although as I say each time I go to the GP with it my pressure is always normal there. A reverse of the usual white coat syndrome!!!

    My worries really started in April. I had bought a machine not long before and was regularly taking it but nothing out of the ordinary was showing. My systolic was usually between 115 and 130 although more often than not around the lower 120's and my diastolic was always between 80 and 90 averaging around mid 80's,. Not ideal for diastolic but not a concern according to my GP.

    Suddenly one day I noticed the diastolic being a bit more stubborn hitting the high 80's, early 90's and was getting concerned when a reading came back 139/96 with a pulse rate of 127. I really panicked however when the next two readings were 160/103 - 131 and 166/104 - 128. I took myself off to A and E. When I got there it was still high so they took bloods and performed an ECG. The Dr was really pleased with what she called a strong ECG (albeit a tad high) and my bloods were fine. The BP eventually came back down to 117/78 or something. The Dr said that BP fluctuates all the time and they are not worried if your readings come down to normal levels so she wasn't concerned. She told me to relax a bit but sadly I haven't as yet been able to take her advice.

    Over the last few months my BP still fluctuates and I have had several blood tests and two ECG's since and all have come back normal but I am still concerned.

    For instance all this week when I first wake up with an alarm clock I'll get readings like 129/89 or 130/91 but if I wait five minutes they will drop to 111/80 or 110/79. Fight or flight with the shrill of an alarm clock waking you I suspect. If I wake naturally they will always be lower in that 113/80 region. My heart rate is usually in the high 70's or 80's when I wake up. This morning for instance my first readings were 119/88, 116/87, 119/86. After a shower they were 111/81, 110/79, 111/80.

    In mornings it can be 118/83 but then it can also be 121/88 or 117/92. My heart rate is between 80 and 90.

    The afternoons it can be 121/84 but it can also be around 123/93 or 135/93. Pulse anything from 85-100.

    The evenings really vary. One evening I can sit there all night and the readings will be 114/74, 118/79 or 120/84. I even had a couple of readings at 110/69. Yet other evenings it can be 131/91, 126/90 or 122/92. The heart rate in evenings, especially late evening always hovers around 100. Even my GP can't explain that especially considering I am just sitting watching TV. Although I have read that at times the lower the BP the higher the pulse rate and vice versa.

    Perfect example was two nights ago my BP was around the 111/76 region all evening but last night it averaged 124/89. I know things like food can effect it but two nights ago I had steak and chips, last night shredded wheat and cornflakes. I could understand it if it had been the other way round>?!

    The really scary thing though is that out of the blue maybe a couple of times a week max the machine will throw in a reading of 137/101 (pulse 91), the next reading would be 134/102 (pulse 91), or 146/95 then 152/98. It will then stay around 126/95 for a while but an hour later it will be back down to 124/82or 123/84. I haven't been doing anything different between those readings and high ones like that are rare and not the norm. After one of those readings I thought I would do an experiment and went on my exercise bike quite aggressively for 10 minutes. Immediately after the exercise it was 155/80 and then the systolic dropped back to the 120's but the diastolic rose back up to about 87 but didn't get back to those really high readings.

    It's so variable though. One night several readings in a row read -
    121/83, 138/90, 139/92, 124/82, 123/84, 120/87. Within minutes>?!

    It's also variable due to arm position. I can sit at a table with my arm resting on a cushion on the table and it can be 121/81, then you take the cushion away and it will rise to 126/90. Add two cushions and it will be 120/79 take cushions away and it's 127/88. All really weird and I can't understand it. It makes it really difficult to work out what your blood pressure actually is.

    I know I am obsessed with this and I don't wait enough between readings, relax properly before taking a reading and getting anxious when one reading comes back high but at the same time I really am not happy with my diastolic pressures especially with having type 2 diabetes.

    My GP isn't concerned with my readings. He said they could be better but could be a lot worse and said that high blood pressure is high readings all the time, they won't come down to normal levels. He said that a persons real resting BP is first thing in the morning before you have breakfast. He said everyone gets spikes but not everyone sees them because they aren't taking their BP 40 times a day like I am!! Which is a fair point but at the same time if I only took my readings first thing in the morning and late evening I wouldn't see that my diastolic certainly hits the late 80's early 90's too often for my liking. He even said that was unusual as high BP is usually both systolic and diastolic being higher and that as my numbers are he wouldn't treat them with medication. He said they are more concerned about the systolic these days in middle age and above and both my pharmacist and the Dr at the hospital said this as well. He also said that a slightly higher diastolic isn't easy to treat because medication brings both down and it could bring my systolic down too much.

    I know that I should listen to my GP but after all that I am still concerned that my diastolic should be better. I see another GP next week and may ask for an echocardiogram. I had one 8 years ago and all was fine although that is 8 years ago.

    Really sorry for the long post but I would appreciate some input. Is my GP right and should I bin the machine or at least stop taking it so much and just let the Dr's take it or do I have a point about my diastolic pressures?

    Last edited by NewbieChris; 10-15-2016 at 05:26 AM.

     
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    Old 10-17-2016, 07:46 AM   #2
    NewbieChris
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    Re: Confused about my blood pressure?

    Still no idea what is going on. Today when I awoke my readings were (last reading first) 117/85 84, 116/82 87, 119/81 87 at lunchtime they were 119/83 93, 118/84 94, 118/85 94 and yet at 3pm they go sky high again 134/97 91, 137/96 93, 139/98 91, 136/100 91, 138/100 93, 144/101 90.

    Going back to the doctors Thursday and hopefully he will suggest echocardiogram, stress test etc. Anyone with any clue?

    Last edited by NewbieChris; 10-17-2016 at 07:47 AM.

     
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    Old 10-17-2016, 08:50 AM   #3
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    Re: Confused about my blood pressure?

    Hi Chris!

    I can't directly answer your questions, but I will add what I have learned about my own blood pressure fluctuations, by showing how much my blood pressure fluctuates, throughout an average 24 hour day.

    First of all, blood pressure usually is lower during the early hours of the day and gradually increases throughout the day, and then goes lower (dips) late at night. I had out-of-control, unhealthy, dangerous blood pressure in the 1990's. I started taking my blood pressure, in 1998, an average of seven times per day until I was finally able to get my blood pressure down to healthy levels all the time, 24 hours per day.

    I'll share some of my blood pressure records. I am posting two charts, showing how much my blood pressure fluctuates during the day. It fluctuates quite a bit! Blood pressure medication, of course, effects the hourly blood pressure, but the overall pattern and movement of the blood pressure would be very similar with or without the medication, IMHO.

    The first chart, showing my "average" blood pressure for the entire year of 2009 (age 65), shows my healthy Diastolic BP range. The scale starts at the Diastolic level of 61, and the hours listed begin at 1am and run 24 hours until midnight.

    The numbers represent hours of the day from 01 thru hour 24, or 1am thru 12am.

    To read the following chart, the * represents the BP Diastolic reading. The average Diastolic reading at 1am was 71. At 2am the reading was 73. At 7pm (hour 19) the Diastolic was 77.

    The lowest hour's average, 63, was at 7am. The highest hour's average, 83, was at 5pm (hour 17).

    I just wanted to show how even healthy BP fluctuated during the day, and it's easier to see the pattern thru a chart, no matter how primitive.

    Hr ________70________80________90

    01 __________*
    02 ____________*
    03 _______*
    04 __________*
    05 __________*
    06 _________*
    07 __*
    08 ____*
    09 ________*
    10 ________*
    11 __________*
    12 ____________*
    13 ____________*
    14 _________________*
    15 ________________*
    16 ___________________*
    17 ______________________*
    18 _______________*
    19 ________________*
    20 _____________*
    21 ____________*
    22 ____________*
    23 _________________*
    24 _______________*


    The next chart was created from my unhealthy blood pressure averages for the entire year of 1998 (age 54), which was the first year that I started taking my blood pressure at home. I was shocked that my blood pressure was that high, with unhealthy levels throughout the day and night. I didn't know what to do. It took years of frustration, anxiety and worsening health before I was finally able to get my blood pressure down to healthy levels. My Cardiologist just kept saying that, with Heart Failure, it was normal to have higher blood pressure, and that it was OK to have the type of high blood pressure levels that I was having.

    To read the following chart, the * represents the BP Diastolic reading. My average Diastolic reading during 1998, at 1am, was 104, at 6am 98, at 11am 88, at 4pm (hour 16) 99, at 10pm (hour 22) 103.

    Hr ________70________80________90_______100 _______110

    01 ________________________________________ ___*
    02 ________________________________*
    03 _________________________*
    04 _______________________________*
    05 ____________________________________*
    06 _____________________________________*
    07 ________________________________________ *
    08 ________________________________________ _*
    09 _______________________________________*
    10 ________________________________*
    11 ___________________________*
    12 ______________________________*
    13 ________________________________*
    14 __________________________________*
    15 ____________________________________*
    16 ______________________________________*
    17 _____________________________________*
    18 _____________________________________*
    19 ____________________________________*
    20 ______________________________________*
    21 ________________________________________ *
    22 ________________________________________ __*
    23 ________________________________________ *
    24 ________________________________________ ___*

    In my case, I found out that I suffered from Insulin Resistance, a pre-Diabetes Type 2 condition, in which the blood pressure went up late at night (non-dipper) instead of going down.

    What I did, was to find an Insulin Resistant diet on the Internet, and then start one. The effect on lowering my blood pressure was dramatic!

    My thread, at the time (2005): Does an "Insulin Resistance" diet improve blood pressure? at the link: http://www.healthboards.com/boards/high-low-blood-pressure/242229-does-insulin-resistance-diet-improve-blood-pressure.html
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    Old 10-17-2016, 10:18 AM   #4
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    Re: Confused about my blood pressure?

    Machaon, thanks for your reply. I must confess I would be massively concerned if I had heart failure at 48, it really is a worry though with certainly my diastolic fluctuation.

    Just took it again after walking into the village and upon retuning it was 120/87 91,
    118/88 91, 115/84 94 so a big drop in both since 3pm but it seems to me to be an abnormal drop. I know systolic can fluctuate but from what I have read diastolic shouldn't move much and I am not happy with it being in the late 80's let alone 90's or touching 100 from time to time. Systolic I am not too concerned about because it rarely tops 140 and certainly an average is in the low to mid 120's, not great but not bad.

     
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    Old 10-17-2016, 12:05 PM   #5
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    Re: Confused about my blood pressure?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NewbieChris View Post
    Machaon, thanks for your reply. I must confess I would be massively concerned if I had heart failure at 48, it really is a worry though with certainly my diastolic fluctuation.
    Quote:
    I'm a 48 year old man from the UK and I have well controlled type 2 diabetes,
    In order to get Diabetes Type 2, one must first become Insulin Resistant. Insulin processing is an extremely important process, and when dysfunctional, as is the case with Insulin Resistance, can cause all kinds of maladies such as higher blood pressure. You can have Insulin Resistance with normal blood sugar readings.

    Quote:
    I know systolic can fluctuate but from what I have read diastolic shouldn't move much and I am not happy with it being in the late 80's let alone 90's or touching 100 from time to time.
    I can appreciate your concern. To me, the most important reading is the diastolic. It shows the "constant" resting pressure. That is why I charted Diastolic and not Systolic. But... I have many Systolic charts too. I like to show them both on a chart. In my case, my early Systolic readings constantly spiked near 200.

    Going on a small meal, low calorie, frequent eating diet (currently about 1400 calories per day) works wonders for me, but if I had a chance to go back to over-eating and over-drinking, I would do so in a heartbeat. Sadly, I had no choice. I miss eating and drinking whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. But I love my much improved health and quality of life despite heart failure, AFib and Insulin Resistance.
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    Old 10-18-2016, 07:07 AM   #6
    NewbieChris
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    Re: Confused about my blood pressure?

    Machaon. Thanks for that. It's interesting because all my GP's and consultants keep telling me that they are more interested in systolic these days rather than the diastolic. So many conflicting opinions.

    Well it's certainly interesting today. At 1.30 my readings were 134/98 87, 129/95 89, 131/94 90.

    I was then feeling hungry and as I work from home quite often I bypass lunch. Today I had some toast with a glass of water rather than my usual endless amounts of coffee. So after eating at 3pm which is a time that quite often my BP is at its highest it was

    121/84 94, 125/82 92, 124/79 95, which I am quite happy with.

    So can hunger and possibly a bit of dehydration increase blood pressure?

    Last edited by NewbieChris; 10-18-2016 at 07:11 AM.

     
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    Old 10-18-2016, 11:38 AM   #7
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    Re: Confused about my blood pressure?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NewbieChris View Post
    ... all my GP's and consultants keep telling me that they are more interested in systolic these days rather than the diastolic.
    I am more concerned about if the resting pressure within my veins, arteries, organs, etc., is high or unhealthy; especially if it is constantly high. But, high Systolic is also unhealthy.

    Quote:
    Well it's certainly interesting today. At 1.30 my readings were 134/98 87, 129/95 89, 131/94 90.
    In between beats, the pressure within your body ranged from 94 to 98 during the time you were testing.

    Quote:
    Today I had some toast with a glass of water rather than my usual endless amounts of coffee.
    The caffeine in coffee can definitely raise the blood pressure and can also raise the heart rate or make it jumpy.

    You might want to test coffee's effect on your blood pressure for a day or two.

    In my case, even decaf coffee raises my blood pressure.

    Quote:
    So can hunger and possibly a bit of dehydration increase blood pressure?
    I guess, if there is less fluid in the veins and arteries, then the blood pressure would be lower. That is one reason why water pills (diuretics) lower blood pressure.

    Watcha think? Can you go without coffee, or chocolate, or tea, or energy drinks, for a day or two?
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    Last edited by Machaon; 10-18-2016 at 11:40 AM.

     
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    Old 10-19-2016, 08:42 AM   #8
    NewbieChris
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    Re: Confused about my blood pressure?

    Funnily enough mine seems to be lower after coffee and a cigarette and lower after a meal with meat than it is after a meal with fish!! I'm beginning to wonder if it's down to my low levels of exercise since my vertigo kicked in. Been out in town all afternoon which is rare so walking about. Got home and checked my mid afternoon levels which are usually high and they were 119/84 95, 123/84 98, 125/85 98
    (last reading first). Ok not textbook but not bad and would take that all day long over my diastolic spikes in the high 90's.

     
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    Old 10-20-2016, 06:12 AM   #9
    NewbieChris
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    Re: Confused about my blood pressure?

    Well saw my GP this morning and he wasn't worried at all. Started off by saying that 120/80 is a guideline that you would expect someone in their 20's to be at so when mine is at it's best it's very good. Said that they would only consider someone to have high blood pressure if it was high all of the time or at the very least most of the time and he isn't too worried about my afternoon peaks saying anything including taking it too much can increase it. However to partly put my mind at rest and to double check the heart isn't contributing to the occasional spikes he is referring me to a cardiologist to have a week long check with a Holter>? I think that's what he said. So needless to say feel a bit happier today.

     
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    Old 10-20-2016, 12:08 PM   #10
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    Re: Confused about my blood pressure?

    Your readings are quite similar to mine Chris. In the first instance I wouldn't worry about the variance so much since even healthy BP fluctuates in large ways.

    In terms of where you "hover", you seem to settle on 85ish, with spikes into the low 90's and dips into high 70's. I would take that as your personal range. At 48, it's certainly not bad, but it never hurts to explore ways of reducing it - smoking for example will stiffen your arteries and push it slowly up.

    I haven't found a solution myself but I read about LCHF and it seems that lowering insulin levels (through lower carb / high fibre eating) can cause the kidneys to dump excess sodium and reduce overall blood volume, which I personally feel is one of the main reasons for higher diastolic pressure.

    I am only reading and learning about the diet at the moment, but I intend to try it out and see what, if anything, happens. I often feel for every success story you read on the internet, there must be thousands of people who it didnt work for but didnt post, so don't want to get my hopes up too much!

    One thing I would note though is that you would benefit from some light to moderate frequent aerobic activity - your heart rate is on the high side of average. Easily fixed though through, and might benefit your BP overall!

    Last edited by Administrator; 09-09-2018 at 01:31 PM.

     
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    Old 10-20-2016, 04:59 PM   #11
    NewbieChris
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    Re: Confused about my blood pressure?

    Thank you I do appreciate that. Totally agree re the exercise. I used to play a lot of football but arthritis put paid to that and my recent sedentary lifestyle has been caused this year by terrible attacks of vertigo so where I was a keen golfer before and walking the course regularly kept my BP lower that has obviously taken a back seat due to the persistent vertigo.

    Hopefully at some stage this vertigo will sort itself out and I am planning at some stage when I don't wobble all over the place to get into the new fads of either "walking football" and "fat football" plus hopefully get back onto the golf course.

     
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