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Need advice...Driving myself up a wall

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Old 07-12-2005, 06:42 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: I live in Northeastern Ohio.
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thunder4 HB User
Need advice...Driving myself up a wall

Hello everyone..I have white coat syndrome. The last time a doctor took my blood pressure was about 3 years ago. She wanted to put me on meds, but didn't tell me what my bp was. I bought a monitor. When I took it at home, it was normal. I am 58 years old, and I take in a lot of caffeine. Can this affect my blood pressure?
I also noticed that I'm getting white coat syndrome when I take my bp at home. So then, I become obsessed with taking it. I will sit and take it every 10 minutes for an hour.
When I took it this morning, it averaged 137/88. Is that horrible? It seems to be lower in the afternoon. 135/81. I just don't know what's normal anymore. Can normal be different for everyone? I'm do not want to take meds. I guess what I want to know is this. Are my reading extremely high? Or can I relax. I appreciate any comments on this. Thank you. Mary Ann

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Old 07-12-2005, 06:52 AM   #2
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 320
Re: Need advice...Driving myself up a wall

I also have "white coat" and my pressure is always higher at the doctors office then at home. I was put on medication last year. I was also obsessed with taking my blood pressure at home and I probably still take it too much. I usually take it a few times at night around 7o and again at 8o and my home readings now average 115/75. I had it taken a few weeks ago at the Mall and it was 172/84. I called the doctor and went there for a BP CHECK and the nurse took it and it was 120/74. She told me to stop taking it at home.. She said I was making a big deal over nothing and my medication was keeping it under control and only have the doctor check it when I go there. She said if I wanted I could check it once a week. Caffeine will increase blood pressure. I was told not to drink any coffee or soft drinks with caffeine anymore so you may want to quit the caffeine and see if it makes a difference. Your numbers are in the high normal range but could be lower. Aerobic exercise such a walking can also lower it along with watching sodium intake.. I know if you take your blood pressure too much you can make yourself a nervous wreck and you will get higher readings...

Old 07-12-2005, 08:06 AM   #3
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mgraylorn HB User
Re: Need advice...Driving myself up a wall

Caffeine can raise your bp. For me, one cup of strong tea in the morning would raise my bp 10 points in both systolic and diastolic for a good deal of the day. You might try going off caffeine and see if it makes a difference.

The hypertension category starts at 140/90. Numbers below that are OK. The current thinking is that we should strive for bp below 120/80. Your numbers are fine. You might want to try doing without caffeine, cutting salt, dropping some weight if you are heavy, getting some exercise, quit smoking if you smoke, and see if your numbers go lower. At this stage you do NOT need medication.

It's easy to get obsessed with taking one's blood pressure. I'd guess most of us visiting this board have been at one time or another. You can even get home white coat if you obsess too much. Stop taking your bp so often. Try to relax before you take it - do something relaxing, relaxing thoughts, etc. You only need to check occasionally to keep track of your blood pressure, but right now you do not need meds.

Old 07-12-2005, 10:01 AM   #4
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 320
Blood Pressure Medication

I recently questioned the nurse at my doctors office when I went for a blood pressure check. My readings at home were never above 140/90. Only at the doctors office they were high and only borderline . I was still put on medication. I told the nurse the situation and I got no answer.. Sometimes I think I just had white coat and not truly hypertension.

Old 07-12-2005, 12:58 PM   #5
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Re: Need advice...Driving myself up a wall

Okay, I take a bit of a different stance. I think taking your BP at home is great! At first you might be obsessed with taking it, but after a while it will become old hat, you'll relax, and even your home numbers will go down. (At least I believe that's the case for most people. It may take a few weeks before you relax. There may be a few especially anxiety-prone people who never get over it.)

But your home numbers will provide you with AMMUNITION to use at the doctor's office if the doc should again suggest that you go on meds when you don't believe you should. Keep a written record. Take it with you to the doctor's office.

Sounds like your home readings are in what is currently called the pre-hypertensive range. Optimal, though, is considered 115/75. As I recall, every 20-point systolic increase over that doubles your risk, so even though it isn't considered hypertension until 140/90, you and your doctor may want to consider if you have severe enough other risk factors which warrant medicating you at a pressure lower than 140/90.

In addition to exercise, obtaining near-ideal weight, and a low-salt diet, a diet which includes eight servings fruits and vegetables (mostly low-starch ones) and three servings of non-fat dairy a day has shown reduced BP.

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