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    Old 05-18-2006, 05:41 PM   #1
    Uff-Da!
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    Confused about pulse pressure

    Sorry if this has been discussed on this board before, but when one does a search for "pulse pressure," one gets links to all the threads including either word, which is more threads than I want to wade through!

    I've had some really bad BP readings (and a few really low ones) in the past 24 hours. One thing I noticed was when I had done any "exertion" at all, like just walking from one room to another then being seated again, the pulse pressure increased greatly. Like one time resting was 149/70 and very light temporary exertion was 160/66. Another time resting was 155/75 and very light exertion was 170/71. Heart rate change was insignificant, about 2 points each time, ranging from 57 to 61.

    Isn't a PP of almost 100 a bit scary? It sounds really bad to me. And why does my diastolic go DOWN with very light exertion even when the systolic goes up? BTW, I'm age 64, since I know that makes a difference in interpreting these things.

    I suspect that part of the reason for my high readings was that I had a Starbucks Frappuccino yesterday after my blood test, and I know caffeine does affect me. But it really doesn't explain the whole thing, as surely the effects of caffeine can't last for more than 16 hours? Can it? And I've had six cups of my own weak coffee at home in the past and it didn't affect my BP that much. I mean, I only had one Frappuccino.

    Another thing I don't understand is why my heart rate might have been so low, in the upper 50s and low 60s when my blood pressure went through this high streak. My more normal heart rate is in the 70s with SBP ranging from 120 to 140s, with occasional dips lower post-meals. (Today I had a post-breakfast systolic of 103!) I thought heart rate usually went up when BP goes up. What does it mean if it, instead, goes down?

    Can someone enlighten me?

     
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    Old 05-18-2006, 08:04 PM   #2
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    Post Re: Confused about pulse pressure

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Uff-Da!
    Sorry if this has been discussed on this board before, but when one does a search for "pulse pressure," one gets links to all the threads including either word, which is more threads than I want to wade through!

    I've had some really bad BP readings (and a few really low ones) in the past 24 hours. One thing I noticed was when I had done any "exertion" at all, like just walking from one room to another then being seated again, the pulse pressure increased greatly. Like one time resting was 149/70 and very light temporary exertion was 160/66. Another time resting was 155/75 and very light exertion was 170/71. Heart rate change was insignificant, about 2 points each time, ranging from 57 to 61.

    Isn't a PP of almost 100 a bit scary? It sounds really bad to me. And why does my diastolic go DOWN with very light exertion even when the systolic goes up? BTW, I'm age 64, since I know that makes a difference in interpreting these things.

    I suspect that part of the reason for my high readings was that I had a Starbucks Frappuccino yesterday after my blood test, and I know caffeine does affect me. But it really doesn't explain the whole thing, as surely the effects of caffeine can't last for more than 16 hours? Can it? And I've had six cups of my own weak coffee at home in the past and it didn't affect my BP that much. I mean, I only had one Frappuccino.

    Another thing I don't understand is why my heart rate might have been so low, in the upper 50s and low 60s when my blood pressure went through this high streak. My more normal heart rate is in the 70s with SBP ranging from 120 to 140s, with occasional dips lower post-meals. (Today I had a post-breakfast systolic of 103!) I thought heart rate usually went up when BP goes up. What does it mean if it, instead, goes down?

    Can someone enlighten me?
    Considering your age your pulse pressure is acceptable. I would worry about a pulse rate running in the 50's and low 60's though. What medications are you on? You should notify your MD of your low pulse rate. If you're on digoxin you need to ask if you should continue taking it, and always hold digoxin for pulse rate less than 60all your MD.
    Make sure you are eating high potassium foods if you are on a diuretic such as lasix, or you may need to be on potassium supplements. Lasix can cause an electrolyte imbalance which would negatively affect your pulse rate.
    Watch your coffee intake because it also acts as a diuretic and can cause you to lose potassium, low potassium will affect the hearts ability to contract.

     
    Old 05-18-2006, 08:16 PM   #3
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    Re: Confused about pulse pressure

    I'm not on any blood pressure or heart medications. I don't have any known heart condition. I do take an OTC niacin (for cholesterol) and Premarin. I also take various other OTC products, but nothing that affects blood pressure to my knowledge. I do eat a lot of produce, though because of my IBS, I have to take Metamucil or otherwise get ample soluble fiber with my veggies, so that probably reduces absorption. But I'd still think I get adequate potassium unless all the fiber reduces it more than I'd guess.

    And my low pulse rate is definitely not because I'm an athlete. In reality, I'm a near couch-potato, or more accurately a computer-chair potato. As I said in my first post, though, my most usual heart rate is in the 70s. I just don't understand why heart rate went down so much on the day my BP went up, and this has happened before.

    Last edited by Uff-Da!; 05-18-2006 at 08:21 PM.

     
    Old 05-18-2006, 08:46 PM   #4
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    Lightbulb Re: Confused about pulse pressure

    I would ask your MD for labwork, specifically a renal panel that will assess your kidney function and potassium level. The kidneys play a big part in maintaining electrolyte balance.

     
    Old 05-18-2006, 09:02 PM   #5
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    Re: Confused about pulse pressure

    Sounds like a good idea. I just had a blood test done yesterday. I think she ordered two other tests in addition to the lipid panel and liver enzyme tests that I know she wanted due to my taking niacin. She said that if any results were bad (which I suspect they will be, since I've been forgetting my niacin at least half the time), she said she'd call me in to discuss results. So I'll likely be seeing her within a couple of weeks and can ask about additional tests then.

    Thanks for your information.

    Anyone else who can provide additional insight into the pulse pressure and heart rate questions, your contributions will be appreciated.

     
    Old 05-19-2006, 05:29 AM   #6
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    Re: Confused about pulse pressure

    To my way of thinking, "pulse pressure" is an overcomplication. As we age, or more precisely, as our ARTERIES age, they become stiddened with deposits of calcium, fats, cholesterol. It's not just the lumps that we call plaques but also a generalized deposition into the arterial walls everywhere that makes the arteries stiffer and less compliant. This stifffness resists the systolic pressure like a steel pipe would and the pulse of blood merely raises pressure rather than slightly distend the pliant rubbery artery that might be found in a child.

    Methinks that it is often accompanied by a weaker diastolic just impies that over the years, the heart pumps less and less strongly thus the very common scenario of very low diastolics in the elderly.

    I also feel that all the BP meds in the world won't change the condition of the arteries, just mask the manifestations of the condition, the HUMAN condition...aging !

     
    Old 05-19-2006, 05:37 AM   #7
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    Re: Confused about pulse pressure

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Uff-Da!
    Sorry if this has been discussed on this board before, but when one does a search for "pulse pressure," one gets links to all the threads including either word, which is more threads than I want to wade through!
    In most search engines, if you put your words within double quotes, the search engine will look for the exact phase, instead of individual words.

    In your case, you probably entered pulse pressure. If you entered "pulse pressure", with the double quotes around it, it might have worked better for you.
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