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Do Blood Pressure Readers Need Calibrating

Aggie_Ama2011-12-15 22:19:04 +0000 #1
I went for my annual yesterday and was totally shocked (and in a bit of denial) that my blood pressure was reading 152/94. I usually hover between 116/60-120/70. In fact when I first developed occular migraines and tremors the neurologist thought it was due to low blood pressure.

It was a manual check, but since it was such a crazy high spike two nurses checked it. They used the same cuff/reader. I have a follow-up with my general practioner on Wednesday. I am just baffled my blood pressure was so elevated. I didn't have an overly stressful day, we have been having money issues but nothing severe, I don't generally care about going to the OB/GYN. I have lost 15 pounds, eat little salt and I race bikes. It just seems like no reason I would have high blood pressure. My dad has high blood pressure but he is 58, does not eat healthy, bounces around overweight, does not exercise. My with the same risk factors as my dad has low blood pressure. She said I have had low blood pressure since I was a kid as well.

I guess it could be a fluke but being given a list of stroke warning signs was unnerving!


OakLeaf2011-12-15 22:22:44 +0000 #2
One thing to remember is that in many people, BP reads MUCH higher if the arm is hanging down. Family practice guidelines state that the arm should be supported so that the vein in the elbow is at heart level (just below the armpit), but I've actually had a nurse argue with me and refuse to take my BP that way because it was uncomfortable for her.

Also, a lot of people have "white coat syndrome," i.e. their BP is high at the doctor's office and nowhere else. A good home monitor isn't that expensive, and it's probably a good investment for anyone with questions. There was recently something that found that even animals get elevated blood pressure at the vet's, which isn't really surprising.

Still, hypertension in athletes is pretty common. We had a thread about this a few months back. (eta: here: forums.teamestrogen....light=blood+pressure - the two links I posted specifically about hypertension in athletes I thought were very instructive) I'm still teetering about whether mine is really high enough to be treated.
Artista2011-12-15 22:46:58 +0000 #3
I had the same thing happen to me on my last Dr.'s visit. The nurse took my bp while we were chatting so I forgot to ask what it was. She started hooking me up to take it again about 10 minutes later. I asked when they started taking bp twice on the same visit and she told me that the first reading was extraordinarily high. The second reading was much lower and closer to normal for me.

I second the idea to monitor your bp at home for awhile to see what it's doing under normal circumstances.
Aggie_Ama2011-12-15 23:15:59 +0000 #4
I forgot to mention I last went to my GP for my annual follow up on some meds at the end of August and I was reading my normal 120/70 area. Would it spike so dramatically in 6 weeks or less?

I guess it was more shocking because for 30 years I have been told my BP is good if not a little low. And I know three people who have had strokes before the age of 40 which scared the snot out of me! My Mammaw had one but I don't really consider my 90 year old Grandma having a stroke to be a strong family link.
Crankin2011-12-16 00:03:08 +0000 #5
I have high(er) blood pressure almost every time i go to the doctor. Then I take it at home for several days and it's always fine; low in fact.

My ob gyn always tells me to see my internist. I am not nervous about going to the doctor, but now I get nervous my bp will be high. I don't drink coffee or exercise before my visit.

Maybe I really have it? No hx in my family, except for people who were overweight and sedentary. No strokes on either side. Dad had a mild heart attack 3 years ago, when he was 83; he's a smoker, of normal weight.

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