Blood Pressure Changes

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by dhcpolwnk, Mar 2, 2006.

  1. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    Over the last couple of weeks, my blood pressure seems to be varying a lot--at least it is based on the readings taken at various doctor's visits. In mid-January, I saw my neurologist about neurpathic pain in my feet, and the nurse took my BP. I don't remember the exact number, but it was something like 145/60. That's a lot higher than my normal (which is usually more like 110/70 to 120/80), and even higher than my occasional "white coat" reading, where the upper number may be around 135. The nurse double checked the reading after I finished with the doctor, and it was still about the same.

    The next day, I went into the office for a nerve conduction test, and they decided to check my BP again. This time, it was in my usual range.

    Then today, when I went to see my urologist, the BP reading was something like 176/94! Theat's the highest reading since I had an IV solumedrol treatment that pushed my BP way up.

    I've been trying to search for info on unstable blood pressure on the Internet, but I haven't had much luck. In fact, I'm not even sure whether just these few readings would really be unstable BP. I know it could have been just a mistake in the readings. But today's reading really bothered me, especially in view of the undiagnosed chest pains I get on and off.

    I saw one earlier message on the subject of changing BP readings, but there was only one response. If anybody knows anything about this subject, including whether fibromyalgia or medications might be responsible, please let me know.


    --Laura R.M.
  2. mme_curie68

    mme_curie68 New Member

    Hi Laura -
    Fluctuations in blood pressure can be due to several underlying causes. The only way to be sure what your blood pressure is doing is to buy a BP cuff and check it regularly at home and keep a journal to show your doctors. Then you can see if you get patterns to the fluctuations or if it is truly the white coat syndrome.

    You can buy a "semi-automated" cuff at any drugstore and they are fairly cheap (about 25 -30 bucks) far easier to use and a lot easier to deal with than the conventional equipment used in your doc's office. By semi-automated I mean you have to pump it up and deflate it but it does the calculation work for you.

    If the blood pressure cuff is too small/too big you don't get an accurate reading either. By your photo, you appear very petite to me and you probably need a small adult cuff.
    You need to sit and take it with your arm in the cuff at heart level or it isn't accurate either - i find i need a pillow to prop it properly up at home, but my readings do correlate.

    If the person taking your blood pressure isn't very good at it or they can screw it up or "guess" at the reading if they are auscultating your arm (with the stethescope) and not paying attention.

    I never appreciated how hard it was to take one accurately until I was on a moving ambulance with a cardiac patient in the middle of a heart attack!

    So the fluctuation could be just bad readings or it could be related to development of hypertension or could be from an underlying problem. Your kidneys are the fluid masters of your body and if all is not right with them, it can cause BP fluctuations. Kidney malfunctions can cause the kidneys to release a chemical called renin that raises your blood pressure or if you get dehydrated enough, that can cause BP to go up because your body is trying to compensate for loss of fluid volume.

    Start tracking it at home and share your journal with all your practitioners - it really helps figure out what is going on and separates the wheat from the chaff so to speak.

    Hope this helps.

  3. RGA

    RGA New Member

    I don't know too much about the bp thing but mine runs pretty low about 94/57, which i've heard with FM a low bp is common.But the chest pains i do know about. I was in the hospital last weekend with chest pains, thought i was having a heart attact, but after many test my heart is fine, seems it is something that happens to some people with FM, it is called Costochondritis which is inflamation of the connective tissue around the rib cage causing the chest pains.For me it feels like a band tightening around my chest.Its been almost a week and it's still painful, sometimes even sharp pains.
  4. Trena

    Trena New Member

    I too have the fluctuating blood pressure and at times have had chest pain and my bp was so high the DR sent me to the ER. As it turned out, it was fibro. The pain was so intense it caused my bp to go up. I have gone to the ER 3 times with this and each time they were sure it was my heart. They did electro cardiogram and xrays and blood work, started IVs as they were certain it was a heart attack. Keep a check on it and you may need to be on a bp med.
  5. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    Thanks for the info on BP it was good. This past week I happened to have three separate doc appts. in one day.
    One reading taken bare skin by calm nurse was 120 over 68 the next about two hours later taken over long underwear and two sweaters by a not so good nurse was 134 over 88
    the next was on a fully auto machine and that was 120 over 72. As I have some heart issues at the moment I am thinking of buying a fully auto one for home, what would you recommend.
    Anne C
  6. mme_curie68

    mme_curie68 New Member

    Hi Again!

    Blood pressure machines are actually regulated medical devices by the FDA, so if its for sale, it's made their criteria for efficacy and safety - that's the good news.

    Even a "generic" drug store brand will have had to meet standards for that type of medical device.

    I guess the sleekest ones I've seen are the forearm squeezing models, but in the world of EMS the gauge style (i.e. the most difficult one to interpret) is the preferred tool - probably because nobody else but a doc, a nurse or an EMT can figure it out - it makes you look cooler (LOL) ;)

    I have a drugstore chain brand for my semi-auto one and it works just fine. Look at all the available models and pick one that has a good listed level of accuracy. Bring it to your doctor's office and have your doc take your blood pressure with theirs and yours to double check the correlation.

    Taking it at home over time makes you good at it. I take mine twice in a row and if the numbers are relatively close to each other I stop (they usually are close to each other). If the numbers are vastly different the first and the second time then I know either a) i was running around and my blood pressure was up a little on the first one or 2) my technique was bad and I wasn't positioned properly, etc. and I wait a few minutes and take it twice again. It's helped me get my blood pressure stabilized and to get bp meds changed when they weren't working well for me to ones that worked better for me - you just pop out the little notebook and the doc can see exactly what numbers you're getting.
    Madame Curie :)
  7. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    Want to know something funny. Yesterday, I had to go to convenient care yet again due to the IC coming back full blown and doc would not prescribe meds over the phone.
    So in the room, there was a huge poster, like 3 by 4 with large instructions on the correct way to take BP using either machine or hand pump style.

    I can honestly say, that I have never had any but my naturopathic dr in Oregon ever take the BP correctly.

    According to the chart.

    Patient should be seated with both feet on the floor for at least 5 full minutes prior to taking test. The patients arm should be supported at heart height, feet still on floor. The patient should not talk or chew during the BP test. Take test in both arms and correlate by using the highest. Ten minutes later, retake the BP. Ask patient if they had caffein one hour prior to test or just ate. This will alter the results.

    A small cuff MUST be used for those with arms less than...?..circumference(did not look at that as I have big arms).

    So I guess the best way to get BP is the machine at the drug store as that does all of that. However, I hear they go off kilter often-I had one that tightened and would not let loose, they had to unplug the machine!!!!

    Anyway I intend to buy one-the whole family can share it.
    Thanks. ANNE c PS YESTERDAy bP was 120 over 79 yet another reading!!!
  8. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    Thanks, everybody. I'm scheduled to see my PCP tomorrow (Monday) afternoon. I wonder what the BP reading will be this time!

    --Laura R.M.

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