Is there anything I can do about my blood pressure?
October 6, 2009 5:34 PM Subscribe
What's causing my rather sudden high blood pressure? How much of it is my anxiety? Most importantly, is there anything I can do lower it quickly? Yes I know I should see a doctor (I've sort of just come from there). There's lots of additional information inside.
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (24 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Today I went to Planned Parenthood today to get my birth control pills refilled, and my blood pressure was crazy. I've been on birth control pills since I was 16 to control my very painful periods. At 19, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. The most successful symptom treatment for me has been cycling my pills and only having a period every 9-12 weeks. They're still debilitatingly painful, but they don't control my life because I don't have them so often.
I also have an anxiety disorder with both generalized anxiety and occasional panic attacks. Many of my anxiety triggers are physical. I'm generally a twitchy, tense, fretting sort of person. I'm very claustrophobic. It's always made me unreasonably nervous to have my blood pressure taken; the cuff tightening always made my heart rate pick up made me feel a touch panicky.
In the last six months or so, every time I've had my blood pressure taken, it's been higher and higher. While I've always been anxious when I got it taken, now my heart rate explodes as soon as the cuff starts tightening. Today, when the cuff went on, my pulse exploded, and my blood pressure was insane (like 150/100). She (the nurse/doctor/PA/whatever) took it three times, but at that point I was upset and twitchy, so it didn't get any better. She's not allowed to refill my birth control pills until I get a lower blood pressure reading.
I drink a bit too much and exercise a too little; my diet is rather good, with piles of vegetables and whole grains, and very little processed food. I'm 28 and I don't smoke. My mother has high blood pressure in the last couple of years, but she's 52 and a heavy smoker. I'm overweight (5' 3 1/2" 180 lbs) but she said by my records showed it had been basically consistent for the last three years. She also said she wouldn't expect my blood pressure to be like that at my age if I weighed 300 lbs. She seemed to think it was largely due to how anxious I was (as opposed to, as is my concern, a major medical issue), but then, she was trying to be as calming as possible and wasn't likely to say "Well, you're at terrible risk of a stroke."
In addition to worrying about getting pregnant, I'm very worried about dealing with my endometriosis pain without birth control. Before I started skipping periods, I was even more anxious, very depressed, and at times suicidal because of the chronic cycle of pain. I'm also officially terrified of the blood pressure issue just for its own sake as well.
My husband and I were laid off last year and are barely scraping along as freelancers now. I don't have insurance, but have an appointment this month get the Healthy San Francisco plan, so I will have access to some health services in the not terribly distant future. Obviously, I'll see a doctor then and hopefully deal with the whole thing in a more complete way. Long term, I know I should focus on less salt and more exercise.
I go back on Saturday to have a reading taken again. Other than meditate, deep breathe, and pray, is there anything I can do to help get a lower reading?