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Ideas on how to bring my bp down


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Hi Everyone,

Despite being on cozaar to stabilize my bp, I'm having problems with persistently elevated bp, mostly in the evening...and occasional drops in bp just to keep in interesting. Tonight it's running 150/100. Makes me feel really edgy and aggitated. I'm going to call my doctor in the am, but wonder if there's anything I can do now.

Anyone have ideas for non-prescription ways to get my bp down? I already have stopped the salty snacks and foods a few days ago. I just have my one coffee in the am, and no other caffeine. I've stopped all alchohol. I've been exercising at least every other day on my recumbent bike.

I wonder if the steroid injections in my spine are part of why my bp is up so much--not much I can do about that right now other than keep drinking fluids to help my body clear itself out.

I'm grateful for any ideas :) Nina

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Sorry Nina, the edgy feeling is the pits.

If you are flushing your system with water -- which sounds like a good plan -- is it possible you are retaining fuild now? I know my BP is very sensistive to water retention.

If water is the culprit here are a few foods and herbs that may act like natural diuretics -- all terribly bad for us POTS people when we are having drops in BP. But if you are running high you may want to give them a try...

Foods include: celery, onion, eggplant, asparagus and watermelon.

Herbs: hawthorn, corn silk, and parsley.

Good luck.

EM

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The weird thing for me is that salt stabilizes my bp. I tend to have higher bp and greater fluctuations if I cut down on salt. Yoga generally helps bring my bp down. I think you are right to keep up with your exercising for that reason. Warm baths. Lying down and focusing on breathing exercises (I know some POTS patients find this problematic).

Hope this is short-lived. Sounds like it could be the steroids.

take care,

Katherine

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Nina,

You're probably asleep already, but just in case, try a hot shower and some deep breathing combined with visualization. I always think of a field of daisies. I know, it sounds hokey, but for me it works.

I also do a contract/relax exercise, going through every muscle from my head downward to my toes. Contract the muscle, hold for three seconds, then release. The idea is to maintain the relaxation in each muscle so that at the end, you're all nice and relaxed.

If you're in severe pain, that could raise your BP. If not, I'd think it was the steroids too.

Amy

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Nina- I am going through the exact same thing right now! I am unable to sleep more than a few minutes at a time and I am feeling like things are going so fast, yet I am dragging. I am more dizzy with the high bp while standing. Weird thing is that my bp is dropping rapidly...when I sit! I am doing about 150/100 as well, give or take 5 points on each number. Then, when I sit, my bp goes to about 110/60 (perfect, but a 30 second swing of 40 points on each number). My hr is still increasing a lot while standing. Of course the flushing, pounding in the chest, babbling non-stop, insomnia, muscle spasms, nausea, etc.

I find that the hot shower technique often works (makes you dizzy but lowers the bp. I sit then lie down afterwards with only a towel on and wait to cool down. The bp usually does not increase again because it is dangerously low hehe).

I find things like tea, resting with feet up, taking frequent breaks and actually eating a lot of salt helps. Actually, increasing my salt intake even more helps to stabilize my bp so there are less swings and then less stress on the body so less release of adrenaline. The numbers will very slowly creep down. For a rapid diuretic, use caffeine in small amounts, but too much will also raise the bp with this problem and give you palpitations- it is a very precarious balance. I heard that cold washcloths on the neck help some people. I also sleep with the head of my bed up so that there is no sudden change in bp when i get up in the morning. Any large stress like that makes my body compensate with a ginormous adrenaline release, ugh.

I gave up and took an ativan a few hours ago. Of course, I am still up after only a few hours sleep cobbled together throughout the day and I also walked like 4 miles looking at apartments in Brooklyn. I think I got one though, one with a pretty garden!

Anyway, I take an extra beta-blocker when my bp is that high because my doctors told me to. I take sectral, a beta-blocker that also blocks isoproterenol, a form of adrenaline in the body. It helps, for a little bit. Oh yes, you have to drink an amazing large amount- drink until you pee every hour. I drank 6 liters Saturday and have done almost as well the last two days. I am still not peeing very often, so it is clearly not enough for me.

There are some breathing exercises to do where you breathe in slowly through the nose over a count of 4 and then out for 8 through the mouth then slowly increase until you are breating in for a count of 8 or 10 and out for 14 or 16. Try to empty your brain or think of something calming at the same time. (no, this does not work well for me either, but it is worth a try and it does help a little). Remember to breathe normally in between the big breaths. Take 10-15 minutes to do this. I find that light yoga stretches help but hard cardio/weight exercise is making it worse, much worse.

My recent attack of high bp is probably related to my dentist appointment on Saturday. he tipped me back to see my molars and I felt like i was completely upside down, oy. It was terrible. then the scraping and the other junk and I had pain, spasming, stress, postural dizziness and I was not able to sleep that night before either, so a bad combo all together.

Sorry that my suggestions are very basic, but I have not found that much that helps other than time and meds. The hot shower is my best defense against the adrenaline stuff. I sit the whole time and make sure the room does not get hot. It is not for me to get overheated but for my blood to get flowing better. It helps my migraines too. You can try just getting your feet warm in the bath and your hands warm under the tap- it works quite well, but not as well as dipping the head and neck in warmth. some find cold on the neck and face great when they have flushing. depends on related symptoms.

Hope I helped. Sorry for babbling.

Leah

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Guest Julia59

Steroids could be partly to blame for the HBP. I know it gave me tachycardia just after surgery and it stayed with me for about 14 hours.

It also helped keep my BP up. My body did not tolerate the steroids very well at all. After they stopped the IV steroids, my HR went down, and so did the blood pressure. But in my case it never really got real high, just a little higher then normal.

Good luck, I hope you can get it under control soon. :)

Julie :0)

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Hi Nina - I'm not sure if you read my post last week on the water retention I was having and very High BP 150/100 same as you..also so irritable and emotional.

I saw my dr on Thurs, and for me it was one of my meds , the DDAVP causing this to happen... I was in a hyponatremic state meaning that I had too much free water in me with very low sodium levels and thus gaining tons of water weight.

I stopped the DDAVP 5 days ago, and have lost 7 lbs of water and my BP is back to normal range.......

Have you had your sodium levels checked at all?

Are you retaining fluid?

I would definetly have some blood work done to see if it could possibly be one of these problems or one of your meds causing these problems...

I had never even thought about my DDAVP causing me to feel so ill....

Its a thought. Feel better :)

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Thanks everyone--my doctor isn't in until 3pm today--so I'm still in a holding pattern.

Even after exercising, I'm still at 150/100. I'm not on any new meds--or meds that cause retention of fluids (other than the aforementioned steroid injections last month). I am retaining fluid--my rings are tight.

I eat lots of garlic daily, so it's unlikely I need to supplement that ;) I've been trying the breathing and relaxation work, but so far, I've not been successful at getting my bp down. It's even elevated when I wake up!!! I was wondering why it's been so much easier for me to get going in the morning and now I know--I have a slight taste of normalcy and it's kind of nice to not feel like my body weighs 1000 pounds when trying to get out of bed. That should have been my first clue, huh? ;)

I'll let you all know what the doctor says. Nina

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Nina--glad you can see your dr today. Just for fun I am including this article. ;)

Perhaps you should treat yourself to a few ounces of dark chocolate today.

Hope you are stabilized soon.

Katherine

PS I hope this is not violating copyright law--per Michelle's recent announcement!!

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Dark chocolate -- but not white chocolate - may help reduce blood pressure and boost the body's ability to metabolize sugar from food, according to the results of a small study.

Investigators from the University of L'Aquila in Italy found that after eating only 100 grams, or 3.5 ounces, of dark chocolate every day for 15 days, 15 healthy people had lower blood pressures and were more sensitive to insulin, an important factor in metabolizing sugar.

In contrast, eating roughly the same amount of white chocolate for the same period of time did not affect either blood pressure or insulin sensitivity.

This is not the first study to demonstrate potential health benefits of dark chocolate, which contains high levels of a kind of antioxidant called flavonoids. Research shows that flavonoids that can help maintain a healthy heart and good circulation and reduce blood clotting, which can lead to heart attacks and stroke.

Dr. Claudio Ferri and co-investigators explained that flavonoids help the body by neutralizing potentially cell-damaging substances known as oxygen-free radicals, which are a normal byproduct of metabolism.

However, despite dark chocolate's apparent benefits, Ferri urges caution when interpreting the results. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, but also a lot of fat and calories, Ferri said, and people who want to add some chocolate to their diet need to subtract an equivalent amount of calories by cutting back on other foods, to avoid weight gain.

He added that each 100 grams of dark chocolate contains roughly 500 calories.

Other research validates that when it comes to chocolate, type does matter. One study found that eating milk chocolate did little to raise antioxidant levels in the blood, perhaps because milk interferes with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate.

Another study showed that elderly people with high blood pressure experienced a drop in pressure after eating dark chocolate bars, but not white chocolate, which contains no flavonoids.

Ferri and colleagues asked 7 men and 8 women, all healthy, to eat 100 grams of dark chocolate or 90 grams of white chocolate every day for 15 days. The subjects consumed no chocolate for the next 7 days and then switched to the other chocolate type for 15 days.

Ferri's team found that after eating dark chocolate, participants' blood pressure decreased, and they showed improvements in insulin sensitivity, meaning they were better able to metabolize glucose (sugar), according to the report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (news - web sites).

"The identification of healthy foods and the understanding of how food components influence normal physiology will help to improve the health of the population," Dr. Cesar G. Fraga of the University of California, Davis, notes in an accompanying editorial.

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2005.

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MMMMMmmmm.... chocolate therapy... I think I can handle that! I bet they didn't have much of a problem with treatment compliance! ;)

My doctor called me back... I have an appointment on Thursday afternoon. In the mean time, she told me to try to stay seated or prone as much as possible. ;) Not easy to do that and go to grad school too. Thankfully, it's spring break for my job, so it's not quite as stressful.

Nina

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Oh, and I forgot to mention that I'm having some times when the difference between the diastolic and systolic is really small... tonight when I got home from school I told Teri I was feeling really wierd and dizzy. She came over and took my pressure, and it was 110/98. That's low pulse pressure right, the difference between the two??

I looked it up and anything less than 40pt difference is considered abnormal. 12 is pretty darned abnormal!!! The stuff that I found related the lowered numbers to any of three things:

1. error in reading (uh, no, living with a medical professional has it's plusses!)

2. congestive heart failure

3. shock

Not sure what to make of that. Shock's the most likely I suppose...especially if my bp is jumping all over the place.

Nina

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I have the close together numbers more than anything else- my doctors all said it was a sign of dehydration for me. They were very worried about it and said that the more I stand, the closer they get. I was told it was a vaso-vagal action as well, but slightly different than the dropping bp that we usually get. I am supposed to increase salt and fluids with it and my florinef was supposed to help it (and did), but I have to admit that I am retaining an enormous amount of fluid right now, that or I got super fat in a short amount of time. Woman hormones are one thing that increases my bp and causes fluid retention at the same time while also making me have dizziness etc etc. I don't know if you take any hormones or if you have any hormone imbalances? I sometimes get strange fluctuations like low estrogen or high prolactin that seem to cause high bp too.

Hope you feel better. If you find an answer, let me know- I really need it! I am suffering so much myself, but can't leave my grad school + work schedule right now because of presentations and giant final papers and stuff. Plus, I found out I am moving in TWO WEEKS! Thus, lower bp would my life better. Please help us all benefit from the improved health you are about to have. :-p

Leah

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Nina

My diastolic and systolic are nearly always closer than 40 pts apart--generally in the 30 pts apart range. It is hard to believe that anything less than 40 would indicate one of those three things. HOWEVER, a 12 pt difference does sound significant. Did you check it again awhile later? It must be a POTS-related phenomenon as Leah says. Hopefully you body is just doing these weird things right now as the steroid wears off, and you will stablize. How uncomfortable though.

I think this shows how helpful it can be to take readings of bp (and hr) when experiencing symptoms as it may help with treatment.

Take care,

Katherine

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Hi Nina. I have an interesting article on different abnormalities that cause forms of orthostatic intolerance. One of the things mentioned is Orthostatic narrowing of pulse pressure.

" The pulse pressure is the difference between the lower number of the BP from the higher number. For example, a normal person with a BP of 100/60 would have a pulse pressure of 40. It is actually the difference between the upper and lower number of the BP that circulates the blood. If the pulse pressure drops below 18, it is abnormal and blood would not circulate in the brain well. We routinely see in our patients with CFS blood pressures of 90/80, thus a pulse pressure of 10. The current record holder is a young woman with CFS whose pulse pressure fell to 6mmHg before she passed out."

A friend gave this to me, and I don't have any info on where it's from unfortunatly, but I did talk to my doctor about it, and he was able to validate the findings. I do see mention at the bottom of the page that some info was listed from Dr. David Streeten's book Orthostatic Disorders of the Circulation.

It also mentions Orthostatic Diastolic Hypertension....

" The lower number of the BP often reflects the systemic resistance, and while standing many persons with OI and CFS will raise their lower BP number (Diastolic) in an attempt to push blood up the the brain. Sometimes this is dramatic."

I hope this is a little bit useful, anyway! Laura!

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thanks Laura, I came to the same conclusion (that it was a POTS thing) after reading a medical school lecture-- basically, it's probably the compliance of the arteries that's to blame (compliance, meaning accomodating too much blood, lowering the stroke volume, which will show up as a low pulse pressure).

Still waiting for my appointment with my bp flying all over the place.

Nina

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I've had narrow pulse pressures since developing POTS -- sometimes 95/80. But usually more like 105/75.

I think it's definitely a POTS thing and don't think it necessarily means congestive heart failure or anything.

Amy

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Oh...I didn't think i had congestive heart failure... was just posting the info I found. Today I found a really good lecture, and that's where I got the info on the artery "strechyness". B)

BTW, I took some Norflex today in order to see if it helped my bp...and it did a nice job in a pinch. Tonight my bp was 130/80. WAY better.

Nina

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Okay, the doc verified that it's the steroids. She doubled my cozaar and added a diuretic. She also explained that in addition to my bp, I now have a rational explanation for my intense hunger, racing thinking and inability to fall asleep. She thinks that a maximum of a 30 day run of the med change should be enough to allow the steroids to finish washing out of my system. I also have to increase my potassium intake b/c of the diuretic.

We briefly considered switching from cozaar to a beta blocker, but decided against it because i have asthma. She also said that i can supplement my meds with a dose of xanax if needed.

Thanks again for all your input.

Nina

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Hi Nina - I am so glad you got some answers as to why your BP was so High.

I hope like myself that you will find quick relief once the steroid is out of your body.

I am sure as you lose all that retained fluid your BP will follow Good Luck and feel better! :)

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MM, your instincts were right, as usual but good to have the doctor in agreement. I must say that the idea of a diuretic seems counter to what we always need to do which is drink, drink, drink. Be careful, it doesn't do too good of a job! Hope it won't take long to get the steriods out of your system.

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nina,

the agitation and racing mind are the worst! they are my pre-dominant symtpoms...they wear me down some days.

i am glad you have a clue to WHY this was all happening.

i have narrow pulse pressures often too, but not usually what you got!

hope the higher dose of cozaar helps.

have you had any probs. with that drug? i did a search here and you are the only other person taking it.

i can either re-try clonidine or try cozaar next...so if you have any cozaar tips that would be great!

clonidine was great for the agitation/adrenaline...but after surgery it stopped working and started causing me to have plummeting blood pressure at night...hmmm...

oh, the cozaar...for me, my bp isn't high, but my pots doctor would use if for the high catecholemine levels that he suspects i have..

gotta love our crazy bodies!

hope you get some relief from the symptoms soon!

em

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Thank for the good wishes guys... Hey Em, :blink: good to see you floating around the board again. Missed ya!

Cozaar--well, at 50mg, I did fine for a long time. My bp, prior to taking it, was high and low, alternating back and forth all day. At 50mg, it kept me pretty stablized.

I started on the first 100mg dose this morning. 2 hours later, I had to go to sleep--I had serious jelly legs! Felt like I had no muscles to hold myself up. I slept for about 2 hours and felt much better when I woke up. At that point, my bp was darned normal 120/84. I don't know what it was before I fell asleep--I was so wiped at that point, lying down was the only option. Then ZZzzzzzzz.

I haven't started the diuretic and not sure I will. We'll see.

Nina

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