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Fluctuating Blood Pressure


imapumpkin
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Because my doctor wanted blood pressure readings, I have a pressure monitor. What I don't get is sometimes I will take a reading, and then another reading right after the other and the numbers will change drastically even though I haven't moved or change anything. Why would my blood pressure be fluctuating so rapidly if I'm taking one reading after another?

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My bp machine takes 3 consecutive readings - 1 min apart - and averages the numbers without showing me the individual results, I only get the average of the 3 readings. (it's a handy feature)

I think you need to wait a certain time in between readings in order to prevent getting errors.

When i was in the ER and had my bp monitored the nurse said she can't set readings any more frequent than 5 min apart because the readings would not be reliable.

Alex

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That was an ER nurse who said that.... I was confused as well. Plus she did not know what POTS is.

I take readings 1 min apart at home...actually my machine does it for me.

Sorry if that sounded strange but that's what I've been told.

Alex

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I'm an ER nurse of 30+ years now working in trauma - we are able to take "stat" blood pressures with our machines - every 1 minute. It is rare to need a BP that often and it is not good for the patient's arm. Frequent inflation of the BP cuff constricts the arm and can cause capillary breakage and damage - I myself have blood pressure taken every 15 minutes during plasma exchange treatments and I always leave with broken capillaries where the cuff has been placed.

Blood pressure is not a constant. Just like heart rate, it is fluctuatant and ever-changing. It must be this way to adjust to our physiological status and the demands of the body in whatever activity we are engaged. Even standing still requires BP and Heart Rate to continually adjust to maintain an upright stance. Those of us with orthostatic hypotension are particularly challenged at maintaining BP and Heart Rate while standing upright - most of the time, we can't maintain and have passing out or near syncopal episodes.

Home BP machines are notoriously inaccurate - some of the more expensive models made by name-brand companies are more accurate. It is more the trend of the readings than the actual readings that are important. If you are taking your BP every minute, every 5 minutes, or whatever, and you notice a steady trend down (lowering BP or heart rate) then it is significant. If you are getting reading that are all over the place and don't seem to correlate or make sense, then, they probably are false readings. Go by how you feel physiologically. If your readings are low and you feel awful, weak, tired, sweaty, and near syncope, then your machine is fairly accurate - you indeed have low BP. If your readings are low and you feel fine - your machine is off. It is the trend that is important - just like when the physician is attempting to diagnose someone with high BP - readings are taken frequently over a couple of weeks to be sure and weed-out false readings.

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Thank you for explaining, E Soskis. Do you have any idea what might be going on if a BP machine gives fairly consistent readings at some times, and wilder ones at others? I get dramatic fluctuations when I've just stood up, and sometimes after meals, but the rest of the time they're fairly well-behaved. My BP monitor is a brand and model that was recommended by the British Heart Association.

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with POTS though you can have wild swings and it isn't necessarily error related. I have very wide swings in my blood pressure in just shifting my body. My home nurse has made note of this as well as my specialists....I can have a swing of 30 points just from sitting to standing....its scary....my nurse says she can actually feel the change in my arm veins

Bren

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Yeah, me too ---I almost always have a 40 point hike in my heart rate from sitting to standing. And my blood pressure goes up from sitting to standing and stays there. Then it will drop - unpredictably. Then with lying - it is usually too low. Mine swings all over the place.

Issie

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During my TTT, my systolic (top number) BP dropped 38 points. Immediately after my diagnosis of autonomic neuropathy and orthostatic hypotension, my autonomic neurologist wanted me to do orthostatic BPs at various times of the day and evening and he only wanted me to wait a minute or two between each position. He asked me to log my vitals so he'd have a better understanding of my fluctuations. At that time, I had a pretty consistent pattern: Normal BP while laying, high BP while sitting and plummeting BP while standing.

Conventional medicine defines that orthostatic BPs are taken 5 minutes between each change in postion, but as those who diagnose autonomic disorders have figured out, that procedure often misses fluctuations in patients with autonomic dysfunction. During orthostatic BPs, it is important at some point to capture BPs going out up to 30 minutes while standing, as some will find plummeting BP long after first standing.

Lyn

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