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Measuring blood pressure -any tips for relaxation

(9 Posts)
HPFA Wed 23-Mar-16 14:52:38

I'm trying to monitor my blood pressure at home but it's just sending me into a complete panic every time. I can feel my heart start thumping as soon as I go near the machine and it just gets worse as the measurement is being taken. I've tried self-hypnosis, playing relaxing music and muttering soothing thoughts but nothing works. I'm not looking at the readings - they're being stored in the memory as I thought that would help me to relax but not really doing anything so far.
The really annoying thing is the doctor's reading was 140/90 and that was in a very anxious state so its quite possible that a relaxed reading would be normal. I'm trying to accept that I'm going to end up on the pills but I just wish I could get some readings in a relaxed state- at least then I would know whether I really need the pills or not.
Anyone else have this problem -and how did you solve it?

mercifulTehlu Wed 23-Mar-16 15:02:33

flowers I used to have exactly this problem. My best advice is make up your mind beforehand to disregard the first reading you take. Then take another one. My second one was always way lower than my first.
Secondly, try to banish from your mind the idea that you are determining what your bp is through your mood and anxiety levels. If you start thinking it's your fault your bp is high because you are causing it with your anxiety, it puts massive pressure on you to calm down. And thinking 'Calm down, goddammit!' is actually not very calming grin.
Finally, try to remember that EVERYONE'S bp fluctuates. It's supposed to fluctuate. If you check it and it's high, then, well hey ho - it'll probably be lower in a little while.

Oh and wear loose clothing and no tight watches, rings etc.

madwomanbackintheattic Wed 23-Mar-16 15:09:31

Do it more, and look at the readings all the time. You are making it into more of a drama by putting so much emphasis on it, not looking, etc etc. Building it up into something it really isn't.

I found that after a week or so I could do it pretty much routinely. And my readings came down as I got more relaxed about doing it. I still get a wee jolt of apprehension if I haven't done it for a while - it's definitely familiarity and fear of the results that makes it worse. Not looking at them will be enhancing the fear.

Just get on with it and take lots, look at the numbers, and pontificate about them. 140/90 in a white coat setting will come down as you get used to doing it.

Familiarity breeds contempt and all that, and it's not that bad. They'll drop nicely once you actually get on with it. (My starting point was way worse lol - and I'm nowhere near needing meds now with my own readings).

madwomanbackintheattic Wed 23-Mar-16 15:11:03

<should say that they do recommend taking your 'marker' readings at the same point in every day to facilitate comparison - it can fluctuate massively with actively and daily routine>

HPFA Wed 23-Mar-16 18:49:01

Many thanks for your kind replies. Tehlu, you are exactly right that its my frustration at causing my own problems that's making things worse.
Madwoman, what you say makes an awful lot of sense - I thought not looking at the readings would stop me getting more and more anxious but I can see how it could be making things worse. Thanks for giving me a new viewpoint.

mercifulTehlu Wed 23-Mar-16 19:42:28

Yes, I got quite obsessive about the idea that I was somehow in control of my bp. I mean obviously you can improve your bp by changing diet, exercise etc, but when you start berating yourself every time you get a high reading because you feel you are failing to be calm enough to make it lower, that is just silly! Incidentally, I'm still on meds 7 years later (very low dose) but my bp's pretty good these days.

Snog Sat 26-Mar-16 20:05:54

Losing weight if you are overweight and exercising more really help to lower bp according to my GP.
Is that something you could do?

HPFA Mon 28-Mar-16 16:10:08

Not overweight and exercise regularly - I suspect it's another part of my frustration that I feel I'm doing the right things - it's not fair!! (Turns into two-year old!!). I suspect its genetic-my non-smoking and skinny parents were both sufferers
If Tehlu is still around I'm going around muttering "It's not my fault" a lot and fingers crossed I'm hoping it's having some effect - I've managed to get a couple of readings where my heart wasn't thumping out of my chest. I'm hoping I'm close to the point where I can assume the measurements are accurate - if the GP thinks I need the pills at least I'll know I actually do need them.

SooBee61 Mon 28-Mar-16 16:21:34

Invest in your own blood pressure machine (Boots £30 www.boots.com/en/HoMedics-Upper-Arm-Blood-Pressure-Monitor_1411632/
so that you can take it at home and feel more relaxed. And take it 3 times to average out the best result, pausing for a few minutes between each testing to allow veins to return to normal. Don't take too often. Once weekly is enough.

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