Stress and high blood pressure

(26 Posts)
mumsnoangel Sat 01-Feb-20 08:46:59

I'm definitely a stressed person. I'm that swan that glides across the lake but my legs are frantically paddling unbeknown to anyone else. I have a busy job and think I'm a bit of a control freak at work and at home so struggle to let things slip. My problem is that I have high blood pressure. I have a home monitor and when I'm busy and just doing my normal stuff the readings are high. However when I'm lying in bed the readings are really good. I am on a moderate one tablet medication for my blood pressure (am now 51 and have taken it since I was around 44). My readings this week have been pretty bad around 150 / 95 so I'm seeing the practice nurse on Monday. If they up my medication my go might drop a bit low when I'm resting. My readings when I wake up and am still in bed are around 125 / 79. Not sure what to do. I know my stressy anxious personality are having a bad impact on my health, but can I really change? I have a good relationship and my husband will help at home, but he works longer hours and is training for a one in a lifetime sports event at Easter that is very time consuming.

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BeyondMyWits Sat 01-Feb-20 08:52:45

My advice is to lower your standards. I have had to now. Heart attack at 52 - totally stress related. Now (55) being managed under medication and me doing less.

My doc advised taking Bisoprolol in the morning, and Ramipril in the evening to more balance my blood pressure through the day. Less peaks and troughs that way. Works for me.

mumsnoangel Sat 01-Feb-20 20:08:16

@BeyondMyWits thank you for replying. Did you have any idea you had a problem before your heart attack? Scary I bet.

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NormaSnorks Sat 01-Feb-20 20:14:55

Do you get much exercise OP? My BP was high last year and now I've upped my exercise (running 3 x a week) and it's dropped.

mumsnoangel Sat 01-Feb-20 20:51:20

@NormaSnorks no I don't do enough exercise and I know I need to find more time for this. I do Pilates once a week but the rest is a bit ad hoc. I'd you take up so,etching cardiovascular?

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mumsnoangel Sat 01-Feb-20 20:51:53

@NormaSnorks no I don't do enough exercise and I know I need to find more time for this. I do Pilates once a week but the rest is a bit ad hoc. Did you take up something cardiovascular?

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mumsnoangel Sat 01-Feb-20 20:52:42

@NormaSnorks sorry you,did say running. How far do you run? Did you start as a novice?

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BeyondMyWits Sat 01-Feb-20 21:04:23

Hiya... no I had no idea anything was wrong, not a visit to doctor in 20 years. Just suddenly felt wrong, went to a and e and they said it was a heart attack. So weird because I walked there, I thought I would have collapsed or something...

NormaSnorks Sat 01-Feb-20 22:36:51

Yes - running, well, jogging to start with 0-5k.
I joined a local ladies group (not a serious running group) and now try to run 5k about 3 times a week. Park run (free 5k on a Saturday) is good if there's one near you. I think there is a free 0-5k NHS app too which gets you going by coaching you through the early stages.

lljkk Sat 01-Feb-20 23:12:55

I wonder why stressed personalities can't change.
I mean, what is stopping you?

Otherwise, for the BP, Are you doing a low salt diet? My BP is higher than I would like it to be. I do get lots of exercise, actually. So salt seems the next thing to address.

BeyondMyWits Sun 02-Feb-20 08:08:04

lljkk - some people naturally produce more of the stress hormones than others, you will have seen us - fussing about, worrying about the future - not just a personality thing, it can be just because our bodies produce more of that stuff. (a bit which came first? - chicken or egg)

Those stress hormones can be good for you, but they do nasty things to your arteries too. So if your high blood pressure is produced by stress hormones hardening the arteries medication is the main way forward. Low salt will help, exercise and weight control will help, doing less will help. But a fine balance of medication will help the most.

lljkk Sun 02-Feb-20 11:11:52

Do drugs help? I Mean, is there a pill that can mean lower production of stress hormones without unacceptable side effects? I'd look into that if you think it's biochemical.

I wonder if exercise helps... I know lots of exercise helps my MH. I can't even remember why compared to when I was more inactive, but could be the exercise keeps my stress levels in check.

Egghead68 Sun 02-Feb-20 12:58:52

Regular cardiovascular exercise (150 mins moderate or 75 mins vigorous a week as a minimum).
Use the Headspace mindfulness meditation app daily or practise daily relaxation using the NHS relaxation videos on YouTube
Read the Worry Cure

mumsnoangel Mon 03-Feb-20 22:17:33

@Egghead68 I went for a run this evening. Turning over a new leaf. Blood pressure is high and I'm seeing my GP later in the week. Depressed that my bp is high when I'm already on medication....

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Egghead68 Mon 03-Feb-20 23:29:02

Great! My BP’s high on medication too despite loads of exercise etc. We can only do what we can do.

BeyondMyWits Tue 04-Feb-20 07:18:05

If your BP is high when on medication it just means they have not found the right medication for you yet. I went through a hellish 6 months of changing meds, tweaking doses etc, until I felt alive and well as well as it keeping me alive and well.

Egghead68 Tue 04-Feb-20 09:14:00

Well the cardiologist I saw refused to up or change my medications saying "lose 10kg" (even though I wasn't overweight) and "exercise daily". I did lose the 10kg (my BMI''s 21) and do exercise daily (running, circuits, spinning) and it's made no difference. Sometimes these things are just genetic or secondary to other things (like other medications you are on).

I'll try my GP again at some point but expect I'll be fobbed off with "lifestyle changes" again.

Don't get me wrong - I definitely support and advocate lifestyle changes, but they are not enough in my case (and many cases).

mumsnoangel Tue 04-Feb-20 16:55:12

The tricky thing for me is that when I am chilling out, lying down, my bp is really good. It shoots up when I move around. I need to change my mentality as I try to play it down with the doctor almost like I feel I've failed in some way if it's high. I think I just need to now say I think I need something more to keep it properly under control. I will certainly do my best to keep slim and do more exercise etc, but don't want to gamble with my health. Everyone is surprised when I tell them I have high bp. They say I seem so calm, but inside I'm often uptight and worry about lots of things!

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Egghead68 Tue 04-Feb-20 17:28:30

Ultimately high blood pressure is high blood pressure, whatever the cause and in my view needs to be treated with medication if other approaches alone don’t work. I hope you get sorted.

Katharinblum Tue 04-Feb-20 18:41:46

Exactly egghead. Sometimes you just have to accept you need medication. I’ve run for years, gym, spinning, long walks couple of times a week , never smoked, healthy weight but ultimately genetics trump everything. I’m also a stressy type, perfectionist etc and got really wound up when my bp wasn’t as well controlled with the medication as it could be which in turn elevated it even more. It became a vicious circle. Now I’m on two meds and it’s ok at rest (which is how it should be measured) Not sure what it is when I’m active but it will be higher anyway. Just do your bp morning and night for a week then see your gp. He’ll work out the average and decide if you need something adding.

mumsnoangel Tue 04-Feb-20 19:53:54

@Katharinblum thank you. I took my bp when I got in from work and it was terrible. Which of course is now stressing me more! Seeing my GP on Friday morning. My mum grandmother aunts brother... you name it... all on BP medication so no surprise! I'm scared I'm going to have a stroke. Need a bit of reassurance they can control BP relatively easily. I am wondering if actually I partially need to be fixed with a tranquilliser to sort out my stressy personality. Can't believe I'm even thinking of that. Is that shocking?!!!

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Egghead68 Tue 04-Feb-20 20:27:01

They won’t prescribe tranquillisers (diazepam etc) because they are addictive but they might give you a beta blocker that would help with both anxiety and high BP (propranolol) or an antidepressant that would help with anxiety (e.g. settle alone). Worth discussing all options with them. Good luck.

Egghead68 Tue 04-Feb-20 20:27:28

Sertraline not settle alone!

Snakelet Tue 04-Feb-20 20:36:35

Sometimes all the lifestyle changes in the world won’t bring BP down to a level where you don’t need medication or just one drug.

I’ve has ridiculously high BP since I was in my 20s. I’m 60 this year and have taken 4 drugs for it over the last 20 years - bisoprolol, bendrofluathamide, candesartan and felodopine.

I’ve been at a good weight, overweight, stressed, unstressed, exercising, eating well/poorly, not exercising over the years but it just seems to do what it wants regardless of lifestyle. I’ve never smoked and don’t drink which I’m sure does help. Despite it supposedly increasing with age mine has been good for about 4 or 5 years.

If you need another tablet adding into the mix, I’d not worry too much. The important thing is to bring it down to a safe level.

Sunshineand Tue 04-Feb-20 20:36:38

That is a big difference between readings, and yes that would worry me. Tell your doctor and they will probably suggest a 24hr BP or something.

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