446896 tn?1237802742

Conquering fear of blood pressure machines?

I know I am not the only one who absolutely freaks out when having my blood pressure taken.  Every time I go to the Dr's office, they always comment on how high my pulse and blood pressure are (last week when I went it was 127/92 and pulse of 133!)  Ha...and those numbers arent even unusual for me!  I know the pulse is high, but I don't worry about it as much just because I take it frequently at home now, and know that it is usually in the 80's when I'm at home.  But the blood pressure...ugh!  I am just convinced that I am going to have a really high reading sometime and that I'm going to just kill over.  And the docs and nurses make it worse by always saying "well, your numbers are a little too high for your age, even though you are nervous" (I just turned 30).  

So...has anyone successfully conquered their fear of having their blood pressure taken?  How did you do it?  I really want to get over this. I mean, I feel like i try to do everything right...I eat fairly well, I'm definitely not overweight, dont smoke or drink, somewhat active...the only thing I have trouble with is my anxiety.  Ugh...this is frustrating!
164 Responses
468452 tn?1225964888

Never had this problem but I know that some people do have it.

The only thing that I can suggest it to get your own blood presure machine for home and then start taking it occasionally. If you take it regularly then I would imagine that you will get used to it and then it won;t become a big deal when the nurses take it. You will also see then that BP goes up and down all of the time and it is perfectly normal.

The only thing that I would say though is do not do this if you know for a fact that you will become obsessed with taking your BP all of the time and then stressing over the reading. You know that your readings are high but I would imagine that this is through stress. You obviously work yourself up for sometime before the actual event.

The only way I have gotten over any of my fears are to face them head on and just keep on with it no matter how awful it is.

Good Luck
I just  got my own BP cuff. My heart starts to race as soon as I put it on. Dr. is keeping an eye on BP so I am supposed to report readings back. If only my nerves didn't get the best of me... even at home.
i have a severe phobia of anything medical. even stethoscopes make me nervous. my doctor couldnt get a clear reading of my blood pressure because to me when it squeezes your arm it is incredibly painful and makes me cry and have a panic attack. is my doctor being a jerk? because everyone i know says its not supposed to hurt.
Avatar universal
I have panic disorder, along with a lot of other stuff, and I have a couple behavioral tips that I have been taught when I get in a situation I don't like.

First, remember that you can always tear that cuff off when they crank it up so tight!  It's velcro, and easy to undo.  It sometimes helps panic to know you have an "escape" plan, even though you may never do it.

Second, deep breathing is very helpful in the midst of panicky feelings.  And a reality check, by asking yourself, "Is this the worst thing that can happen to me today?" and also by looking around the room and seeing the nurse and recognizing everything in there and reminding yourself that you're just visiting the doctor as usual.
599170 tn?1300973893
read my post armyboy/man in transition into adulthood community, i hava 17 1/2 year old who has the same problem only with pulse  He almost couldnt get into the army because of it, a doctor anwser my post you may find it interesting. Also learning some relaxation techinques would be helpful.
When my son was hooked up to the pulse ox (they didnt want to do his manually) his pulse ( heart rate ) went up 15 beats or so every time a pretty nurse walked into the room LOL, cognitive therapy is likely going to be called for, but read my post just for kicks,
537497 tn?1292553056
i thought i was the only one with this fear.. it's a relieve to know i'm not alone.. the one thing that i try to do is when i'm at the drug store and see the machine I freak out, but i sit down and take my blood pressure like 15 times.. it's always high at first but then it goes down.. It maked me feel better because i'm the only one that can see it...
trust me i know what it feels like.. when i was pregnant it was a nightmare...
just know you are not alone...
any solutions?  I heard any fear needs to be conquer head on with courage and diligence, either we rule fears or they rule us.
446896 tn?1237802742
Thanks so much to all of you who are responding...it really does help me ☺
Don't feel bad, for me I  freak out since early childhood, when other's take my blood pressure or when I'm around other's that can see, very self conscious, and thinking the worst, of what other's might think
447939 tn?1235061943
hi firstly your reading of 127/92 isnt massivly high and its bound to go up if your nervous, the only thing with getting a home blood pressure machine is you can get obsessed but maybe if you got one and limited yourself to using it maybe once every 2 weeks would be a good idea also the readings can be in accurate so if you got a high reading at home it could make u freak out!!! i used to hate having my BP done i was terrified of it being high so i bought my own machine and it rules my life
446896 tn?1237802742
Thanks for your response and I do realize that it may be a problem if I get my own machine.  Ihave been checking my HR at home with my workout monitor and I seem to be doing that all the time now...even though I know the numbers are OK :(  
Avatar universal
All I have to say is that the whole thing stinks.  I have suffered from anxiety since childhood and it has progressively gotten worse.  I never had a problem with high blood pressure until I used one of the grocery store BP machines, about 2 years ago, and the reading was a little high (142/89).  I can reason that it was because I had been running around with a toddler and was in a rush, but that was the beginning of the end.  I started obsessing, I went to my Dr. that same day and was having a panick attack.  When they took my BP it was 152/90 and once I relaxed it dropped to 120/80.  They sent me to a cardioligist because by HR was so high and the EKG was abnormal.  I went to the cardiologist the next day, my BP was 110/70 and the stress test was normal.  

Unfortunately, ever since I have not been able to relax about having my BP taken at the Dr.'s office.  It is always high, a couple of months ago it was 140/90.  I brought a BP machine and the readings are usually high because I'm anxious about the process and then they drop to normal (average 115/75).  Recently, my anxiety has been worse and, in turn, my readings are higher.   Now, I 'm anxious about the HOME BP machine and obssessed about my BP.  

I am trying Transcendal Meditation (TM), there's a lot of research that supports its effectiveness on anxiety and high blood pressure.  I think that I'm going to need to take an SSRI (like Zoloft) as well.

I welcome any other suggestions....
I feel relieved that I'm not the only one.
626040 tn?1224295256
I thought that I was the only one with this----I know that my pressure goes up because of anxiety- can't get an accurate reading because of this. I feel like running away even when I see someone else taking their pressure at the drug store... I think part of it is fear over  the cuff tightening ---feeling trapped or not in control... I bought a monitor for home at the suggestion of the clinic nurse- but just hate having it at my house- too scared to go near the thing. Readings are always high...how can we get over this ???

How can the doctors treat us for high blood pressure( if we even have it?) if we can't get an accurate reading????

I think one of the best things to do is get really healthy- eat low sodium foods etc.
This seems to give a sense of power over this area.
370181 tn?1595629445
Hi Autumn! I see you are still having issues with your BP. I know we discussed ways for you to get over this fear, but either they didn't work, or you didn't try them.
Working on a surgical unit in a hospital, I assume most of you can imagine the number of BPs and HRs I take in the course of my shift. Literally hundreds! And I take them on many people who have the same fear as you. In a way, it's not really a fair analogy because folks who are in the hospital are generally in pain, on heavy duty drugs and are afraid. Their blood pressures reflect all of those. Which is why we repeat it through out the day. I had one patient, a young woman in her late 30's who was petrified of having her BP taken because it was always high. DUH! Fear=HBP. One day, as an experiment, I walked in to take her BP and could see her tense up immediatley. This gal, by the way, was NOT on any medication, had NOT had surgery, was NOT in pain and was going home in a few hours after having gotten some VERY good news about her "condition." I took her BP and it WAS high. But I knew she was stressed about the procedure. When she asked me what it was, I told her the lead had come lose from the machine and it hadn't been able to read her BP. So while I pretended to fuss with the machine, I asked if her daughter was going to be a princess, AGAIN, for Halloween, which got us to laughing and talking about all the silly things WE had dressed up as kids, and what we'd go out as now all these years later and That really got us to howling and it was then that I pushed the button, but she was still laughing so hard she didn't realize I was taking her BP until, as they say, it was "too late!" Her BP was the lowest she had ever seen it. When I started to take the cuff off, she said "NO! Do it again!" I told her it was unlikely the numbers would be that low again as she was now going to focus on her fear, but she insisted, so I did. Her BP was a smidge LOWER than last time.
I'm not trying to say I'm some sort of magician, I'm not. SHE was the one who had the epiphany that day! It became clear to her what her fear was doing. Before she left the hospital that day, she had me take he BP 6 more times! The numbers varied by only a few points, which is normal. Was she "cured?" Who knows. I haven't seen her since but I have a feeling she learned that day what fear can do.
Kind of a long story to emphasize that by focusing on fear, you will always present with higher numbers. And one other thing, by sitting at one of those drug store BP machines and taking your BP 15 times in rapid succession is NOT a good thing to do! That cuff squeezes pretty tight and after 2 or 3 times, your blood vessels are saying "well, this doesn't feel so real good, so we obviously need to pump HARDER when we get squished!" Guess what happens by the time you've done that to them 10 times? And you should always relax for at least 10 minutes before taking your BP at one of those places since more than likely you've been running around like a chicken with no head doing errands and you plop down in the chair, relieved to be off your feet, out of breath, you shove your arm in the cuff and push the button.......and guess what? Next time, pick up one of the magazines they usually have laying about, stick your arm in the cuff but do not push the button! Spend at least a good 5-10 minutes reading a "fun" article, do NOT read the "10 Warning Signs of Impending Death From High Blood Pressure!" Read about some horribly expensive spa that none of us will EVER be able to afford and just let your mind drift.............forget the hustle and bustle going on around you, forget all the things you still have left to get done.....take a good deep breath and push the on button but continue to read, do anything but stare at the numbers! When the machine is done, it will beep, you won't miss what your reading was. But I promise you, you'll be surprised.
I know I've gone over how to deal with a home monitor and not get yourself totally obsessed with that, so I won't repeat myself. If you want to talk about that again, please PM me and I'll be happy to walk you through it as many times as you need!
You can do this. It's mind over matter.
Keep me updated!

Avatar universal
You guys all have to remember high BP doesn't mean you're going to have a heart-attack necassarily.  High LDL and high triglycerides probably have more to do with it.  And all people are built different, my whole family on both sides have pretty high BP and my great grandpa just turned 91 (and he's a decently sized guy), and is still going strong and still gets in an hour of walking a day.  My mom had a check-up and her BP was 150/90, but she isn't overweight (lots of muscle), but since her cholestrol was so good the doc (she in fact has low LDL and High HDL) he didn't see the need to put her on medication.

I'd worry more about if you have kidney disfunction if you have High BP IMO, maybe get your creatine checked.
Avatar universal
hi.  I loved your response on taking BP and the associated anxiety.  I can relate to everything you said.  I would like to add one thing and see what you think of this.  I have thought about the fear of taking my BP or having it taken alot.  I really came to the conclusion that mine is a form of performance anxiety.  My fear is the comments and reactions of the taker.  I have one nurse who I feel totally relaxed with and she gets me 120/70.  Any suggestions on how to handle my fear of reaction?  I usually go in and tell them it's going to be high so knock yourself out.  But I feel intimidated and fearful that their going to judge me and make these condescending comments, etc.  Strange, but I feel blessed I have identified my problem, just looking for any suggestions on how to deal with the medical people I come in contact with to take charge and beat them to the punch if you will.


my email is ***@**** if you wish, but any comment on here is great.
585414 tn?1288941302
Two issues. As regards blood pressure that is a specific health issue I am not familar with so I can't offer specific advice. Post in the forum for that. Of course if your anxiety disorder speeds up your blood pressure then that's another issue but both need to get under control. But I never found blood pressure machines unnerving. Many things that were unnerving I got used to such as weekly bloodtests from Clozaril (which I was on years ago). After a while they were just a fact of life and I would get them once a week and head off to work. As for blood pressure I have a blood pressure machine. I was on Atenolol for a while (to control e.p.s., when I was on conventional antipsychotics) then Clonidine (to control dystonic spasms) and now Tenex (same purpose although both serve as mood stabilizers, as well). More importantly, taking my blood pressure is standard and as well I take Zofran (for tardive dyskinesia, although it has somewhat of a mood stabilizing effect) as well since both drop blood pressure, when titrating the medications at first it went way low and I did have to call my neurologist and psychiatrist asap. But the machine itself is harmless.
  As for being concerned about blood pressure that's important but I noticed after I had a minor disagreement with someone my pulse went way up so controlling anxiety will help and stress is good for no one. Its important to remember people with anxiety disorder do blow worries out of proportion. That's true. But unless someone is experiencing psychosis as I did before recovery then the worries are not entirely unrealistic. We can't hide from them but we must understand them factually. Then they don't seem frightening to begin with. If you don't have a blood pressure disorder reading books on it will just scare you but if you do need to monitor for blood pressure then just consider it something to balance out and what are the proper numbers. The more its approached logically the less time you'll have for anxiety and that may help overall with life's issues if it could be extended to other matters.
992534 tn?1249394529
I know this thread is kind of old, but I had to respond.  I have had a fear of having my BP taken ever since I was 16, and I am now 29.  I had a very unpleasant experience with my pediatrician in 1996.  My BP was a little up for my age, probably because I was scared of going to the doctor in the first place, and he gave me an embarrassing lecture about my weight in front of my mother.  I was crying when I left the office, and felt humiliated.  Ever since then, I have DREADED having my BP taken.  I think it really did something to me psychologically, as if having a high BP is something to be ashamed of, and I fear the judgmental health professionals out there.  It's ridiculous to say it out loud, but I fear the cuff and the entire process.  I took a CNA course in college, and the day we practiced taking BPs, I actually left early so that I wouldn't have to be anyone's guinea pig.  

Because of my fear, I often avoid the doctor (and even the dentist, since they often take BP there too) even when I need to go.  I have no problem with shots or having my blood drawn, or even any kind of pain; but the thing I fear is the BP cuff or machine.  I mean, it is a terror for me.  

I know that it is something I need to learn to accept.  I am 29 years old, and I am not getting any younger, and high BP does run in my family.  I am also overweight, though I have lost 25 pounds in the last couple of years.  I still have a good way to go, though, before I am at the correct weight for my height and age.  I can't keep avoiding the doctor when I need one, but I am just so afraid of having a high BP reading and getting another lecture.  I am even afraid of taking it at the store on a public machine.  I fear what I will see.  What if it's high?  Then, I'll know it's high AND I'll be afraid to go to the doctor because he/she will see it, AND I'll be afraid of what could happen to me because it's high.  It's a vicious, ridiculous cycle.  Just typing all of this makes me feel so silly, but it is a true and deep fear for me.  One of my biggest, right up there with flying.

Anyway, I am surprised to see that there are others out there with this same fear.  I always thought I was alone in fearing having my BP taken.  It does help to know that other people suffer from this fear.  Thank you, greenlydia, for your suggestions and for your story about the patient you helped.  Maybe soon I can try a public BP machine and try some relaxation techniques beforehand so that I can get through it.  If I could learn to get used to it and not feel like a panic attack comes on when I even SEE a cuff, I could get myself back on track and going to get checkups regularly.
Avatar universal
It may be a bit late to post my comment now but I really felt relieved as soon as I found you! I thought I was the only one in the world having this fear and felt stupid and ashamed to speak about it.
It's become a nightmare. I find myself thinking about it and how to get over it or trying to take it by myself as if I had to prove that I'm brave and strong.
It all became when I had my BP taken by doctors in an ambulance.I was waiting for a coach to take me to the airport where I had to catch a flight back home. My nose started bleeding. I never had that problem before. I felt a bit shocked and worried. What if I missed my plane home? What do I do now? I'm alone, I don't know anybody. I saw an ambulance and asked the operators for some ice. They decided to take my BP to stay on the safe side. I sat inside teh ambulance and when they started the procedure my train of thoughts took the control. I felt I was about to panic and just for a moment I thought " What if it's high? I'm gonna be stuck here, they'll send me to the hospital and I'll never be able to go back home. My parents will be informed and will be so worried and we'll have to come to the hospital." I saw myself lying in a bed, desperate, alone in a hospital, being scared by the sad and worried faces of the doctors looking at me as if I was hopeless. The pressure that day was just a bit higher than normal because I felt my pulse accelerating. I felt the need to justify it and felt a bit hurt by their comments and even ashamed.
Since then I've been totally, literally petrified everytime I see the BP monitor machine. I've been tempted to buy it myself several times but as I tried once and felt a need of escaping I just abandoned the thought.
I  'm sorry for those of you who have my problem but at the same time I feel relieved! It's not a crazy and unreasonable thing  as I thought!
Thanks all!
The what If  journal you will be amazed as what your thoughts try to trick you into thinking
Avatar universal
I appreciate all these posts are old, however have found comfort in this site. I too suffer with this problem. I have a history of panic attacks. However happy to say after many sessions I am pretty much panic free. Apart form medical procedures (I can live with this). Whilst on holiday I had a weird bite/blister and had to go to hospital just to get it looked at. Well I got myself in a right old state. Had a full on panic attac! Sily really got into the docs he said it was fine, cleaned it up, gave me some anti’s and that was it! (felt silly for getting in a big tizz, but that’s me and part of who I am). Well during this process they too my BP! I didn’t even think about it being high even though my hb was about 160! I had the shakes, was hyperventilating and had palpitations. The doc just said hmmm that’s quite high then said but your stressed and didn’t appear overly concerned.
As I left the docs I had a print out of my experience and there it was 168/99 said hypertension risk! At that point I should have just processed why! But no not me. I thought “what if I have BP problems” even though I had looked on the internet and see that when we panic we release adrenalin which increases the pulse and makes our BP go up all logical. Well I decided to forget about it and was logical until this point my BP had always been fine and I didn’t want to get a phobia about it!
Then I fell pregnant. I was over the moon and still am… however suddenly when reading through my antenatal notes realised that at each visit they take urine and you guessed it BP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I could literally here the theme from psycho ringing through my head. How will I cope, what will I do, I won’t be able to keep calm. Coupled with the fact I know any doc wont be happy if its high, even if I look stressed! As this is one of the main indicators for preeclampsia. I felt desperate.
So I thought lets be positive, armed myself with self help books, breathing exercises, whale music. Attended the 12 week scan all went well. Then had my appointment I got in a right panic nearly 9 out of 10. was flushed, had palps, sweating. Took BP, said it would be high and it WAS 160/100!!!! Eeek doc looked abit alarmed. I explained my situ. They didn’t seem to understand. They said I didn’t look stressed ( I have learnt to hide it, plus I don’t fear panics anymore and I knew what was causing this one). He quiet rightly needed to be satisfied he did it again down to 140/90 better! Still I wasn’t relaxed.. Kept messing with cuffs. Well he let me out eventually but still looked slightly uneasy. Which meant I thought he thinks I have high BP when I should have thought he is doing his job, I am pregnant so he has to cover all bases.
So I brought a home BP monitor! And now I am obsessed with it. The 1st reading still always high usually 146/75! Usually top figure that is high. Then always goes down to 120 over 70! After a few mins. Its like the first reading is my fear then I calm from there.
Yesterday I did yoga was totally chilled but the BP cuff on heart rate shot instantly form 75 beats to 138! And BP was 150 /76 then I relaxed, breathed and it went down consistently to 125 – 130! So I know it always goes down! If I had high BP it wouldn’t always go down it would remain at the same figure. I do really believe deep deep down that I am fine and do not have any BP problems. However I can’t understand at all why I can’t control that first reading.
In all other area’s of my life my anxiety has disappeared. Maybe its just my way of putting some control into my pregnancy!
All I do know is I have 8 more appointments (yes I have counted and I cant keep doing this to me or baby). At my 16 weeks appointment the midwife was great, it was 136/86 she said I am totally fine with it, not worried at all. Thought it would be higher.
I know all the logic, I understand all the logic. I just cant stop that immediate reaction when the cuff goes on. Its helped just to write all this down!
Any advice welcome
Avatar universal
I too suffer from this...I see that some of the posts are years old but just wanted to comment and like the comfort of knowing I am not alone with this.  Everytime someones says BP, I see a BP machine or whatever, I freak out.  My BP gets so high in my DR office (I HATE going there because I know they are going to take me BP).  My DR has mentioned that she worries with BP that high during an anxiety attack you could have a stroke.  So she put me on a low dose of BP meds and anxiety meds.  But, even with those (they make me feel less anxious in general) I still freak out with the BP machine and it goes up...ugh, so sick and tired of it...it's been like this for awhile now and I just feel helpless...if anyone has any tips, please let me know...
Avatar universal
I cannot believe, but am so relieved, that I am NOT the ONLY person this affects!!!!  I get so nervous about going to the Dr that my blood pressure shoots through the moon.  When I see someone else getting theirs taken, I get sick to my stomach.  My Dr. does not believe me.  I take my BP at home (takes quite a few tries because of, yes, I feel like I'm gonna fail a "test") but I eventually get a normal reading.  She increases my BP meds then I don't function at all.  I end up cutting the dose in half!  A lot of the problem IS knowing the nurse is going to make some comment.  Also, I asked the nurse when I went to the Dr. last week why they don't follow the guidelines and let you sit still and relax for 5 minutes before they take your BP and she said they can't!  I suppose time is the reason.  Anyway, makes me feel somewhat better just knowing I'm not losing my mind.  I think I'll print these and take them to the next visit!
Avatar universal
thanks so much for sharing everyone, I was starting to think I had completely gone off the deep end with my BP phobia!! I was NEVER been afraid of having my BP taken until a year ago a silly nurse told me my reading of 120/80 was HIGH for my age (I didn't know anything about what a normal reading was at that point... of course that WASN'T even high) and now every single time I get it taken it's like 140/95 and my heart is racing at 150 bpm. When I take it at home a few times in a row, I can get it as low as 115/70, I just cannot for the life of me stop the panic attacks from happening whenever I go to the doctor and have it taken by someone else. Like others have said it is about 50% a fear of comments from the nurses or the doctor, or fear they will tell me I need medication. I seriously think about all the times I will have to have my BP taken in the future and proceed to freak out about them months in advance... it's as bad or worse than the needle phobia I used to have as a kid. Now if only we could collectively come up with a way to get over this...
Avatar universal
I feel like laughing to know that I'm not alone in this irrational fear. Next time I'm in a dr's office, I'll think of all of you, feeling the same way and take strength from the fact that it's not just me! I'm having a minor outpatient surgery next week and have to see a cardiologist tomorrow because, you guessed it, my heart rate was about 120 while getting my pre-op evaluation. I've had this problem since I was little--first it was just about doctor's offices, and the past 10 years, it's focused solely on the blood pressure machine. Fear of a high reading, which makes the reading high. It's a vicious cycle.
  My phobia is the result of behavioral conditioning, I'm certain. For most of my childhood, I had  many emergency room visits for asthma and acquaint medical settings with needle sticks, an adrenalin rush, pain, discomfort and a lot of negativity. It's very hard to overcome this. Someday I hope to pursue behavioral conditioning therapy for this and remedy it.
Here are the things which have helped me.
1. Get a good doctor. It makes a big difference to see the same provider at each visit. You can develop a rapport and your freakout won't come as a shock to them.
2. Monitor your own bp/heart rate at home. I use a battery-operated wrist cuff, which I feel is my 'friend' while those giant old-fashioned doctor's office monitors are just plain evil. I keep a record of my readings and go over them with my doctor at visits so that she can get a better assessment of how my bp meds are working. I spent several years on a high dose of heart meds that I didn't really need, because of seeing a provider who was dismissive of my history/phobia. A good doctor will listen and try to help make things easier for you.
3. Long slow exhalations while they are squeezing the cuff will help lower your reading and relax you. Keep your "out breath" longer than your "in breath."
4. I ALWAYS tell the nurse/dr. that it's going to be high, that I'm nervous and try to make a joke out of it. Smiling and laughing help decrease anxiety.
5. have them take your BP again at the end of your visit. The first one is usually the worst one. Once that's over, it's tends to go down.
6. I also have a general anxiety disorder, for which I'm now taking 10 mg of Prozac, and it has changed my life. My fears are manageable. I still get nervous, but I can anticipate and detach from the feelings, rather than drowning in them. I am still anxious but I can get through my appts., rather than running out of the office (yep, it's true), crying, or hiding in a stairwell because I couldn't face the ordeal of a simple BP reading.
7. You can plan to give yourself a little reward after your visit.  It's nice to have something to look forward to. A special dessert, or manicure or new CD, half an hour of bookstore browsing, whatever you like.
8. If you have a partner who will go with you, it helps to have a loved one nearby holding your hand. When I was pregnant, the midwives would always take my husband's blood pressure too, and it helped cut the tension.

Hope my tips help!
Avatar universal
I can't believe others have this problem. I'm sitting here crying. I never had high blood pressure but when I had a 4 month old baby at home, I became pregnant again and was pretty freaked out about it. The nurse at my OB/GYN went to take my blood pressure and I began throwing my arm in the air. She managed to come up with a 190/90 or so and that stayed on my records and each doctor I saw would bring it up. I was so silly, I never mentioned that I was moving my arm to get away from it when she did it - it just did something to me and now I'm deathly afraid of getting it done. It's all so silly and I don't even know why I'm afraid. My mom worked for a doctor when I was a child and whispered about patient's problems and I would ask her about it, she would say "you don't need to worry abou this until your an adult" - then I became an adult and all these things are unresolved.
I also dealt with anxiety, I've conquered most of it through my relationship with God but this is the last unconquered problem. I'm almost 65 and I stay far away from doctors just because of this - this is so wrong!!!
I also went through a few semisters of nursing school and I picked up how to do BP's really quick but I freaked when they practiced on me. I really want to get over this!!!
I totally understand
Avatar universal
it is so comforting to have others experience the exact same thing you do and guess what I am a nurse.  unlike many i dont have problems w/home monitoring myself or a close nurse friend. but bar the door katie outside of that circle!!  absolute 100% once that cuff goes on the readings go from 112/60 at home to spike to 150/100 or higher.  and how about this, went for a minor surgical procedure and it got cancelled. my mistake, should have gone to hospital instead of surgi center because they were so inexperienced, it was "new" facility and from the first step in the place I could tell they were disorganized and the electronic BP readings were so high. they even gave me meds IV to bring it down but ended up not getting procedure. Guess what as you all well know even if you have no medical training- as soon as i was home, that stuff was dropping my BP so fast and my own MD was mad because he said you could have gone into shock with it dropping too low. he changed my med and have not had any trouble since so definitely a better med has helped even better numbers at home. so you know now its a real problem as I see that I cannot even relax enough in the Dr's office being older to get it back down.  My own MD is great always takes the home readings and puts them in my records and it helps to have him validate that i am not alone and he has many pts like this.  I have survived breast cancer, mastectomy, life tragedies and yet who would think one velcro laden BP cuff would induce such painc. like many, as a child at 4yrs of age was wheeled away down a hall for a hernia repair surgery screaming for my mother, i am 52 so those of you old enough with your own children can relate to how different it has been for the last 25 yrs.  the trauma is still there relived in this one aspect.  I have thought of hypnotherapy but sounds like that is not effective.  I have tried breathing and relaxation but it is a runaway locomotive when the situation arises.  and think how many times i have had to be in situations to have mine taken as a nurse.  So you are not alone and i think i will follow everyone's advice and just say up front.  most of you dont know maybe that your MD's office is staffed with medtechs and may not have the knowledge base of hemdynamics or BP "white cuff" anxiety to be aware to be sensitive.  I know those off hand comments... just relax!!!! what an oxymoron when you are in that situation.  Good luck to all and remember, there are those of us in nursing who are understanding of this.  I have taken care of my health, with good cardio exercise and healthy eating, never a smoker and good cholesterol results.  be kind to yourselves!
Avatar universal
I cannot believe other people feel this way but it helps me too.  I really freak out when the automated thing starts blowing up -- in fact, my BP is often LOWER at my doctor's office because they have the hand pump.  I once took my BP at a store and freaked out halfway through that the thing wasn't going to stop inflating... my reading was like 190/100.  I think I'm going to try taking my BP every day and see if I can get used to the buzzing.

I have had high readings at the doctor off and on, and now I'm addressing it -- my doctor is taking me off of my BC and I'm addressing my alcohol issue (I drink a little too much -- not like a fifth a day or anything but 2-5 drinks every day).  
Avatar universal
Thank you everyone for your experiences.  I also fear the blood pressure machine because I hate the way it tightens on my arm.  i recently bought a writ cuff and was amazed at how comfortable it felt.  I can still feel myself get anxious as I take it, but the readings are much lower that with the regular machine.  I know it's a mind over matter issue but I still can't control the fear.
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