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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
1457613 tn?1285538928
I had one bad experience when I was 19 and ever since then I have a "phobia" of having my BP taken!! :(  

I was at the family planning clinic stopping in to pick up BCP and they do a routine blood pressure check before dispensing your pills.  Well, it was a pretty packed clinic, it was morning, I was on my way to work, drinking coffee and I just had a smoke.  The CNA took my BP and COMPLETELY FREAKED out!!  It was something like 154/82.  She was like- "Are you Okay??  Because your blood pressure is WAY too high for your age!!  I need to go get the head nurse.  You could die of a stroke right now!"  

REALLY!!??  I mean COME ON!!  Was she for real??!!  All of a sudden four people come into the room I was in.  The head nurse wasn't available at that moment, so another CNA took it, and she freaked out also!  I explained to them that I just had a smoke and finished some coffee.  She was like "Still, that doesn't matter, you're too young, your blood pressure is WAY too high,"  At this point I had 4 nurses in my room!!!  They were not going to let me leave!  In fact they were deciding to call 911!!  I was just going to get up and walk out by this point!!  A couple of them rush out to get the head nurse.  By now my BP was through the roof.  NOW I'm actually FEELING the effects of the high blood pressure- tingling / light-headed OR it could have just been anxieties at this point!?

Finally the head nurse shows up takes my BP, still high OF COURSE but at least she handles it better.  She is concerned, but she advises me to go to my family doctor to have it monitored and she sends me on my way pills in hand.

I NEVER went back to that screwed up place.  But, ever since that incident when I have to get my blood pressure taken- that image plays over in my mind of all the nurses coming in and freaking out about my BP!!

That whole situation by those nurses was just unprofessional and shameful!!  They should have known better than to be complete freaked out imbecils!  
Avatar universal
I thought I was the only one with this ridiculous problem! I am 31 and I finally admitted to my husband that this is the ONLY reason I am afraid to go to the doctor. I am not afraid of blood draws, etc. Actually I am a nurse practitioner myself and work in an ICU taking care of critically ill patients. I have been afraid ever since my pre-nursing school physical exam when I was 19. I had never worried about BP before. They had an all day "admission" full physical, blood draws, vaccinations, etc., one person right after another in line. The LAST thing they did was check my blood pressure after all of that poking and prodding all day, and it was a foreign male medical assistant who would not make eye contact. He took the pressure, frowned, shook his head in disgust, pumped it up again, frowned, pumped it up again, several times! I finally said enough! What are you doing? He acted like it was none of my business and mumbled under his breath. He wouldn't tell me what was going on. I became terrified. The nurse came in and took it and it was high, 140/90, but she explained that we would retest it when I came back to get my TB test checked in 48 hours. Well, guess what I obsessed over for the next 48 hours. When I came to get the TB test checked, I thought for sure they wouldn't remember, but then I saw a yellow sticky note on the chart "Recheck BP! High!" and I panicked, started shaking. It was 126/80 and she said that was perfectly normal. But I was ruined. Another time I went to the doctor and she kept yelling at me: calm down! calm down! she said there was no reason to be nervous. This made it worse and worse. She decided that I needed to get my thyroid checked b/c of high heart rate and BP.
I do have generalized anxiety disorder but this is my only "focal" fear. Everything else is just general anxiety. I feel like the first step in everything is to check a BP. Every time you go to the doctor it's the first thing, it's at health fairs. I went to a spa in Arizona and guess what the first thing they wanted to do on check-in? BP!!! I refused. They looked at me like I was crazy. I worked at a nursing home in college and bumped my head very mildly. Guess what the nurse wanted to do? That's right, a BP!!
I have a cuff at home and just the other day, started putting it on my arm and walking around for a while with it, at the advice of my therapist. I was even able to pump the cuff up a few times, just to 60. But it's a start. I cannot let this consume my life anymore! I want to have a baby and cannot imagine all of the BP's that will be taken and will terrorize me!
Thanks to everyone for sharing your stories, everyone's is different but we all share the same problem and it makes me feel better :-)
Avatar universal
i have this problem to and have had it for about a year now it started when i went to donate and i had just had a smoke my blood pressure was fine but my pulse was 102 they said it was two points to high and tht i should start checking it. the nxt time i tried to donate it was 117 i wasnt nervouse the firast time but was a little nervous the second time . after tht everytime they would put tht cuff on me i would freak out about wht the reading was goin to be. my pulse over the months everytime it was checked just kept increasing and then my blood pressure started goin up to. my pulse now when it gets checked hits the 150's bc im so scared of a reading and my bp when its checked is usually 150 /92 somewhere around tht. i am 9 weeks pregnant and terrified everytime i have to go to the doctors everytime they put tht cuff on me i freak out. I now have a phobia of goin to hospitals and doctors which all started from a visit to the hospital about a year ago when my fear of my pulse first started and i told the nurse tht everytime he checks it its goin to be high and he told me tht a heart tht beats like tht wont last a whole life time. im tryin to get over my fears its really hard tho im so scared about being in the hospital for those couple of days when my baby is born idk my fear gets so intense around medical people i just wish i could control it ! any suggestions?
Avatar universal
Isn't it crazy how powerful the mind is? I'm a 32 year old male, and this fear started for me about two years ago when I was a paid volunteer for a study of a new drug. All the participants were lined up for our bloodpressure, which we had done every four hours or so, and I just remember the anticipation of what mine was going to be compared to everyone else's really sent my pulse soaring along with my blood pressure. I don't have a fear of the machine itself; it is a fear of having no control over it-- I become convinced that I'm going to fail it, which in turn causes me to fail it. My heart will go soaring sometimes over 150 bpm, and systolic can vary from 132-155 or so. This irrational fear is only in a clinical setting or any setting where someone else is looking at my numbers. I'm in nursing school now, and one day a fellow student tested the cuffs on me to listen for the sounds of Koritkoff, and my heart went racing again. If I'm at home or using one of those machines at Wal-Mart, I register 118/75 to 130/75 or so.

I just had a prenursing school physical and registered 146/76-- again high due to my phobia. The phobia is embarassing enough; try being a male with such a phobia. You are seen as a wuss.
Avatar universal
So i'm not the only one with this Phobia!!!!!! Hi i'm a 26 yr old normal weight healthy young woman....but i have a high blood pressure phobia...read the thread u posted on just wondering how things were going for you?!?! i do have anxiety it's mainly over my healthy (have had the anxiety part for yrs) but recently have developed white coat syndrome....to briefly explain my "white coat syndrome"....i went to the docs for my physical my 2 sons (ages 6 and 3 ) were goofing off getting into stuff while they put the cuff on to take my BP...so i'm tellin them stop worrying that they will get into something so my reading was like 142/82 or something....she took again it went down but said don't worry it was prob just my distraction over my boys...well easier said then done now everytime i go to the docs i freak myself up so bad about having a high reading that of course my reading is high and my pulse will be high....they recommended i get a cuff for at home at home my readings will be as low as like 96/64 pulse 58 or something but now i've worked myself up so much and have become almost obsessive about taking my BP at home that it has given me flat out panic over my BP reading that i had to take the cuff to my parent's b/c i was obsessively worrying about it/taking it ( i know i sound crazy but just being honest ) i'm happy to see i'm not the only young adult out here with this it's almost embarassing to explain to the nurse every time i go in now i serious DREAD going to the docs...and now when i do go for example my last BP reading there sky rocketed to 161/67<----diastolic was ok there b/c i was deep breathing....but still i can't shake this fear, and it's really worrying me it seems as though i think about my BP almost every other hour like oh "could doing this effect my BP reading" etc
Avatar universal
hi - I've been struggling with this very issue for about 2 years.  I've had some success using common methods to work on fear and panic generically.

This as worked for me -
I look at the machine while taking my BP -  breath and speak out loud " I accept the fear of this machine.  " I accept panic" "my panic will pass"   " no one ever died from a BP machine" " I don't have high BP - " I have panic of the machine"

When I first started taking my BP it was 165 over 105.  I  had not been to the doctor in 20 years so I jumped to the conclusion (as did the doctor) I had high BP and was a risk for a heart attack.  I began taking BP meds went and went on a diet.  2 years later, I'm 40lbs lighter and non longer on any meds.  Appears to be a success story - sorry to say it's not.  I take my blood pressure ever morning and every evening 3 times in a row 2 minutes apart.  The first reading is always the highest.  the next two drop every time to normal or very good ranges.  While I still have panic I fully know  the first one is high and I know they will go down each time I hit the button.  - and they do.  The mind is the most powerful unit in our body.  I'm not a medical professional.  Accepting my fear and panic of the  BP machine - doctors - heath and all the panic issues in my life has helped me become functional to the degree of living a day to day life in only moderate fear rather than raging fear.

My Doctor gave me two perscriptions for panic

1) accept it - let it happen - it will pass
2) excersise - do not allow your body or mind to become stale.

best wishes
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