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16864551 tn?1452006906

How to get over nerves when taking BP

Yesterday's visit to the doctor was an interim visit to check BP, which had read a little high. I've been on BP meds for years. First reading was "a little high"... to be expected.  Next 2 were in the normal range. The doctor wants me to check my BP at home (10 readings) and send him the information, and will change BP meds if necessary. I bought a BP cuff.  As soon as I put it on (3 times this morning). I feel my heart start to race, and the reading is high (185 - 192/80). Dr. wants it in the 130/70 range (which it was yesterday at the Dr's.). I can't seem to overcome this and feel the readings aren't accurate. I've tried deep breathing, and position is correct (sitting, arm resting, feet on the floor). Any suggestions how I overcome the nerves when checking my BP at home? I have no other apparent symptoms of high BP. Heart calms right down once I'm done testing. Any help greatly appreciated. Diet, exercise are good.
9 Responses
16864551 tn?1452006906
No help here I guess
Avatar universal
Hi there. Its good that the readings at the doctors were fairly good. You seem to be getting a bit up tight when doing the home testing!. It sounds just like you are having the 'White coat effect' when taking it (Its normally at the doctors surgery that this can effect you)  I often find doctors too keen to double the dose on medication, sometimes justified but not always. If I were you, the first thing I would do is organise a 24hour ABPM test. Its a bit of a pain with it going off all day and night, but its sure to give an accurate picture of your day & night numbers. (Im a bit surprised the Doctor did not suggest it) Your heart rate speeding up when you take it sounds like a bit of anxiety. What meds are you currently taking?
Avatar universal
Agree with Taco, because I also have white coat anxiety and it definitely impacts my BP at the doctor's office. I wonder also if perhaps you aren't taking your BP correctly at home, because there seems to be a large disparity between your readings at the doctor's office and at home. I suggest bringing your BP device to your doctor's office and show him/her or a nurse how you are using it and see if it's correct. Best wishes!
16864551 tn?1452006906
Thank you all for your comments.  I'm sure I am using the blood pressure cuff correctly.  But nerves are another matter.  I don't mind if meds have to be changed, but I want to make sure I'm getting accurate readings.  The doctor wanted readings before med refills were due.  I have 2.5 months supply, so I have some time to conquer the nerves.  I think someone's suggestion of doing it frequently might be a good idea. I'll give that a try. I will send readings... regardless of what they are.  Thanks again.
Avatar universal
Hi there. I suggested you get a 24hour ABPM test. Its simple and would be your best option. Any GP doctor or even some pharmacies have them for Free or for very nominal cost. It goes off every 30mins, can be a bit annoying but will give averages. Also there is a built in timframe in the 24hours to rule out the possibility of the white coat effect, so roughly 90 mins at each end of the 24 hours are not used in the results, to allow for the white coat period
17270628 tn?1455140486
I get the same thing! All nervous when I go to the doctor and ebenntakingnit at home. I got frustrated taking it at home so I stopped because I would freak out. Am on meds but pressure doesn't go to normal. Got it ast 25 yrs ikd after my first child ask now 63. Very frustrating.
17270628 tn?1455140486
You sound like me lol. Its like havingbwhite coat hypertension everywhere even home!
Avatar universal
Yep me too. I am fine and then soon as the cuff starts inflating my heart races and bl pr goes up. I have to keep taking it like at least ten times a day and eventually i calm down and get a true reading. It was super high last wk. I kept taking it every 15 min and it kept getting higher and higher to 195/116, I freaked out and ran to er. There it was 155/88 on the machine., but soon as the doc  came in and took it it raised to 170/100. I think the trick is to keep taking it every 20/30 min until you see it get lower. You will eventually get used to it. I think.
Avatar universal
Hi there. Its very common for the BP numbers to be falsely raised by fear or by some nervous disposition we have. Its estimated that 20% of people may suffer from White coat hypertension at some level.
Its standard practice now for medics to allow somewhat for the whit coat effect. The best way to get your true BP is to have a 24 hour ABPM test. The test is considered the Gold standard test by many hypertension experts. The software used to read the test results allows a period of time for the white coat effect to level off. The rest of the data is then averaged out to get a true reading. Its a non invasive and cheap test to have and I highly recommend it. I would advise against taking your home BP 10 times a day, this may well cause confusion and fear with funny results causing worry and paranoia and creating a false result environment. Be guided by your doctor, but request the 24 hour test
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