I'm a 24 year old male of relatively good health aside from a hiatal hernia (for which, after discussion with my GI specialist, we agreed that I can take omeprazole as needed), and what I've now discovered, high blood pressure.
I am a law student in my final semester. I do think that I experience a lot of stress as a result. My exercise regime has been lacking as of late, and I should pick up regular exercise (and am slowly doing so).
My diet is perfect (I avoid sugars and salts) and I don't drink or smoke.
Here's my background:
I have had high blood pressure readings at the doctor since about the age of 16.
I did an ECG many years ago that came out clear.
I was put on beta blockers and calcium channel blockers for a time, but owing to the same unaddressed concerns I'm having now, I stopped them.
I have had no heart issues, and in fact spent a year doing CrossFit (high intensity exercise) with no issues (and I wasn't on any BP meds). At that time my BP was also very good. I'm mentioning this because I do have the capacity for intense exercise and quick recovery.
My bloodwork is good, and I also did a kidney urine test, and that was all fine.
My blood pressure usually elevates to around 150-145/100-90, but I have seen higher readings in the 160/100, and once 176/85 (I thought I had COVID and was going for a test, hadn't slept much and was highly anxious).
I have had much lower resting readings when taken at home at around 127/75, etc.
I am concerned, given my history of panic attacks and anxiety, that this is just a classic case of white coat hypertension.
Given that there is no specific cause, a GP told me that it was just essential hypertension, and prescribed me ACE inhibitors (this was when I got the reading of 160/100).
He made me take my BP for 10 days, where-after I sent him my BP readings, and he was happy, and left it at that.
I took them for a short while, but then I went to my primary GP for a COVID test. During that time he said that ACE inhibitors weren't right for me, and that I should be taking beta blockers.
But initially, he didn't want to treat the high blood pressure at all, and said "meds aren't that good, for you, I recommend therapy and meditation." Upon discussion, he changed his mind for some reason.
He prescribed me inderal 20mg in the morning, and in the evening. This GP does understand my history better. So I trusted the opinion, but I'm still completely convinced that my BP is fine when I'm not anxious. I do get anxious when I take it now, which I think messes up the readings a bit.
But my dilemma is that I presume I don't meet the criteria for any further testing or anything (given that they haven't taken further action), so I may be just taking a medication I don't need. I'm tired all the time and I'm certain it's the beta blocker.
What do you think I should do here? Should I request a 24 hour BP monitor? Are beta blockers safe to take for a long period of time (I've been taking them for about 11 days now)? What would you do in this circumstance? When am I ever going to stop them? I've actually read that they're not very easy to stop at all; why should I start then?
I am actively going to therapy, and have been for some time. My anxiety issue were quite severe, and there have been many occasions where I have had panic attacks every single day.
I want to know whether I truly need these meds. I did also have high heart rate, but I know myself well enough to realize that it goes hand-in-hand with my anxious tendencies.
I'm thinking of getting another opinion tomorrow and addressing these concerns with a different general practitioner.
I do understand the long-term consequences of untreated hypertension, but I just find it peculiar given that my dad doesn't have these issues (and he doesn't have anxiety, I might add), and my grandfather only had these issues much-much later in his life.
I don't know if these meds are actually going to have a negative effect on my heart.