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20902657 tn?1605201259

Could it be hypertension or hypochondria?

Hello All.

Firstly, thank you for taking your time on clicking on my question - it is rather unconventional for me to go online and post on a forum, particularly about something regarding my health. However, I have noticed that my worry and concern is truly affecting the way I live and it prevents me from enjoying my life to the fullest.

I have noticed that since last year I have become a hypochondriac. The symptoms have been slowly becoming more severe with my worries revolving around my heart i.e fear of getting a heart attack and brain; fear of stroke. They became even worse when I had my blood pressure checked at an appointment for a contraception pill, and it was extremely high - I have always had low blood pressure for instance 97/60 and have always felt fine, but at the appointment it was sky high. I thought, maybe I was anxious of being at the Dr's office, so I went back for a top up of my contraception, another blood pressure test and it was high once more. To be fair, she did measure it after I had just smoked a cigarette and literally made me run down the corridor into the room and I felt anxious from my previous appointment, but deep down, I felt it was not normal. SO - my mother owns her own blood pressure checker - it is the electronic kind and I am aware they are not entirely the best for accurate readings. Either way I was certain that my blood pressure readings from my appointments were not true so I decided to check for myself - and again, they ranged from 120/80 to 130/90. This just all added to my anxiety.

I have reflected back on my lifestyle and the life I had been leading. I won't lie, I am currently 22, but have smoked since I was 16 and gained a substantial amount of weight over a period of two years. Drank excessive amounts of alcohol, ate unhealthy food and abused stimulant drugs - but have never had any health problems. I knew that my lifestyle was a massive contributor to my blood pressure, so I decided to cut down on the booze to now drinking once a week (2 drinks max), stopped smoking and adopted a healthy diet since the start of the year. I go to the gym, walk to and from work (25 mins each way) and have lost around 15kg off my weight, almost being at my original weight of 60kg. I decided to check my blood pressure again to see if my life style changes have made an improvement... and right before I checked it myself, I felt my stress levels rise, my pulse sped up and the reading was sky-high. I kept on taking readings one after the other, which I know is not what should be done, but they were fluctuating between becoming lower and increasing again. My lowest reading I got was 127 over 76.

This is becoming insanely annoying, particularly as I feel fine par the anxiety which prevents me from living a normal life as I am scared if I have a drink, my blood pressure will go up through the roof and I will suffer the consequences. I had my blood work done last year and it came back perfect however it did not calm me down, particularly with my readings being consistently higher than what I want them to be. I live in fear that I am going to have a heart attack, or a stroke and continue to google my symptoms online which I know are over-exaggerated due to my hypochondria. It is even harder now with Covid to see a Dr and I am afraid that a phone consultation will not give me the peace that I need.

What should I do? Should I be concerned? Should I see a Dr anyway? Is it possible that my anxiety and hypochondria are increasing my BP readings?

Thank you all for taking your time reading this. I know what I wrote may be silly and ridiculous but I am scared of talking to my family about this in case they don't take it seriously.

P.S my mum had an increase in blood pressure following her menopause which she took medication for, but her BP is back to normal now - she is a smoker, does not drink alcohol but drinks a substantial amount of coffee.
My father has low BP.
I am unsure of my family history in its entirety but I don't think high BP was a problem.

Thank you again!

Ronnie
2 Responses
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973741 tn?1342342773
Hi.  I understand.  Health anxiety is pretty common actually and I have some myself!  The heart is a focus many have.  First, what they normally do if they are worried is indeed have you check with a home blood pressure monitor.  BUT, they have you do it about 3 or 4 times a day and put it on a chart expecting it to fluctuate.  120/80 is completely normal.  The other is slightly elevated.  But this kind of tracking helps get an idea of what is going on on a consistent basis.  When you take it, you think peaceful thoughts, put your feet flat on the floor and cuff should be heart level.  

Now, what is going to be something I say you may not like is that you should address your lifestyle.  Smoking.  Well, we all know that this leads to heart disease for many.  You gotta work on quitting.  Sorry, I know you won't like that.  But it's not healthy.  Ever.  If you have familial  blood pressure, that means you are prone to it and need to be even more mindful of lifestyle choices.  Smoking is worse than alcohol. Alcohol in small quantities shouldn't really be a huge factor.   Weight.  Well, excess weight does jack up blood pressure in some.  It sure does me.  I had pregnancy hypertension.  They told me then that I was prone to hypertension and true to form, whenever I gain weight, my bp goes up.  So, I'd work on this. Clean up your diet.  And exercise if your doctor clears you to do so.  Thirty minutes a day five days a week of moderate exercise.  Just do it.  

Your age is a factor working FOR you.  You're young.  

Your anxiety may also be playing a role. This is a condition you can also treat. Have you ever considered a therapist?  
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1 Comments
Hello specialmom.

Thank you for your reply. I think my elevated readings do come from the fact I feel anxious my readings will be high which really does make them go up. I have never liked medical stuff or going to hospitals/GP visits as I am always scared something will come up.

As stated in the original post, I have quit smoking completely for over two weeks now and have led a very healthy lifestyle since the start of the year - I have lost over 15kg now.

I have not considered a therapist and I doubt I will as I am working on my stress levels myself and attempting to not worry about my health. Your post has actually calmed me down a fair bit. Thank you!
Avatar universal
As stated above, your BP is perfectly normal, your earlier BP was quite low and doesn't sound accurate, if it was they should have been checking for problems.  Now, if it gets high on a regular basis, that's when you have a problem.  I would not worry about the BP right now, as you're quite young, but I would agree that you should work on your lifestyle.  For some reason, one of the greatest sources of anxiety at the doc is getting BP checked, and so it's normal for it to be a bit higher than if you check it at your leisure at home, assuming that check is from an accurate device.  Now, people who exercise very heavily can have regularly low heart rates and BP.  I used to be like that, but I can't do that anymore so it has gone up some, but when your BP is truly high over a period of time your doc should bring you in for further checking out and that doesn't sound like it happened because you didn't test high.  So focus on the things you're doing that you sound like you don't like anymore, such as the smoking.  There is nothing you can do that will guarantee bad things will happen later in life than smoking.  Mom's right, you won't like hearing this, but I lost my Mom, Dad, and sister either completely or partially due to smoking.  Now, they didn't have problems at your age, it comes later, so I don't like to preach but this is a habit that gives so little back for the pain it can cause -- I mean, you don't even get the benefit of getting high from it.  Being overweight isn't great either.  So forget about the BP and work on those things.  Now, hypochondria is a different bird -- that's an anxiety problem if you have it.  I'm not sure if you do or don't.  It's great to be young, it's so much easier to change things.  Peace.
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1 Comments
Hello.

Thanks for replying to me. Firstly, I am very sorry to hear your family has been so affected by smoking. I must admit, I live in a family that has smoked all their lives and my partner does too, however I have quit for a month now and feeling really good in the lungs. I have cleaned up my diet and exercise routines since the start of the year and lost a substantial amount of weight.

I think I have white coat hypertension as I have never liked any medical stuff in case anything popped up and noticed that ever since posting my post on this website and having you and specialmom reply, I feel a bit more calm.

When I had the low blood pressure, I was about 15/16 and it was a normal reading for me for a while - my father's side all had very low BP. I think now that I lead a normal lifestyle and eat proper food and exercise everyday by walking to and from work my blood pressure is optimal but comes up high when I am stressed out before taking a reading or having to go to a Dr's office. Does that make sense?

I truly have no idea when I turned into such a hypochondriac - it's so annoying as I am scared with any movement my heart will stop working or something ridiculous like that. I have had severe anxiety with panic attacks hitting me randomly as I was scared I was getting a heart attack or a stroke but eventually told myself that it was a panic attack and I need to ride through it. I have also started to take CBD supplements again.

Thank you for your reply, again!
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