BP Massive Variations

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Long story short(ish). I was told I had raised BP several years ago, typically around 145/85 and was put on Candersartan. I bought a home BP machine and for 2-3 years never really saw much of difference in it. There were times it would come down to 120/80 but generally it was at best 135/80.

Then about 18 months - 2 years ago I bought a larger cuff for my machine as I always found the one that came with the machine a little tight. This made a massive difference and my BP was always 120/80 or 110/80. Only then did I realise the importance of getting the right size cuff!

Anyway, whenever I saw my GP they would test my BP and the results they got where always a lot higher typically around 155/95 but I would explain that whenever I test it at home it's 120/80 to which they would say that they trust home readings and that they know I have white coat syndrome and suffer from anxiety anyway.

One of things with my anxiety is I get ectopic heartbeats, these come and go but for the past 2 months I've been getting them a lot. I know that if I take a beta blocker they go away so a month ago I went to my GP explained the situation and asked for some beta blockers that I could take on days when I was getting lots of ectopic beats. The doctor agreed but said to be careful about taking them with candersartan incase it lowered my BP too much.

I then found that if I took the beta blockers I got no ectopic beats but if I stopped they returned so in the end I stopped taking candersartan and just took the beta blockers.

So yesterday I go to see my GP, explain I'd stopped taking candersartan and that I had now run out of beta blockers so could I have some more. She said that she was a bit concerned about stopping candersartan as it's better at lowering BP than a beta blocker and took my BP.

It was the highest I've ever seen it 165/111. I explained that when I take it at home it's 120/80 and so she asked me to take my BP twice a day for a week. Seeing that high reading really freaked me out and I've struggled to get it out of my mind ever since.

Anyway, when I got home yesterday I took my BP and it was 125/85. Later that day I was reading up about BP and found that you are meant to recalibrate your machines every 2 years. This freaked me out a bit as mine is probably 7 years old and so I started to worry that my machine was wrong and the readings at the GP were in fact correct. I ordered a new machine there and then which arrived today. It's a much better machine, Omron M3 Comfort but when I took a reading it shocked me as it was coming up as 155/105. I took 3 readings all about the same. I then switched back to my old machine that always tells me it's 120/80. This time though it couldn't even give me a reading as the BP was so high. After several attempts it too said something like 150/100.

Since then I've taken 2 sets of 3 readings with the new machine, averaging 159/105 with one as high as 171/110. Switching to the old machine it was coming up as 160/104.

I now have no idea what to believe other than I know I'm now anxious, very anxious. Is my BP really around 155/100 and all those readings of 120/80 I've been getting were down to an old incorrect machine? If so why does the old machine also now give me high readings?

I guess it could be the effect of stopping Candersartan but I'm only on 1x 16mg tablet and I took my BP at the weekend just 2 days before seeing the GP and then it was 120/80 so how has it jumped 40 points systolic and 20 points diastolic in just 3 days?

Equally how this morning at 9am was I getting 120/80 and yet just now at 10pm I'm getting 152/100?

I just don't know what to do or believe and, as I'm sure you can tell, I'm freaking out which obviously isn't helping matters either.

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  • Posted

    Did the doc tell you your BP was High at 145/80? What age are you? if you don’t mind me asking. There’s not a lot wrong with this if your 40 or over. I’m surprised your GP put you on meds. 
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  • Posted

    Hi, Peakoverload, Loved your post, i've been freaking out too, after stopping Losartan!  Maybe we have discovered something that is not in the info leaflets. I was only on losartan for a few months (you prob are aware that it's an ARB like candesartan). Very low dose,  but i am very sensitive to al meds. Got low level gut probs all the time, and what was diagnosed as  dermatitis on ears, which got worse, started spreading and some breathing problems.  Perfect blood pressure through, but only after an initial bad adjustment period of weeks,   But due to the breathing probs, GP said stop and so i had to stop without tapering, it was so small a dose it would have been difficult to taper.   Anyway went on getting perfect blood pressure, was this magic, i thought, did i really need bp meds at all? Stopped testing, then at last all gut problems went and i was back to my normal self, then bp tested in surgery, very high, then higher, then had a bad incident of weird symptoms and an irreg heart beat (had been on bp  meds to stop a lesser incident than this). At the GP bp gone even higher. ,Just now wondering about this -  my losartan took some weeks to kick in (leaflet says it can do) so maybe also takes some weeks for the effects to go?  GP did not know......anyway, that is my experience.   i, like you, am now v. concerned. I had this sudden bp rise after stopping lisinopril but that was not so hiigh - 150s over 90s - and went in weeks tho stayed too high for what is needed.  i got so concerned  this time i have started other meds, but having bad time.  Your post has made me think.  Would be interested if you post your experience is in next wks, my bp machine is a few yrs old but it still roughly fits with other bp tests  in medical facilities, and lately i had had quite a few., not sue i cn explain your experience.

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  • Posted

    How do you recalibrate a machine?
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  • Posted

    Just to reply to a few questions. 

    I’m 45 but was in my 30’s when first diagnosed. At that time my BP was something like 145/85, she didn’t say that it was high BP, just that it was slightly raised and it would be good to get it under control before it became a problem. Thinking back, I had all sorts of problems when first taking pills for it. Cough with Ramipril, dizziness, all of which sent my anxiety through the roof. 

    You can’t calibrate a BP machine yourself, you are ‘supposed’ to send them back to the manufacturer to be calibrated. That said, I’ve read the price of calibration is not far off the price of a new machine and people have said that when they phoned Omron, for example, they were told they may as well buy a new machine. How essential/accurate this is I’ve no idea. All I can say is that the difference between my old and new machine at the moment seems to be around 5. Which makes me even more confused as to why I’ve been getting normal readings with the old machine for over a year and yet yesterday, very high. 

    I’m only on a low dose of Candesartan, 16mg once a day. Perhaps it too takes a long time to start working and a long time to stop working and between the weekend (my last normal BP reading) and yesterday it’s finally worn off. Possible I guess but feels too much of a coincidence. 

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    • Posted

      I don't know which country  you are in. In the UK if your BP is consistently high or not controlled by meds from your GP you are entitled to be referred to a hypertension centre. They are normally part of a kidney unit at the bigger hospitals.

      GP's used to refer to my BP as labile. The hypertension centre can do all sorts of tests looking for reasons for you high or varying readings, blood tests, urine tests, kidney tests, brain and kidney MRI's.

      All were basically negative for me and he decided that I am not truly hypertensive but have peaks and that is why I had so many side effects from the drugs that had been prescribed over the years.

      He gradually reduced my drugs and that eased the lows with their associated light headedness and made little difference to the highs that tend to resolve themselves within a day. If it stays high I take a 25mg losartan that usually brings it down.  Prior to going to the clinic I was taking 240mg of verapamil and 100 mg of Losartan a day.  

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    • Posted

      I was on Ramipril, worst mistake ever. I was nearly crippled with excruciating pain in my legs and feet. I stopped it, after a few day the pain subsided. I’m currently not on anything, I’m probably borderline, but I feel better now than I did on the meds. 
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  • Posted

    My husband has heart failure, and every time we go to the Dr, I take his BP just before we go for appt, of course Dr also takes his BP, and again after we get home, after sitting down and relaxing, that's the way I have recalibrated my Omron, just by comparision, but not correct way to do it, but local GP seems to think not too bad.

    ?One time I took it with me to the hospital when he was really not at all well, his reading were seriously out of control, nurses after a list of complaints about wasting their time with Omron, and those readings cannot possibily be correct.

    Used their big expensive machine on him and came back with the same reading I had on the Omron, I made a comment about thanks for confirming my machine was correct and got a snarl, at the same time they were hitting the big red emergency button on the wall.

    ?He was admitted on the spot, hooked up to external defibulator, Dr when he came, said heartbeat at 30BPM was caused by his medication, 12 hours after meds not given to him, heartbeat at 23BPM, DUHHHHH!!!!!!.

    To say I was not impressed with junior cardiologists diagnoses, when consultant walked in the following morning I went for the consultant with both barrels, and told him what I thought about his junior staff, not at all polite I'm afraid, and he agreed with me, and arranged for and urgent pacemaker to be installed, husband had 100% branch bundle block, has since been confirmed with extra tests that should have been done 24 hours earlier, rather than assumed medication.

    ?he is doing very well now, with his nice shiny 3 lead pacemaker and defib, interesting to watch them test it a couple of times since, just for a few seconds, when they switch it off, he is instantly away with the fairies, and wakes up again within seconds when they switch it back on, and blood flow to his brain restored, they do not play too much, as they don't want the de-fib section of it throwing him across the room I assume, check what the pacemaker has been doing during download to their computers, and send us on our way for another 6 months.

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  • Posted

    Thanks Lyn for the information about this matter. I will bring my Omron to the cardiologist when I go next month and see what he thinks.
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