Im 20 and I have hypertension

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Hi,

I just went to a pharmacy and they had one of those machines that test your blood pressure by pumping a hole where you put your arm through. I forget exactly what I got, but I got close to hypertension. The thing is I am only 20 and I don't think that is normal for my age. If it is worth mentioning also I tend to be socially anxious and I wonder if that is affecting it, but I was not anxious during that instance while the test was being done.

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    It's difficult to make any assessment of whether or not you have hypertension without having the exact figures. Why not go back and try the machine again, and this time note down what it says?

    Even if it was on the high side, it might just have been down to feeling nervous because your BP was being taken, even if you weren't conscious of this at the time.

    I'd suggest going back and trying again. If the systolic (the higher figure) is significantly above 130 or the diastolic (the lower figure) is above 80, there is a possibility that you have high BP, given your age, and you should get it checked by a doctor.

    Don't forget that some of these public machines have very low thresholds at which they issue warnings about high BP, to avoid possible litigation.

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  • Posted

    Before taking BP you should be sitting quietly for ten minutes and not have smoked or had caffeine recently.

    To me the machines are often poorly sited so that your arm is in at an awkward angle.

    Some pharmacies will do a proper BP check for you and a finger prick test for blood glucose.

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  • Posted

    From what I heard those machines are not accurate
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  • Posted

    Unfortunately people are being encouraged to use them and instead of finding those truly hypertensive they will send others needlessly to their doctors.

    I know my BP as I take it at home. When I tried one of the machines I got I got a silly reading. 

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    • Posted

      That's my suspicion as well, Derek. I know we've had several people on here who've been scared by the results they got from these machines. One young woman had even been running from one machine to another, all over town, and not surprisingly getting a higher reading every time!

      Getting your BP taken once a year by a professional (doctor, nurse, pharmacist) using an old-fashioned sphygmomanometer is a good idea for everyone, whatever their age. However, since even this can produce unreliably high results in those suffering from "white coat syndrome", it's as well to do home checks from time to time.

      I have the impression that home BP monitors are very reliable these days - even the cheaper ones, as long as they're bought new from a reputable supplier. This certainly wasn't the case when I first tried using a home monitor to check my mother's BP 25 years ago!

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    • Posted

      The British Heart Foundation has  a list of recommended ones. 

      Best ones pick up on irregular heart beats although AF can make some unreliable.

      I feel I go quite calmly  to a doctor or hospital but my BP readings there go off the scale.  

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    • Posted

      Yes, that white-coat thing is strange, isn't it? I don't feel remotely intimidated by my lovely GP (in fact, he once confessed I intimidated him a bit!) but I can still produce some pretty high readings in his office, albeit not off the scale.

      Because we're in a different system, which allows much longer GP consultations, he usually takes the first reading after about 5 minutes, then another one after about 10 minutes of general chat (not always health-related). My first reading is never under 140/90 and can go as high as 160/100, but the second one is always a steady 130/80. Weird, isn't it?

      I only have a basic home monitor, bought at the Big B (I don't think we're allowed to advertise) on a visit to the UK. At home I get a wide range of readings, but most commonly around 115/75 when I'm completely at rest. It produced comparable readings to my GP's sphyg last time I took it in to have it checked.

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    • Posted

      At my last cardiology appointment the reading was 190/84 but his secretary typed it as 118/84 in her letter to my GP copied to me so I phoned her to recheck it. When I checked it late at night before going to bed my three readings were 135/79 72, 107/67 70 and 127/79 70.

      The Big B, I don't know it where was it ? We used to find things to be very cheap in America even now with Pound at a low ebb your prices are still less than ours.

      Last year I bought a Pioneer portable BD/DVD/CD writer from an American site at half the UK cost even allowing for ostage and taxes.

       

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  • Posted

    I agree with what's been said - I keep track of my BP with a good quality home monitor, so I know my numbers pretty well, but I've had mixed results with the drug store ones.

    Even if that was an accurate machine, you need more than one reading to be confident. My specialist says to take 3 readings a few minutes apart, discard the first one (which is usually higher), then average the remaining 2. 

    In my case, it took 3 separate doctor appointments (all with high readings), and 2 weeks of measuring my BP at home, daily, before my GP started me on medication. 

    Basically, don't freak out just yet! Take a couple more readings on your own, then talk to a doctor if you're still concerned.  

     

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