The pressure’s on

I never worried for a second when a doctor took my blood pressure, at least when I was in my twenties, thirties, forties, and even fifties. The numbers 120/80 represented  a division question on a math test, nothing more. By the time I turned FOF, the figures assumed new meaning. Since then, my anxiety level increases whenever a cuff  is strapped around my upper arm, and I won’t even look at the nurse while she takes the reading. I always feel like I’ve been given a new lease on life when 120/80 pops up, even if I really have no idea what the numbers represent.

Now I’m determined to understand more about blood pressure, and once I do, I will pass my knowledge on to all my FOFriends. I also bought a gadget that lets me take my own pressure at home. My local CVS drug store has a do-it-yourself blood pressure machine in the pharmacy, but the readings seem to be wildly different every time I take them. Once it’s119/78; it’s 125/75 six weeks later, and 145/72 three weeks after that. I know many factors influence our blood pressure (time of day and state of mind included) so a judgement shouldn’t be based on one reading alone, but on readings over time. That’s why I’d rather take them at home, on my own machine.

Of course, I took my pressure 12 times in the last two days on my new “toy” and it appears to be normal. I am determined to take it once a week from now on since I do have a tendency toward obsession. Besides, I was always a nervous test taker, so the fewer tests I take, the better.


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0 Responses to “The pressure’s on”

  1. Joan Ross says:

    Blood pressure is an ever changing number . Your blood pressure will increase with excitement ( flight or fight responses, good or bad,) anxiety, exercise etc and should return to a normal baseline at rest or normal activity. . Although 120/80 was once acceptable, now physicians ,esp cardiologists have lowered the standard to 110/70.

    However consistent high or labile high bp readings especially 140/90 and above demand attention.

    Although called the “silent killer” some people do feel a change in their body such as: headaches, feeling or hearing their pulse in their ears, feeling blood rushing into their head , fatigue or unexplained dizziness.

    Although high blood pressure may have a genetic component, manifest it self with aging,too much salt intake, being over weight etc, or for whatever reason; please do yourself a favor and see your MD if you think you may have high blood pressure or unexplained symptoms such as above

    Most drug stores have an automatic blood pressure machine one can use to check their own pressures.

    Kidney failure, stroke, cardiac problems etc can all be complications of high blood pressure.

    But a change in diet, weight loss, etc can help some people.

    Also the variety of medications to treat high blood pressure can be discussed with your MD.

    And if you need to be on some kind of medication for high blood pressure, don’t feel you are a failure.

    There is only one you and take care of yourself!!!

    • Geri says:

      Thank you Joan. Great info!



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