Saturday, January 8, 2011

Wildly Swinging Experiments

The blood pressure has been symptomatic of late. Yesterday, I got that gaspy can't breath feeling and felt the need to hold onto something (no 'look ma no hands' for me on this roller coaster, I'm all about hanging on for dear life and praying I don't puke and/or pass out).

Since we reproduced this sensation during the Tilt Table Test I figured my blood pressure had either crashed or was coming out of a crash and morphing into super high blood pressure.

So I started monitoring the blood pressure.

This first block is me sitting and not feeling so hot followed me wondering why I feel so weird with pretty decent blood pressure. Maybe dropping from a high?
  • 116/81 1:51 80
  • 122/85 1:55 78
  • 121/80 2:03 85
  • 119/77 2:13 80
  • 113/77 2:20 77
  • 115/80 2:29 80

Now, I'm standing and taking BP at random intervals as I move about the house. Just because I'm curious. Check out the readings in bold.
  • 126/77 2:33 79
  • 76/53 2:36 92 This one is so bizarre, I kind of want to dismiss it as maybe an error. I would think I would've passed out with that kind of drop, but I was barely symptomatic.
  • 140/94 2:37 85
  • 130/98 2:41 85
  • 144/97 2:46 87
  • 135/54 2:49 89 I felt this one more than the first one. I imagine as the diastolic drop was 97 to 54 instead of 77 to 53. Much bigger drop.
  • 130/86 3:30 78
  • 130/88 3:35 77
This pretty closely mimicked the trend seen during the Tilt Table Test, however, my heart rate was much higher during the test.

So any way, I walked through the house with the BP monitor strapped on my arm like a good little hypochondriac and wondering what the hell I should do about all this.

I ate a pickle since salt seems to help. Except I was not consistently super low. In fact, I was trending high.

But I thought a whole 10 mg of Liosinopril might be too much and maybe not so safe considering how low the lows were. After hemming and hawing and reading large swaths of medical textbooks on Google Books--which didn't help at all other than I now know people of Asian descent lower their blood pressure more than any other ethnicity through simple weight loss. Just FYI.--I cut a Liosinopril in half, figuring I could always drink pickle juice if I bottomed out, right?

Also, I had another adult home so if I did tank badly, I was not unsupervised.

My hope was that the Liosinopril will help everything even out. It may have done that in the past (or I just had a 2 week run of perfect blood pressure, who knows?).

I keep trying to find information on blood pressure and it's just not there. I think I've figured out that hypertension should not cycle so wildly, but I'm not absolutely sure. The reading I've found says hypertension can go from normal to high and by omission it must not cycle from hyper to hypotension. I am still looking for a decent explanation of labile hypertension. I've been reading about dysautonomia stuff and pheochromocytoma (did I spell it right?).

Right now I really hope there will be some interest in ruling out pheo-whatsit and I am wondering about dysautonomia. I wish I knew the highs and lows of my heart rate and the times during the Tilt Table Test, but I was only paying attention to the BP readings.

All I know is the experiments will continue until things improve.


  1. You will probably have a hard time interesting doctors in pheochromocytoma. Pheo doesn't usually cause low blood pressure. It usually causes sudden attacks of high blood pressure - really high, like 200s over 100s. Maybe along with sweating, pounding heart - symptoms like an anxiety attack.

    In all your blood work, have there ever been metanephrines or catecholamines run?

    Adrenals misbehaving, however, can cause swinging blood pressure. When my husbands adrenals were messed up, that kind of thing went on. And medication made it swing worse. Those BP readings sound very familiar.

    When do you hear about the results of the tilt table test?


  2. I don't know, pheo keeps coming up whenever I try to make sense of anything. I know it's rare, I don't anticipate having it, but man would they please just rule it out? It seems like the responsible thing to do.

    I have not had any bloodwork to rule it out.

    The BP is actually worse now despite medication! It's so bizarre!

    I'm going to call next week for the TTT results.


  3. I know, that's what they thought with my husband too. However, he managed to get his BP high enough that they were interested, actually did diagnose it. It wasn't one, but never mind lol

    Dunno, of course I'm no doctor. But I did research the pheo stuff a lot, and it doesn't sound like you really have the symptoms to me. Of course, I could certainly be wrong.

    It sure sounds like something weird with your endocrine system though.

    If they do pheo testing, be aware that many things (medications, even stress) can cause false positive results. Very few doctors seem to know what meds are a problem, or how to interpret results.

    I'd think it wouldn't hurt to run plasma free metanephrines and catecholamines, and maybe 24 hour urine, on you anyway - pheo aside, it'd be interesting to see what they look like.


  4. Your BP's levels are not indicative of pheochromocytoma, plus you would have many other associated symptoms (which you don't report having). Of course, I am making that statement without knowing you, your medical history, or what medications you are on. I am just saying that to try to put you slightly at ease on that one until you can talk to your doctor about it.

    Also, your BP fluctuations are not abnormal. If we all walked around (sat, stood, etc.) those numbers represent how BP normally fluctuates (which I am sure you came across in your reading). Also, your diastolic almost never went above 90 which means that although your systolic seems 'pre-hypertensive' to 'hypertensive' I would say it is actually remaining in a not-so-worrisome range. I would take the 76 systolic as an error unless you felt at that exact moment that you were going to pass out.

    Also, I was taught if you take a BP in the same arm again and again in a short time frame the results become less and less accurate as some vasospasm is said to occur, which changes how the machines read pressure. It is going to go up and down based on your cortisol levels, time of day, fluid intake, food intake, sleep levels, stress levels, exercise levels, etc. Don't become too obsessed with the numbers. It is how you are feeling that is important.

    It is a good idea to check it when you are feeling like crap to see if it correlates--like you have been doing. But as we are always reminded 'treat the patient, not the numbers'.
    A lot of people find antihypertensive meds make them feel horrible, for reasons outside the BP. So it could be as simple as that. I'd be careful about changing your dose. That makes it really hard for your doc to know how the meds are affecting you and understand how you are tolerating them/if they should switch them up.

    Sorry this was such a long comment! I was just reading your post and you seemed really concerned so I just wanted to give you the same spiel (from a nursing point of view) I give my brother who also monitors his BP and stresses himself out by doing so! =)

    Hope you can get it sorted and feel better soon. Again, my comment was probably completely ignoramus/off base as I don't know all of your medical history so I am probably telling you either the a)completely wrong thing or b)stuff you already know. I just can't help myself!


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