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Anxiety and Depression Support
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Health Anxiety giving me a run for my money

Hello.

I haven’t posted in many months because I had been doing fairly well. In the last few days though I feel like I’ve spiraled back to a low. I’m reaching out for support.

Can you help me with some suggestions?

I am on a beta blocker for boarderline blood pressure issues. My doc thinks it is mostly related to my anxiety. Over the past few months my bp has been excellent. I have been checking it about once a day.

On Monday I returned to work after a holiday break. I also started classes towards a Master’s Degree. We also have a dog who is not doing well and may be at the end of his life. Obviously my stress level is high. When I took my bp on Monday it was elevated. My highest measurement has been 149/98....I got that once. Mostly it has run mid to upper 130s over mid 90s. When I see a higher than normal number I start to spiral. I know that as I spiral my pressure will continue to be elevated but I just can’t convince myself that something isn’t wrong.

I want to stop taking my bp for a couple weeks in an attempt to pull out of the spiral. On the flip side I’m concerned it would be irresponsible not to check it since it has been elevated. It’s a catch 22.

Does this make sense? Am I rambling? Suggestions? What would you do?

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Lets suppose you don't take your blood pressure for 2 weeks and then you take it. As someone with health anxiety the fear and anticipation of a high result will ensure a high reading.

The regular figures you mention aren't particularly high, in fact it's only the distolic which is slightly over the ideal target.

I think from what you say anxiety when taking your bp is playing havoc with your results.

Most people don't really know how to take bp properly and that includes a lot of doctors and nurses. So maybe here's what you do.

Don't take your bp if you've just had a meal or been energetic. Sit quietly in a comfortable chair for ten minutes. Set the meter up, keep the arm supported, palm open and at the same height as your heart. Don't speak or engage in conversation whilst taking a reading. Take your first reading, if your meter records measurements then don't look at the reading. Otherwise jot it down.

Wait 2 minutes. Then take a second measurement and either record it or write it down. And after another 2 minutes a third reading. Then add up the the systolics and divide by 3, and add up the dystolics and divide by three. The result is an accurate reading largely źunaffected by anxiety. I bet its a lot lower than you've been used to.

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I totally agree ! I am always so anxious when I take my blood pressure ! Also don’t cross your legs ;)

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Great point. Thank you!!

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Thank you Jeff. I really appreciate your response. I can’t believe that I didn’t think of not looking while I am taking the measurement. How simple. My machine even averages the last three readings for me. I think I’m going to wait a couple days to give myself some space to breathe and then take your advice. Thank you for the insight that I was too wound up to see!!

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If your bp machine averages the last 3 readings automatically thats ideal. Just set it to at least a 2 minute wait between readings. Thats like my bp machine an Omron 10. Yes, and not looking at the readings until you get the average at the end really helps. Good luck.

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Jeff- I just wanted to follow up and let you know that your suggestions worked like a charm. I’m not checking as frequently as I was and the readings are not as low as they had been but they are coming down! Thank you for taking time to respond!!

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I honestly would get a therapist and doctor who WILL work hard for your healthcare

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