Your Asthma and Blood Pressure

Many Asthmatics sensibly monitor various Health Indicators such as Peak Flow (via a Home Peak Flow Meter) Blood Oxygen Level (via a Home Finger Pulse Oximeter) and Blood Pressure (via a Home Blood Pressure Monitoring Meter).

Known, or undetected, Cardio issues can often contribute to (or be the sole cause) of Breathlessness and - in any event - Blood Pressure Awareness is probably quite important to keep an eye on for those suffering from any Respiratory Condition.

I have just discovered that studies over the last couple of years conclude that it's important to take Blood Pressure Reading's from both arms (apparently, Cardio Specialists frequently Test Blood Pressure in both arms) and that you should leave an interval of around five minutes per arm. The highest Blood Pressure Reading (from either arm) should be taken as your more likely Blood Pressure.

In addition, if the readings on one arm vary by 10 (or more) from the equivalent reading on the other arm - then, if that pattern is 'consistent' (i.e. repeated over Daily Testing for a Week) - you should discuss with your doctor at the same time asking about Ankle-Brachial Index Testing. Note, that a smaller variation of, say, 5 between arms is - apparently - normal, but a 'consistently' bigger variation, of 10 or more, can indicate significantly higher than normal Cardio Vascular / Stroke Risks that needs to be further assessed and - possibly - treated. In rarer instances such Wide Variations in Reading between arms may indicate Aortic Dissection – a tear inside the wall of the aorta, the main pipeline of oxygenated blood. (Note that - where young people are concerned - other less dramatic causes may be the reason for a big variation in arm to arm readings, but mature / older folk, take heed). If you discover you have a 'consistent' wide variation in both arms - and have access to a second blood pressure monitor (via a friend or family member etc) - you may want to repeat your Tests while waiting for your doctors appointment, i.e. in case your Blood Pressure Monitor is faulty and giving you incorrect readings.

When taking your Blood Pressure, some general principals need to be observed as far as possible, e.g.

1) Don’t Test yourself immediately following a stressful period that same day (or just after exercise / climbing ten flights of stairs etc)

2) Before starting to Test yourself, relax for a few minutes to allow for a more accurate Test

3) If Testing both arms, relax for a few minutes between each arm Test

4) Sit with both feet on the Floor and your Back Supported when taking your Blood Pressure (unless too ill to do so)

The following are often accepted guidelines as to what Readings Indicate as far as Hyper-Tension (High Blood Pressure) is concerned (Note that even Pre-Hypertension Readings indicate that you should start to consider what might be done to reduce Blood Pressure below the Pre-Hypertension Threshold, e.g. Diet, Exercise, Medical Advice etc):

•Pre-hypertension: 120-139 mm Hg Systolic or 80-89 Diastolic mm Hg

•High blood pressure stage 1: 140-159 systolic or 90-99 diastolic

•High blood pressure stage 2: 160 or higher systolic or 100 or higher diastolic.

Note: Systolic is the Top Reading and Diastolic is the Bottom Reading on a Blood Pressure Monitor

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  • Does blood pressure affect asthma then? I have always had low blood pressure, but the past few years it has gone up, I suppose due to the various new medication that I am on. The last time I was in hospital with an asthma attack, I think the A&E staff were more concerned about my heart than my breathing although they said I was fine later. I was just wondering if there was any correlation.

  • An Asthma suffer may be at increased risk from Cardio Related Illness due to the additional stress that Respiratory Conditions (such as Asthma) can place on their Heart.

    Just like those who don't suffer from Asthma, many Asthmatics may experience diminished Cardio Health as they grow older due to lifestyle choices or as a result of a genetic predisposition.

    Sometimes those with Asthma are unaware that Cardio Issues rather than (or in addition to) their Asthma are contributing to their breathing difficulties.

    An Asthma Suffer who seeks advice from their Doctor over a Blood Pressure issue may discover that a Cardio Issue is making their breathing more difficult and - by obtaining Cardio Treatment - may improve their breathing through use of medicines or Interventions that would only be offered to those diagnosed with Cardio Issues.

  • Thanks for the explanation, Matman. I didn't know this. This may explain a lot! :-(

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