Arrhythmia Alliance
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Erratic Blood Pressure Readings

Hi all, not sure if this is going to be something that people will be able to give a view on but will get it out of my head...

I have been recording my blood pressure readings leading up to having some more cardiology tests and appointments. My blood pressure readings have been really inconsistant. I have followed the guidelines of how i place my arm, what positions i have recorded them with, not consuming stimulants, exercising or eating prior to the readings and trying to be in a relaxed state + taking the readings roughly same time of day (in the morning) every day.

I have noticed that my readings are all over the place. My left arm and right arm can be significantly different. I can have low blood pressure, normal blood pressure or high blood pressure. The readings can be very different even on the same day. I am recording my blood pressure readings in the positions of laying down, sitting up and standing as per the Cardiologist's request. Also if the number between the systolic and diastolic is quite different is this something to be worried about. I am a 29 year old by the way.

I just wondered if anyone knows much about blood pressure readings and what could be a warning sign of something not quite right. Any replies will be appreciated. I have a look on the internet and try to read up on things but it's not always straightforward (as people will know).

12 Replies

Hi Luckylouise

You didn't say what you were using to measure, but to be honest if you have an arrythmia then none of them work very well.

The cuff inflates until the sensor stops reading a pulse, effectively cutting off the blood flow, and then deflates until a pulse is felt, at that point (systolic) the machine then detects a "vibration" in the walls of the artery which happen as the blood pressure pushes through the flattening part by the cuff. When the vibrations cease this is the the diastolic pressure.

Arrthymias play havoc with these machines as they literally do not know "which pulse" to base the measurement on. The very best machines will simply tell you "you have an arrthymia" and tell you to take your blood pressure manually, When a trained professional listens to your pulse with a stethoscope, they can "filter out" the irregular beats as the cuff deflates and much more accurately give you a BP reading.

If you are young and healthy then it should be around 120 or lower for the systolic, and 80 or lower for the diastolic, Automatic BP machines can get this wrong by up to 10 especially in the diastolic measurement.

However I do suggest you go talk to your medical advisors, variable blood pressure is something that needs treating.

Be well



Hi Ian,

Thank you for taking the time to reply. I've not really had much of a conclusion with what is going on with me just yet. So bit of a waiting game for diagnosis of what could be causing my symptoms & high heart rate spikes. I wish i was more clued up but reading up on things isn't always indicative of what avenue to explore. Got a tilt test coming up and a CPEX. I just have a blood pressure machine with a cuff for the upper arm that i use from home. I will pass on my readings to the hospital. I have an appointment on 15th Nov so i think i will send my current diary to them before that appointment so that if there is anything unusual they can advise me. I think it i point out to them that i'd like the readings to be looked at hopefully they will be able to either reassure me or give me feedback on anything i can do to regulate the readings or the reason why they could be so different.



From you past posts I note you have 2nd degree heart block wenkebach, so your output may vary from beat to beat, making it difficult to get an accurate reading from an automated machine. There are some that are optimised for atrial fib and allow averages readings from beat to beat.

Lots of other things may vary your reading e.g. Muscle tension, stress, anxiety etc

The difference between systolic and diastolic is the pulse pressure and is usually about 40 at your age.

Although there's no immediate worry (unless they are consistently high) it's probably worth repeating readings with your cardiology nurse using your machine and theirs before your next review


If you are withdrawing from a benzodiapine like Xanax, Ativan or even AMBIEN BP spikes are routine. Short acting benzo's ATIVAN , Xanax etc cause inter dose withdrawal misinterpreted as ANXIETY.

Machines I have RBBB Right bundle branch block not a biggie and an "inverted "P" wave on my EKG....all my machine knows its an arythemia. You need a "holter monitor" and your cardiologist to take your BP or a BP monitor with stethoscope to hear systolic and diastolic readings. Best machine is the OMRON 10 series...about 60-80 dollars in TARGET.

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@randelle OMRON 10 is very good.


@luckylouise08 suggestion why not go on line and read about pulse pressure, mean arterial pressure, etc. I will describe what I know about these. According to the latest large study by the USA govt. national institute of health, keeping your blood pressure below 120/80 will greatly reduce the chance of having a major cardiac event and greatly reduce your mortality possibility. You can find the exact percentages on line by looking for the nih study on blood pressure recommendations as of 2016. . The difference between the systolic and dyastolic is better if it is in the 40's. The average of the upper and lower numbers is called the mean arterial pressure. If it is 65 or below you are probably going to have a heart attack or stroke; if it is continually in the 100's your heart is probably working too hard. If the blood pressure in each arm has a difference of 20 or more, there is a possibility that you have a small blockage in a peripheral artery; this can be checked by something called an endopat test. It is a special machine with a special nurse who knows how to do the test and interpret it. Also test the pulse wave velocity. ( another special test ) Pulse wave velocity is a very significant test. It shows the speed at which blood flows from your carotid artery to your brachial artery, and then from your carotid artery to your femoral artery. This is done on both sides of the body. To understand this and it's significance more fully , look it up online.If these are not available in your country move to the United States. You can also have this blood pressure in both arms difference without having a peripheral blockage, but if either of the readings indicates high blood pressure you should be treated for hypertension with a prescriptions such as an angiotensin receptor blocker (telmisarten is the best)--but since I am not your doctor I cannot say what is best for you-- I am just describing what worked for my husband. My husband has different bp's in each arm , more than 20. His high arm was 140/96-- so he got bp meds--now both arms are almost the same and he has no risk of stroke or a hear attack from high blood pressure. Also he has stopped any detrimental remodelling of the heart due to highblooid pressure.--which would eventually lead to afib , heart failure and other nasties.

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Right, okay, I'll just move to United States in ordervtp get a certain test.


Hiya LuckyLouise,

You didn't mention your PoTS, surely that would explain your erratic BP?


Hi Boombiddy, Hope you are good. I have not been diagnosed with PoTs i am being tested for it.


Hiya luckylouise yes, sorry. It looked from your post about the tests as if you were borderline so I made an assumption re your BP.

Hope you are feeling well or at least having a bit of relief from the worst of it.

It is really good to be able to come to this site to piece the picture together, isn't it?

Best from B.


Hi Boombiddy, yeah this site is brilliant, so many nice people on here. I have another hospital appointment on Tuesday so hoping to be able to provide them with my blood pressure results & food diary that day as well as have another test done. Louise


Hi Boombiddy, Thought I would give you an update. I went for the Tilt Test at Hammersmith Hospital and there was no issues other than a headrush when position changed at the start from laying down to being upright. My heart rate and blood pressure remained consistant. I was then given a spray under my tongue which speeds the heart rate up. I then felt very unwell very quickly like how i feel with exercise (dizzy, migraine, disturbed vision). I got worse and worse which i said to the Doctor in the room over and over again. He didn't re-position me straight away but i think he was waiting as my blood pressure was dropping rapidly and he probably wanted that to show on the screen which it did. He then positioned me horizontal and said if he had left me that way i would have fainted. They were looking for my heart rate to shoot up further which didn't happen but he did explain that i have an issue with being prone to fainting and as my blood pressure is low, when i exercise and my heart rate speeds up, my blood pressure drops even lower and as it's low already it's going dangerously low and causing symptoms which then lead me to ask to lay down or stop what i am doing. Luckily he said i have time to identify when i am close to fainting as the symptoms alert me to this. The doctor has suggested i may need to go on medication to put my blood pressure higher than it is at the mo, salt my food heavily and drink 3 litres of water a day. I'm not really sure what else i will need to do. I'm not allowed to go mad on exercise like i have been e.g. when i am rowing my trainer just gets me to go full speed ahead fast as i can but i now have been told to ease gently into everything (so rowing would be starting slowly before going faster) and i can clench my leg muscles when i feel faint to help circulation improve if i feel symptoms coming on. As they were looking for PoTS and the heart rate didn't go overly high on the test, i think they won't diagnose me with this. The doctor said they may not have all of the answers for me at the moment and may do more tests but i think the fainting thing fits in with my medical issues as I felt that when i had issues giving blood with similar symptoms, that the exercise & giving blood issues were related in some way so looks like that part is spot on. Glad i persisted with things. Have you had any more tests since we last spoke?


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