High Blood Pressure, Anxiety, Prozac, Hypochondria, Very Long Question Sorry I Can Never Shut Up

Question

Asked by jose c

High Blood Pressure, Anxiety, Prozac, Hypochondria, Very Long Question Sorry I Can Never Shut Up

I'm 21, Male, 6'4", 174lb, walk a few miles a day, eat 5 or 6 small meals a day, plus a few servings of fruit. I drink only whole milk and water, no alcohol, quit smoking two and a half years ago (smoked for four years), no drugs. I probably get too much sodium because most of my meals are sandwiches on store bought bread (I'm in college and need portable food). I have no history of elevated blood pressure. Both of my grandfathers and one of my uncles (in his forties at the time) died of heart attacks, one of my uncles (same family as the other uncle) has HBP. My grandmother (same fam as the two uncles) had high blood pressure towards the end of her life, but I think it was just her systolic.

I have depression and rather severe anxiety, with a lot of physical symptoms, for which I've been taking prozac for the past 7 weeks.

About two weeks ago I went to the doctor for an ear issue, and the nurse taking my blood pressure mentioned it was a bit high (139/69.) I had been to the same doctor about two months earlier (before I was on prozac) because of a stomach virus, and my blood pressure hadn't been unusual then, though I can't remember the exact reading. I got kind of weirded out for about a day but then someone mentioned 'white coat' hypertension and I didn't think much of it after that. Today I was in walgreens and they had a blood pressure monitor, and I decided to check myself on a lark, and it came up 153/80. I know white coat hypertension is about getting checked in a clinical setting, but could that be what happened in walgreens? I started getting a little freaked about halfway through the machine testing me because it was taking so long. Could my bp change that fast? And is the fact that the diastolic was still in normal range both times indicative of anything? Before both readings I had been up walking around, and before the reading in walgreens I had been walking around briskly for about an hour. I kind of remember being a little freaked about my blood pressure when I was getting it checked in the doctor's office as well, because I asked her the reading and I can't imagine why I would have done that if I wasn't anxious about it.

Since the reading at walgreens this afternoon I've taken my resting heart rate 3 times and it's been 66, 59 and 63.

Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I can't get in to the campus clinic for a few days as i'm waiting for an insurance card to arrive, and I'm a bit on edge over this. I haven't been able to find anything conclusive on whether prozac can raise blood pressure, and I left the info sheet I got on it from the pharmacy at a friends apartment. Like I said, my anxiety has a lot of somatic features and mostly revolves around my health, so I don't like going to the doctor unless I have really concrete symptoms, because otherwise it always turns out to just be something I'm imagining which is pretty embarrassing, and I don't really want to go in and say "oh, the machine at walgreens said my bp was elevated," because I imagine those things don't have a very good reputation.

I feel like there's a strong case for it just being anxiety, as I'm now having all sorts of physical things that I'm attributing to my "high blood pressure" even though I know it's usually asymptomatic, and I'm more or less totally convinced that I will have had a heart attack by the end of the week, which is just nuts.

On the other hand, I keep hearing that two separate elevated readings warrants a trip to the doc.

What gives?

P.S. I already went down to the drug store to look for a home blood pressure monitor (don't say I'm not diligent in my ridiculousness), but I'm poor and they're expensive.

Answer

Hi Jose,

High blood pressure is not a typical side effect of prozac. From what you shared I'd lean more towards your anxiety causing the high blood pressure readings. Check out this post:

I've been told that I have white coat or office high blood pressure, is there anything I should do?

All the best,

Lisa Nelson RD

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