How Can I Have Very High Bp, Yet Feel Fine? I Am Recently Diagnosed As Stage 3.

Question

Asked by proxymom

How Can I Have Very High Bp, Yet Feel Fine? I Am Recently Diagnosed As Stage 3.

I was at a friends house who was watching her husbands BP. Knowing I had been sick with a headache and vomiting earlier that day, my friend decided to take my BP with her digital monitor. It was 186/127 and my friend flipped out. I assumed it was high because I had been sick earlier. The next day when I was feeling fine, she redid it and that is when the reading was 207/146. This was my left wrist and I am right handed. She also did my right wrist and those readings were also high but not as high as the left. I rarely see a doctor but happened to have an appointment the next day for something else, so stupidly went in thinking there was something wrong with way my friend had done her readings, but the BP machine in the office backed her up. By the time the DRs office machine was airing up for the 3rd time to get its first reading, I was extremely nervous. That probably made it even worse, but those numbers were also very bad. My head was pounding, I wanted to throw up and the flourescent lighting was bothering my eyes. My DR was obviously upset and told me I would have to go on medications immediately and made sure I would have the meds and start taking them that night. My headache was getting worse by the minute while talking to the Dr and she suddenly decided to manually take my BP for the umpteenth time. She quickly left and came back with some pills called Klonodine (?) and informed me that I was starting some meds RIGHT NOW!! I asked her how high it was and she said "too high, its over 200" They refused to let me leave until that 1st pill plus a second one given to me later started to bring my BP down. This happened on thursday. Today is monday and I went in this morning for some fasting blood work. My BP was down but still quite high and the nurse said something that made me think the bottom number of my BP was even more worrisome than the top. I have two questions. 1. If I am correct in that assumption, why was the bottom number so important? 2. I understand having the headaches and vision sensitivity when my BP is high, but how can my BP be soooo high when I feel absolutely fine?

Answer

Hi Proxymom,

MD's were once trained to use diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) to diagnose hypertension. However, this changed in 1997, when studies showed that systolic blood pressure (top number) was more critical. Systolic blood pressure tends to gradually increase with age due to less elasticity in the arteries, while diastolic tends to rise gradually until ~50 years-old, then tapers off for a decade. Systolic is the better indicator of developing heart disease.

Regardless, you want to monitor both numbers.

There are usually no symptoms associated with high blood pressure, hence the name the "silent killer".

All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD
7 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Answered by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN