Your blood pressure will tell your doctor a lot about your current state of health. If your blood pressure is constantly high, there may be some health issues going on. If your blood pressure changes between visits, it could also be an indication something more is going on. The best way to keep yourself and your doctor informed is to keep an eye on your numbers.
A portable digital blood pressure monitor is the easiest way to track your blood pressure. It is small enough you can put it in a bag and take it wherever you go. Take it to work with you or to the gym, that way, if you experience stress or any symptoms while exercising, you can take your blood pressure and see if that is the cause.
Risk Factors for Fluctuating Blood Pressure
Certain conditions and factors put you at higher risk for experiencing fluctuating blood pressure. Some conditions include:
- Kidney disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Obstructive sleep apnea
The following are risk factors that make your blood pressure fluctuate:
- Working the night shift
While you can’t always eliminate risk factors, you can take steps to mitigate them. If you are working the night shift try and keep stress low. If you experience anxiety regularly, talk to a therapist and quit smoking. By lowering the risk factors, you lower the chances of your blood pressure fluctuating.
Certain medications — both over-the-counter or prescription — can make your blood pressure fluctuate. Most of the time, medications increase your blood pressure — except when you are taking medication to lower your blood pressure. These medications include:
- Blood pressure pills
- Allergy medications
- Cold medications
- Certain MAOI anti-depressants
Before taking or stopping any medication, talk to your doctor to make sure it is safe. It is also a good idea to keep an eye on your numbers with a portable digital blood pressure monitor.
Stress and anxiety seem like part of life. Whether it is work-related or health-related stress, it doesn’t seem to go away.
Anxiety and emotional stress can increase your blood pressure for a short amount of time. While this is temporary, over time it negatively affects your cardiovascular system. If you continually experience stress and anxiety, you might experience more permanent blood pressure issues.
Did you know the cold temperature can make your blood pressure higher? Since the cold narrows your blood vessels, your body needs to work harder for blood to pump through them. The temperature especially affects people who are older than 65 years of age.
Stress from your doctor’s (hence the white-coat name) appointment may cause your blood pressure to increase. If you check your numbers on a digital blood pressure monitor at home before your appointment and notice it is higher once you get to your doctor’s office, then there is a good chance you are experiencing white-coat syndrome.
If there is a big discrepancy between your digital blood pressure monitor and the doctor’s reading, let the doctor know. While it might not be concerning at the moment, if you regularly experience white-coat syndrome you are more likely to develop high blood pressure and you get older.
Food and Drinks
Did you know foods that are high in tyramine can increase your blood pressure temporarily? Tyramine is commonly found in aged foods. Watch out for pickled, cured, brined, or fermented foods if you are trying to lower your blood pressure. Examples of these include:
- Processed meats
- Cured meats
- Aged cheese
- Spiled foods
Laughing, sex, talking, and exercising can all increase your blood pressure. It is normal to see a temporary increase in your blood pressure, but an excessive increase is dangerous. Make sure to breathe during your exertion. Watch out for sides of dizziness and breathlessness. If you do experience these symptoms regularly, talk to your doctor. It may be a sign of something else going on or your doctor may suggest an alternative exercise program.
When your bladder is empty you have lower blood pressure. The opposite is true as well. When your bladder is fuller your blood pressure can increase 10 to 15mmHg. While it may seem weird, you can always check it on your own with a digital blood pressure monitor.
Pheochromocytoma is a rare tumor that affects hormone production because it develops on the adrenal glands. The tumor creates incidents of irregular blood pressure with normal blood pressure readings in between the irregular ones.
The adrenal system creates hormones. If your hormone production is low, then you could experience adrenal fatigue. When adrenal fatigue happens, your blood pressure goes down. If you are experiencing an overactive adrenal system, your blood pressure will go up.
Time of the Day
During the day, your blood pressure will fluctuate naturally. The lowest point tends to be while you are sleeping and rises as you wake up. In the late afternoon, your blood pressure tends to start falling again until you go to sleep.
While it is temporary, caffeine does cause your blood pressure to rise quite a bit. There are a few theories why this happens. Some experts say caffeine causes an increase in adrenaline. Others say that caffeine may block hormones that affect blood pressure.
Keep an Eye on Your Fluctuations
Fluctuations in your blood pressure are often normal; however, if you start experiencing symptoms talk to your doctor. If it is a medication that is causing the symptoms then your doctor may try a different one. If it is stress that is causing you issues, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional.
Overall, keep an eye on your blood pressure with a digital blood pressure monitor. It is the easiest way to stay informed and to keep your doctor updated between appointments.