The BP Rollercoaster

I’m having blood pressure problems again.  Gah!  So frustrating!

A couple of weeks ago I had my annual physical, and as part of said annual physical, my doctor checked my blood pressure.  Imagine my surprise when it was 150/70!  Whaaa??  That bottom number is fine, but where the heck did that 150 come from?

As you may (or may not) recall, I had blood pressure problems in pregnancy – pre-eclampsia, in fact.  But I’ve since got my BP back under control – or so I thought…

To be fair, I was having a really stressful day (or was it week…or even month…?) when I got that 150, but really any high readings are troubling to me as a diabetic, and particularly as a diabetic with proliferative retinopathy that tends to bleed with high BP.  (Yep, the eyes have also been unusually leaky in the last few weeks.)

My doctor was also somewhat concerned.  He asked me to monitor it at home (I bought a home monitor during the pre-eclampsia phase) and to come back in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I went to my home-away-from-home, the Youville Diabetes Centre, and had my CDE (the wonderful Michelle Chrisp) check it there.  I figured I might be suffering from white-coat syndrome with my doc, but surely I wouldn’t with the lovely Michelle!  But even there I was 140/73!  Come ON!

So, I’ve been monitoring it (relatively) faithfully since then.  At home I was getting pretty reasonable numbers, actually.  Mostly hovering right around 120/80, actually.  My highest at-home reading was 132/81.  So I was feeling pretty good going into my appointment today.  I had myself convinced that the high readings were temporary and there was no problem to speak of.

But today at the doctor’s office, that top number hit 150 again!  (I don’t even remember what the bottom number was because I was so frustrated when I heard the 150.)  WHAT?!  And this time I did not feel stressed out or nervous or anything!  Well, not prior to the BP test anyway.

My doctor says that it’s common for women who have had pre-eclampsia in pregnancy to develop hypertension later in life.  But is this truly “hypertension”?  How do you treat a BP that is sometimes 150/70 and sometimes 102/70?  If I go on meds to lower my BP, how low is it going to go in the lower points of this BP rollercoaster? 

So he (the doc) has ordered a 24-hour BP test, but apparently it takes up to 6 months for a machine to come available to do this.  (Let’s not launch into a discussion of public vs. private health care here, mmmkay?)  So I’ll be waiting a while, I guess.

In the meantime, I’m going to bring my home monitor over to the Youville Clinic to figure out if it’s actually spitting out accurate results.  Beyond that, I guess all I can do is keep an eye on it …

…and try to relax.  Yeah.  Okay.


7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mario on October 20, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    I have high blood pressure for about 4 years now. It is controled with 2 pills. I was afraid with the low pressure and ask my doctor what number is too low. She answered that until you feel great, there are no low numbers. But if you have a pressure drop to often, you are too low. I didn’t have any pressure drop. And my retinopathy (a very small retinopathy, just a beginning) is better and better each visit. It is an evidence that my BP is under control.

    Don’t test you BP if you just sit. Wait a minimum of 5 minutes.


  2. I do wonder how much of that you may be able too change with just your state of mind? Have you ever tried meditation/yoga/any of that stuff? It may be worth a shot. If not it is great for your emotional well being anyway.


    • It’s interesting that you mention this, Scott. I used to do yoga a lot. I love yoga! I stopped when my retinopathy (not sure how much you know about retinopathy) advanced to the point that my ophthalmologist told me that I should avoid inverted yoga poses. All the yoga “routines” I followed involved inverted poses, and I haven’t been creative enough to figure out a good sequence of poses that doesn’t include any inverted ones. If you have suggestions, I’m all ears! I’d be quite happy to get back into yoga again! I’ve tried meditation too, but I just have SO much trouble keeping my mind from wandering. It ends up feeling like work! I know…practice practice….


  3. Posted by Van on November 3, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Hi, after googling various blogs related to diabetes and blood sugar…i found yours. I’m glad that i checked both the blogs. I have type 2 diabetes and recently found that i have BP as well. Me and my husband recently met our doctor and he strictly told me that he doesn’r want me to fall pregnant unless i contol my sugar levels. I’ve been gyming and eating right diet but still not able to control my Average sugar levels. I’m little dissapointed at this level and really don’t know what to be done.


    • Hi Van! Welcome to Me With D! The diabetes/pregnancy mix is definitely a difficult one – even moreso when you throw in the BP issue. Your doctor is giving you the best advice for both your health and the health of baby-to-be. Tight diabetes control is soooo important before and during pregnancy, yet sooooo difficult, especially with all the curveballs that pregnancy and changing hormones will throw your way! My best resource during my pregnancy was my Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator, who worked with me a great deal to help me problem-solve throughout. I’m not sure where you’re from, but if it’s feasible for you to work with a CDE as well, I highly recommend trying that route if you haven’t already. A CDE is typically able to get into your diabetes management with you at a level of much greater detail than your doctor may be able to. I’d also like to suggest that you check out some online diabetes & pregnancy forums to talk to some other women in your situation. There’s a great one at Best of luck to you! It’s a lot of work, but well worth it. 🙂


  4. Posted by Van on November 11, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks alot for the help. I’m guessing that i could be pregnant right now and lil scared. Will find a CDE in Johannesburg.


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