Weekly roundup & blood pressure

Just for my own amusement I’ve been keeping a track of my blood pressure.  I do it at roughly the same time each day (8-9pm), while sitting upright and relaxed in bed but obviously with my legs raised.  A ‘normal’ blood pressure is considered to be 120/80, but my average for the month is 110/53 (my pulse is normal at 73).  I’ve had a couple of weird heart-beat episodes during the month which has raised my systolic to 129 and 122 respectively but my diastolic never gets above 60 (the lowest reading was 42).

photo of blood pressure monitor

 

The difference between the systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure is called the pulse pressure.  A normal pulse pressure is around 40, whereas mine is consistently 55-62.  A widened pulse pressure is considered an important indicator of poor heart health, and most people with a pulse pressure of 60 or greater are packed off to the cardiologist for investigation!  However, all the studies assume you have a widened pulse pressure due to rising systolic pressure (ie. hypertension/high blood pressure), not falling diastolic pressure (ie hypotension/low blood pressure)!!  Low blood pressure is never considered to be a problem, but surely it has some significance?  How is it good for the heart to have a stronger contraction than relaxation?  An imbalance like that must affect functioning I would have thought, though I admit I’m no Cardiologist 😉 .

I haven’t taken my blood pressure when sitting and standing, as I’m going to the dysautonomia clinic in June and they’ll do all that, but I just wanted to do a baseline reading to see what is normal for me.  I exercise every day, eat plenty of salt, wear compression socks, and drinks lots of fluids, so it’s clearly not a lifestyle issue.  Maybe I’m just really healthy, after all having low blood pressure is considered a good thing!  Or maybe not 😉 .  Be interesting to see what the POTS clinic says in the summer.

As mentioned in my last weekly roundup I’m back on Ceterizine (Zyrtec), an H1 anti-histamine, for my hayfever symptoms and it does seem to be helping.  My eyes are still suffering, but the sneezing and nasal congestion have stopped and I don’t feel as tired, yayyy.

I don’t seem to’ve mentioned my Ehlers-Danlos much in recent posts and that’s because it’s been quite good lately!  I’m not using any of my finger splints or my back brace, though I do still wear my SI belt if I’m going to be walking my dog.  I did go over on my ankle last week when walking on some rough ground and strained the ligaments, but I strapped it up for a few days and all is fine now.  The only thing that’s really been playing me up is my right hip.  It’s now so stiff I struggle to get in and out of the car (I have to lift my leg in), or to stand up from a crouching position (why do shops put things down so low on shelves?!).  I strained/sprained my SI joint again last month so it could be as a result of that, or it could be the actual hip itself, who knows?  If it doesn’t improve soon I might have to consider using a stick so that I have that for leverage/support when bending and straightening back up.

My nausea has also been really good this month and I actually think it’s the Zyrtec that’s helped.  I know this sounds bizarre, but an interesting personal account I read in 2012 by sufferer Paul Robinson says that an H1 antihistamine cured his gut issues!  He was told he had urticaria in his GI tract and I can see why this would obviously be helped by an H1 blocker.

That’s the good news.  The bad news is that I’ve had constant reflux for an entire month, ever since my last period which was a humdinger.  My period is due again in the next week and ever the optimist I’m hoping it might right itself 😉  There’s no rhyme or reason to the acid so I can’t find a way of alleviating it.  Yesterday was Mother’s Day so I took my Mum out for lunch.  I had a huge meal, including pudding and all sorts of foods I shouldn’t really be touching like tomato ketchup, and had no heartburn at *all*.  At 8pm last night I was getting a bit peckish so decided to have 2 slices of toast and I’d barely finished eating it before the pain started :-/  So much for the “don’t overfill your stomach” theory!  In fact, my reflux is often worse when my stomach is empty (which is my excuse for snacking all day long and I’m sticking to it 😉 ).

The past two months have been a bit mental, with my Mum’s heart attack and my dog’s operation and following complications.  I’ve felt a bit like I’m drowning and my stress levels have been quite high (which doesn’t do my mast cells any favours).  Being a Virgoan I’m quite anal and orderly and my life just lately has been anything but.  So I decided to sit down and have a look at how and where I was spending my time.  I’m not surprised I’ve felt overwhelmed because there were simply not enough hours in the day to achieve everything I was trying to do!  So I’ve devised a schedule where I can get my jobs done but which also incorporates plenty of rest and relaxation time and I feel less pressured already.  I won’t actually stick to the schedule (today I’m in bed with a hormone-related thumping headache) but that’s not the point – the point is to feel more in control of my life, even if it’s only in my head 😉 .

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Weekly roundup & blood pressure

  1. Andy

    Interesting,

    I have autonomic dysfunction/pots/mild eds type 3/ possible mcad.

    My pulse pressure is always around 120/60-130/70 sat up laid down its 110-120/55-60

    Had all sorts of heart tests so know its not my heart!

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    1. bertieandme Post author

      Thanks for the comment Andy – as you say, interesting! I’m looking forward to my appt at the POTS Clinic at Newcastle in June and can’t wait to hear what they say about my diastolic always being so low. I’ll do a blog post when I’ve been. I’ve also had a heart scan and my heart appears fine. Jak

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  2. Chris Heppner

    Hi–I am new to your blog, and so may have missed earlier stuff, but about this BP and pulse pressure stuff–it would be worth getting hold of Paul Cheney’s DVD s “CFS: Is Oxygen the Problem?” which has a great deal of useful info on heart behaviour in ME/CFS. But I note you are going to the Newcastle (Julia Newton) clinic, and I am sure they will help figure out things. Cheney is excellent on explaining why our hearts look fine to an orthodox cardio, but in fact function miserably. I too have had a MIBI scan, which showed good perfusion–but a very low stroke output, which implies also low cardiac output and other things, that they do not usually test for.
    I shall follow your notes on your trip to Newcastle with great interest–and envy too, I admit!
    Best, Chris

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    1. bertieandme Post author

      Hi Chris and thanks for the Cheney info 🙂 I have so much going on (all 3 of my illnesses can affect heart and blood pressure) plus I’m peri-menopausal (which can give even totally healthy women palpitations) that Julia Newton will probably take one look at me and run screaming into the hills LOL! Jak

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