Got a scare last night.
Waiting a Longs for my kid's vitamin to be filled so I sat down at the free BP cuff.
Reading indicated 140/99 and I was all WTF?!?
Admittedly, I haven't been exercising and eating as well as I can, but 140/99 is pretty fucking bad.
Resolved to make a change last night, and ate a tofu/tuna/spinach salad, then just got done running for 45 minutes.
Throat burning, right calf close to cramping, raining and dark.
... probably the most enjoyable 45 minutes I spent in awhile.
Also, checked my BP 3 times since last night and each time the reading was in the 128/70 range.
Might have been that my shirt sleeve was messing with the reading?
Lots of things affect BP:
Lack of Sleep
Taking the reading with one arm versus the other (mine are always 10 points different from each other)
Emotions (I was angry once and my BP skyrocketed to 160/105 -- normal was always 118/78 or less)
Walking or exerting yourself physically just before -- need to rest for 5 minutes before testing to let things settle down
Higher than normal sodium intake that day (salty foods, some meds)
Drugs like cough syrup and Motrin/Ibuprofen
Problems with the equipment taking the reading
Time of day (mornings are usually much lower after a good night's rest)
The best method is sit quietly, no talking, no moving while measuring. Give yourself 5 minutes sitting before taking the reading.
Ensure the cuff is at the same elevation as your heart. Way below the heart increases the pressure.
Take 3 readings in a series, 5 minutes apart and take the average of each upper/lower number.
With so many variables, even the doctors don't get worried with one or two high readings. They will have you come back in a week or so to check it again if it's way high to allow your body to "normalize" in case something other than your body's system is causing it.
If you want to try lowering it, listening to very relaxing music for 30-45 minutes twice a day while controlling your breathing to 6 inhalations per minute (10 seconds per breath) or fewer does wonders. I've been able to lower my pressure 20 points on both numbers in 30 minutes doing this.
Even though hypertension is called "the silent killer" I guess I'm "lucky" in that I do get symptoms when my pressure is too high. Gives me a signal to slow down and do those breathing exercises.
The bad part is, when you take your pressure and it's way higher than it should be, it's like a self-defeating test! The reading makes you tense which raises your pressure which then makes you want to check it again which then shows higher and makes you tenser and tenser!
Costco sells a device called "RESPeRATE" that's actually a bio-feedback device. It monitors your breathing in sync with some music. It varies the speed of the music as you listen and breathe after it calibrates your resting breathing rate.
I found it at Costco for about $75 off long time ago. Since then, it's hit or miss for sales and in stock. At almost $250, it's worth shopping around and waiting for a sale. I've had mine for years, and it's still going fine -- although the elastic for the chest sensor is twice as long as when I got it! http://www.resperate.com/