Invest in ME Conference 12: First Class in Every Way
OverTheHills wraps up our series of articles on this year's 12th Invest in ME International Conference (IIMEC12) in London with some reflections on her experience as a patient attending the conference for the first time.
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HIGH BP

Discussion in 'Autonomic, Cardiovascular, and Respiratory' started by Jimbo39, Dec 2, 2016.

  1. Jimbo39

    Jimbo39 Senior Member

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    My BP is usually in the 150-160/85 range. I heard niacin can help with this as its a vasodilator. Exercise seems to be really important but hard to do with PEM. I've reduced my sugar intake to about 30 grams a day. No refined carbs with the exception of rice.

    What has worked for you other than taking BP meds?
     
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  2. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    Look up pulse pressure.

    Sorry, not enough energy to write more.
     
  3. Jimbo39

    Jimbo39 Senior Member

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    Thank you @barbc56 Very informative. Sorry you're not feeling well.
     
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  4. realturbo

    realturbo Senior Member

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    @Jimbo39 my blood pressure has been high for many years, probably connected with my hypothroidism. Have tried various things such as magnesium, garlic and hawthorn with little success. Have not tried niacin. I think exercise over a prolonged period of time might be helping me the most. I'm hoping to come across something that might be able to remove 'plaque' from the arteries and restore flexibility.

    @barbc56 I looked up pulse pressure and learnt that "the numeric difference between your systolic and diastolic blood pressure is called your pulse pressure. For example, if your resting blood pressure is 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), your pulse pressure is 40." Some articles suggest that a pulse pressure greater than 60 puts you in higher risk group. My pulse pressure is around 70 - 80 - does this mean I'm at a higher risk of having a heart attack...?
     
  5. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    Short reply by a non medical person. You really need to talk to a doctor about any BP problems.

    Edit. There is no scientific evidence that taking supplements will lower your BP. Dosages of a supplement may vary as they are not regulated and that is problematic. There's lots of evidence that BP meds work and save lives if you really need them. It may take some time to get the right medication and dosage.

    It's important that BP be controlled ASAP to prevent life threatening health problems. Lifestyle changes may be helpful but again talk to your doctor.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016
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  6. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    @Jimbo - I've been reading about garlic today because I've been sick, and coincidentally came across several links which stated that garlic can help lower blood pressure. I also came across links stating that apple cider vinegar can help too - one reviewer said that taking them both reduced her blood pressure markedly. So you might want to do some research on this.

    And maybe increase your potassium intake - not necessarily a supplement but something like low-sodium V8 which is quite high in potassium (I drink it daily). I've read that the problem with salt and blood pressure isn't necessary the salt but rather a lack of potassium, which is rarely addressed.
     
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  7. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    So you have systolic BP of around 155 mmHg, and diastolic BP of 85 mmHg. 120/80 is healthy, anything over 140/90 is considered high blood pressure.

    Supplements that have a good evidence base (systematic review study) for lowering blood pressure include:

    Arginine — reduces systolic BP by 5.3 mmHg, and diastolic BP by 2.6 mmHg
    Nitrates from beetroot juice — reduces systolic BP by 4.4 mmHg, and diastolic BP by 1.1 mmHg

    So these supplements might be helpful, but you can see from the figures that they are not going to be strong enough to bring your BP down below 140/90, let alone to 120/80.

    It seems unlikely that you will be able to get your BP down to healthy levels without taking blood pressure drugs. If you are looking into BP drugs, you might ask your doctor about Benicar, as this sometimes improves ME/CFS (see the Marshall Protocol).
     
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  8. Richard7

    Richard7 Senior Member

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    Hi @Jimbo39 seems we are in the same boat.

    I saw a cardiologist recently and I understand from my doctor (the cardiologist did not tell me directly) that my pressure was either 180/80 or 160/80. I cannot remember which.

    I felt really calm that day, and was lying down when he measured my blood pressure.

    Anyway the cardiologist prescribed candesartan which I tried for 5 days at 4mg/day.

    I found that the drug made me much calmer, which was nice, but after a few days it also seemed to make doing anything impossible. My brain could not entertain thought, I could not stand up long enough to cook. So I stopped the drug (last dose wednesday) and am better in some ways and worse in others but not fully recovered yet.

    I do not know, but fear, that the increased pulse pressure is my body's adaptation to the mess that is my cardiovascular system. My way of getting O2 to my tissues in the face of some host of autonomic failures assoiciated with my CFS/ME, seems to be altering the functioning of my heart instead using the usual combination of variations to veins and arteries and heart and I do not know what else.

    The Candesartan made my POTS much much worse. It was like being in PEM. Over 100bpm just standing, 70s and above just sitting at the desk, which I could not do for more than 45 minutes a couple of times a day. (I am usually in the high 50s or low 60s sitting at the desk).

    I ended up spending my days either lying down, or sitting in a reclining chair with my legs up (and could really feel that difference of maybe 15 or 20 degrees).

    I rather hope that I can convince the cardiologist to look more deeply into it and that these symptoms prove in some sense diagnostic or at least indicative of something or other.

    Someone who had a better handle on OI might be better placed to comment.

    fingers crossed for both of us.
     
  9. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    In ME its usually the dystolic BP which has the issue (and that seems to be able to cause the systolic to then dysfunction too going by my own experiences). Your dystolic there is fine so Im thinking that your high BP probably isnt being caused by your ME so hence what works for me probably wouldnt work for you.

    For myself with my high BP (both systolic and dystolic) cause it is caused by my ME, increased fluids by IV bring it down to normal. Mine goes up wen Im upright cause I have the low blood volume.

    I personally think your only option would probably be BP lowering drugs.
     
  10. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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  11. alicec

    alicec Senior Member

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    Isolated BP measurements in a doctor's surgery are not the best way of determining if you have hypertension.

    Your BP may be a lot more variable than you realise, furthermore once people start getting investigated for hypertension many quickly develop "white coat" hypertension. Point a sphygmomanometer at them and their BP skyrockets.

    A home BP monitor can be helpful in following BP variability and understanding whether BP is mostly or only occasionally elevated and whether there are any environmental influences on this.

    The other measure which good doctors should look at before diagnosing hypertension is 24 h BP monitoring. Your doctor will order this test and you will be hooked up to a device which will automatically measure your BP at intervals over the next 24 h. The average of systolic and diastolic is a better indicator than isolated measurements.

    Your hypertension could be secondary to things which are commonly encountered in CFS/ME where the autonomic nervous system can be unstable. Most notable is sympathetic overactivity. This will often result in elevated systolic, with diastolic remaining in the normal range.

    High cortisol is notorious for driving high BP. Yes many people with CFS/ME have low cortisol, but a number of people on PR report the opposite and I have experienced it myself at times. It most definitely results in hypertension in me.
     
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  12. Jimbo39

    Jimbo39 Senior Member

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    Wow, a lot of posts since I've been gone. Thank you for your replies.

    @Mary I use garlic quite profusely in cooking but will consider supplementing with it. I drink about 8oz of low sodium V8/day.

    @barbc56 Your right, high BP is serious business and I'm not ruling out BP meds. What has worked for you? It seems beta blockers has helped several on this forum.

    @Hip Interesting you should mention arginine. Doesn't it increase NO production (vasodilator)? I've been following the arginine AKG thread with interest. What's your take on it? Isn't too much NO bad for you? I think I read it counteracts anti-oxidant processes.

    It's interesting that some of the BP meds you mentioned have AV qualities. Coincidence?
     
  13. Jimbo39

    Jimbo39 Senior Member

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    When you find something let me know. My doc says I have "thick blood". High cholesterol and triglycerides too.
     
  14. Jimbo39

    Jimbo39 Senior Member

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    You may be right. I have an appointment in the middle of Jan. In the meantime, I'm cutting out all refined carbs, caffeine, and exercise more regularly. I'm taking care of my Dad who has Alzheimer's so it's pretty hard. (Probably adds to the stress factor.)
     
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  15. Jimbo39

    Jimbo39 Senior Member

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    Ha Ha!

    Yes, I think "white coat syndrome" is real. I'm going to buy a monitor. Only $53 at CVS.

    Ever since my stupid doc cold turkeyed me from Vicodin 3years ago, my BP has been high. On top of that, I'm tapering Valium. This has been a shock to my CNS.



    I'm sure my Valium taper/withdraw is a main factor in my cortisol surges.

    Do you have high BP? What has helped you?
     
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  16. alicec

    alicec Senior Member

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    I have had at times. It is a very long story - no time now to tell it. I may post more about it later.
     
  17. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Yes, both arginine and dietary nitrates like beetroot juice work via increasing NO. This is not a problem, because only small amounts of NO are used to dilate blood vessels. By contrast, when the immune system wants to fight infections, it creates large amounts of NO to kill viruses, etc.
     
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  18. Jimbo39

    Jimbo39 Senior Member

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    I bought a heart monitor (Omron) and plan to track my BP through the day. I was surprised to find that my BP was 135/79 this morning. This seems to coincide with my cortisol test which showed low cortisol in the morning and high in the afternoon/evenings. This seems to confirm @alicec suggestion that, in my case, high BP is cortisol driven. Of course this is just one reading so I'll have to wait before drawing any conclusions.

    I've been surfing the web and came across an interesting article that talked about a study done in Finland. The salt sold in stores were switched from sodium chloride to a potassium/sodium mixture. The result was a 60% reduction of heart attacks/strokes. I'm going to increase my K dosage and see what happens.
     
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  19. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    @Jimbo - if there is any way you can avoid taking BP meds, I think it would be a good thing. My mom had quite high blood pressure (200/ something without meds) so she had to take medication. I didn't know much about BP at the time. Anyways, the meds made her quite tired and that was the last thing she needed, but she had to do it. I know a lot more now about BP, e.g., about the necessity for potassium and other things and might have tried other things (yes, working with her doctor because hers was so high) but might have been able to cut her meds some and get her a better quality of life.

    Anyways, taking your BP throughout the day is good thing to do. Increasing your potassium is also probably a good thing. I'm wondering if the niacin is having some effect also.

    And re your cortisol - don't forget about Relora - it can be very helpful in lowering high cortisol, and thus BP, without bad side effects.
     
  20. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    @Jimbo39

    This varies among individuals. What works for one person does not necessarily work for another.

    Wise choice to get a BP monitor. I took my machine with me to my doctors appointment to make sure my readings were the same as the doctors.

    Glad you have made an appointment with your doctor.
     
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