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Thread: Should I be worried about my blood pressure?

  1. #1

    Default Should I be worried about my blood pressure?

    I went to a drug store one day to get a few things and though what the hell ill check my blood pressure my result (Systolic: 140 Diastolic: 78) that was a little worrying so i went to see a doctor my result (Systolic: 138 Diastolic: 80) he said thats high but still normal for my age (17 at the time). what worries me is when most recently i checked it again (Systolic: 167 Diastolic: 78). my dad has a history of blood clots. i weigh 130 pounds I'm active and eat very healthy. and i don't have diabetes. i know that blood pressure varies throughout the day but my last result was shockingly high. Should i be doing anything about this? I prefer to not take drugs.

    Thanks for any help!

    For reference the optimal blood pressure is:
    Systolic: 120 Diastolic: 80

  2. #2


    Were you walking around the store before you took that test? I have been told that makes a difference. Also were you buying diapers cause that could make your ticker beat faster

  3. #3


    i haven't bought diapers in a long long time... its been a year. but im addicted to this community!

  4. #4


    So, I think the best answer is to follow up with your doctor, it is impossible to make any specific statement about your situation on the internet.

    In general though, it is tough to say anything from isolated blood pressure readings, if this is your first time checking it in a while you might have been worried that it would be high, and being 18 with health blood vessels your pressure appropriately increased in response to a stress. At the same time there are causes of hypertension in an 18 year old who is otherwise healthy and not obese that really can only be assessed by your physician in person as they can do things like repeat the blood pressure with a manual cuff, which is much more accurate then the ones found in the drug store, especially if the drug store one gives an abnormal value, as well as look for other findings to exclude a secondary cause. Basically when you look at hypertension the vast majority of cases are classified as essential hypertension, which basically means there isn't an identifiable reason for the hypertension, but a small percentage of cases can be caused by issues with the kidneys, endocrine system, congenital abnormalities, as well as other causes.

    Just looking at the numbers, they wouldn't be anything that would be concerning in the short term for an 18 year old without some other pretty significant symptoms, but again, I can't make any specific statements regarding your situation based on what I am reading on a forum, and you should not take any of this to be medical advice, you should see your doctor for that, etc.

  5. #5


    First off, a blood pressure is not a good way to assess a ton of stuff. it is realistically more a way for doctors to see how hard your heart has to work in order to maintain a good blood circulation. So whether or not the blood pressure reading you have is going to be related to genetic problems is not something that can be determined. Blood pressures are only really useful when a complete examination is done (i.e. listening to your heart, pulse rate/comparisons and comparing with your baseline or which your regular GP would know by now). So if you are concerned, you did the right thing by seeking your GP out. If he thinks that it is normal then i would suggest that you have nothing to worry about seeing as though he should know you well enough by now to judge that.

    It is really important to note here that blood pressure is very much a sliding scale and whilst the optimum for the population is 120/80, this is an average of lots of people. It might not, however, be the average for your body. Doctors need a reference range so that if we get someone who is really obese and has a blood pressure of 140/90 or higher we know that we need to be acting on that so as to lower the risk of heart problems with that person. Because of this, your blood pressure might appear as abnormal even though it is not. There are a number of reasons why your's might be higher all of which are completely natural things. For example, people who are younger naturally have a higher resting blood pressure, also, people who have a lot of blood vessels often have a higher blood pressure (due to the fact that the heart needs to push the blood around to all these extra blood vessels).

    In reference to the sliding scale, it is important to remember that the limits set are averages. These cut-offs are selected so as to include as many people as possible that have bad causes of high blood pressure. Think of it as two graphs that overlap and are close to each other ... one graph shows abnormal blood pressure and the other shows completely healthy people that just have different averages themselves. In this situation, the cutoff will automatically include some of these healthy people but will mean that we can see all the people who have bad blood pressure. If we did it the other way (i.e. picked a cut off that only showed people who had bad blood pressure) we would first of have a very very small group of people to look for and not only that but would miss a lot of people who need to be picked up.

    So there really isnt too much to be worried by, especially if your doctor thinks you are ok like you said.

    oh and just before i go, i might ask how you took your blood pressures? this is actually important as when you sit up, your blood pressure will actually be higher then if you are lying down (the heart has to work against gravity to get the blood to your brain and to get the blood back to the heart = higher blood pressure). If you want the best measurement (and to be able to compare it a bit better with the averages) you need to be taking your blood pressure while lying down. This is actually the correct way to take it (its just that at the GP, it is a lot easier to do it while you are sitting down rather then to move you to a bed just to take your blood pressure).

  6. #6


    Hi zeek 61 you missed another point I would like to add our blood pressure will increase if you have athlosclrosis! As with the hardening of vessels it causes more stress on the heart forcing it to push harder for the blood to continue to circulate!

    And as for the added vessels cause higher blood pressure I'm sorry but I am not convinced on that idea - I will have to consult my A&P book again - do you have any reference material on that idea to enlighten me and not ( Wikipedia ) that is not a credible source!

  7. #7


    Hi andy, first off whilst i do agree that atherosclerosis can cause an increase in blood pressure, i would not expect an 18 year old to be experiencing this, hence why i did not include it with my list.

    Yes i can explain that but dont have something to reference for you at the moment (im away from my physiology textbooks at the moment). the way this was described to me when i did my cardiology subject is best understood in hagen-poiseuille's equation. This equation describes the pressure changes that are experienced due to changes in a number of different circumstances. In other words, the formulae lets you know how much friction will be in the system and therefore, the pressure that will be required to overcome this friction. an increase in the number of vessels means that the pressure is distributed over a larger 'area' (for lack of a better word) and this means that more pressure needs to be generated in order for the resistance to be overcome and the blood to get to the periphery. In this particular formula, the increase in number of blood vessels is a change of the length of the 'pipe' system and therefore, (when you look at the equation) will cause an increase in the difference of pressure over the whole system (i.e. more friction = greater pressure required to overcome).

    To put this into a practical application, my cardiology lecturer explained this is one of the reasons why obese people (initially) have higher blood pressure. Due to the fact that fat tissue has to be vascularised in order to transport the fats produced by the liver to adipose tissue. An increase in adipose tissue requires an increase in blood vessels to the sites in order to be able to transport the fats to these areas. This in turn means that there is an increase in resistance in the system and therefore, a higher blood pressure occurs. Obviously, after this initial change, the pressure is caused by increased workload of the heart and eventually (once the pathological process has completed) the pressure increase is caused by atherosclerosis however this is not the initial process as this pathology takes some time (with damage of the blood vessels from high pressure, invasion of macrophages and production of foam cells and finally, production of fibrin and plaque formation).

    However, it could be argued whether this is a significant change or not considering that (as im sure you know) the heart has several other ways to compensate for a deficient pressure to the area. it could increase pre-load/decrease after load (both cause changes in blood pressure) or increase heart rate. Whether an increase in heart rate is enough (and would be stimulated by a simple increase in vascularity) could again be questionable.
    Last edited by Zeek61; 09-Jan-2013 at 12:50. Reason: Added a required sentence.

  8. #8


    You could also have kidney problems. I went to the doctor for a checkup on my high blood pressure and I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Kidney Disorder. They had to do an ultrasound on my kidney area to be sure. I suggest you keep this in mind and bring it up to your doctor the next time you see him.

    I still have high blood pressure but taking them makes me pee frequently and I am not prepared to wear diapers in public... so I dont take my meds. Yeah, I know it is bad, but it is toxic material made out of snake venom and I am against Big Pharm. Well,I better stop my rant. But keep your kidneys in mind.

  9. #9


    High BP is only a piece of the puzzle if there are things failing or malfunctioning so to look at this one piece isnt helping. Although hypertension is a sign of incoming problems (the barrier for hyper is 140 systolic +)( although that is changing here soon yet again) Not to freak you out but this could include hypercholesterolemia, atherosclerosis, or other CV/vascular problems in the worst case scenario.

  10. #10


    blood pressure varies alot. I actually think its less of a contributing factor than alot of people are led to believe, My highest blood pressure I recall was 260/180 (not having a nice day obviously), the lowest i've gotten was 70/45. I usually average right around 120/60 (normal) at least most times i've been checked, I've got diabetes, my bladder hasn't worked properly in years, and now my bowels are starting to go.

    the docs are perennially concerned about my cholesterol (105) while 2 angiograms have shown 0 arteriosclerosis and even prescribed a statin to reduce it. ??!!?? 'but you were having chest pains, heart patients should be at 75' i'd expect at 150 or so, but at 105 is rediculous.. the big concerns they have are over tryglycerides, yeah, so I cook up and eat a pound of bacon once a month or so... so what. I refused the statin medication, the cardiologist said my heart problems appear to be entirely electrical, and the medication really wouldn't matter anyways. From experience, directly stress related, after walking into the ER on 4 occasions over chest pains, with results they cant do a thing about, and hearing from my mom that that sort of thing has run in our family for ages, with no early deaths related to it, just an annoyance (my grandma had the issue, and died at 98 of other causes, also diabetic, but, at that age, i'd chalk it up to old age in general)

    my advice is to check your blood pressure when you are relatively calm, if its over about 150/90 then, it might be time to see your doc.

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