We have heard about high blood pressure and low blood pressure issues separately. Have you ever heard someone complaining that they have both low BP and high BP? Very rarely. But this doesn’t mean that it cannot happen. Dr. Gunjan Kapoor, MBBS, MD, DM (Cardiology), Director of Cardiac Sciences Deptt. at Yatharth Super Speciality Hospital explains that fluctuating blood pressure isn’t common but it can be caused due to common factors such as stress, alcoholism, medication, etc. Your blood pressure reading can say a lot about your health including any underlying problem. It is always suggested to consult a doctor whenever you see a sudden spike or dip in your blood pressure.
Is it possible to have low BP and high BP?
Blood pressure is measured by the momentum of blood flow. It naturally changes throughout the day and most of the time, it is predictable. For example, when you exercise, your blood pressure would be high but during the resting time, BP would be recorded low. In such cases, you won’t experience any prominent signs or symptoms of fluctuating blood pressure. These are mostly fleeting and brief.
But if you notice symptoms and upon checking you find the blood pressure is unusually high or low, it may be concerning. Some people do experience both low BP and high BP problems but it depends on the reading whether they need medical consultation or not.
Possible fluctuating blood pressure causes
There are several reasons for fluctuating blood pressure. We have explained a few of them in this article for your reference:
Out of all the issues, stress is one thing that can drastically impact your blood pressure. Be it emotional stress or anxiety, these factors can cause an increase or decrease in your blood pressure. People with stressful jobs have a high risk of developing cardiovascular problems including blood pressure. Over time, it can even lead to severe fluctuations in blood pressure.
If you are on medication for an existing condition, you may also see fluctuations in blood pressure. Both prescription and over-the-counter medicines can affect blood pressure. While BP tablets and diuretics reduce blood pressure, allergy and cold medicines may increase your BP.
Your blood pressure also depends on your physical activeness. Blood pressure fluctuations may be seen during talking, laughing, exercising, running, etc.
Foods and drinks
Just like physical activities, your diet can also impact BP readings. By diet, we mean unhealthy or processed foods particularly those with high tyramine content. This is an amino acid that is linked to blood pressure regulation. Consuming foods that are high in tyramine can cause a spike in BP. Similarly, low tyramine levels in the body can cause low BP. Tyramine is produced naturally in the body and therefore, we need not have it through diet. Common foods that have high tyramine content are:
- Fermented foods
- Cured foods
- Brined foods
- High caffeinated beverages
Do you panic upon thinking about visiting a doctor? This condition is called white-coat syndrome that is quite common. A lot of people start stressing or worrying before a doctor’s appointment. This causes a hike in their blood pressure. In such cases, their reading may come high but that doesn’t mean they have hypertension or high BP. But people who pay frequent visits to the doctor may develop high BP later on.
Hormonal fluctuations may also lead to blood pressure fluctuations. When your body isn’t producing the required hormones, adrenal fatigue may occur resulting in low blood pressure. Similarly, an overactive adrenal system may lead to an increase in blood pressure or hypertension.
On the same note, a rare adrenal tumour named pheochromocytoma can also be the reason behind poor hormone production. This may make you a victim of low and high blood pressure at different time intervals.
What increases the risk of fluctuating blood pressure?
There are certain factors that may increase the risk of fluctuating blood pressure according to Dr. Gunjan Kapoor. These are:
- Unnecessary stress
- Emotional trauma
- Taking blood pressure medicines
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Woking in night-shifts
Other than the aforesaid situations, here are some other conditions that may not only cause fluctuations but also increase the risk of developing permanent BP problem:
- Pregnancy(Gestational Hypertension)
- Cardiovascular disease
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Kidney diseases
- Uncontrolled high BP
- Nervous system problems
Fluctuating Blood Pressure Treatment
This is not a pathological condition and therefore medical intervention is not really needed until and unless the fluctuations become a daily thing. If that happens, it indicates an underlying condition that is causing your BP to fluctuate. The three main components that need to be taken into consideration for fluctuating BP treatment are:
- Monitoring BP regularly: Only if you monitor your BP daily, you will be able to identify the fluctuations. If you see the highs and lows daily, you must see a doctor.
- Lifestyle changes: You can make certain changes in your lifestyle such as increased physical activity, healthy dietary practices, etc. to see if they impact the fluctuations in any way.
If the situation doesn’t improve, the doctor may prescribe medicines to regulate BP and reduce fluctuations.
Doctor-Verified tips to manage fluctuating blood pressure at home
When you don’t have any underlying issue; low or high blood pressure condition, you can easily manage fluctuating BP at home. We have got some expert tips for you.
Maintain a healthy weight
If you are overweight or on the verge of weight gain, work on your body. It is found that increased weight and abdominal circumference is linked to blood pressure problems.
Have you heard about the DASH diet? DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. If you suspect yourself of hypertension, you must start following the DASH diet plan. This diet consists of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy products that can control blood pressure.
NOTE: If you notice hypertension symptoms, cut down your sodium intake that mainly needs cutting down on salt. Sodium can aggravate hypertension condition.
Moderate physical activity is a must to stay healthy. Start with brisk walking and jogging for at least 30 minutes a day. Avoid high-intensity workouts for the time being. You can also consult your doctor or fitness expert regarding the best exercises for hypertension.
Stress is your worst enemy. You need to exercise ways to deal with stress. This may include yoga, meditation, breathing therapies, painting, dancing, etc. Anything that is therapeutic helps in stress management.
Limit tobacco, alcohol and caffeine
These do no good for your body. Also, these are bad for blood pressure and therefore you must limit consuming these and put a full stop over time. These also increase the risk of kidney and cardiovascular diseases. You may not be wanting to risk your life because of these guilty pleasures.
Fluctuating blood pressure is an uncommon problem and harmless also. However, people who frequently see the fluctuations may need to visit the doctor to know the root cause of it. This could also be a warning sign of other underlying problems and even puts you at risk of hypertension. Thus, you must work on managing BP by warding off the risk factors. If needed, consult a doctor and get medical aid to not cause any complications in the future.
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