Why Does My Blood Pressure Go Up and Down So Much?
Many of our patients get frustrated because it seems like their blood pressure is never the same each time they get it taken. It is low one day, then high the next. They wonder what they are doing wrong. Is there something they can do to keep it down? Does everybody’s blood pressure vary from day to day?
Your blood pressure is a reflection of many different factors. It can be affected by activity, fluid and salt intake, stress levels, alcohol, drugs, or even the timing of your medications. This means that depending on the time of day, the day of the week, your activity or stress level, your blood pressure will vary from day today. Even minute to minute!
If you are taking medication to control your blood pressure, it will be important for your healthcare provider to not only take a blood pressure in their office but to get an idea of what your blood pressure is doing on a daily or weekly basis. Here are some tips on how to do this:
- Take your blood pressure at the same time of the day. Preferably in the middle of the day, after you have taken your morning medications. This will reflect how well controlled your BP is after the prescribed medications.
- Write down your blood pressure and pulse each time. Any notebook or lined paper will work so that you can record the date and time, and make any notes about how you are feeling that day.
- Bring this record with you whenever you see your healthcare provider. Don’t forget to bring your list of current medications.
- Take your blood pressure medications just as prescribed by your healthcare provider. If you have concerns about the medications or any side effects you may be experiencing, discuss these with your provider before skipping or stopping any medications. Stopping blood pressure medication abruptly can be dangerous.
- If you don’t know what type of BP machine to get, talk to your local pharmacist. They can help with your decision. Your insurance may even accept a prescription from your health care provider to help with the cost of the machine.
Remember, you play a vital role in your health care, especially when it comes to blood pressure control. Your healthcare provider will team up with you to meet your goals!
Janet Huenink is a native Nebraskan who received her associate’s degree in nursing from UNMC and her bachelor’s degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University. She then received her master’s in nursing from UNMC, Omaha, specializing in adult health. She is certified as an Adult Nurse Practitioner through ANCC. She has practiced with the Nebraska Heart Institute since 1997, working with the cardiologists to treat adults with cardiac conditions. Currently, she is assigned primarily at Nebraska Heart Hospital in Lincoln.