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High Blood Pressure

Recent sudden rise in BP and HR

09/17/2007

Question:

Hi, Im 25, male, white, and athletic.

I recently started an accelerated nursing program in which nearly everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I ended up having to drive about 4-5 hours/day through heavy traffic to get to my classes. I became increasingly stressed and lost a lot of sleep since i was staying up way too late to finish homework. I frequently pulled all nighters and wasnt on a normal sleep schedule. I did all of this for about 4 months. Through most of this, my bp stayed in my normal range of about 104/66. Then, I had an episode that took me to the ER because my bp suddenly went to 160/108 and HR of 140ish. The doctor put me on Toprol and sent me home. He said I had to get on a normal sleep pattern and quit beating my body. Ive since quit the nursing program and started a normal sleep pattern to alleviate the stress and anxiety i was going through. Ive been very athletic and healthy all my life and im wondering if it`s normal for high stress situations to cause someone to crash like me. Im also wondering if I can count on my body returning to normal and how long it typically takes.

thanks for all of your help!

Answer:

Stress can raise the blood pressure, and disruption of sleep has also been shown to be able to cause hypertension.

Your doctor was right in prescribing Toprol XL.  Beta blockers can reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Now that your stress level is lower and your sleep pattern back to normal, your blood pressure should become normal again.  This should not take more than a few weeks at most.  If your blood pressure stays elevated, it would mean that you are hypertensive and will need treatment.

For more information:

Go to the High Blood Pressure health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Max C Reif, MD Max C Reif, MD
Professor of Medicine
Director of Hypertension Section
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati