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High Blood Pressure

Sudden blood pressure spikes

10/16/2007

Question:

I am 52 years old, a diabetic controlled by diet and medication, and it is controlled. I have had a heart attack 8 years ago, and have been healthy. Recently, I started experiencing spikes in blood pressure. Usually, I`m awaken at night, I can feel it come on, race to my head and it feels like it will explode. My pressure will get as high as 250/150. It will last about a minute, then go back to normal.These episodes will come on about every 10 or 15 minutes for about 4 or 5 hours, then stop, and not happen again for a couple of weeks. I have had all the tests. Seen the cardiologist, am taking coumadin because it threw me into a-fib, seen the endincrologist and had the adrenal tests and etc,, seen the neurologist and had the EEG. No one can figure out the problem. I`m not sure I`m seeing the right doctors, or receiving the right tests. I live in the Cincinnati area and seeing people out of Middletown. I`m at my wits end, and ready to give up. I`m frightened that I`m going to stroke out, and don`t want to keep running to the hospital everytime this happens. I don`t know how to stop it. Do you have any suggestions of what else to test. Do you have any suggestions of where I could go or who I could see in the area? I hope you can help me. At first I thought it could be some kind of electrical problem because I was also haveing some kind of electrical surges in my left heel. Now, I`m not too sure.

Answer:

Diabetic patients can sometimes develop unstable blood pressure.  This is due to reduced ability of the body to adjust arterial resistance to changes in body position, level of activity or stress.  This problem is often made worse by a loss of arterial elasticity ("arterial stiffening").

It is important to make sure that you had all the appropriate tests and that you are on the right combination of medications.  You may benefit from seeing a hypertension specialist.  There are several in your area.

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