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High Blood Pressure

Jumps in blood pressure

06/16/2008

Question:

My Mom is 65 years old, and she sometimes experiences sudden jumps from high to low blood pressure and vice versa, e.g. in the morning it was 90/60 and at night it jumped to 180/160. She usually feels very sick when this happens. She doesn`t take any medications for it since it`s not just high or low, but varying. Could you suggest why it happens and how she could control it? Thank you!

Answer:

As people get older, their blood pressure becomes more variable.  This is due to the fact that the arteries become more stiff and can no longer adapt quickly to changes in body position, exercise or stress.

However, the blood pressure goals are the same at any age.  Your  mother's blood pressure should not be more than 130/80 on average.  At this pont, she should see a physician and undergo a few basis tests (urinalysis, EKG, blood glucose and kidney function as well as a test of thyroid function).  If these are all normal, strategies to reduce stress and/or anxiety could be helpful.

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