Many fibromyalgia patients suffer from high blood pressure. Sometimes the pain patients experience causes the high blood pressure and other times, it’s the various medications that cause it. Another common reason for elevated high blood pressure is being overweight. A number of patients take medications that lower their metabolism as a side effect. In other scenarios, they have a poorly functioning thyroid which leads to weight gain.
No matter the cause, the dangers remain the same. Chronic high blood pressure is a high-risk condition that should be addressed immediately, especially in individuals with chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, and patients who are on multiple prescriptions that could elevate blood pressure or that could counteract with blood pressure controlling medications.
Hypertension (the medical term for high blood pressure) can be “quiet” over many years, damaging your body in the process. Left untreated, hypertension can lead to a major disabilities and even a fatal heart attack.
Let’s take a quick look at what blood pressure actually is before getting too detailed about its dangers. Blood pressure is the pressure of blood in the arteries that’s pumped from the heart. It’s measured with two numbers, systolic and diastolic. Systolic, the top higher number of your reading, is the pressure when the heart contracts or pumps. Diastolic, the lower bottom number of the reading, is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest in between beats. Normal levels blood pressure readings are considered to be less than 120/80 mmHg. Anything higher than that number on a consistent basis puts you at risk of hypertension.
Arteries are usually flexible and elastic, with smooth inner linings so the blood can flow easily. The blood is moved via the arteries all over the body, supplying all the organs with the oxygen and nutrient-rich blood. Constant high pressure in the arteries can destroy that strength and elasticity of the artery lining and cause narrowing, constriction, damage, and aneurysm, a large bulge in the artery that will eventually rupture and cause life-threatening bleeding.
Constant high blood pressure will thicken the arterial walls, make them stiff, and cause arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.
This kind of damage is a snowball effect because hypertension is not just caused by medications but by a combination of poor diet, low activity levels, and chronic pain. Pain increases the blood pressure because it puts you in a state of stress, in which the heart pumps more rapidly. This type of arterial damage can cause a number of problems like chest pain, stroke, heart failure, heart attack, eye damage, aneurysm and death.
High blood pressure puts you not just at cardiovascular risk, but could damage all other vital organs and functions because blood supplies the life to everything. I’ve mentioned above the effects high blood pressure has on your heart. High blood pressure also affects the brain. It can cause an transient ischemic attack (TIA), or a mini stroke, which is a brief disruption of blood supply to the brain. This is usually a sign warning that a full-blown stroke is on the horizon. TIAs are caused by a clot, or atherosclerosis, a collection of fats from your diet that form clots in the arteries. You can also develop dementia and cognitive impairment as a result of various levels of disrupted blood supply to the brain.
When the kidneys don’t receive proper blood supply, they can’t excrete excess fluid and waste from the blood properly. Therefore, there is potential for some kind of nephropathy (kidney disease) to occur such as kidney scarring, kidney failure, and kidney artery aneurysm. All of these are highly dangerous and potentially fatal.
Additionally, hypertension can affect the eyes, bones, sexual function, and sleep. There are multi-dimensional issues associated with uncontrolled hypertension that need to be addressed immediately.
Blood pressure is very easy to monitor. You can purchase a device for home, or check it weekly at your local pharmacy or drugstore. Keep a diary of your readings and if you are consistently high at various times of day under various levels of stress, then talk to your doctor about what is causing the hypertension.
Don’t let them just prescribe you another medication, especially if you are already taking several for a current medical condition!
It is highly likely that, if you are taking several different kinds of medications, your hypertension is being caused one of the drugs. Mobic and other non-steroidal anti inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) can cause high blood pressure. In addition, Ritalin, Wellbutren, Effexor, Cymbalta, Savella, and other antidepressants can cause high blood pressure.
To start getting your blood pressure under control, make sure that you are on a healthy diet of reduced fat and unprocessed foods. A diet rich in grains, lean meats, and fresh fruits and vegetables is vital to lower blood pressure. Daily exercise alone may even cure your hypertension. Exercising can also help you lose weight, which will in turn aid to controlling your blood pressure. Losing weight, even 10 pounds can have a dramatic positive effect on your blood pressure! If it doesn’t, you will need some sort of intervention to avoid long-term ramifications. You could even have a thyroid condition. Finding and fixing a low thyroid condition also could be the answer to lowering your blood pressure.
Taking a good high dose multivitamin/mineral supplement, like the CFS/Fibro Formula will often reduce high blood pressure. Increasing your magnesium intake can assist with lowering hypertension. I recommend my fibro patients take 500-800 mg of magnesium a day. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant.
If you have high blood pressure I encourage to read my book, Heart Disease: What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You