I exercise regularly but my BP is high. What could be wrong?


Q: I had been feeling tight chested and some mild chest pain and anxiety over the past few days so I had my blood pressure checked at one of those kiosks in the store last night. The reading was 152 - 90 and my BP was 63 (I am an active cyclist) Is that machine accurate and what type of consistency should I look for before I become concerned of an issue with hypertension?


A:   Anxiety can cause chest pains and may elevate blood pressure. A one-time elevated BP reading is not enough to diagnose hypertension. Sometimes, factors like physical activity and techinicalities (incorrect cuff size, arm lower/higher than level of the heart) can affect BP readings. If one BP reading is high, 5 more readings should be done and the average of 6 readings should be taken. This is a much more accurate BP reading. Resting for at least 5 minutes (sitting or lying down) before taking one’s BP is also wise since BP fluctuates with physical activity. Since you are also having chest pain, I would still suggest you see your doctor as soon as possible so you can be completely assessed and evaluated. An ECG would be reasonable to do just to make sure there is no serious underlying condition related to your chest pain. I do hope I have answered your question and take care always.

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