Intense panic and heart-palpitation during Blood Pressure measurement


Q: I have a problem of intense panic setting in whenever I get my blood pressure measured. The heart beat goes up to 140, and BP readings are generally 160 over 90 approx. Yet doctors want to get my steady state BP, and so I was advised to get a home BP monitor and monitor several times till I lose fear of the BP measurement. Since here in Switzerland, the documentation for the monitors are not in english, without proper understanding I used a wrist-cuff BP monitor on the upper arm, and got an unbelievably high reading of 192 over 125. I was panicky as usual. Now I am all the more scared to measure my BP, and get even more worked up with heart palpitation! I have not measured since. I am not sure whether a wrist cuff being placed on the upper arm can give a reading that is way too high. If it is so, I may be a bit relieved. Could you let me know about this, and suggest some remedy to take care of my blood presure problems with regards to avoiding this intense panic while having my BP measured?


A:   I know it must be hard to keep having these panic attacks. Unfortunately these are the only way to take blood pressure tests. I suggest practicing some breathing exercises before going in for the test. I have seen many people with your problem who have gotten over their fear by simply doing relaxing breathing exercises. Hope this helps.

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