Q. I hate having my blood pressure taken at the doctor’s office. The numbers are always a lot higher than the measurements I get at home.
For example, last week the nurse got a reading of 170/86, but when the doctor came and took it again with the same instrument, the blood pressure was 154/82 in my right arm and 130/80 in my left arm. At home the measurement usually ranges from 125 to 140 over about 80.
I take amlodipine, lisinopril and hydrochlorothiazide. They make me feel dizzy and tired. Are there any natural remedies for lowering blood pressure?
A. We’re not surprised that your doctor would want to treat your high blood pressure. A brand new study suggests that even “prehypertension: may increase the risk for strokes. Researchers reported in the journal Neurology (online, Sept 28, 2011) that people with systolic blood pressure between 120 and 139 and diastolic blood pressure between 80 and 89 have a 55% higher risk of having a stroke compared to those with lower blood pressure readings.
That said, you may be suffering “white coat hypertension.” Many people react to having blood pressure taken in the doctor’s office. Measurements may be 20 points or more higher than the normal reading. Home blood pressure measurements can be helpful for such individuals.
There are many approaches to blood pressure control. Exercise, weight loss, relaxation and minerals such as magnesium can be useful.
Don’t stop your pills but let your doctor know you are not feeling well. The right medications in the right dose should control blood pressure with minimal side effects.
Anyone who would like to learn more about non-drug approaches to controlling hypertension should find our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment helpful. It discusses proper techniques for blood pressure measurement and discusses the pros and cons of many medications.