One afternoon, I checked my blood pressure at home, and it was 169/117. I was alarmed because I had heard that a bottom number that high puts one at risk for heart attack or stroke. I sat still for a few moments then checked again This time my reading was 137/85. When blood pressure readings vary like this on a regular basis it is called Fluctuating blood pressure.
Blood pressure that is up and down like this on an ongoing basis can be dangerous. The extreme highs and lows can cause stress on the heart, and brain, possibly leading to cerebrovascular disease, which may lead to a heart attack or stroke.The major concern for blood pressure variations, is the effect on brain function.
Blood pressure readings that vary throughout the day, over a period of time, have been shown to decrease cognitive skills, in older ndividuals. According to a report in the May 2014, issue of Archives of Neurolog y,(one of the AMA Archives journals), the risk for cerebrovascular diseases seems to be higher among adults with fluctuating blood pressure, in addition to high blood pressure .
Individuals who are unable to get their blood pressure in the acceptable range,( 120/80 through lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, may be put on medication. Unfortunately studies show, that 1/2 of individuals who are diagnosed with hypertension, are not able to lower their readings on their own.
Some individuals are considered treatment resistant because medication, even multiple prescription drugs do not work. I have a cousins who is on 3 medications, and her readings are still pretty high. If blood pressure readings are 140/90 on at least two consecutive occasions, this is considered as having high blood pressure If your numbers are 200/120 please seek immediate medical assistance.
If you are taking your own blood pressure at home, please carefully follow instructions that came came with your monitor. Make sure your batteries are not old, and that the cuff fits properly. Any of these may give you a false reading. I have two blood pressure monitors. If one gives me an unusually high or low reading, I double check with the other.