Why does blood pressure fluctuate? Is spiked blood pressure genetic? Can fluctuating numbers be normal or they always mean a bad thing?
Relax! Not all spikes and dips are bad, but if you have them first and foremost you need to distinguish between normal and abnormal. Blood pressure fluctuations are extremely common and affect practically every single one of us.
Reasons and causes
Did you know that erratic circulation, just like everything else, has causes? There is never a coincidence or a heart error that causes spikes and dips. What looks to us as a random change to numbers tends to follow a specific pattern and show up in specific circumstances.
It is NOT true that numbers are steady throughout the day and there should be no ups or downs. Blood pressure fluctuates minute to minute, and sometimes quite substantially. Many fluctuations are only normal, but also healthy. The key is to sift out the good from the bad.
Before however you do that, ensure that your measurements are correct. Machines fail and some are just frank inaccurate. This one is a reliable long-lasting monitor.
Keeping a log and tracing the numbers can be extremely helpful to discover your own heart pattern. I guarantee you, your discoveries will be not only useful, but also surprising. Keep a log of numbers during various situations. The chart below will guide you through the timings.
Why does blood pressure fluctuate?
Changes in blood pressure reflect the body ability to adapt. A dramatic spike may be scary, but it can be a normal part of daily physiology. Numbers can go up in a split second if situation demands it. Even walking, talking, singing or laughing can cause noticeable increases.
A mere laughter bout can raise the top number as high as 15 points in healthy people, people with absolutely perfect circulation. But laughter is not the only situation that causes spikes. Talking does the same thing. That’s why you are told not talk or laugh when taking your readings. If you move, talk or laugh you may end up with elevated numbers.
The heart is very responsive to what you do and you may use that knowledge to your advantage. If your reading looks high you can use this technique to lower the numbers within minutes.
Blood pressure spikes during exercise
Physical exertion and exercise also temporarily causes spikes in the readings. During exercise the body needs more oxygen and, to accomplish that, the hard working muscles require a generous supply of blood. The most demanding appears to be heavy lifting. Did you know that a standard weight lifting session increases systolic numbers by an average 50-70 points? Well-trained athletes can have systolic spikes as high as 300 mmHg.
There is a reason why such dramatic spikes happen. Blood carries oxygen, which is needed by muscles. Since higher blood pressure means more oxygen, physical activity and higher readings go together. How high the spike will go depends on the intensity of the activity.
Just as walking may see a small 10 mmHg spike, running, boxing or weight lifting will register a much higher increase. Without that spike, the muscles would end up short of fuel, tire out faster and under-perform. Lack of oxygen is detrimental. It can decreases muscle power by as much as 90%. Thus, blood pressure fluctuations determine, to some extent, ability to perform physical stunts. Physical “laziness”, difficulty exercising may just simply reflect poor cardiovascular readiness to deliver adequate oxygen to the muscles.
Blood pressure fluctuations during sex
What about sex? It’s known that both males and females rely on a strong cardiovascular system for that moment of sizzle. Poor cardiovascular performance may be less of an issue for women, but for males insufficient penile erections may be extremely embarrassing.
We all heard of cases when a men died of a heart attack while having fun with an opposite sex. I have checked a few studies to see how much blood pressure spike is there to blame and I found some interesting data. Studies show that males in missionary position with normal heart function raise systolic blood pressure by approximately 20 points during an intercourse. That’s definitely not enough to give a heart attack.
Unless someone has a compromised heart, go into unusually challenging contortions, or engage is some kind of body-unfriendly fetish, normal male physiology cannot be blamed for sudden deaths during sex. Be aware that blood pressure lowering medications have been shown to interfere with normal cardiovascular physiology.
Some specific foods are capable of helping fluctuating blood pressure as well as improve penile blood flow. You will find them in the downloadable DrD Fridge Chart for Men.
Can stress do that?
Did your doctor say your numbers are high, but your readings are absolutely fine at home? That’s white coat syndrome.
White coat syndrome is nothing else but a physiological response to emotional stress. Most people take their blood pressure reading when not stressed and are surprised that there is a big difference between readings at home and at the doctor’s office. White coat syndrome is a reflection of situation-dependent over -responsiveness of cardiovascular system to nervous stimuli and indicates early hypertension. To nip it in the bud you need to arm yourself with better stress coping strategies.
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Blood pressure during the day
Are you frustrated that numbers go up and down depending on the time of the day? This is normal. Afternoon or evening blood pressure readings are normally higher. Blood pressure follows a circadian rhythm. A 10-15 mmHg increase in both systolic and diastolic numbers is not uncommon in the later part of the day. Use that knowledge and schedule your exercise session or plan to have sex in the morning to prevent dangerous spiking.
When to worry about hypertension
Hypertensive disease is not something that happens overnight. Cardiovascular decompensation is a slow process. It starts with an occasional, unaccounted for, blood pressure spike.
Initially the spikes happen infrequently and can be noted only during physical or emotional stress. If nothing is done about the situation, elevated numbers happen more frequently and eventually stay up all the time regardless of the circumstances. That`s hypertensive disease.
Most people miss the warning signs and the early phase. Seldom anyone checks blood pressure while watching a comedy, during an aerobics class or just before peaking in sex. Yet by measuring your blood pressure exactly at these times you can detect early tendency to hypertension and have ample time to correct it.
Hypertension and high cholesterol?
What if you just don’t have one heart problem, but two? What if your doctor has also mention something about high cholesterol? What if stroke is on your mind, because it runs in your family?
What if you want to be free of disease, but don’t want to be on a pile of meds? Do you have to lower cholesterol to live longer? Do you have to be on statins to avoid heart attacks? Are your odds of not getting heart disease any better with meds? Do you have to be on a low fat diet to lower your cholesterol and if not, do you have to be on any diet at all?
For answers to the above questions grab “The Cholesterol Trap!,” a 3-hour read that explains in plain language why lower cholesterol my be harming your heart and what steps to take to get to robust health.
Spiked blood pressure is NOT a sign of good health
Cardiovascular decompensation is a sign of ailing health and even occasionally elevated numbers may herald approaching hypertension.
If you find your numbers to be on a higher side get yourself a copy of The Ultimate Guide. You will find many more reasons behind your erratic numbers and get a list of simple non-drug solutions to fluctuating blood pressure. For all other heart-related needs visit Our STORE