High blood pressure has me spooked

Apologies in advance for my rant…it’s been a stressful few weeks, and I just need to get this out. On December 5th I was literally on the table about to get cortisone shots in my back and SI joints, when the doctor saw the reading on the blood pressure monitor. 169/119. They ran it 6 times (both arms, ankle and a new machine) and each time it was an almost identical reading. So no cortisone for me, and off to a different section of the hospital I went to get an ECG (which came back totally normal), and then out the door to my family doctor to start the process of figuring this out. They took me off Meloxicam (I’m still on Sulfasalazine), which didn’t change anything. It’s 3 weeks later and I have a referral to an internist and a kidney ultrasound, a bunch of tests to undergo, and my BP is still almost as high as on December 5th. Yesterday, after suffering migranes off and on for 2 wees, I went to my doctor again and my BP was 180/125, so my doctor put me on BP meds. I have been terrified that I will go to bed and just not wake up the next day, and freaking out at every strange thing I feel in my body (which is a lot with PsA!). Today was a better day with no migraine and my BP at 134/98. So I’ve calmed down, but I’m wondering if anyone else out there has had a similar experience? I know that there is some talk of PsA affecting BP…?

Long term NSAID use can also contribute to raised blood pressure. Plus you may have familial risks that are factored in. My blood pressure had been steadily rising, from low to high end of normal. I’m off the NSAID now. BUT. . . . this is also about the age that my dad’s blood pressure started to rise.

I hope that you’re able to get yours under control soon. That’s pretty frightening.

Hi Aspyn,
Ugh! Scary stuff! There are so many risk factors contributing to high blood pressure, that it’s hard to say it’s only PsA, but PsA could be a big factor what with all the inflammation that makes the rest of your body feel like crap. It only makes sense it could be damaging your heart and circulatory system! Thinking back, when I turned 50 my BP went from regularly around 120/80 to 170/100. That was before I had PsA symptoms (but I did have moderate psoriasis for almost 30 years by that time). A small dose of a BP med remedied that. IDK if you’ve tried fish oil or COq10 at all, but I think those two natural products, especially the COq10, can lower BP. We all know caffeine contributes to higher BP. Decongestants will raise BP, too.
At times my BP went up to levels same as yours and finally I had a clogged artery in my heart. Now I’m on two BP meds, an anti-platelet med, daily aspirin, and a lipid to lower cholesterol.
A healthy diet combined with exercise and reducing stress is extremely important–I didn’t realize how important until I was at the brink of a heart attack. Hopefully your cardiologist will get you on the right track. Glad to hear your EKG is normal–I’m sure they’ll do a stress test or CT Scan to make sure your heart is okay.

What does your Rheumie say about all of this? Has there been any change in your inflammation markers (raw numbers, not just normal/abnormal) I’m wondering if your PsA is simply not being well controlled?

I’ve been on blood pressure meds for a few days and it seems to be under control now. Scary stuff though! Thanks for your comments. Grandma_J - appreciate the tips! I’ll look into the fish oil and COq10. tntlamb - my rheumy has had me marked as being in remission for the last few months, but said my inflammation markers are up very very slightly. He also is who referred me to an internist, who I haven’t seen yet. I’m really hoping this calms down a bit. I’ve felt significantly better over the last few months, and other than some pain in my lower back, I could almost say I feel like my old self! This really threw me for a loop. Thanks again, and all the very best for 2017.

When Enbrel started to fail me, coincidentally my blood pressure started creeping up. It was brought back in control by BP meds. I switched to Humira, and my BP went down even further. It seems to be stable now. I’ve never read anything about the connection between BP and PsA, but I’m inclined to think that there could be a connection.

Got a question for you: if your rheum thought you were in remission, why were you getting the steroid shots?

Nice to hear from you again, Aspyn, but sorry your facing another challenge. The docs are monitoring and treating your high BP, so try to relax about it.

Hi Seenie. Thanks for sharing your experience.
About your questions…it was mine as well! My rheumy said that the remission is based on my inflammation markers, not by my pain level (although the pain has reduced significantly since September). The reason for the steroid shots was due to the pain that lingers. My pain clinic wanted to try them to see if it would eliminate it.

OK, now I’m not a doc but I do know a bit about this disease. One of the facts I know is that about 50% of PsA patients have inflammatory markers that are in the normal range. Myself, PsA trashed my hips while there was nothing unusual about my CRP and ESR.

Something’s not adding up for me. The steroid shot was for pain in the fingers, and I would assume the steroid was intended to reduce the inflammation in the joint. But he thinks you are in remission? Hmmmmm…

Maybe someone smarter than this old girl can figure this out and explain it.

That’s really interesting. To be fair, my rheumy didn’t order the cortisone shots, my family doctor referred me to the pain clinic and they decided that course of action to address my back pain. All of my xrays and MRI indicate no joint damage in my body, and I wonder if my rheumy marked me in remission because my inflammation came down so much, no joint damage, and a significant reduction in pain/fatigue, etc? In any case, I would be interested in people’s thoughts on all of this as I’m new to PsA :slight_smile:

What is remission? I’ve seen that question here a few times! If low inflammation markers alone were universally considered an indicator of remission I’d have been in remission for 4 years (ESR started off around 70, closer to 1 since starting meds).

I’m tempted to ask what is PsA? as well. Damned if I know! And that’s because evidently it can lie low and still mess us up in insidious ways. So could be that high blood pressure is your PsA’s charming way of letting you know it’s still around. I hope you have a rheumy who is prepared to put his thinking cap on because it is complicated but clearly your condition does require a bit of thought at the moment.

Do you take ibuprofen by chance or just meloxicam?