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blood pressure and ADHD

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Ok, I've been bothered by several health issues in my life thus-far. One of them that continues to bother me and hasn't been fixed is my blood pressure. I'm 22 years old and I'm about 190 pounds. My blood pressure ranges from 120-85 to 160-95. Of course, I'm a high-strung person and thoughts are always racing through my head. I know for a fact I have ADHD. I was diagnosed young and I took ritalin from the age of 8-13. I, like many others, felt like a zombie, but it helped your calm down. I feel like no matter what I do, it's impossible for me to calm down. I can feel my heart beating very hard when I try to sleep and it makes it hard to sleep sometimes. Also, my face gets hot all the time, then I take my blood pressure and it's usually around 155-90 or so at that point. Is it most likely all related to ADHD and I should try to fix it? I didn't have problems with blood pressure until about the age of 20 or so. I'm now 22. I would think if it was ADHD related, I would have always had blood pressures issues since my ADHD has always been bad. I do eat out quite a bit and I should probably cut back on the salt. I also drink A LOT of pop. I average about 55 ounces a day. Do you think maybe just now is catching up to me? One more issue is how I get tingling randomly during the day in random spots on my body (sometimes even in my chest near my heart). My limbs will go randomly numb, even if I'm not laying on them sometimes.

One other thing I noticed is that no one is posting subjects asking about their blood pressure problems in relation to ADHD. That also clues me in that other people that have ADHD aren't having blood pressure issues.

PLEASE HELP ME! My health problems have also included serious memory loss. I need replies to this thread really bad. Even if you can't help, just say you have no idea so I get a general idea. Thanks.
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First Helper RonaldRightbrain
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replied April 6th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
I don't think your high blood pressure is related to ADHD. Have you been to a doctor about your blood pressure yet? If not you need to go. The doctor will help you get that blood pressure under control. You are at risk for cardiac problems and stroke. You are young. Take care of yourself now so when you get older you are able to do the things you want to do. I hope you will see a doctor and get treated for your high blood pressure.
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replied April 6th, 2008
Stop drinking cola, that stuff is absolutely terrible for you. That tingly feeling you get in your mouth when you drink it isn't just bubbles of carbonation, it's phosphoric acid. Drink water and fruit juices instead.
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replied April 7th, 2008
Isn't it true though that people with ADHD should have slightly elevated blood pressure because of hyper-activity that causes them to be moving their legs all the time and stuff like that? Surely people that are fidgeting all the time will have a higher heart rate. The doctor only wants to give me blood pressure medicine. They don't actually want to try and fix the problem. I try to convince them to do something else, but they just tell me it's diet. My doctors are very useless.
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replied April 8th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
I am sorry you don't have any confidence in your doctors. I stand by what I said before and that is high blood pressure and ADHD have no physiological connection to one another. Your heart rate and blood pressure can be directly connected but not always. People who are ADHD and fidget and move all the time are not driving up their heart rate to any discernible level. I have taken many blood pressures and pulses of people with the history of ADHD and typically their vital signs are within normal limits.

Blood pressure is effected by two factors- volume and pressure. Think of a garden hose. If you put a garden hose on a fire hydrant and turned the water on and measured the pressure within the lumen of the hose you would find the pressure up due to the amount of force on the hose from the volume of water going through it.
If you took a garden hose and twisted it up but didn't occlude the lumen of the hose completely and then put the water on you would find in order to get a strong stream you would have to really crank up the amount of water going into the hose. The pressure within the hose would be up.

Now think of your heart. It is a series of "hoses" connected to a pump. If the "hoses" or vessels are narrowed due to plaque (cholesterol and lipids) then the heart will try to pump harder to force the blood through the smaller opening and lumen of the vessels. This PRESSURE will drive up your blood pressure.

If you have too much volume in your body (usually not the case; usually you lose volume due to bleeding somewhere which results in low blood pressure) your blood pressure will go up due to more VOLUME. (This is one way to treat low blood pressure - give some fluids and get the volume up)

Now, I ask myself "why is a 20 yr. old female presenting with such high blood pressure?" To find the answer tests must be done - blood work first. If that reveals nothing then you go on and start trying to "see" what is wrong through imaging tests. I would suggest you go see a cardiologist. Try to get some answers for this.

It may be due to diet and weight. If that is the case you must find a way to take off the weight. More health problems will result if you don't. You are so young. You should not have blood pressures that high. I am accustomed to seeing those types of pressure on older people who have done some living and had years of build up in their vessels to drive up their blood pressure.

Do yourself a huge favor. Look at this as a warning. Go see a cardiologist. Look at your diet and clean it up. If you quit drinking pop and eliminate sugar and white flour I GUARANTEE you that you will lose weight. Start slow and get rid of pop. The next week eliminate cookies, pastries, cakes. The week after that eliminate white noodles - use whole wheat or whole grain by Barilla. Even my picky little boys eat them! You can do a lot by just slowly eliminating bad stuff and replacing it with good food. Fruit will help with sugar cravings.

Let me know if this helps. I don't mean to preach but you are too young to start on a path of poor health so early. That is for old folks. Save it till you're old and take charge of your health and live. Let me know if you have any more questions. You can PM me if you like. All the best.
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replied April 22nd, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Antigone - wonderful post!!

I am a 33 year old woman and am suffering from too low of blood pressure and low heart rate usually while exercising. We are trying to figure out why. I will see a cardiologist in the next few days. My blood pressure used to be consistently 100/83. My heart rate used to be high - around 90. I do not think there is a correlation between ADHD and blood pressure. I don't know about the heart rate. i wouldn't think so.

Why all the pop? Are you trying to self medicate?? See a doctor ASAP.

Oh, and I have ADHD.
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replied April 23rd, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Ladylee,

Heart rate may be effected due to medications for ADHD. Other than that I don't know of the correlation but there was something in the news concerning heart disease and ADHD. They are recommending that all children and adults with the disorder have a 12 lead EKG done by a cardiologist. I need to see if I can find some reports on this. I'll let you know if I find something. Your blood pressure is good. Your blood pressure will drop as you become more physically fit. Heart rate will lower too. Do you get dizzy when you exercise? I hope you cardiologist will do a persantine stress test on you. Tell him you want the 12 lead EKG as well. Let me know what he says.
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replied April 30th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
They are doing a stress EKG next monday! I will ask about the 12 lead as well! Thanks.

When I exercise, my heart rate drops compared to when I rest. There are a number of factors. Stimulants usually cause HRs to be higher not lower.

I have usually had a higher heart rate independent of stimulant medication - around 90. It was only recently that my heart is doing some crazy things and my heart rate is really low now. I am really not in shape. I weigh 110 pounds but have no muscle. I drop weight extremely easy.

I should have had a good EKG before stimulant meds as heart conditions such as valve problems run in the family. I will let you know
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replied January 3rd, 2010
Hi antigone, I know this trail is more than a year old, but I am interested to know if you have any updated thoughts or links on this subject.

I am researching for a series of books on ADHD and the possibility of a link with blood pressure has been muted elsewhere - not a direct physiological one but rather an indirect one related via stress...

In other words, whilst your explanation of the volume/pressure equation is clearly correct, the effect on blood pressure can come indirectly via emotional stress (e.g. caused by frustration) causing tension and contrained blood vessels... all linked to fight-and-flight etc...

I know this doesn't take away from all your good advice about general health and the need to keep blood pressure under control, but for the books I am looking for some further links to shed light on the many feedback loops that exist between the physiology and the psychology, where ADHD is particularly relevant.

Many thanks
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replied April 5th, 2010
Consider getting a blood test for a pheochromocytoma. Symptoms could mimic ADHD and cause high blood pressure.

Ask for a blood catecholamines test and a 24 hour urine test.
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replied September 18th, 2010
adhd and blood pressure
Ronald,

I read your post, and totally agree with you. Doctors are programmed and taught to look at blood pressure as a piping system, that is directly related to your diet, and physical weight. Which for the majority, is probably true. Although, I know from personal experience, I have had high blood pressure for about 15 yrs, since I was 20, and I am in great shape, and eat a well balanced diet. I have adhd, and my blood pressure is directly related to the imbalances in my brain function. If I am in a zen state, somehow, my blood pressure is fine, but add any direct influence from daily activities cause my mind to go in stress mode. This has a direct influence to my bp and state of mind.. So just wanted to add some info here, and whoever posted. that it can be directly related to your adhd and not a physiological problem , such as salt, or diet. Doctors dont uncerstand this, because they are not taught this. I think some do, but dont have a full understanding, until they have been through it. My advice is to see a specialist in adhd, and hypertension. know your body, mind, and write it down. do research and bring that info to your doctor. everyone is different and dont let a doctor categorize u.
thanks
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replied October 24th, 2010
I have been in a 8 year relationship with an undiagnosed ADHD and I can tell you that when he was placed on Benicar for HBP he turned into a different person. Much more calmer, less outbursts/agression, not as hyperactive. I have been trying to find out what the correlation is because I know there is one. It is very obvious when he doesn't take his HBP medicine he behavior becomes very agressive, irritable, angry and unable to cope in a healthy way.
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replied November 10th, 2010
Blood pressure and ADHD
Tappan and Ronald...

I agree with you both... Doctor only good by what they have been taught(which has been proven in traditional cases) If you an variable outside of these cases they are at a lost. Like my husband, who is not on any ADHD meds but has hypertension which is uncontrollable, they have tried a higher dose and a lower dose and a different med...He so frustrated it not even funny...which does not help the ADHD problem...
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replied May 9th, 2011
This is so easy to see...lol. If you're on ADHD MEDICATIONS, you could be experiencing SIDE AFFECTS! Hello! All stimulant medications can increase heart rate AND blood pressure. My boyfriend is taking Adderall and he is having elevated blood pressure from it, because his blood pressure was never this high before and it only happens after he takes the pill. Wow, can't believe no one has mentioned this. Also, read the labels of your prescriptions, and list of possible side affects. Elevated heart rate and blood pressure are listed as possible side affects.
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replied May 27th, 2011
ADHD/ADD health and diet
According to the original post the person was on Ritalin for a short while. Also there is mention of blood pressure increasing at around age 20. Many people get a higher blood pressure at some point in their lives due to diet, exercise, genetics, and medications. Some medications can stay in the body long after you stop them.

From what I am reading alone on the original post it sounds like several issues at once. To break it down, I would say the person should get retested for ADHD and set up some sort of treatment plan that they can live with. As for the anxiety and blood pressure, yes, they can be a part of ADHD in that it is how that person responds to stressors and anxiety. Diet is also a factor, and I believe the soda pop is a way to medicate to help deal with the situations.

I would advise a log to keep track of diet and pay special attention to soda pop and other foods taken that may make you feel racing heart, light headed, better overall, and how much per day. You may have a Caffeine overload and need to tone it down to balance the rest out. Carbohydrates consumed during the day may help or hinder ADHD and each person is unique. I know that the doctors are stressing changes in Diet, but maybe you need to ask them to write down for you exactly what is needed and why as they may feel that the diet is triggering the health issues and not the ADHD. Keep up the hope and try to find someone you can talk to or at least have a decent discussion with.

I hope this helps as I was a late diagnosis of ADD at age 25 so I've been through the doctors who think they know me better than I do. I found one who worked with me to solve the problems and not just say something and send me on my way with more questions than answers.
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replied April 12th, 2014
First note that I did not read all the above posts, so someone could have stated this already Smile

I was just diagnosed with ADHD and I am supposed to start taking Ritalin. However one of the side effects of this medication is high blood pressure, and as I have slightly elevated values from before I may not qualify for the medication.

My point - This could be the same in your case: Perhaps you have high values initially and it is agitated by the medication? (I'm not a health professional, just sharing my experience).
Perhaps there is something you can do to get a more stable and healthy pressure through diet or a change in lifestyle? Or maybe your problem is the medication...I do not know enough about this, but maybe one of the alternatives to Ritalin can work for you?
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