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Sudden high blood pressure

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During the past two weeks I noticed that I was hearing my heart beat in my ears. I have always had fairly low blood pressure my entire life, at the most 120 over 75. I decided to use our home blood pressure monitor two days ago and yikes! My pressure was 166 over 92. Today wasn’t much better, 154 over 84. I thought maybe hearing the heartbeat in my ears was from taking 40 mg Prilosec for the past three months so I stopped taking it last Thursday. I did read that some people had this reaction. But I thought if that were the case it would have come down more by now. I did read that this symptom is called pulsatile tinnitus which can be from blocked arteries

I also read that those with breast cancer that had left side radiation had a tendency to develop cardiac problems so now I’m worried. I don’t know why it would have jumped up so suddenly though. My last reading was last month, 122/76. I do have a scheduled appointment with my oncologist tomorrow and will speak to her about it.

i would like to know if anyone has had this happen to them.

Comments

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,278
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    @sonya16 while you wait for other members to chime in, we came across these articles from our main site that discusses various factors that can impact blood pressure, including medications and radiation:

    Breast Radiation Side Effects

    Heart Problems

    We hope it helps, and best of luck with your appointment!

    The Mods

  • sonya16
    sonya16 Member Posts: 67
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    Thanks so much for the info. I am hoping to get some guidance today. I finished my radiation treatments in mid June of this year, so I’m surprised this would be an issue now all of a sudden if it were caused by the radiation but I guess it could be.

  • sonya16
    sonya16 Member Posts: 67
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    Thank you Mods, for the information. I will be seeing a cardiologist to follow up on this issue.

  • zen1028
    zen1028 Member Posts: 82
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    Hi..I found this thread and I too am currently going thru high blood pressure but I am near the end of my radiation treatment. I went to my primary care doctor a day ago and they gave me some blood pressure medication. Just wondering if you are still experiencing this or has your oncologist prescribe different methods or treatment plans? I read the article provided by the moderator and also other online documents that says that radiation to the left side could increase the chance of diabetes and blood pressure during and after radiation treatment. Just want to see what treatment outside of medication are there. I am exercising, good weight management, and eating healthy yet it looks like I may have hit this side effect.

  • sonya16
    sonya16 Member Posts: 67
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    Hi zen1028,

    I didn't experience the high blood pressure issue until approximately 4 months after radiation. I have not yet been prescribed blood pressure meds as it seems to be up sometimes and normal at other times. When this occurred, I was on prilosec and then aciphex due to inflammation of my esophagus most likely due to the radiation. Sometimes the PPI's can raise blood pressure, but no correlation has been made in my case. When I tried going off the aciphex for 2 weeks, my bp started to come down, but then I went back on the ppi as I started to get the symptoms back in my throat and the bp started to climb up again. Then again, I am not exercising as much as I would like due to some issues with my back/hip which I'm hoping will resolve after physical therapy. This could also be a factor.

    However, I did not know, nor was I ever told that high bp could be a side effect of radiation therapy. Obviously, I did not read the articles provided by the mods closely enough. I did ask my oncologist at the time this first occurred, but never received a clear answer. I have an appointment coming up this week with my oncologist and I am certainly going to ask this question and press a little harder for an answer.

  • zen1028
    zen1028 Member Posts: 82
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    Thanks for the reply sonya16. I too did not know that radiation has the potential to do this to blood pressure during and within a yr afterwards. Reason I notice my BP was high was early this week, I have not been feeling "norm" and used my at home machines to check. Did not think much of it as my weekly visits to the radiologist, the nurses checked my BP and they were normal. I thought it was my machine at home going "nuts". Went to my primary Friday and sure enough it was high. So on meds for now, today still a little wacky (could be my body getting use to the meds?). I just need to get thru until 1/30 as that is my last session with radiation. The articles does say high BP could go away after treatment or not…fingers crossed. But I have follow up with primary, radiologist, and oncologist in 3 wks. Also asking for referral to see an endocrinologist if the thyroid could be the cause.

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 1,059
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    Hi zen1028, I had erratic blood pressure which at times was sky high before I had any bc treatment. I was eventually prescribed meds even though my bp readings were sometimes OK. Months after radiation I developed the pulsatile tinnitus (heartbeat sound in the ears) that sonya16 mentions when my diastolic reading was high. I have arthritis and can't take NSAIDs due to Barett's esophagus. My gastroenterologist recommended 200mg of CoQ10 since his non-alcoholic fatty liver patients for whom he prescribed it remarked on how it helped their arthritis pain. It helped my pain but it also remarkably stabilized my blood pressure in the good range. It's an OTC anti inflammatory with few SEs so it might be worth a trial to see if it helps.

  • zen1028
    zen1028 Member Posts: 82
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    Thank you for the tip maggie15. Will look that up. I was elevated but not high before BC treatment. Been on overnight oats and blueberry. Doing some 5-10 exercises daily or every other day, but walk my dog 10 min daily (weather permitting). So it was managed before BC. I read that isometric exercises (like wall sit, plank, or squeezing a stress ball hard in your hands) are also helpful, so trying to see about incorporating them and also increasing my blueberry intake to a cup daily. Also read that a cup or 4 chopped celery daily could also benefit in reduction. I do "read" a lot 😁.

    Just dont want to be on meds unless absolutely have to. But right now, just trying to get thru 1/30, the last day of radiation.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,278
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    @zen1028, I would also recommend speaking with/asking your MO or radiation oncologist for their feedback on the fluctuating high blood pressure to get their thoughts on it, since your PCP is less specialized in cancer treatment. It could be helpful to just see their take. Likely they will need to track your blood pressure for a few months after active treatment to see if it resolves on its own or not, but it sounds like you're already being proactive in managing it. Keep us up-to-date as it would be helpful for others to know how things do/do not change for you in the following months! :)

  • zen1028
    zen1028 Member Posts: 82
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    Totally agree with the moderators. As I am going in Monday for treatment, will see if I can catch a nurse or the radiation oncologist afterwards to see what they say. If not, will ask for another appointment just to see the radiation oncologist.

  • zen1028
    zen1028 Member Posts: 82
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    So got thru a lot of calls/messages with Primary Oncology office. Long story short, to them the BP could be a combination of the lupron/stress/radiation. The management falls to the PCP and I should still take the Tamoxifen as originally intended. But will be having a phone call prior to see how is my BP status prior to start. I ask about the possible interactions of the BP meds (it is a calcium inhibitor) and the 600 mg calcium I am taking for the lupron. They don't believe that is an issue. I think it is an issue as I have stop the calcium and my head is more normal today. Too much calcium could cause BP levels to go high as well. The radiation department dont think the radiation could be the cause my BP is crazy. Basically said something along the lines of no relations. But they agree to review BP with me after my treatment today. This is soo frustrating. Why can't there be a navigator/coordinator of care for cancer treatments, start/middle/end? Someone that I can contact, state my concerns/issues, and this person can listen/review and guide me where I need to go next? I am literally doing this all on my own with help from Google and this site (mods & members)…venting.😶

  • harley07
    harley07 Member Posts: 314
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    @Zen - sounds like a very frustrating experience. Do you have a nurse navigator that can help? If not, could you ask your oncology department to assign one? I didn’t have one but I see others in the forum have had a nurse navigator and know from my SIL’s experience that it was very helpful.

    Good luck!

  • zen1028
    zen1028 Member Posts: 82
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    Hi harley07…your SIL is sooo lucky. My oncologist has a nurse navigator and basically that was what that office told me about my BP issue, telling me to talk to your PCP but they think it could be the lupron/stress/radiation causing it. As the moderator indicated, our PCP are not experts in cancer treatments and to me, it is unfair to pushed this onto them. In another discussion that I started, I thought Survivorship program was the navigator but it is not what I thought it was. I was told that it was for folks out of hormone therapy or other treatments for 5 yrs as a lean to for any other issues that pops up. My primary oncologist was supposedly my go to for these issues as my "navigator" for the next 5 yrs. Yet it's sounding like they pushing me to my PCP and I am navigating on my own. I don't know if others are in the same boat but it is very frustrating. I thought having BC was bad, the surgery was bad, the radiation was bad, but this is worst on a whole other level. I can only thank the internet and this site and other medical sites to get my answers if I am able to search the questions in the right "way". Like how calcium can interact with my BP meds in terms of lowering the effect of the BP meds. Again the oncologist office didnt think that is an issue. Like how radiation on the left side could cause BP issues during and/or within one year after. Was at radiation treatment today and as the nurse was checking my BP, I mention this to her and the nurse said she never heard of anything about that. venting…sigh