you have fluctuating blood pressure, now what

What causes blood pressure to rise suddenly and should you worry?

Besides the obvious: skipped blood pressure meds, excess salt, caffeine, or other stimmulatns, what causes blood pressure to rise suddenly?

First, check your monitor. It is possible that the reading is an error. Retest your blood pressure again, just to make sure.

If you get excessively fluctuating blood pressure reading minute to minute, either you need to get a more reliable monitor, or read on causes of erratic blood pressure, cases where the numbers fluctuate by the minute.

Supplements can cause sudden rise in blood pressure

The second thing you need to do is to consider that some supplements may cause blood pressure to rise suddenly, especially when they are paired with incompatible medication. It does not matter that the herbal supplement is sold over the counter. Unexpected reactions happen and you may be the unlucky one.

Here is a list of more common herbs that can cause blood pressure to suddenly rise, even without an overdose.

  • Bitter orange (Citrus aurantium)
  • Ephedra (ma-huang)
  • Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius and Panax ginseng)
  • Guarana (Paullinia cupana)
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
  • St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Not all sudden blood pressure spikes are bad

Third thing you need to do is to understand why blood pressure spikes suddenly and trace your trigger. Maybe that sudden rise is absolutely normal. Did you know that some spikes actually indicate robust health?

For example, some athletes can spike blood pressure suddenly from 200 to 400 mmHg systolic during their maximum exertion time. Such large blood pressure rise is possible in weight lifters during their lifts. These spikes have nothing to do with hypertension.

When blood pressure spikes are deadly

These spikes neither cause strokes, nor heart attacks because elastic arteries can withstand high pressure. Blood pressure spikes are only deadly with inelastic arteries.

When to worry about blood pressure spikes

How can you distinguish between a normal blood pressure spike and the one you should worry about? The rule for BP readings is rather simple: spikes during physical activity may be normal. Spikes when you are relaxed, never are.

Any time you sit in front of TV, read a book, or browse the computer, your BP numbers should reflect your non-excited state. If, at any time they go above 140/90 mmHg, they should make you think. 140/90 mmHg may be normal when you move the fridge from the first to the second floor, but not when you sit in a park and drink beer.

Blood pressure spikes need a trigger

If the readings are high without any physical exertion, then you need to look for a trigger. To discover what provokes it, will have to check your numbers at different times of the day. Your job is to find the pattern, establish the cause, and remove it. The cause may be as simple as stress from overwork, noodles your body has sensitivity to, or news on TV. 

To help you find out what triggers you may have use the BP log download (red button). It will take you through most common triggers.  


If it happens that stress is the culprit behind your high readings, instead of ignoring it and shrugging the shoulders, invest time in learning stress coping strategies. There are many useful gadgets that teach relaxation effortlessly. Among those are:

Other factors that cause blood pressure to rise suddenly

Ultimate guide to low & fluctuating blood pressureCoffee, salt, stimulants, incompatible herbs, stress, physical exertion aren’t the only causes. Here are a few you must also consider:

Nutritional deficiencies;

Nutritional insufficiencies are so common in North America that they have to be always considered, regardless of the diet.

You can either check your body’s nutrient levels or get a few supplements that cover deficiencies common in high blood pressure.

Cortisol insufficiency or excess;

Cortisol plays a huge role in cardiovascular health. Unfortunately it is not a test most doctors do. You can check whether cortisol production is an issue through this adrenal profile test.


Deconditioning is a fancy name for prolonged lack of physical activity that leads to diminished physical capacity. Excessively sedentary lifestyle is easy to check. All you need to do to see your activity level is to wear a fitbit or vivoactive for a couple of days.

Fluctuating blood pressure and blood pressure swings are very strongly linked to lack of exercise as well as overall muscle performance, which can be tested through grip strength. To test grip strength you need a dynamometer.

For other causes and natural solutions spikes and dips consult The Ultimate Guide to Low & Fluctuating Blood Pressure. It may be just the read you are looking for.

Health troubles are seldom random
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  1. tracy May 11, 2017
  2. Anoma May 17, 2017
  3. Dorothy Adamiak May 18, 2017
  4. Dorothy Adamiak May 18, 2017
  5. Maria Clarke August 10, 2017
  6. Dorothy Adamiak August 12, 2017

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