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  • Questions over Blood Pressure waiver.

    Hello everyone, I'm currently trying to join up with the Texas National Guard and I've hit a bit of a snag. I went to MEPS in late January and was flagged for possible high blood pressure. The readings were in the low 140s / 80s. Everything else went fine and I was sent back with instructions to see my doctor and to monitor my blood pressure and send the report back to MEPS.

    When I got home I immediately made an appointment with my doctor and went to see him. My first reading was in the 130s / 80s and it was right when I walked through the door so my doctor told me to just relax a bit and he'd recheck it in 15 minutes. He decided to give me a quick physical since I hadn't been to his office in 8 years (due to a brief span of no insurance coverage and then 5 years of college). During this physical he found an inguinal hernia on my left side and referred me to a surgeon. After hearing about the hernia my blood pressure shot back up to the 140s, I just couldn't seem to get a hold of my nerves and I was extremely hesitant about my upcoming surgery. My doctor told me to check my blood pressure at home under normal conditions while I waited for my surgery date and then to come back a week after surgery to recheck my blood pressure.

    A week after this he called me to check up on my findings and I was getting a fairly consistent 120s/high 70s or low 80s. He said that he thinks I may have white coat hypertension and that I should continue to monitor it for him. My surgery to repair my hernia was two weeks ago and they used the mesh to fix it. I just got the ok from my surgeon to start slowly building back up my exercise routine and he wrote me a letter and included the surgery report for me to give to MEPS.

    My only remaining issue is my blood pressure. From what I've heard the military does not believe in white coat hypertension, high blood pressure is high blood pressure to the military doctors. Since I'm fairly certain that I'll be diagnosed with white coat hypertension, what are my options when it comes to a waiver? I'm hoping that the military will take into account the "whole package" when it comes to determining whether or not to issue me one. I'm 26, 6'1", 190lbs. I'm going for OCS and my AFQT is a 94 with my combined scores all being in the 130s. I'm not trying to gloat, but darn it I think I'm a pretty good catch, haha! The military is something I've wanted to my whole life and I'm really hoping that I can join and serve. What should I be aware of throughout the waiver process? Is there someone specifically I should talk to in the Texas Army National Guard? Any information is appreciated!
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    Last edited by TsuDeltaChi; March 8th, 2011, 09:02 PM. Reason: trying to clean up my grammar.

  • #2
    Re: Questions over Blood Pressure waiver.

    Army Regulation 40-501 Standards of Medical Fitness Chapter 2 defines medical eligibility for entrance into military service. Section 2–19. Vascular system, paragraph (b) states:

    "Current or history of hypertensive vascular disease (401) is disqualifying. Elevated blood pressure defined as the
    average of three consecutive sitting blood pressure measurements separated by at least 10 minutes, diastolic greater
    than 90 mmHg or three consecutive systolic pressure measurements greater than 140 mmHg is disqualifying"

    I understand "white coat syndrome" however there is no provision in the regulation that accounts for the phenomenon. The fact is that "stress" in this case a "white coat" is causing your BP to become elevated. This is not a good thing and is an indication that your BP is already at a higher than average level. I have found that strenous aerobic exercise helps to settle my BP to a well below average level. Dropping some weight, even if you are in good shape now will help, as well as STAYING AWAY FROM SODIUM IN FOOD. This should assist you in dropping your BP not only for military service but your general health. If you go to MEPS again and fail the BP it is game over.

    Good Luck

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    • #3
      Re: Questions over Blood Pressure waiver.

      Yea, I was getting back into an exercise routine when I found out about my inguinal hernia and my doctor advised me to stop so I wouldn't agitate it further. I just got the ok from my surgeon to start again, so I'm going to start building back up. The way I figure it, my doctor will probably write and say I have white coat hypertension. Since I had a hernia I'll have to wait six months before I can go back to MEPS and retest my BP. I've already cut out all sodas and stuff from my diet, it's been water or juice for the past two months. I don't add salt (or any other condiments really) to my foods and I try to stay as clear from breaded meats as I can. Oranges have become a staple in my diet as well. I'm hoping that during the next six months my better diet and exercise routine will help me to keep my white coat hypertension under control for my readings.

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      • #4
        Re: Questions over Blood Pressure waiver.

        Good deal. Keep it up. Watch processed juices as well, you would be surprised how much sodium is in many of them. Sounds like you are on the right track. Best regards.

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        • #5
          Re: Questions over Blood Pressure waiver.

          SFC Kempf's advice above is all solid. If you're really serious and motivated, google the DASH Diet, which is the first recommendation physicians make to control borderline hypertension before starting medications.
          Originally posted by TsuDeltaChi View Post
          The way I figure it, my doctor will probably write and say I have white coat hypertension.
          I'd probably lay off the term "white coat hypertension" if I were you. "White coat hypertension" (or "white coast syndrome" as it's also known) is doctor slang that basically indicates that someone is prone to anxiety, which can jack up their hypertension in times of stress. This is probably not something I would highlight.

          As a corrollary to that, you might also add relaxation techniques to your regimen. I worked with a patient who was able to drop his systolic by about 10 points at appointments just by closing his eyes and doing deep breathing and relaxation exercises prior to each BP reading.

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          • #6
            Re: Questions over Blood Pressure waiver.

            Originally posted by notyetdead View Post
            SFC Kempf's advice above is all solid. If you're really serious and motivated, google the DASH Diet, which is the first recommendation physicians make to control borderline hypertension before starting medications.
            I hadn't heard of the DASH diet, I'll definitely look it up. Thanks!

            Originally posted by notyetdead View Post
            I'd probably lay off the term "white coat hypertension" if I were you. "White coat hypertension" (or "white coast syndrome" as it's also known) is doctor slang that basically indicates that someone is prone to anxiety, which can jack up their hypertension in times of stress. This is probably not something I would highlight.
            Out of curiosity, what would you recommend he put down? I mean, the original issue I was kicked back for was high blood pressure. My doctor found an inguinal hernia and had me get it fixed, so as far as MEPS knows they just haven't heard back from me concerning my blood pressure issue. They are not even aware yet of my hernia. I know that there is an automatic six month temporary disqualification for a hernia, so should my doctor just write back and say that during the monitoring they found a hernia and had it fixed and that we should wait the six months before we approach the blood pressure issue?

            Originally posted by notyetdead View Post
            As a corrollary to that, you might also add relaxation techniques to your regimen. I worked with a patient who was able to drop his systolic by about 10 points at appointments just by closing his eyes and doing deep breathing and relaxation exercises prior to each BP reading.
            I have read about these exercises and I'm trying to utilize them. High blood pressure isn't something that runs rampant in my family, every male except one cousin has been in the service and no one (except me) has ever had this issue while still being this young. It's embarrassing, but I've gotten myself into this mess by my sedentary life style over the last few years so I've got to just get down to business and fix it. Thank you for your input, it is very much appreciated!

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            • #7
              Re: Questions over Blood Pressure waiver.

              Originally posted by TsuDeltaChi View Post
              I hadn't heard of the DASH diet, I'll definitely look it up. Thanks!
              No worries. It works. Many studies back it up.
              Originally posted by TsuDeltaChi View Post
              Out of curiosity, what would you recommend he put down?
              That's up to you and your recruiter, but since you're only borderline, taking a few weeks/months to get your BP under control to the point that the doctor can get 3 normotensive blood pressures would be best. Then, in his note, he can mention that your latest blood pressure readings do not indicate hypertension.
              Originally posted by TsuDeltaChi View Post
              I have read about these exercises and I'm trying to utilize them. High blood pressure isn't something that runs rampant in my family, every male except one cousin has been in the service and no one (except me) has ever had this issue while still being this young. It's embarrassing, but I've gotten myself into this mess by my sedentary life style over the last few years so I've got to just get down to business and fix it. Thank you for your input, it is very much appreciated!
              No worries. To be honest, your hypertension isn't very impressive (I mean that in a good way). Since you don't have family history, the odds of you lowering it fairly quickly with relaxation exercises, dietary changes and physical conditioning is very, very good.

              Best of luck to you and re-post here letting us know how it all turns out....

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Questions over Blood Pressure waiver.

                Hawthorne Berry pills!

                I am into fitness and bodybuilding and Hawthorne Berry pills keep your blood pressure down. Take 3 throughout the day, maybe 4 if you need it. One in the morning, one mid day and one at night. You can pick them up at GNC/Walmart/Vitamin Shoppe.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Questions over Blood Pressure waiver.

                  A little update:

                  I went and saw my doctor yesterday to have him recheck my blood pressure. My reading was in the low 140's still, but he could tell that I was pretty nervous. Heck, my potential for military entry is basically in his hands so I was a bit anxious about what was going to happen. He looked over the chart that I've been keeping on how my BP is during my normal routine and he then checked my BP with the machine that I use versus his manual reading twice and they both matched perfectly. During my normal day my BP was around 115-125 over 70-85. He said that he feels that I don't have a BP issue and that I shouldn't be on any medication or have any restrictions. We talked a bit about what I can do to lower it during my office readings and he said that the breathing regimen that was suggested by ya'll would probably be a great way to help, as well as building back up my exercise routine and keeping my low sodium diet. Basically he said if I keep going down the path I'm currently on, I should be perfectly fine in six months when I get retested! Hopefully I can retest and get past this hurdle and on to training! Well, that's if our loving Congress finds it in their hearts to find funding for the military so I can actually GO to training.... :/

                  Originally posted by Knight2007 View Post
                  Hawthorne Berry pills!

                  I am into fitness and bodybuilding and Hawthorne Berry pills keep your blood pressure down. Take 3 throughout the day, maybe 4 if you need it. One in the morning, one mid day and one at night. You can pick them up at GNC/Walmart/Vitamin Shoppe.
                  Awesome, thanks! I'll definitely be checking this out!
                  Last edited by TsuDeltaChi; March 15th, 2011, 02:10 PM. Reason: Fixing my grammar.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Questions over Blood Pressure waiver.

                    Replying to this to give an update. I was eligible to go back to MEPS last September and after getting the run around by one of the MEPS locations my recruiter switched me to a different one so I was able to floor. I had three med reads from my doctor that all said I was fine and I had one document from an RN from our church who recorded some readings as well. The CMO tested me as soon as I walked in his office and my reading was in the 150's / 90's. He said he could tell I was nervous and to just relax and he was going to talk with his associate and that he would check it again in a few minutes. He and another doctor started talking and were quite entertaining (I suspect partly for my benefit, to put me more at ease) and when he checked it again it was down to 140 over 75. He said that he could not get a definite reading (something I have been told before) and that he thought he could faintly hear it at 140 and then it would disappear until 130 or so and then he could make it out more clearly. He had me go take an EKG and bring the results back to him. About an hour later I was able to get everything back to him and he said there were no signs of Hypertension and that he agreed with my physician about it just being a white coat hypertension issue. He didn't permanently DQ me and recommended me for a waiver. I just found out yesterday that my waiver was approved! I have to go back to MEPS to swear in and then I have to meet with a few people concerning OCS and I should be all set to get a ship date for Basic.

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