Mask affect on blood pressure

Discussion in 'Medical Topics' started by cgrab, Sep 26, 2021.

  1. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

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    I took my physical yesterday and had a slightly higher BP than normal. I had to wear a mask the whole time I was in the building. I asked the Doc if he knew if wearing a mask for the hour before we got to taking my BP might have an affect. He looked at his intern and said there's a study for you.

    Has any research been done on this? Are there pilots jumping through FAA-BP hoops because they
    crossed a threshold due to masking?

    I'm good for now but masking makes my BP rise. Let's just leave it there.
     
  2. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm sure being required to mask makes some peoples blood boil, so it probably also makes their blood pressure rise.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2021
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  3. flyingron

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    Study on exercise physiology with and without mask shows about a five mg increase in systolic pressure while exercising with mask. Don't know about resting rates. Alas, five mg is well in the error range of BP measurement. There is probably a better answer to your blood pressure issues:

    1. Poor technique (this is so prevalent as to swamp just about everything). Much like all the aerodynamic forces resulting in right turning tendency, BP measurement errors all result in overly high readings by substantial numbers.

    2. Diurnal fluctuations. Your BP goes up and down all day long. Early mornings and late in the day tend to have higher readings.

    3. Hydration. Oddly both overhydration and dehydration can lead to high BP readings.
     
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  4. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    If they took the BP using one of the automated devices I wouldn’t assume the accuracy. Mine varies from 118-151 when they use automatic devices. Using a manual measurement it has been steady around 120 for the last 20 years.
     
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  5. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    My resting bp is usually 104/60 ish. Last time I went to the manhood doctor it was substantially higher when I suspected I had something going on. I was also late to the appointment so that didn't help. Lots of things could give you a bump.
     
  6. Llewtrah381

    Llewtrah381 Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Is hypertension higher among surgeons, OR crew, insulation installers, silicon chip makers, and other people who wear masks for a good part of their work? I haven’t seen that reported.
     
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  7. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This has NOT been reported. I had one pilot at my door said he was medically unable to wear a mask. I replied than you should not wear a quick don mask and need to be grounded.

    He put a mask on.
     
  8. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

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    Do they go to their Dr. appointments wearing their PPE?
     
  9. Llewtrah381

    Llewtrah381 Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    If someone’s blood pressure is raised at their provider’s office it’s more likely “white coat syndrome”, a pretty well-described condition. I haven’t seen any studies which assert that wearing a mask in and of itself raises blood pressure independently of this condition. Have you?
     
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  10. Tools

    Tools Line Up and Wait

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    What if you’re anti social and have a problem with authority? Being told to wear a mask, for no good reason (as it might seem to some), could easily cause a rise in blood pressure.

    It seems at least as plausible as how miserably stressful it could be to be away from your pet for the hour and a half... so it becomes a service animal.

    There really is a thing called white coat syndrome? Hmmm...

    And so on...

    Check the DSM for a insurance code for this.
     
  11. Lachlan

    Lachlan En-Route

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    Putting the mask on after pounding down three double cheeseburgers and a supersize Diet Pepsi are more likely to blame in most cases of high BP. Just don’t point the finger at the French fries and 1400 calorie milkshake. They’re totally awesome and completely innocent.
     
  12. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

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    I was responding to what you posted. You seem to want to change the subject.
     
  13. Llewtrah381

    Llewtrah381 Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Your response implied they would have normal BP at the doctor’s office if they weren’t wearing their mask. OK. Here’s the REAL issue/subject: raised blood pressure, raised CO2, raised anxiety - people who for whatever reason don’t want to wear a mask will grasp at any reason to rationalize not wearing one. Without a bit of science or proof to credibly back it up. This is just another example.

    IBTL
     
  14. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Can’t say I’ve noticed any affect on BP while wearing a mask, but I can say that I have seen zero effect on O2 levels while in a doctors office wearing a mask which was a common criticism of the anti mask crowd in the early days of COVID.
     
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  15. Lachlan

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    I can't say that I love wearing a mask all day at work. I don't find that it elevates my blood pressure or decreases my O2 sat, but it did let me down in the "hopefully these ear loops will help keep the excessive ear hair worn off to an unnoticeably short length" department. Still got old man ear hair growing. If anything, the ear loops make them more obvious. Rats.
     
  16. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Sounds like you’d be fun at parties… ;)
     
  17. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    He definitely said that to the wrong guy.
     
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  18. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I have the strongest feeling that the white lab coat the doctor was wearing had a great effect on the OP's blood pressure than any mask.
     
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  19. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Or the guy has no clue how to take an accurate pressure. In the forty+ years since I was properly taught how to do blood pressure measurements, I can tell you that there has been exactly ONE doctor and maybe only a dozen nurses that have used proper technique. Those automatic machines are all over the place as well.
     
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  20. luvflyin

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    Research been done. Here's one. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-78643-1
     
  21. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Bingo. However, if it was me, which it wouldn't have been, but if I was an anti maskinian, I'd have come back with 'but the quick don gives you extra oxygen.' Your move:D
     
  22. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    details details details.

    :D
     
  23. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

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    It's also used in emergencies only, where, by definition, it's better than the alternative. But it was a funny story.
     
  24. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    A don mask delivers 10 milli maxi micro giga cubic centimeters of O twice divided by thousands of feet of altitude to the square root of temperature corrected for barometric deviation from standard sea level millibars.
     
  25. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    When did that start?
     
  26. Llewtrah381

    Llewtrah381 Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    To clarify, the study you cite is for essentially a “stress test”: it involves a lactate minimum test, which is a specific protocol intended to focus in on the oxygen-using part of exercise (rather than “anaerobic” exertion, which wouldn’t be as dependent on oxygen availability). From the OP, he was doing far less exertion than this study looked at. A description of the test: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5463055/

    As a physician, I’m having a hard time believing a surgical or cloth mask raises resting blood pressure by itself but I’m open to learning from good studies.
     
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  27. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    Unless the mask was air impermeable (which would be a bizarre choice), I suggest any blood pressure rise was due to stress, either from having your blood pressure taken, or from worrying about the mask.

    I always suffer from what they call "white coat hypertension": both my major blood pressure indicators jump by about 10 when I'm sitting having my blood pressure taken, and sometimes they have to leave me for 30 minutes until it goes down.
     
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  28. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    No, not really. Please explain how that article is pertinent.

    "In the healthy young men (age, 25.7 ± 3.5 years) in this study, the use of surgical face masks was associated with a significant increase in airway resistance, reduced oxygen uptake, and increased heart rate during continuous exercise. Despite these changes, the endurance performance and perceived stress remained unchanged as compared with the performance without a SM."
    Emphasis mine. The study didn't measure those parameters during a rest state, such as during a blood pressure test.
     
  29. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    yeah. i just googled it and copied and pasted the first hit without looking at the details
     
  30. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    i just googled it and copied and pasted the first hit without looking at the details. i'd guess there were links that would cover the exact question.
     
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  31. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    I know someone who faints from sudden changes in position, like standing or even sitting up. They wear a multi-layer cloth mask all day at work by choice (even though they'd qualify for a medical exemption), and have had no problems so far.

    Again, I suspect stress is the main factor, especially if the OP is uncomfortable with the idea of wearing a mask and nervous about having their blood pressure taken — it's a perfect storm for a bump in your BP readings, in particular the systolic (first) number, which reacts more quickly.

    (Note — this isn't a pro or anti-masking post; just addressing the original question. Blood pressure is a big issue for a lot of us aging male pilots every time our medical comes around, and it's good to be able to discuss it without any political banner waving.)
     
  32. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Maybe it was anger more so than stress. But then I guess anger can be stressful.
     
  33. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    I don't want to judge — like everyone, I get stressed by some things other people would consider trivial, and cope easily with some things other people might find stressful.
     
  34. murphey

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    Same here. In my case, I’ve probably run up the 2 flights of stairs to the office then they want to take my BP.
     
  35. Aviatordoc

    Aviatordoc Pre-Flight PoA Supporter

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    When masks in this country became the new order, you will not believe just how many patients wanted a note saying they cannot wear one for medical reasons. Yes, I have heard all kinds of reasons.
     
  36. Zeldman

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    I can't wear a mask because it makes it hard to sleep while I am at work... :lol:
     
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  37. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

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    What are people in this country going to do if they ever have to work for a living...
    upload_2021-9-29_13-51-28.png

    That be a geezer.
     
  38. ateamer

    ateamer Line Up and Wait

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    How is someone whose blood pressure shoots up over a routine physical going to handle the stress of an in-flight emergency, or even a change to Plan B?
     
  39. Lachlan

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    Masks make most people a LOT better looking. Please, wear your masks.
     
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  40. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    Not a problem — I've experienced both. White coat hypertension is an involuntary response, not a panic attack.