Q. I have high blood pressure and have been checking my blood pressure more often since my doctor added another drug. But lately, my readings have been all over the place. For example, one morning it was 127/70, but then it was 170/100 in the late afternoon. What’s going on?

A. You may have a condition known as labile hypertension, which refers to blood pressure that fluctuates far more than usual. Everyone’s blood pressure rises and falls many times during the course of a single day, sometimes even within minutes. Many factors contribute to these changes, including physical activity, emotion, body position, diet (especially salt and alcohol intake), and sleep deprivation. However, there is no clear definition or standard criteria to distinguish between normal and abnormal fluctuations.

Credit: Amanda Mills CDC

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