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71 year old. Got blood from ear. Could an elevated BP cause the bleeding issue?

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General & Family Physician
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My 71 yr old Dad woke up in the middle of the night to help my Mom to the bathroom and noticed there was blood on his pillow from his ear. He forgot to take his BP meds last night and when he took it, it was 169/85. Could an elevated BP cause the bleeding issue? He is diabetic and has compromised kidney function (FYI).
Posted Tue, 25 Dec 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Stephen Christensen 4 hours later
Hello. I'm Dr. Christensen.
Although your father's blood pressure is higher than it should be (we like to keep it below 130/80 in diabetics), it's unlikely the bleeding from his ear resulted from his elevated pressure.
Diabetics are prone to getting infections in their ears, though, so this bleeding could be a manifestation of otitis externa (infection of the outer ear or ear canal) or otitis media (infection of the middle ear space). Since diabetics frequently suffer from neuropathy, they can't always feel the pain that would signal an ear infection to someone who doesn't have diabetes.
Just to be on the safe side, it would be prudent to have your father's doctor take a look in his ear, particularly if his hearing has taken a sudden downturn. This could indicate a perforated eardrum, which is occasionally a complication of otitis media.
I hope that answers your question. I'll be available if you have additional concerns.
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