lightning, static and blood pressure

When I was 3 or 4 years old my mother and I were sitting in the living room floor. Directly outside was a giant oak tree. Lightning hit the tree and ran down the limbs and into the house. The electrical wiring gathered the lightning and carried it to the light fixture directly over our heads and exploded the light bulb.

For as far back as I can remember my mother has had trouble with static electricity. She could wave her hand in front of computer touchpads where she worked and make the display light up with numbers without touching it.

Ever since I was a teenager I have had static so bad that I can walk under a fluorescent light fixture or a street light and turn the bulb on and off.

I sometimes have trouble using the self-checkout computer terminals in the public library because the touch screen shuts down as soon as I touch it to enter my pin.

I can throw sparks in the winter when I sleep under a fuzzy blanket.

No amount of dryer sheets or anti-static spray has ever helped.

Until my mother was around 40 her blood pressure was always dangerously too low. But since then it has been dangerously too high. It is resistant to medications, and she’s been on as many as 15 BP drugs at the same time and could still have it at 200/90 getting out of bed in the morning.

I was diagnosed with high BP at age 40 and I’ve been on as many as 5 meds at the same time and could still be 190/85 getting out of bed.

Has anyone here had similar experiences? I’m wondering if there’s a connection between the static and the blood pressure.

First of all, you don’t “have” static.
Everyone experiences the same phenomena as you do. Static charges are mostly governed by what clothes you wear and what climate you live in.

Since people don’t have “static electricity” as a condition, I doubt that anyone has ever performed a study to see if there is any relation to it and high blood pressure.

I live in Florida and I have as much static in summer’s 90+ heat as I do the winter when it’s freezing. The same goes when it’s rained every day for a month or we haven’t had a drop in 2 or more. The weather and what I am wearing makes no difference.

I have encountered other people on the net who also have an excessive amount of static electricity and uncontrollable blood pressure.

It could have something to do with the kind of shoes you are wearing. If the soles are highly nonconductive, your static charges will not drain off as you walk around. Similarly, the kinds of floor coverings you have might contribute to a high static charge being developed when you walk. You can create enough static charge just by sliding into the drivers seat on your car upholstery, to cause a spark to fly from your key to the keyhole. That depends on the nature of the fabrics in your pants and the upholstery, not the person wearing them.

I believe the process that leads to buildup of static charge is somewhat poorly understood. There was some work done about ten (?) years ago that suggested conventional models were all wrong. I’m not a physicist so I can’t say any more than that.

However, it sounds to me like the OP’s experiences are pretty much normal. If you pay a lot of attention to a common phenomenon like static electricity, it will seem to happen more often. I think that’s what’s going on with you.

That doesn’t matter either. It’s bad if I am wearing leather soles or rubber soles. The surface I am walking on doesn’t matter either. It’s as bad on asphalt or concrete as it is on carpet or wood flooring.

I am sitting in a cloth desk chair on an anti-static mat right now and I can feel the hair on my arm stand up because of the static.

First of all, the human body does store static electricity, but not much. There is no huge electricity storing reservoir anywhere in the human body. It just doesn’t work that way.

Electrical charge accumulates on the human body, but it bleeds off when the voltage gets too high. How high is too high? Well, that depends on the humidity in the air. This is why people store a larger amount of charge in the winter. The humidity is lower.

Hair stores charge fairly well, so human hair (i.e. the stuff on your head) and animal hair, like wool or fur clothing all increase your body’s charge storage. One tip for avoiding static is to wear clothes that don’t store charge as well. Cotton, for example, is not good at storing a charge, and wearing cotton will significantly reduce your body’s charge holding capacity compared to wearing wool.

You want to ignore humidity and clothing and claim that it’s all just you. Again, that’s not now it works.

Human bodies don’t generally affect street lights. Again,it just doesn’t work that way. Old and worn out street lights often turn on and off periodically. There are plenty of people who happen to walk under them just as they turn on or off and think that they are somehow responsible. They aren’t.

Moving around generates an electrical charge. If you stand still, the charge will slowly bleed off. If you touch something metal, like a door handle or a file cabinet, you can discharge yourself much quicker.

Anti-static mats don’t magically take away static. An anti-static mat is slightly conductive. You want it slightly conductive instead of very conductive like a slab of metal so that it will slowly drain the charge instead of quickly dissipating it in a damaging ZAP. The mat needs to be electrically grounded in order to do anything. Some mats are sold as “anti static” when they aren’t conductive at all. What they really mean is that the mat itself won’t store a charge due to the material that it is made out of. In that case, the mat won’t have much of an effect on you one way or the other.

As far as I am aware, there is no known link between static electricity and blood pressure. There is a known link between anxiety and blood pressure, though, so worrying about some perceived notions of how static works (even though it doesn’t work that way) can cause your blood pressure to increase.

The lightning changed nothing in the carpet, house , or the people.
( Apart from the molten,burnt ,broken bits… they changed in so much they were molten,burnt, broken by the heat and explosion…)

Am correctly remembering that cecil did a column on this so called “phenomenon” and concluded it was bunk? I don’t have to search for it at the moment…

Here’s the column I was thinking of.

The conclusion seems to be inconclusive tho.

Unless and until it has happened to you, how could you possibly know? My blood pressure behaves in such a way contrary to what the medical textbooks say it should, that one of my doctors has told me that he could get a medical paper published about it. One of my mother’s doctors has told her the same thing. So just admit that there might be some things that you just don’t have a clue about.

I know you have high blood pressure, so just relax a bit. If you read my first post, you should see that I was unsure about what I was remembering, and in the second, I confirmed I misremembered.

Henga, you may want to look at this article by occasional Doper Bill Beaty.

When describing things that violate the laws of physics, expect skepticism.

You got any proof of that assertion?

Which law of physics is being violated?

Well, you’re on The Index, now. Your mother, too.


I understand (I think) why you believe the lightning accounts for you and your mother “having static”. But why do you feel it has anything to do with your blood pressure? The most common form of high blood pressure - ‘essential hypertension’ - has a very strong genetic link. Simply put, it runs in families.

It is interesting to me, then, that you choose to believe that your and your mother’s blood pressure is due to your shared exposure to lightning, but apparently don’t consider that there may be (a hugely more plausible) genetic link. Can you help me understand why you feel that way?

ETA: 15 blood pressure meds? I would LOVE to know what they were. I’d be hard pressed to name even six different types.

If your body is more acidic or alkaline than is normal for humans, wouldn’t you have an imbalance of electrical charges relative to your surroundings? My mother and I both have horrendous acid reflux no matter what we eat or even if we eat anything at all.

My systolic BP can fall as much as 50 points after taking my AM medications- a much greater effect than the drugs are supposed to have. One of my doctors is a doctor of pharmacy who specializes in BP control and he’s never had a patient do what BP does.

My mother has to see a neurologist regularly ever since her BP got so high one morning in 2009 that she had a seizure when such high BP in a normal person would have caused a stroke.

Our medical histories are both so rare in the human population that our doctors could write papers for the medical journals.

Oh boy…where to even begin here…