T Nation

Blood Pressure

I just found out recently that my blood pressure is 135/83. At 29 1/2 years old. This concerns me because if I understand it I am on my way to hypertension. I am in reasonably good shape and can run the 1mile and 1/2 in 10:20. I think I fooled myself because my cardio is pretty good. My question is after reading info on lowering my systolic I learned that more veggies grain and exercise will help. Is it the fiber in veggies and grain that does the trick or the micronutrients. If it is the later will taking a product like GREENS help. I am already increasing my exercise by doing Coach Davies MMA program. My line of work can not be changed as I am in law enforcement. Any thought or ideas would be welcome.

guess I’ll be paying attention to this one too I pegged a 155/105 at 23

The single best thing you can do for hypertension is to exercise and keep your BW in an ideal range. Not smoking and limiting alcohol are also extremely beneficial. Re the veggies, yes, you’re touching on the fact that higher veggie and grain intake goes hand in hand with higher potassium levels, which is often prescribed for hypertension.

You need to buy a blood pressure monitor (the kind you use on your wrist is okay) to check your BP on a regular basis, and more frequently when you’re feeling “bad.”

The Cliff Notes protocol for hypertension is as follow:

  1. Determine if you are salt sensitive and reduce salt intake if you are.

  2. Of the carbs you do eat, make sure they are the green veggie type of carbs versus cake, sweets and “bought in a package” carbs.

  3. Take garlic, 1500 to 6000 mg/day, CoQ10, 200 to 300 mg/day, magnesium 500 to 1500 elemental mg/day, calcium 1 elemental gram/day, potassium (to be prescribed by your doctor) often 400 to 500 mg a day, high dose fish oil, Vitamin C 2g three times a day, arginine 4500 mg 3 times a day (30 minutes before a meal).

    This ought to give both of you a running start. Good luck, and check your BP regularly. Hypertension is NOT something that should be ignored or taken lightly.

How was your blood pressure done? Blood pressures are normally rounded to the nearest 5 when done by hand. So 135/85 would be the most common reading unless it was done by a machine.

Why did you have your blood pressure done? Were you sick? What had you been doing before the test? Were you nervous about the test/white coat syndrome? Was it the same on several tests done on different days etc?
HOw you answer each of the above questions will affect what your blood pressure was on the day.

Okay while 135 is higher than normal the real killer is diastolic pressure (the smaller number). 80 is considered by many doctors normal/optimal and 83 is nothing to worry about. While hypertension I think (i am doing this from memory) is defined as 140+/90+. Even then hypertension is *really* only relative to your normal state, apparentntly some people live long happy lives with no heart problems whatsoever with blood pressure that would be high for everyone else but is normal and even healthy for them.

Currently I dont think that you have anything to worry about. Infact the high systolic may not be bad at all. Im beggining to hypothesise a bit here but it may just mean that your heart is strong. The diastolic pressure is the pressure at rest which is the pressure your heart has to pump against. The systolic pressure is the pressure generated by the heart. So the bigger the difference (within in normal ranges and as long as the diastolic is close to normal) may indicate a strong heart that is easily overcoming the task at hand. Now while this is just me hypothesizing could you please post back with your heart rate. If your heart rate is relatively low this would support this. Having a heart that overcomes moderate pressure by generating large pressure would indicate a large ejection fraction and stroke volume. The larger the stroke volume the lower the heart rate for the same ventricular output.

You can improve heart health by diet and exercise.

Okay I just want to warn you, it has been a while since we have covered this stuff at medschool and that we have learned about normal and pathological states (you meet what would be considered normal) but have done little to nothing on athletes etc.

Your blood pressure does meet the definition of hypertension. If i were you I would have my blood pressure taken again (get it taken in the morning before doing anything stressful) just to double check and if it still that high see some one that knows what they are talking about. You may be one of those people that i spoke about earlier that can live happily and healthily at much higher pressures than everyone else but to stay on the safe side i would see a medical proffessional.

I was planning on starting this exact thread tonight. I was placed on Diovan two weeks ago (I’m 30). In the Doctor’s office I was 160/100. On the 17th I topped out at 170/110 before fighting in the Toughman. I’m hoping it was all a combination of fear, yohimbe, and ephedrine. I had a whole lot of each in me while trying to make weight. Needless to say I am off the thermogenics. Anyway, today I was at 128/80 which is a huge improvement. I didn’t have any noticable side effects, but I definitely don’t want to be medicated the rest of my life. I’m currently increasing cardio and weening off the 5 diet coke plus 3 vivarin a day caffeine habit. When I was 18 my blood pressure spiked into the 160/110 range, and I was medicate for about three months until it got back down. No problems for 12 years in between.

A single BP reading isn’t grounds for a diagnosis or lack of a diagnosis. I’d agree with TT about getting a home BP cuff and monitoring your pressure at different times during the day. Just make sure you get a quality one, as the cheaper ones can misread a true BP by a good bit.

Try eating oatmeal for breakfast everyday.

You have a lot of good info from the others. You should check you blood pressure every day for about 2 weeks and take the average. That will give you a much better picture of your blood pressure. If it is high, start eating more potatoes and beans. They are very high in potassium. I am 54 and I had a problem in that every time I tried to eat bigger to gain muscle my blood pressure would go up. Not too high, but in the 130s and 140s for systolic (diastolic has always remained optimal). I found that by eating more tomato sauce, potatoes and beans the blood pressure stayed down. I shot for getting around 5,000 milligrams a day. The daily recommended allowance is 3,500. You can go to the USDA Nurtrient Database to get a list of foods rich in potassium.

OK, I’m basically with Chris Aus on this one, with a few things to add (to keep everyone amused :-)):
I think the theory of Chris’s in regard to a strong heart causing increased Systolic pressure is a good one. In what is termed as the “athlete’s heart”, there is an increase in Left ventricular mass and volume. This heart size PARTIALLY contributes to the systolic pressure. However that is not the end of the story. Recent studies have proved that muscular strength training will also actually DECREASE aortic compliance (i.e. the tendency for the aorta to stretch with pressure), and jack up the systolic BP further. A combination of these may be being seen here.

Actually John, your systolic is only high normal. The unremarkable diastolic pressure would help enforce the above theory.

Just to add, that this is not necessarily the cause. Other causes of a widened pulse pressure would be actual aortic disease, other cardiovascular disease, kidney disease causing a reduced diastole, and also some hormonal imbalances e,g Hyperthyroidism. You don’t give us much history-if you feel you are in any danger of these, then you should get it checked out further (I doubt it, reading your post).

Another point- where did you get your BP checked, and how many times? Single readings are often inaccurate, and as suggested above can be affected by stress, recent activity, caffeine intake etc. An average of 3 readings throughout the day is necessary IMO before we jump to any conclusions.

If you used a home monitor (e.g. one bought at Wal-Mart), these are not the most reliable, and I wouldn’t really trust them at all for accuracy. Get it checked by the doc as described above.

DON"T whatever you do start taking any systemic hypotensive agents (not that I think you were planning to…). These will lower BOTH systolic and diastolic pressure, and definately put you in more danger than you MIGHT be now.

Dude, I’m sure everythings gonna check out fine.

Finally, on a lighter note, just in case, I would avoid the caffeine/ephedra stacks for now! Hope this helps. Good luck, SRS :slight_smile:

Thanks for all your help.
My blood pressure has been taken on 4 seperate occasions 3 times with the cuff and 1 with a machine that pumps and reads for you. Just the other day I had a test and it was 144/84. Done with the cuff and hand pump.
Tampa-Terry I eat good food almost all the time. My wife cooks homemade food which is quite healthy. I have been reading t-mag for some time and know the difference between good and bad carbs. That’s why it surprised me!
I take a good multivitamin + 1000 - 2000 of vitC and vitE800ieu + udo’s choice oil+ and lots of natural garlic!
Chris Aus It was done as part of physical for my gym and for my job (tacticle team) Since August 2002 I have had it done 4 x’s. As noted above. Yes on a couple of occasions I was nervous. But when the machine took it at the gym I was relaxed before working out.
My mother died at the age of 46 due to an anurism so would that have anything to do with it ie heriditary High blood pressure. Also on some days my job is quiet stressful. (fight or flight type situations)How does this affect BP long term.
As far as having a healthy heart that pumps too much that could be the reason. I was told that my cardio fitness was above normal. I have always been lucky that way. I can not work out for a while and still pull off the runs with very little hardship.
Resting heart rate while typing this is 60 beats/min.
I eat oatmeal almost every morning. Uncooked with nuts and fruit. Homemade muslix.
Is it just the potassium in the green veggies or something else as well. Thanks again

I forgot. I rarely drink and I dont smoke. But have found out that my BF is around 20%. The thing is I am thin. I was told that I store my fat around the organs! what is that all about. I am 5’8 and 185lbs I have thick legs and a smaller upper body. My legs seem to respond well to training. I did Ian Kings 12 weeks of pain and had to buy new shorts! So again I never thought there was a problem.

John start monitoring your sodium intake for a week or two. I think you will be suprised. I recently had a couple of high readings. I think mine were due to inhaled steriods for asthma and pseudophedrine usage while getting over a cold. But my doctor threatened me with drugs and i vowed to at least make sure that it was not diet related. What I found out was that while I was eating clean I was still taking in anywhere from 2500-3500mg of salt a day!!! And that was while eating “clean”. Take for instance(I love this example) a can of green beans. My wife and I would have normally had them as a side dish with dinner. Well there are 4 servings of green beans per can. each serving(Del Monte brand) has about 380mg of sodium. If we split the can between the two of us that means that we both just ate almost 800mg of sodium as a SIDE DISH!!! Imagine what the rest of the meal contains. A 6gram of fat or less subway sub has over 1000mg of sodium. 1/2 a cup of cottage cheese has 400mg and the list goes on and on. My doctor suggested uping the cardio as I was focusing mostly on weight training :slight_smile: and limiting sodium intake to 2000mg of sodium or less per day. Try that while eating to bulk up! Anyway you should at least rule this out by keeping a food log for a week or so without changing your habits that way you get a true picture of what you are taking in. I would up the cardio as well if i were you as the only real way our bodies have to get rid of sodium is through sweating. You may also want to incorporate time in the sauna as well…


John, that 20% is a significant number – significant in the respect that if you drop BF, you’re not likely to have a problem with high BP.

Read up on homocysteine. It’s a better marker of heart attack and stroke than even cholesterol. It’s a breakdown in methionine metabolism, due to cofactors. Sorry to get technical. What I’m saying is that you should have it tested, and if it comes in high or even at the HIGH END OF THE RANGE, there are things you can do to reduce the numbers and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. The other thing I would strongly recommend that you request from your doctor is a C-Reactive Protein test. Read up on it, too. These things are all tied in together.

Re the BF, it’s stored in two places, subcutaneously (below the skin) and viscerally (around the organs). To lose subcutaneous fat, you need to exercise. To lose viseral fat you need to restrict calories. It doesn’t matter if you’re thin in your mind. Right now you need to start making your health a priority. After you drop BF, you can go about putting on some more muscle. But address the BF issue ASAP. I know you eat good. But it’s possible to get fat on good food too. It all has to do with whether you’re taking in calories above maintenance requirements. Please take a look at T-Dawg 2.0. It will help you get your house (and BF) in order.

Re the aneurysm, yes, it’s all tied in with the other things I discussed above. There are some things you can do to stack the deck in your favor. I would look at things that promote vascular integrity. The Vitamin C is good, also Horse Chesnut and even Hawthorne Berry.

Good luck to you, John. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Thank you again for all your help. Tampa-Terry and SRS I will do more research in the areas you talked about. That is a good point about the sodium. That sounds like me. I will promptly get on the T-Dawg 2.0 diet. Forgive me if I dont post for a couple of days. I will give all of this a try and let you know what happens. I know it is not a huge deal right now. But I want to nip it in the bud before it becomes a bigger problem.

this suggestion may seem moronic when compared to all the other technical and in-depth input you have received, but here it goes anyway, have you tried having your blood pressure taken with a larger cuff? i’ve had my pressure raise eyebrows on the first try but then was in a normal range when the nurse used a larger cuff.good luck.

Dave, that’s not at all moronic. In fact, it’s something that nobody else seems to have considered in this thread, myself included. People with larger than average arms probably do need a larger cuff to get accurate readings.