T Nation

Blood Pressure

Here is something for everyone to ponder. I also just need to tell someone

I was having very abnormal readings on blood pressure

I was averaging 150-160/ 90-100 at my Doctors office. So she sends me to a cardiologist( think that is was what he was called).

So I go for this exercise stress test on the treadmill and an ultrasound of my heart. First they have to crank up the treadmill speed and incline because my heart rate wouldnt go up.

So I get to wear this little thing that measures my bp every twenty min for 24 hours.

I go back to the cardiologist and found out I have the heart of an athlete (go figure) with a bp of 110/70. I also found out that I have white coat hypertension. That is BP goes up under the stress of a doctors office.

Then my mom, being the loving person she is asks the doctor if I should lift all that weight (refering to my olympic set). This is the best part he says NO, I should lift in the higher rep ranges, 20-50.

He says girls dont like it when a guy is big and bulky and holding your breath during heavy lift is bad for your heart. WTF?

After having my mom yell at me for an hour about “changes” she is making in my weight room (yes I am young, 20, and live at home) I tell her no more max effort lifts. I then went home to do a nice max effort session, ahh lying to your mom is great.

I feel sorry that you got that advice. I can tell you that the doctor I went to growing up is a regular at the gym I used to train at back home. I once had a similar question asked by my mother to him, and he gave her a completely different response as he is an avid bodybuilder.

There are a few docs out there who lift and would not give that advice. You just have to find them. Also, no you should not hold your breath during a lift. His advice makes it seem as if it is impossible to train yourself to stop doing this. It isn’t.

heavy lifting itself can increase BP, sometimes to dangerous levels if you’re not careful, but it is not bad for you.

it’s actually beneficial as it strengthens your heart and blood vessels. like any exercise, you don’t want to overload yourself right away, 'cuz you may end up bursting something which is known as the technical term “a bad thing”.

if your BP is normal to great, as yours seems to be, your doctor is slightly mistaken in his reccomendation. increased blood flow has a tendancy to dialate you blood vessels as well, laying way to an easier flow of blood (imagine a 4 lane highway as opposed to a 2 lane with the same amount of traffic).

your “white coat” syndrome is extremely common and if your Doc sent you to a specialist after 1 high reading then you should probably change doctors.

The Halter monitor you wore for 24 hours was a little strange after 1 high reading but I guess the specialist was working on the advice of your Doc.

As far as lifting, physical development and what girls like in a man, can I suggest that your heart specialist, Doctor and Mum are not the right people to ask for advice. Stick to T-Nation for those things.

I wanted to chime in here, cos I experience something very similar.

When I ran cross country/track, our coach used to take our blood pressure and heart rate once a week, and track it on a computer. With him, my blood pressure was consistently in the neighborhood of 90/45 (very low), pulse was typically around 48 - 52.

If I’m at the doctor’s for a routine checkup, it is usually the same.
Recently I had to go to the ER for what turned out to be nothing (ovarian cyst), but I was so anxious, my BP and pulse, at the initial taking, was at 120/80 (very high for me), pulse was around 75 bpm. Same deal, white coat blood pressure … people get nervous at the doctor’s, frequently.

As for Doctors and lifting, my doctor is reasonably enlightened and knows both my brother and I lift and are athletes (we still go to a pediatrician).
In fact, they set us both down this path, because a few years ago, we both had overdeveloped dominant sides (both played ice hockey and lacrosse), and was suggested we begin lifting weights to balance out the muscle development. In hindsight, this was good advice and has helped me athletically and aesthetically.

Long winded way of saying, as long as you don’t have one foot in the grave already, it should be fine to lift and all that good stuff. I wouldn’t worry too much about the BP increases, IMHO.

Thanks everyone.

I actually have been trying to switch doctors but it is very difficult to find a new one in Ontario at this time. Our system sucks.

The worst part about the whole thing was that I was so stressed out I lost 4 pounds of muscle in a week and couldnt eat worth shit. I think I gained some fat too. Cortisol is a bitch.

[quote]keaster wrote:

I go back to the cardiologist and found out I have the heart of an athlete (go figure) with a bp of 110/70. I also found out that I have white coat hypertension. That is BP goes up under the stress of a doctors office.
[/quote]

Welcome to the club. My heart is very healthy, my diet is clean, and I can run 8 miles or so at 6:40 pace (mind you during a routine with only anaerobic conditioning).

I get to the doctors and I get all fucked up and cold. My BP was 150/90 a few weeks ago. I know for a fact its not always like that.

And in regards to awful advice from doctors. Mine told me not to take protein shakes. Instead I should “eat another hamburger”.

sigh…

[quote]keaster wrote:
Thanks everyone.

I actually have been trying to switch doctors but it is very difficult to find a new one in Ontario at this time. Our system sucks.

The worst part about the whole thing was that I was so stressed out I lost 4 pounds of muscle in a week and couldnt eat worth shit. I think I gained some fat too. Cortisol is a bitch.

[/quote]

OH, it was Canada. That explains everything.

Holy crap, I have to agree with the poster who said to get a new doc. You can’t diagnose high blood pressure based on one reading, the echocardiogram, holter monitor, and stress test were completely uncalled for, and lifting DOES NOT cause high blood pressure, unless they are checking you pressure while you are doing heavy leg presses and holding your breath.