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Can high blood pressure be avoided with exercise?

Posted Oct 01 2008 8:12pm

The current guidelines state that high blood pressure is any value over 120 when the heart contracts and over 80 when it relaxes. Ninety-one percent of Americans will suffer from high blood pressure, which causes heart attacks, strokes, and kidney damage. To reduce this frighteningly high incidence of this silent killer, The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that every able person start an exercise program ( Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, November, 2004). Certain conditions may temporarily preclude exercising, so check with your doctor.

Anything that expands blood volume will raise blood pressure. Diuretics lower blood volume and are therefore the most effective medication for lowering high blood pressure. However, diuretics tire you earlier during exercise because dehydration is a major cause of fatigue. Vigorous, prolonged exercise also dehydrates you and can lower blood pressure for 24 hours or more after you stop exercising.

Full fat cells raise blood pressure. When your heart contracts, it pushes a huge amount of blood into your main artery called the aorta. The aorta is supposed to widen and accept the surge of blood that comes with each beat. If the aorta is stiff, it does not expand adequately and blood pressure rises too high. When you are overweight, full fat cells release inflammatory hormones that stiffen the aorta and raise blood pressure. Exercise is a vital part of any successful program to lose weight and keep it off.

If you have high blood pressure, your doctor will probably recommend medication. However, more than 80 percent of hypertensives can have their blood pressure controlled just with diet and exercise. To see if you fall in this group, try my SHOW ME! Diet for two weeks For more on controlling blood pressure with diet see report #8614 and other reports in the Heart Health section of DrMirkin.com.

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