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Old 07-09-07, 05:57 PM   #1
trackhub
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queston for those on Hi blood pressure meds..

Alrighty then, I am 50. On my last annual physical, my blood pressure was 140 / 80. Not hypertense, but the doc wants me to come back in two months, "just to keep an eye on it". It's been about the same for the past few years. No plans for medications yet, but I am curious about a few things. ( and yes, I do work in a sometimes stressful environment, but that's pretty standard here in the USA, right?)

If you are on blood pressure meds, how has it affected your cycling? I know the "pee pills" make you have to pee a lot more than normal, with the idea of making you pass out the excess sodium in your body. Alpha and beta blockers sound scary to this neophyte, as they mess with your heart rate.

What have your experineces, postive and negative, been?
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Old 07-09-07, 06:16 PM   #2
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I take a 25mg Atenolol dialy. Keeps my heart rate and BP in check and no side effects other than frequent peeing.
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Old 07-09-07, 06:18 PM   #3
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I have a long history with high blood pressure (20 years), and I've been on just about every BP med type there is (this can eventually happen when you have kidney disease and you end up on 3-4 BP meds at the same time). There are some meds that are more likely to affect exercise tolerance than others. You're probably Ok with ACE inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers. Alpha-blockers can be Ok for exercise, but they aren't really very good for blood pressure. Beta blockers slow your heart rate and therefore exercise capacity (although some beta blockers aren't too bad, if that's what you need). Calcium channel blockers can be Ok, if it's not one of the two that slow heart rate (diltiazem and verapamil, although some people do Ok with them), but I wouldn't think they are the best first drug to be on. Diuretics are actually the best first choice for mild hypertension. Contrary to popular misconception, they do not make you urinate that much more, except maybe the first day or two you are on it. The typical dose is too small for that. I'm not a doctor, but I would think that for a person who wants to ride a bike for exercise (I mean serious exercise), starting with a diuretic like hydrochlorothiazide is probably the best plan unless you have some other heart issues that other drugs might be better for, and then if needed, an ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin II receptor blocker. These won't really affect exercise tolerance or ability.

Good luck.
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Old 07-09-07, 06:19 PM   #4
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I think that attenalol is "sloth in a can", and it will cause muscle pain in the legs.

Having said that, it also seems to have fewer anti-bicycling side effects like dehydration or tendencies toward asma like symptoms. If you take attenalol you will probably never be a world class cyclist, but your blood pressure and risk of stroke will be improved. (Did you really think that you were going to be a world class cyclist)

................The above is a non paid, uneducated guess based on the observation of one person.....me.
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Old 07-09-07, 06:22 PM   #5
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Lisinopril. No effect on performance that I'm aware of.

Coughing is a major side effect. My cough gets easily triggered, and when it happens on rides it scares people to death. But it's cheap and effective and I usually don't mind the coughing.

Occasionally take a small amount of HCTZ. Potassium loss is a possiblility but usually not seen at the lower modern dosages.

BTW, it is said by people who claim to know these things that exercise along won't control hypertension if you're overweight. You need both weight loss and exercise. That's been my observation. If I could shed 20 pounds I probably wouldn't have to take anything at all.

Which is why the two krispy Kremes I had today make no sense at all.

<edited for spelin erors.
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Old 07-09-07, 06:30 PM   #6
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I'm on the water pill thing (or pee pill as you call it) and indeed at first I was really running to the restroom. I think things adjust somehow and it works out not to be that bad. I don't run all day, and I do drink a lot of water.
Don't know about losing electrolytes, but I use HEED on long rides. Certainly electrolyre replacements are easy to get.

I've seen reports that the wate rpill is as effective as much more (to me) frightening drugs in many cases. Worth looking into.
I've lost a lot of weight and with the pills I'm in the zone I should be in.

I'd have done NOTHING without my wife bugging me, which is pretty stupid. I guess really bad things can happen if you let it go.
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Old 07-09-07, 06:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trackhub
Alpha and beta blockers sound scary to this neophyte, as they mess with your heart rate.

What have your experineces, postive and negative, been?
I know how you feel. I'm 52 and have been on a Beta blocker (Atenolol) since 1994. The hardest part was getting used to feeling different. I didn't take it for high blood pressure but a rythmn problem. My bp without it was 120/70 and with it is 115/60. I found that it has slowed my heart slightly, maybe 6 bpm. My resting heart rate is 56. It used to be in the low 60's.

I don't have any problems with it while riding. I can get my heart rate up to 85% of maximum without any problem. Especially on hills. Some people complain that it leaves them feeling. I haven't had that problem.

How's your weight? If it is up dropping ten pounds really helps the BP.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-09-07, 06:40 PM   #8
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feeling tired.
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Old 07-09-07, 07:18 PM   #9
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The more I ride the less altace I have to take. The Dr. changed my perscription today.
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Old 07-09-07, 07:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by card
The more I ride the less altace I have to take. The Dr. changed my perscription today.
Yours is a very typical experience. For me, losing a little extra body fat and reducing the total fat/oil content in my diet was all I needed to pull my BP into the safe range from borderline hypertensive. (I have also been very careful about sodium intake for decades, and I take calcium supplements.) In my mid-20s I tested at 140/90, which was definitely too high at that age. I tested yesterday at 117/71, not quite as good as the 110/60 readings I was able to pull on a strict Pritikin diet (when everyone commented that I looked "too thin"), but certainly acceptable.
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Old 07-09-07, 07:55 PM   #11
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On atenolol 75 mg here. Have noticed a drop in BP since riding again. BP this morning was 112/72 and 117/72. Seems consistent and hopefully, the doc will reduce my dose when I meet with her next week. Taking the atenolol is just fine with me and don't see any side effects despite being on it for 10 years.
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Old 07-09-07, 08:06 PM   #12
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Was on Toprol XL (Metoprolol Succinate), max dose. Legs wouldn't go on long steep hills. Went to different doctor, had EKG, heart rate was 39. Dr. surprised that I was even conscious with such a slow pulse. Immediately took me off the Toprol. Amazing difference in endurance, climbing ability. Was a slow rider, am now a half-fast rider!
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Old 07-09-07, 08:29 PM   #13
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I had been on Monopril for about a year and a half, so when this side effect showed up, I didn't associate it with the med. On warmer days (80+), once I started sweating, it never stopped. Sweat would be dripping off my hair and I always carried a towel. The only cure was a cold shower. My Doc retired and I went to a new one. One day I had an appt. and I was doing the sweating thing. He took one look at me and put me on Norvasc. No more monopril, and no more sweating. What a relief. bk
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Old 07-09-07, 08:39 PM   #14
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At your level of BP (140/80), you will likely be on monotherapy
such as HCTZ for awhile until your arteries start stiffening up a
bit more when a second drug is added. If your parents and
aunts/uncles have HTN, then you almost certainly will at some
point. Beta blockers affect your ride in proportion to how close
you ride to your lactate threshold. If your average speed is
in the 13-16 range, most of the time you will never know you
are on a beta blocker at low end doses of 25-50mg or equivalent.
If your average is above 20mph then it will definitely cut a bit off
the top as your max HR will be down 10-30/min and the contractility
of the heart muscle slowed up a bit as well. At your BP it will be
some years before that question arises.
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Old 07-09-07, 09:09 PM   #15
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I take HCTZ (the diuretic) and Lisinopril. Lisinopril is an ACE inhibitor. The HCTZ got me to 140 over 80 something but doc wanted it lower so Lisinopril, and now it's in the 130's over 70 something. I have to really watch staying hydrated but other than that I cannot see any side effects except my doctor has stopped yelling at me. No coughing problems or lethargy (more than usual - I'm naturally lazy, or so I've been told) and no muscle pain problems.
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Old 07-09-07, 09:41 PM   #16
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I've been on BP meds since about age 30. Presently I'm on Atenolol 50mg, and Benicar HCT 40-25mg.

My doc is pleased with the results of my physical exams so I don't worry too much about cycling performance. I know the beta blocker must be keeping me from a spot in the TDF but, oh well.
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Old 07-09-07, 09:49 PM   #17
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I'm off the meds now, except for diuretics, which don't discommode me much. I'd be peeing every chance I got anyway--that's the first rule of being a middle-aged news reporter: Never miss a chance to go to the bathroom.
How's your weight, though? Reason I ask is that my BP was around the same as yours a year ago, and I thought (as I imagine everybody does) that I was in decent shape but could stand to lose a few pounds. I dropped from 250 to 225 (at 6'4"), and with NO other changes, my BP went down to 110/60 and has stayed there.
Incidentally, just saying "everybody's under stress" doesn't get YOU off the hook. Everybody in my business has a heart attack by age 55, too, but I'm not going for it.
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Old 07-10-07, 03:51 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis
I've been on BP meds since about age 30. Presently I'm on Atenolol 50mg, and Benicar HCT 40-25mg.

My doc is pleased with the results of my physical exams so I don't worry too much about cycling performance. I know the beta blocker must be keeping me from a spot in the TDF but, oh well.
Louis, if they ever open a masters class in the TDF we will have to go off the meds for a month just to watch......
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Old 07-10-07, 04:53 AM   #19
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Good Question!

I've been on Toprol XL in a 250mg pill. for about 2 years now. I am just now back on a bike after a few year layoff and as far as I know this is not effecting me. I am 51, but I'm about 65 lbs higher than I want to be. My Doctor is a cyclist himself and we discuss this quite often. He feels that if I get my weight down, I should be able to lower my medication or maybe even stop taking them. My BP problem is a combination of stress and weight so it's all in my hands to be sure.

My other goal is to get my Doc to visit the Bike Shop I work at part time now! LOL!

Chris
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Old 07-10-07, 04:57 AM   #20
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I was in the range of 180/110 last Xmas. Gave up dairy, adding salt to food, and my 4 expressos per day and lost 30 lbs. My BP is now 114/70. All my other blood work came more into line with "Normal" guidelines. Modified my life style (still get tempted by German Chocolate cake) and it has made an amazing difference.
I am 64 and am now able to easily ride the mountains here in Colorado with relative ease. If you have a choice go with changing how you eat (quantity and quality) before meds. I tried to lose wt for years by exercise without changing my eating habits with no success. I now know that I can't fool myself. I have been able to maintain the wt loss with no problems. Except for the above mentioned exclusions I am eating the same only less of it. Once the changes become habit then temptations become less of a problem. Good luck
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Old 07-10-07, 05:09 AM   #21
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I take Norvasc and Toprol and have not noticed any difference in my performance when riding. What I have noticed is that riding helps to lower my blood pressure overall.
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Old 07-10-07, 05:14 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trackhub
Alrighty then, I am 50. On my last annual physical, my blood pressure was 140 / 80. Not hypertense, but the doc wants me to come back in two months, "just to keep an eye on it". It's been about the same for the past few years. No plans for medications yet, but I am curious about a few things. ( and yes, I do work in a sometimes stressful environment, but that's pretty standard here in the USA, right?)

If you are on blood pressure meds, how has it affected your cycling? I know the "pee pills" make you have to pee a lot more than normal, with the idea of making you pass out the excess sodium in your body. Alpha and beta blockers sound scary to this neophyte, as they mess with your heart rate.

What have your experineces, postive and negative, been?
You are wise to ask questions. I've never been on anti-hypertensives, I'm not a doctor, but I am a RN, FWIW.

I am presuming you and your doc have a good, open, long-standing relationship. 140/80 isn't really very high and one slightly elevated reading does not confirm a diagnosis of hypertension, but does open the door to more investigation. I would suggest, in addition to your doctor visits and his readings, to keep a daily BP log at home to get a better idea of what your pressure actually is running. You can get an automatic cuff and record your morning and evening pressures for a few weeks. Verify the accuracy of the readings you get w/the automatic cuff against a regular BP cuff w/a sphygmonometer and stethoscope, your doc or anyone w/a cuff can do this for you. That way you are sure the readings are accurate.

There is a tendency to have higher BP readings than normal at doctor's visits. I think your doc would appreciate your input and welcome your BP log as an adjunct to his one-time readings in making an accurate diagnosis.

just my .02. I really hate to see anyone go on meds unless it's absolutely necessary.

Colleen
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Old 07-10-07, 05:19 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by The Weak Link
Lisinopril. No effect on performance that I'm aware of.
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Old 07-10-07, 05:32 AM   #24
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Mine was a little higher than yours in my 30's-especially the diastolic readings/lower end. I also have a family history of hypertension. I started meds over 20 years ago and take a calcium channel blocker (verapamil) and diuretic (HCTZ) daily. For me, the HCTZ is actually more for the prevention of kidney stones than blood pressure. My riding performance continues to get better the older I get. Meds don't seem to be getting in the way.

I do have to watch potassium levels and overall electrolyte levels but when you're doing 100 mile rides you're going to watch those anyway........I don't take the diuretic the day of my long rides.

I'm not crazy about taking the meds but in my case they seem to not be hurting me. Even 6000-7000 miles of riding each year hasn't brought my BP levels down to where I'd like to see them without meds. Given the alternative I like the heart being stressed a little less or not having to operate at as high a pressure over a longer period of time-or what I hope is a really long period of time!!!
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Old 07-10-07, 06:45 AM   #25
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140/80 is on the high side of what is currently considered normal and current recommendations are to check and recheck it and if it is still up there then consider treatment.
Most antihypertensives are fine and given in a proper dose don't affect performance. I always get a kick out of the Heart Rate Worshipers but remember, Cardiac Output is Stroke Volume X Heart Rate, and with the proper dose of a beta blocker, HR goes down a bit but stroke volume goes up to compensate so even though your $300.00 heart rate monitor shows smaller numbers, the cardiovascular effect is the same. But some people aren't happy unless their numbers show 170 - 180 while riding and other 'symptoms' appear.... Reassurance and explanation of a bit of CV physiology for the exerciser is usually all it takes.
But proper dosage of the proper meds is still trial and error. The biggest legitimate side effect I've seen from B lockers is occasional mild depression, so would go to Lisinipril - another good antihypertensive.
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