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  1. #1
    Devil's Advocate andychrist's Avatar
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    Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

    Okay, so I've always heard that heart rate and blood pressure are linked, to the degree that significantly raising or lowering the former will nudge the latter in the same direction. (In a well publicized study, nurses observed that patients visiting their doctor's office tested lower after sitting and resting for a while than those who had just walked in off the street or something.) But whenever I measure my BP right after riding to Wallyworld, I find the higher my heart rate, the lower my pressure. For instance, my last few tests were all around 95/65 and 122 bpm. Prior tests where my bpm was closer to 100, results for my BP would hover around 115/75. Is this dynamic unusual, or are the BP monitors at Walmart terribly unreliable?

    n.b.: My resting heart rate is pretty high, not much below 100, been that way all my life. (Doctor wanted to put me on beta-blockers but I declined.) So I am a bit of a freak to start with.

    Thanks all for any insight.
    Last edited by andychrist; 10-05-12 at 10:48 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member 009jim's Avatar
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    Do your own research. Avoid the beta blockers if you can as their effect will wear off after a while and you have to increase the doses. Get a personal monitor and check your pressure when you're not at the doctors. Mine is always way up when I have to sit at the doctors office. Some other folks here will chime in and tell you to do whatever the doctor says but that approach will see you drugged to the eyeballs. Big pharmaceutical companies don't make their profits by curing people, but by getting them addicted to long term "treatment". [\rant]

  3. #3
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    The problem is that you go to Wallyworld.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  4. #4
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Yes, heart rate and blood pressure are linked. But then blood pressure is linked to a number of things: blood volume, constriction of the arteries from angiotensin II, stimultion from the peripheral nervous system, etc, etc, etc,,,

    And, conversely, low blood pressure can trigger a more rapid heart beat as the heart struggles to perfuse the rest of the organs in the body. It is often seen in cases of blood loss... The pressure drops and the heart speeeds up trying to compensate for it.

    And, actually, although it typically increases blood pressure (as a compensation for low pressure) a fast heart rate CAN actually decrease blood pressure because, if it is beating fast enough, the ventricals of the heart do not have time to completely fill with blood before they contract, so the heart simply isn't pumping enough blood.

    You're condition (rapid heart rate / low blood pressure) is interesting... Perhaps you & your doctors should be trying to understand what is causing that to happen rather than simply treating the sympton without a full understanding of the cause(s) of that symptom.
    ... Or perhaps you doctor has done that and simply not communicated it to you?

    In any case, I support your hesitancy to treat something that is not causing a problem without a having a clear understanding of it.
    Last edited by GeorgeBMac; 10-06-12 at 04:42 AM.
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    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Yep - Direct link -

    No heart rate = no blood pressure.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  6. #6
    Devil's Advocate andychrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
    Yes, heart rate and blood pressure are linked. But then blood pressure is linked to a number of things: blood volume, constriction of the arteries from angiotensin II, stimultion from the peripheral nervous system, etc, etc, etc,,,

    And, conversely, low blood pressure can trigger a more rapid heart beat as the heart struggles to perfuse the rest of the organs in the body. It is often seen in cases of blood loss... The pressure drops and the heart speeeds up trying to compensate for it.

    And, actually, although it typically increases blood pressure (as a compensation for low pressure) a fast heart rate CAN actually decrease blood pressure because, if it is beating fast enough, the ventricals of the heart do not have time to completely fill with blood before they contract, so the heart simply isn't pumping enough blood.

    You're condition (rapid heart rate / low blood pressure) is interesting... Perhaps you & your doctors should be trying to understand what is causing that to happen rather than simply treating the sympton without a full understanding of the cause(s) of that symptom.
    ... Or perhaps you doctor has done that and simply not communicated it to you?

    In any case, I support your hesitancy to treat something that is not causing a problem without a having a clear understanding of it.
    Thanks for that detailed response, George, especially the explanation about the ventricles. That was kinda what I was guessing my heart doesn't work as efficiently at high speed (if the monitor at Wally's is correct, which I kinda question.)

    I should have been more clear in my original post though, while my doctor did want to put me on beta-blockers to reduce my heart rate, and at the time my BP may have tested a bit high, that was late one winter when I had not been exercising at all for some months. Since then, that doctor has I think passed away and I have dropped about thirty or forty pounds. And while my resting heart rate is just as high as ever, at least my BP is normal once my pulse drops to 100. So perhaps I wouldn't qualify as a candidate for beta-blockers right now anyway. (Kind of a moot point though, as a study publicized this past week indicated no benefits in taking B-Bs to those who had not recently suffered a heart attack.) Have not yet discussed my latest discovery with a GP, but will do so at my next appointment.

  7. #7
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andychrist View Post
    Thanks for that detailed response, George, especially the explanation about the ventricles. That was kinda what I was guessing — my heart doesn't work as efficiently at high speed (if the monitor at Wally's is correct, which I kinda question.)

    I should have been more clear in my original post though, while my doctor did want to put me on beta-blockers to reduce my heart rate, and at the time my BP may have tested a bit high, that was late one winter when I had not been exercising at all for some months. Since then, that doctor has I think passed away and I have dropped about thirty or forty pounds. And while my resting heart rate is just as high as ever, at least my BP is normal once my pulse drops to 100. So perhaps I wouldn't qualify as a candidate for beta-blockers right now anyway. (Kind of a moot point though, as a study publicized this past week indicated no benefits in taking B-Bs to those who had not recently suffered a heart attack.) Have not yet discussed my latest discovery with a GP, but will do so at my next appointment.
    I would proceed with caution discussing these issues with a GP because, GP's -- like hybrids -- do a LOT of things, but none of them exceptionally well. And, they are seldom completely up-to-date on all current medical trends and ideas. (despite their claims to the contrary, they are, ultimately, human!) Your issues are unusual and may be above the skill set of many GPs... That's not to say you CAN'T get good advise there, but, be careful.

    BTW, most often, a rapid heart rate is usually triggered by a med (such as a Calcium Channel blocker) or by low blood pressure: A systolic of 95 will increase your heart rate. It MAY be that your base issue is low blood pressure. But, then, you have to ask: "What is causing the low blood pressure?"

    ... And then you have to ask: "Is any of this causing a problem that needs to be addressed?" Or, are they simply just unusual numbers?

    Low Blood pressure can cause, dizzyness (especially when standing) and resulting falls. Also, your organs may not be getting the perfusion that they need... On the other hand, maybe not...
    ... It's above my skill set too!
    --------------------------------------
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  8. #8
    Devil's Advocate andychrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post

    BTW, most often, a rapid heart rate is usually triggered by a med (such as a Calcium Channel blocker) or by low blood pressure: A systolic of 95 will increase your heart rate. It MAY be that your base issue is low blood pressure. But, then, you have to ask: "What is causing the low blood pressure?"

    ... And then you have to ask: "Is any of this causing a problem that needs to be addressed?" Or, are they simply just unusual numbers?

    Low Blood pressure can cause, dizzyness (especially when standing) and resulting falls. Also, your organs may not be getting the perfusion that they need... On the other hand, maybe not...
    ... It's above my skill set too!
    Well I'm not taking any meds and my systolic only falls that low when I have just gotten off my bike after riding through the hills about twenty miles to Wally's, rest of the time it's normal. So it's likely that my racing heart rate is what's causing the drop, rather than vice versa. Then again, I do often feel faint upon suddenly rising from a crouching to standing position (say, when getting up from scrubbing the floor.) Been that way all my life, from my youth when I was severely underweight, through a time of excessive weight gain and eventual loss back down to normal. Maybe I do need to see a specialist, though I'd still probably refuse to take any meds. Just stubborn that way.

    Thanks again George for taking the time and trouble to enlighten me.

  9. #9
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andychrist View Post
    ... I do often feel faint upon suddenly rising from a crouching to standing position (say, when getting up from scrubbing the floor.) ....
    Ya' don't have to be a physician to know how to cure for THAT problem!
    ... Besides, riding is more fun!
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    Public blood pressure machines and their instructions are a peeve of mine. I put up a page about them here: public blood pressure machines.

    You need to sit still for at least 5 minutes for the readings to come close to normal. After intense physical activity it can take half an hour before they settle down.

    Since you ride 20 miles before using it, I wouldn't worry about anything it reads out. I probably wouldn't even use it in that situation. Too many things are settling back down and you might have any kind of output that doesn't even make sense.
    mainlytext.com/bike.html Bicycling in winter, the entertainment version

  11. #11
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Courtesy of my maternal grandmother's narrowed renal arteries, I have a congenital tendency toward hypertension. Running about 140/90 in my early 20s, I decided to do something about it, and my solution has been weight control, a low-fat diet, and of course sodium restriction. (Exercise and healthful eating were already a given.) At my lightest, in my mid-20s and again in my mid-30s, I actually got it down to a fabulous 105/60 -- it has crept back up a bit since then, but it is still below my earlier numbers.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Closed Office View Post
    Public blood pressure machines and their instructions are a peeve of mine. I put up a page about them here: public blood pressure machines.

    You need to sit still for at least 5 minutes for the readings to come close to normal. After intense physical activity it can take half an hour before they settle down.

    Since you ride 20 miles before using it, I wouldn't worry about anything it reads out. I probably wouldn't even use it in that situation. Too many things are settling back down and you might have any kind of output that doesn't even make sense.
    And, the new BP machine at our grocery (without your permission) takes your weight, claims to do your BMI and your body composition, etc., etc. And it is right out where others can see it. So much for HIPPA. I'm surprised it doesn't give you an automatic flu shot.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  13. #13
    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
    I would proceed with caution discussing these issues with a GP because, GP's -- like hybrids -- do a LOT of things, but none of them exceptionally well. And, they are seldom completely up-to-date on all current medical trends and ideas. (despite their claims to the contrary, they are, ultimately, human!) Your issues are unusual and may be above the skill set of many GPs... That's not to say you CAN'T get good advise there, but, be careful.

    BTW, most often, a rapid heart rate is usually triggered by a med (such as a Calcium Channel blocker) or by low blood pressure: A systolic of 95 will increase your heart rate. It MAY be that your base issue is low blood pressure. But, then, you have to ask: "What is causing the low blood pressure?"

    ... And then you have to ask: "Is any of this causing a problem that needs to be addressed?" Or, are they simply just unusual numbers?

    Low Blood pressure can cause, dizzyness (especially when standing) and resulting falls. Also, your organs may not be getting the perfusion that they need... On the other hand, maybe not...
    ... It's above my skill set too!
    beg dto differ w.r.t. hybrids - mine has done a much better job than my gp ever did of lowering my bp.
    there is no signature.

  14. #14
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esteban58 View Post
    beg dto differ w.r.t. hybrids - mine has done a much better job than my gp ever did of lowering my bp.
    I stand corrected.
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    When I have my BP taken at the doctors I always ask for the old fashion style where they pump up by hand.The reason being with me the electronic readings are always higher.

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    OP,

    Your blood pressure can also be low after a 20 mile ride if you are not hydrating enough. The exercise & resulting warming up will also make your blood vessels more flexible reducing blood pressure.

  17. #17
    Devil's Advocate andychrist's Avatar
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    Thanks rat dog, heard that the heat can lower one's BP but never knew why. Don't think I'm not hydrating enough though, drink like a fish. WATER I mean, sheesh!

  18. #18
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andychrist View Post
    Thanks rat dog, heard that the heat can lower one's BP but never knew why. Don't think I'm not hydrating enough though, drink like a fish. WATER I mean, sheesh!
    My Dad always told me to never touch the stuff: He saw some guy wash his feet in it!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esteban58 View Post
    beg dto differ w.r.t. hybrids - mine has done a much better job than my gp ever did of lowering my bp.
    Definitely a fifty-plus classic post. Well done.

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    One point that George implied but didn't make explicit is that the measurements and standards for blood pressure are for resting blood pressure. When you're working out, the standards are no longer in play. One reason for this, and a possible explanation for the OP's lower bp after his ride to a place that shall not be mentioned, is that exercise causes many arterioles to dilate, thus increasing the effective diameter of the set of pipes through which the heart is pumping the blood. This in turn reduces the blood pressure. When you sit down at the bp device after riding twenty miles to get there, you still have those larger pipes. If you sit around a bit and allow them to come back to their resting state, you should see a rise in measured bp.

  21. #21
    Devil's Advocate andychrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    If you sit around a bit and allow them to come back to their resting state, you should see a rise in measured bp.
    Yes as I said my BP is otherwise close to normal, was just wondering why it went down when my heart rate when up. Now I've had some reasonable explanations. Thanks everybody for your insights, I really owe you all!

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