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  1. #1
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    High blood pressure. How many miles to the cure?

    I just got diagnosed with high blood pressure: 158/110. Doc says I could explode without meds. I say I need more miles on the bike. I bike, xc ski, snowshoe, and the gym. Okay, I must confess: I do have a very poor diet and stress. "But I exercise, Doctor." He said I can do away with the meds if I do some changing and drink a glass of wine at night. Any similar stories you can give me for motivation?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    "Your gonna die unless you change" wasnt enough motivation ?
    Jarery

    -If you cant see it from space, its not a real hill
    -If two bikes are going in the same direction, ITS A RACE!

  3. #3
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    I am on the meds. And I have changed my diet. Love the wine, too.

  4. #4
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    I had that problem at age 26. Age is important as the older you are, the less likely that exercise will completely solve the problem, or so it is (or was?) believed.

    After graduating from college and living life as a couch potato which was advised by the doctors due to my chronic Asthma, I had high enough blood pressure to be ineligible for the draft. The good doctor wanted to put me on medication and wrote me a prescription. I tore up the prescription and told him I'd handle it myself. I figured if I get on drugs at 26, what would I have to do at age 50 if it got high again. I wanted to avoid dugs at that young of an age if at all possible.

    This was in 1963 before exercise was even thought of and the word 'aerobics" was hardly ever heard. Billy Gram's doctor wrote an article on how he cured Grahm's fainting spells, which he thought was due to stress, by getting him to jog. I read the article the day I tore up the prescription. I started jogging though it induced Asthma.

    It took me three months and a lot of Asthma medication to get up to two miles. I happened to go back to the good doctor after 4 or 5 months for something else and asked if he would measure my blood pressure.
    He measured it three times and blurted out "what the hell have you been doing?". My blood pressure was 120/75 where it's been to this day --- actually, a few months ago it was 110/70.

    The more I jogged, the better I felt, the more fat I lost and the less the Asthma bothered me after the initial attack at the beginning of the run. Today I cycle and the Asthma drugs are so good that I rarely ever get an Asthma attack anymore.

    As a side note, that drug the doctor wanted to put me on turned out to be a carcinogen which was determined some 15 years later.

    At 158/110, I'd get on the drug right away until you can deal with the problem with the lifestyle changes. I have a friend who was on the medication. He's about 50. His daughter challenged him to do the ride arcros Georgia with her the next year. he bought a bike and started training. After a couple of month's he started feeling dizzy. The doctor had to take him off the mediacation as his blood pressure got too low. He was cured. When I rode with him it was 60-miles flat out in hilly country. That'll cure anybody.

    He typically rides 15 to 20 miles after work 3 or more days a week at a fast pace and takes a long ride on some weekends.

    Al
    Last edited by Al.canoe; 03-20-06 at 05:56 PM.

  5. #5
    Killing Rabbits
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    Exercise does little and once you stop, the effect disappears. However, exercise related weight loss does have a profound, and lasting, effect.

    I'm sure the doctor gave you some good advice; but on top of the wine and meds you can try a few other things:

    -Eat more fish; this personally brought me from ‘normal high’ to ‘ideal.’ (In my head at least )
    -Consume more potassium (Banana, OJ, dairy).
    -Garlic, tastes good and is good for you.
    -Use olive oil more often instead of other fats.
    -Cutting back on sodium helps some, but not all.

  6. #6
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    My doctor diagnosed me with hypertension. I told him that I am willing to work with him to avoid making it worse. He then refereed me to a hypertension specialist, by the time I got to see him I had lost a few pounds and started leading a healthy lifestyle. I was diagnosed by the specialist as having white coat hypertension.

    I am going to be on a blood pressure monitor for 24 hours to make sure everything is all right. I have also had my kidney function tests done. I should find out the results soon. I also cut down on salt and try to eat foods that are minimally processed as possible. Eating out is a thing of the past.

    I did not care that I was going to die that does not bother me, it is when the doctor said that he is going to put me on drugs that really opened my eyes. I am scared to death of drugs and the fact that they wanted to put me on them really hit home.

    I exercise like crazy and watch my diet. I know that a stroke or a heart attack will probably kill me; but I could also have a stroke or heart attack and live for another 20 years and be dependant on someone else to help me with the most basic things in life like toileting, eating, and rolling over in bed.

    IMO hypertension is just the beginning of something much worse on the horizon. I feel that hypertension, or the threat of it can be positive. It has given me a real motivation to change my life for the better. If you play your cards right you can use hypertension to your advantage and make yourself healthy. If like me the doc says it's white coat hypertension, then you have already started on the road to health, and can hopefully maintain it.

    I wish you the best, and my advice is do everything you can to lower your blood pressure because it is hard to ride a bike when you have lost the use of your legs.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthalpic
    Exercise does little and once you stop, the effect disappears. However, exercise related weight loss does have a profound, and lasting, effect.

    I'm sure the doctor gave you some good advice; but on top of the wine and meds you can try a few other things:

    -Eat more fish; this personally brought me from ‘normal high’ to ‘ideal.’ (In my head at least )
    -Consume more potassium (Banana, OJ, dairy).
    -Garlic, tastes good and is good for you.
    -Use olive oil more often instead of other fats.
    -Cutting back on sodium helps some, but not all.
    Sure if the exercise stops the affect stops. You are supposed to be making permanent lifestyle changes. The exercise is far more important than the weight loss. Dr Kenneth Cooper proved that decades ago. He tested over 5000 subjects.

    Any vegetable oil is good, but Olive oil is one of the better ones. However, the benefit is in replacing animal fats, not as a way to reduce B. P. No evidence on garlic. Never have eaten a lot of fish nor did my friend. Then there's the Mercury issue with fish.

    Al

  8. #8
    Realist Greg180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarery
    "Your gonna die unless you change" wasnt enough motivation ?
    That was enough for me. I was 150+ over 100+ six months ago. Quit the booze changed my diet and started excersizing DAILY. I may miss one day or two when I travel on business but that is when I watch my diet closely. No sodium, no sugars and eat whole not processed food. When the rest are going out for that three martini steak dinner I am at the local supermarket buying fruit and unprocessed foods to eat in my room after I excersize.

    Since I can't ride daily, too damn cold outside, I walk a minimum of four miles daily. High Blood pressure is no joke...I'm 44 and do not want to stroke out at 50 and have my wife wipe my butt for me the rest of my life.

    Some people cannot avoid HBP due to genetics...but try everything else before you hit the pills. Better life through drugs should never be a goal.

  9. #9
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    I went into the hospital for a biopsy on my voice box and found out that I had cancer and hypertension at the same time.

    I lost half my voice box and recovered well by giving up my car and walking everywhere and climbing stairs.

    Five years ago I got back into biking and started with a mountain bike riding 20 miles a day. Last year I put in 8,000 miles on my CX.

    As I got fitter, my desire for junk food fell off and my blood pressure is now 130/65 and 5 years ago was 160/100.

    I still have a hard time keeping the weight off in the winter but I'm getting better at it. I'm 63 and am at my lightest weight in 30 years and I feel great.
    Jim

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    Great to hear how people have dealt with high blood pressure in positive ways. Mine was bordering high. I read everything I can. I do as much as I can naturally and now it's low and it stays low as long as I do a combination of about 20 different things.

    Some things I've learned . . .
    Certain foods lower blood pressure such as garlic, onion, dark chocolate.
    Cutting out sodium (with the exception of the sodium that naturally occurs in foods such as spinach) and keeping sodium between 500 - 1000 mg is helpful.
    Exercising most days is good and exercising at a higher intensity is even better.
    Meditation, breathing deeply, yoga all help lower blood pressure -- it may take a few weeks where you are re-training the body and then it drops
    Flaxseeds lower blood pressure.

    Licorice raises blood pressure. Holding your breath raises blood pressure. MSG, salt, soy sauce raise blood pressure.

    Sandy

  11. #11
    Member bolton2160's Avatar
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    My doctor says I have high blood pressure too. It gets as bad as 160/110 at the Dr's office. But when I monitor it at home, it's around 135/80 which isn't too bad. I'm 37 and tip the scales at 255. I'm having a hard time convincing the Dr. that I might have white coat hypertension. Just the thought of going to the Dr. gets me stressing.

    I need to get back on the bike and build up my miles again. Was doing real well before my son was born (5 years ago) put in about 80 miles a week. Now I'm lucky if I get 5 miles in.

    A shot of apple cider vinigar is supposed to help with hypertension also. Yum, Yum.

  12. #12
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    For all you in BP denial,
    GET THEE TO THE DR. and
    start taking the meds.

    I was diagnosed at 47 and
    have taken them since.

    My BP is routinely 117/72 with
    medication and I would NOT think
    of trying to get off the meds.

    If you wanna play russian roullette
    with the idea of getting a STROKE
    go ahead, but for me, I am gonna
    stay on my meds.

    I advise all of you with even BORDERLINE
    high blood pressure to start taking meds.

    And hell, they are only about $9 per month
    for the generic brand ace inhibitor.

    GET THEE TO THE DOCTOR!

    Ned Goudy
    Glendora, CA USA

  13. #13
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonehead
    I just got diagnosed with high blood pressure: 158/110. Doc says I could explode without meds. I say I need more miles on the bike. I bike, xc ski, snowshoe, and the gym. Okay, I must confess: I do have a very poor diet and stress. "But I exercise, Doctor." He said I can do away with the meds if I do some changing and drink a glass of wine at night. Any similar stories you can give me for motivation?
    not to rain on your parade, but if you are consistently that high there is most likely NOT going to be any lifestyle mod to bring that down. you will be on medications

    dude...your physician was merely trying to be nice...

  14. #14
    squareone
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    Quote Originally Posted by mx_599
    not to rain on your parade, but if you are consistently that high there is most likely NOT going to be any lifestyle mod to bring that down. you will be on medications

    dude...your physician was merely trying to be nice...

    I agree. I'm 35 yrs old, 5' 8", 165 lbs, eat a low-fat vegetarian diet, ride pretty hard 5 days a week, have almost no stress in my life, and have what was referred to as "essential hypertension". Lifestyle changes can make a difference but only at the high end of things - if I was 50lbs overweight, smoked, and drank I could make changes that would bring it down, but it would still be high. I believed it was white lab coat syndrome for the past 4 years (sometimes it was actually low). A 24-hr BP monitor was the only thing that accurately diagnosed my situation. Started ace inhibitors a month ago and feel great, ride the same.

    If Russian Roulette is your game, best of luck.

  15. #15
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    I have been on BP meds for 3 or 4 years. My BP was considerably lower than yours when I started. I am not over weight, have always exercised regularly (probably excessively) and I have been on and off BP drugs during the last 5 years. You need to get a home measuring unit and have it's calibration checked at your doctors office. It's a pain to check your BP at home if you do it properly.

    You need to be still for 5 minutes before taking your first reading. Then you need to wait about 5 minutes before taking a second reading. You average the 2 and record them in a log. You ned to do this 2 or 3 times a day for several months, preferrably around the same time each day. It's a major committment, but the only way to establish what your readings actually are. A few high readings in your doctors office don't tell the whole story. Also be aware than readings taken at home are considered to be 5 points lower than those taken in a doctor's office. So "normal of 120/80 is really 115/75 at home.

    A 24-48 hour BP monitor can sometimes be used to fast track baseline readings.

    Do all the lifestyle stuff as well, you will feel better even if your BP doesn't change.

    And if you need to take pills it's no biggie if you are monitored. I have never had a problem.

    My dad had much higher BP than you do since he was in his early 20's and he lived to the age of 79 having been on mega doses of the earliest BP drugs for more than 40 years. He would not have made it past 50 if he had not taken drugs.

  16. #16
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Exercise will probably help high blood pressure but may not (probably won't?) "cure" it. If you can't control with exercise and diet, then you better listen to your doctor. Bear in mind that there are multiple blood pressure medications that can be tried to find one that works with the least side effects.

    Stroke is a bad thing. Really bad. Preventing one is a LOT better than recovering from one.

  17. #17
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    This is the best reference I have found on hypertension and exercise:

    http://www.acsm-msse.org/pt/pt-core/...media/0304.pdf

    It's a position paper from the American College of Sports Medicine. It is a very thorough and well researched paper that will probably give you all the answers you need. It's long, a little technical, but I got a lot out of it.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    I don't take any sort of drugs, except Bayer. Riding bikes and walking an hour or two a day brought my weight down by about thirty pounds, and as the weight came down, my blood pressure came down.

    I also changed my job, from one I disliked (although it paid well) to a job I do like (although it pays next to nothing). No fried foods (I live in Houston...that means there are places where the water is the only item not fried). Less meat. More salad and fruit. WAAY less booze.

    Yesterday, I donated blood and the lady rechecked my blood pressure. She thought the first reading was wrong, as it was more typical of someone thirty years younger than I am. So, the walking/riding/pleasant job/no fried food thing is working.

    I'm a bit of a skeptic about taking drugs for blood pressure if that is the ONLY change the person makes. If someone weighs 300 pounds, the blood pressure meds might give them a better reading, but nothing about their underlying health has actually changed. A bit like spray paint over rusting metal.

    If someone has made ALL of the lifestyle changes, and still has dangerously high blood pressure, there might be no alternative to the drugs. But the drugs should not be an excuse to continue a dangerous lifestyle.
    Last edited by alanbikehouston; 03-23-06 at 09:59 PM.

  19. #19
    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    i think it's best to stay on your meds. Exercise and keeping your weight down is for sure beneficial, but if it were my case, I'd take the meds, watch the diet, not eat junk, salt, etc. Hypertension is nothing to fool with.

    I never had high blood pressure in my life until a couple of years ago, when i was taking a medication that can CAUSE your BP to go up. It wasn't in the hypertension range, but it made me nervous all the same. In fact, my BP had always been on the low side. I switched medications and since then, my BP has been normal or low. I could even feel when my BP was higher. They say it's hard to tell, but I could feel it.
    You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.

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    Sarcastic Member Urbanmonk's Avatar
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    I was driving and thought there was a tremor running through the highway--it was an early warning. I was lecturing when students started blurring away from side to side. I had tremendous pressure in my head, and felt anxious. Then the bloody reading from the nurse who said, "get thee to a doctor, quickly." Meds.

    I have many "new" goals now. Blessing or curse? Both.

    Folks, thank you for all the advise.

  21. #21
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    People have HBP for all kinds of reasons, me, it runs strongly in my family. I have had periods of time when my BP was over 140/90 for no earthly idea at all, even starting as early as age 14.

    I went on meds for a couple years in the 1980s, then for a year in the 1990s. But I got tired of worrying about the effects of HBP on my long-term health, so after I turned 43 I basically went on 5 mg of Lisinopril a day, forever.

    No side effects for me, cheap (generic), and my BP is now ALWAYS under 120/80. I am very happy with it.

    You know, in 20 years, you can't ask God for a new heart, or a new aorta. Take care of what you got, by whatever means necessary.
    Last edited by kf5nd; 03-24-06 at 09:56 AM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    SECONDED. Go ahead and try the diet / exercise thing, but if you don't get good results within 6 months, don't be afraid of meds. Really. You don't want someone to have to change your diapers for the rest of your life after your stroke.

    Me, I saw the writing on the wall when I was riding 1000s of miles a year and was normal weight, and still my BP was borderline, then they lowered the standard a few years ago.

    I cashed in my chips, I don't play that game no more.




    Quote Originally Posted by nedgoudy
    For all you in BP denial,
    GET THEE TO THE DR. and
    start taking the meds.

    I was diagnosed at 47 and
    have taken them since.

    My BP is routinely 117/72 with
    medication and I would NOT think
    of trying to get off the meds.

    If you wanna play russian roullette
    with the idea of getting a STROKE
    go ahead, but for me, I am gonna
    stay on my meds.

    I advise all of you with even BORDERLINE
    high blood pressure to start taking meds.

    And hell, they are only about $9 per month
    for the generic brand ace inhibitor.

    GET THEE TO THE DOCTOR!

    Ned Goudy
    Glendora, CA USA

  23. #23
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    I am also borderline genetically, do weights twice a week, ride 50 miles twice a week, and play soccer on weekends. My BP would still bounce around and speaking to doctors they say exercise/diet is only good for 10-15 decrease. The more recent drugs(lisnopril) have little side effects compared to the ones from long ago.

    Its not worth the risk to continue with high BP. You can go on the meds and still try to go on an exercise/diet regimen and see if it helps.

    People with high BP usually end life with a particular set of PROLONGED ailments often causing more
    distress for the family as the individual becomes more and more incapcitated:

    1. busted kidneys, ie require dialysis
    2. blood circulation problems
    3. increased possibility of diabetes
    4. strokes

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    Exercise will probably help high blood pressure but may not (probably won't?) "cure" it. If you can't control with exercise and diet, then you better listen to your doctor. Bear in mind that there are multiple blood pressure medications that can be tried to find one that works with the least side effects.
    .

    Amen!

    I had the "prehypertension" thing surprise me several years ago. So I quit drinking and started riding and racing as much as I could manage along with running a company. For me, bp will drop drastically for about 12 hours after a good 3-4 workout, but will slowly creep back up. So if I get in good cardio for at least an hour every day then my bp will be "normal". Otherwise it's meds for me.

  25. #25
    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    a lot of people say that being diagnosed with conditions like hypertension or type 2 diabetes encourages them to make lifestyle changes they should make anyways. True, it's a shame that it sometimes takes a health problem, but sometimes there is no way to prevent it. Slender healthy people can get heart disease or HBP or Diabetes if it's genetic or they're at high risk. The best thing is to be preemptive. I take Vitamin D supplements during the winter- it's very good for bone density when you don't get sun. I certainly don't want to get osteoporosis. It doesn't really run in my family but why wait until I'm an old lady?
    You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.

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