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High Blood Pressure

Exercise and high blood pressure

01/31/2008

Question:

I am a 37 year old male that has been diagnosed with HBP (high blood pressure) for 2 years now. The pressure is well controlled through medications and lifestyle. I am an athletic person with a resting HR (heart rate) 55-60. When I run on my treadmill I wear a HR monitor and towards the end of my exercise routine, my HR gets near 170 at full exertion. This is significantly above my Target Hear Rate zone for my age, but I don`t really feel like I`m at full exertion. My doctor in the past has said that the THR idea is more of a guide, not a steadfast rule and that he wasn`t concerned that my pulse reached that level. Do you agree or should I taper back my exerise? As mentioned, I feel fine and also play basketball, where I`m sure my HR goes up to the same level if not higher. Interested in hearing your opinion. For perspective, when I run a 10 minute mile with 2.5 degrees of incline, my HR is aprox 150-155. At the end of my training, I progress towards 9 and 8 minute miles and thats when I hit 170. Thanks.

Answer:

There is some variability in the heart rate response to exercise.  The heart rate response is in general lower in a well trained person, but it is not always so.  Your heart rate response may be influenced by the medication that you take.  Furthermore, your medications probably decrease your maximal blood pressure response as well.  This can accelerate your exercise-induced heart rate.

As long as you have no symptoms and your heart rate stays regular, you do not have to be concerned.

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Response by:

Max C Reif, MD Max C Reif, MD
Professor of Medicine
Director of Hypertension Section
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati