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High Blood Pressure

Does exercise lower one more than the other

08/06/2008

Question:

I know that regular exercise can help to lower blood pressure, but does it tend to lower either systolic or diastolic more readily than the other?

Answer:

Regular exercise can lower your resting blood pressure, which is one of its many benefits.  Exercise will lower both the systolic and diastolic blood pressure to a similar degree, although the systolic may be lowered slightly more.

Almost all cardiovascular risk is linked to the systolic blood pressure.  Therefore, the effect of exercise on the diastolic blood pressure is not clinically important.

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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