Friday, May 10, 2013

Blood Pressure Spiking and Exercise

On the Life Line testing April 26, 2013 I had a BP count of 168/83, quite high for me. The helpful attendant suggested it might be the "white coat" syndrome, and it might be, but I've noticed that my BP tends to show high if I have not had recent excercise. This morning, for example, it was 128/81 where the latter was much higher than my long time average of 68. I'd remarked earlier in this blog about spiking.

I tested it a few minutes after and found it 129/67, essentially my average (120/68 is the year's average in Hearwise). I do take BP readings lying down and after a few minutes wait. So when things settle, my Blood Pressure is fine.

But there is a lot of time when I am not relaxed and lying down. I suspect that my BP is significantly higher then.

Still later today I took my BP after hiking up to the water tank on the Cobol side of the Mills Wilderness Trail. After my shower and lunch I took my BP relaxing on the couch. 104/51! Quite clearly exercise has a profound effect.

The moral of the story? Exercise is good and can protect against BP spiking. But how long does the effect last? What about the period before exercise and after. When does the BP creep up?

In particular, how often is it a good idea to do excercise to keep one's readings low?  For example, it is worth doing a 45 minutes walk in the morning, and then one in the afternoon? Each day? Or is it a good idea to do a bike ride in the morning and then a walk in the afternoon? Each day? 

These questions are testable. I'll have a 26 mile bike ride on Saturday in the morning. I can check my BP an hour before and an hour afterwards. Then I could do a walk in the afternoon and check my BP before and after at similar time intervals.

What would I project?

My BP tends to be low in the morning, so at 7am I'd project 120/70

After the ride, shower, etc., I would project a low reading 105/60

In the early afternoon my BP may indeed creep up. 120/80?

After a half-hour walk, relaxing on couch, etc., I'd project 105/65. (In other words, I wouldn't expect the disastolic number to be quite as low as earlier. I see some higher reading in previous afternoon checks.)

If the numbers check, then the afternoon walk would some some protective effect on BP, which would otherwise have a slighter higher diastolic and an appreciable higher systolic reading.

But these numbers may not be significant overall in terms of protection against cardiac events. In other words, the "extra" afternoon walks  may lower BP a little but not be significant in terms of preventing actual cardiac events.

But I suspect that some exercise each day would be useful. It couldn't be heavy exercise each day like a 4 hours bike ride to the beach. The idea would be to find the level of "recovery" exercise (say every other day) that will just produce this beneficial effect. It would vary for fitness levels, but for me I image it would be a 45 minute vigorous walk, maybe the Mills walk to the water tank. Maybe it could be my 8 miles Thompson Creek bike ride.These are testable obviously. I can check and post separate entries on them.

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