High blood pressure for runners?

18 10 2008

A while ago, my friend and bosom buddy Willy, sent me an sms telling that he could not join me in tomorrows Botak 10k event. The reason for that, his blood pressure is so high or he has this hypertension or HBP. I wonder why is this happening? Are we runners not exempted from this? This prompted me to research for this topic and let me share with you some facts regarding hypertension or HBP:

High blood pressure (HBP) is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems.

“Blood pressure” is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps out blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways.

HBP itself usually has no symptoms. You can have it for years without knowing it. During this time, though, it can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of your body.

This is why knowing your blood pressure numbers is important, even when you’re feeling fine. If your blood pressure is normal, you can work with your health care team to keep it that way. If your blood pressure is too high, you need treatment to prevent damage to your body’s organs.

Blood pressure numbers include systolic (sis-TOL-ik) and diastolic (di-a-STOL-ik) pressures. Systolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood. Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.

You will most often see blood pressure numbers written with the systolic number above or before the diastolic, such as 120/80 mmHg. (The mmHg is millimeters of mercury—the units used to measure blood pressure.)

The table below shows normal numbers for adults. It also shows which numbers put you at greater risk for health problems. Blood pressure tends to goes up and down, even in people who have normal blood pressure. If your numbers stay above normal most of the time, you’re at risk.

Categories for Blood Pressure Levels in Adults (in mmHg, or millimeters of mercury)

Category Systolic
(top number)
(bottom number)
Normal Less than 120 And Less than 80
Prehypertension 120–139 Or 80–89
High blood pressure
Stage 1 140–159 Or 90–99
Stage 2 160 or higher Or 100 or higher

The ranges in the table apply to most adults (aged 18 and older) who don’t have short-term serious illnesses.

All levels above 120/80 mmHg raise your risk, and the risk grows as blood pressure levels rise. “Prehypertension” means you’re likely to end up with HBP, unless you take steps to prevent it.

If you’re being treated for HBP and have repeat readings in the normal range, your blood pressure is under control. However, you still have the condition. You should see your doctor and stay on treatment to keep you blood pressure under control.

Your systolic and diastolic numbers may not be in the same blood pressure category. In this case, the more severe category is the one you’re in. For example, if your systolic number is 160 and your diastolic number is 80, you have stage 2 HBP. If your systolic number is 120 and your diastolic number is 95, you have stage 1 HBP.

If you have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, HBP is defined as 130/80 mmHg or higher. HBP numbers also differ for children and teens. (For more information, see “How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed?”)

Blood pressure tends to rise with age. Following a healthy lifestyle helps some people delay or prevent this rise in blood pressure.

People who have HBP can take steps to control it and reduce their risks for related health problems. Key steps include following a healthy lifestyle, having ongoing medical care, and following the treatment plan that your doctor prescribes.

I have known some friends of mine who are runners and yet some of them suffered a heart attack, stroke and worst is untimely death during the race. That’s why monitoring your heart rate during the race is very very important. Some falls into the temptation of over speeding or over maximizing their hearts capacity. In a race, I always wear my heart rate monitor. If it beeps, that means I’m either too slow or too fast for my normal heart rate. If I’m too fast, then it’s time for me to slow down. I know I can never be on top 10, so why in a hurry? Finishing a race is an accomplishment already. The prize is only secondary. There is always someone better and faster.

One thing I know about running: It can only delay the onset of any illnesses but in reality, running is not a cure or wonder pill that will exempt us for any diseases or illnesses. The good thing is-it’s better than to be a couch potato and live a stagnant life. Many runners live to be 60+ and more, and they can still run faster and better. So let’s run more and pray better! This two things go hand in hand for better and satisfying life.

“God bless you as you bless God.”

“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”

James 1:21




One response

18 10 2008

its informative.salamat po sa pagpost.

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