Tuesday, 05 July 2016 06:56

High Blood Pressure Summary

Jordan, our recent work experience student compiled this informative summary about high blood pressure and exercise.


Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a major public health problem and a leading contributor to premature death and disability from cardiovascular disease. Increased physical activity has been highly recommended as one of many important lifestyle changes for the prevention and control of hypertension.


What is high blood pressure?

The heart pumps blood around the body through blood vessels. A person’s blood pressure is the amount of force exerted on the artery walls by the pumping blood. High blood pressure is when your body is pumping blood with more force than what is considered normal. The stress this applies to the arteries can speed up the “clogging” of the arteries with fatty plaques.


What can cause and worsen high blood pressure?

High blood pressure can be caused by an unhealthy lifestyle including things such as:


  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Heavy drinking
  • High dietary salt
  • Smoking

With ageing the arteries tend to become more rigid (less elastic) which may also change a person’s blood pressure pattern.


How can high blood pressure be controlled?

Two in every five people are able to successfully lower their blood pressure by adjusting their lifestyle. Some of these lifestyle choices include:

  • Giving up smoking
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly

Several large studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise can help protect against future development of high blood pressure in men although there are fewer studies to prove the same for women. Weight lifting of an intensive nature has a poor effect on a person’s blood pressure and should be avoided in order to control blood pressure. The exact type and amount of exercise and training required in order to lower blood pressure is however unclear.


Signs and symptoms of high blood pressure:

Most people who have high blood pressure usually do not produce any symptoms. This is because the organs of the body can resist high blood pressure for a long time and that is why having regular medical examinations are much needed to keep track of your health especially through older age. If however during exercise you feel, chest discomfort or breathlessness beyond normal you should seek further medical assessment.


Things to remember:

  • High blood pressure is a factor for many diseases such as, heart attack, kidney failure, stroke and cardiovascular disease
  • There often aren’t any signs or symptoms, so regular check ups are extremely important
  • Keeping to a healthy diet and lifestyle is important
  • Exercise Physiologists, as well as other health care professionals, play a very important role in helping to minimise blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure by reinforcing a healthy lifestyle and creating an appropriate exercise programme