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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Is it possible to get lower BP by two weeks of exercise ?

Is it possible for two weeks of exercise to lower blood pressure? 49 yo male, six feet tall and 250 pounds. Have led pretty much a couch potatoe lifestyle the last five years (work related, lots of sitting, not much if any exercise). My blood pressure the last two years has been 150 over 100 (average). Can t afford a doc, no insurance. So don t go there. Last two weeks I started playing golf, usually walk 3 hours or 3 miles on the course in hot 90 degree weather. Also started eating oatmeal regularly last two weeks, and a better selection of foods. Also cut out all my coffee. Before, was drinking about 6 cups a day. Yeah, was headed for a heart attack. May still be. Question, with that info, all of a sudden my blood pressure is sitting at an average 120/80 with a pulse of it possible that in two weeks of no caffiene, lots of exercise and 8 hours sleep instead of 5-6 that my blood pressure would drop this much? Or are these false readings that won t hold up going forward?
Tue, 15 Dec 2009
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A change in your lifestyle can definitely affect your blood pressure. This degree of change in blood pressure is quite unexpected. In my experience, lifestyle modification changes blood pressure only by about 10-15%. However, there are unusual cases. (I know someone who had a cholesterol way over 300, who got it down below 200 just by changing his diet. But before he changed his diet, he was eating two dozen eggs per day.) I guess my question to you would be how much coffee were you drinking? If it was just one cup, then that would not explain this degree of change. If it was a pot of coffee or two, then this is probably the most significant change you have made. Or perhaps you have significantly reduced your stress level recently? Perhaps that is the key. If so, the change may be dependant on whether that stress tends to be recurrent in your life. But how are you getting your blood pressure readings if you are not seeing a doctor? Perhaps the first readings were not accurate? Blood pressure readings are affected by how and when you take them. Sitting with your legs crossed increases the reading. Sitting in a chair with no back increases the reading. Not having your arm resting on a table or arm of a chair can increase the reading. Taking your blood pressure when you need to pee can increase the reading. As you can see, many things can increase your readings artificially. If you are using a home blood pressure monitoring device, it might be worth getting the pressure double checked at least once by taking it at one of those blood pressure machines they have at many pharmacies. If it registers the same, I would say the change is probably real. I do think that it would still be advisable to continue to exercise regularly and eat right regardless. This is a heart healthy lifestyle that will definitely pay off in the end.
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