Friday, June 04, 2021

drop in blood pressure?

It may be too early to tell, but I think my blood pressure has started to drop. I kind of suspected that the reintroduction of exercise to my routine would provide certain benefits, among them being a drop in blood pressure. My BP machine is telling me that my diastolic number is below 80 now (this is the more important number). The systolic is still high, being above 140, but I suspect it's going to fall, too.

My blood-sugar numbers remain high; I think they'll start to drop when my exercise program, especially stairs work, becomes more intense. I did stairs for the first time yesterday (by which I mean focused stair work that follows my workout calendar). I was out of breath after only five floors, but that's about what I expected. A friend suggested I get involved with HIIT training; I might take him up on that, although as I wrote to him, I do fear that I'll end up hating the training and giving up. Still, it's worth a try; HIIT is known to help with the metabolizing of carbohydrates. (Read more about it here.)

So it's started. Pushups, pullups, planks/core, walks, stairs—I'm doing it all. Starting slowly, but check in again near December and we'll see how much or how little I've progressed. Ultimately, I'd like to get off medication, but in watching a ton of keto videos, I've come to see that plenty of perfectly healthy-looking people are still pricking their fingers and taking meds. The battle to reverse diabetes, fatty liver, and metabolic syndrome is ongoing. My index finger, meanwhile, continues to acquire scars.

UPDATE, 11:26 p.m.: maybe I spoke too soon. BP was a bit high tonight.


John Mac said...

I was surprised to read that you believe the diastolic number is the most important. I'm not sure what you are basing that on, everything I've read says both are important, but the systolic is a better indicator of the potential for strokes or heart attacks, especially in folks over 50 years old. I'm curious if there is a way to target one number over the other when trying to reduce BP overall?

I don't think you should be concerned so much about daily fluctuations in BP. I suggest looking for trends, hopefully going down. For example, my average over the last ten days is 134/80. During that time I've been as high as 144/88 and as low as 119/73. I check the BP at the same time each day as well for consistency.

Anyway, exercise and weight reduction are bound to have a positive impact on BP over time. Keep on keepin' on!

Kevin Kim said...

Based on tradition, but I guess I need to update my knowledge. This site puts the matter pretty well:

"Purpose of review: Diastolic blood pressure has traditionally been considered the most important component of blood pressure and the primary target of antihypertensive therapy. However, over 30 years ago, important epidemiological studies pointed out the importance of systolic blood pressure, and research during the 1990s has strengthened this view. Unlike diastolic blood pressure, systolic blood pressure increases progressively with age, and in ageing societies, elevated systolic pressure is the most common form of hypertension. The characteristic changes of systolic and diastolic blood pressure with age lead to increases in pulse pressure (systolic minus diastolic), which has emerged as a new, potentially independent risk factor. In this review, we compare the relative importance of various blood-pressure components.

Recent findings: Generally, in studies in which readings of systolic and diastolic blood pressure have been compared, systolic blood pressure has been a better predictor of risk. Moreover, isolated systolic hypertension predicts risk better than isolated diastolic hypertension, and the treatment of both isolated systolic hypertension and combined hypertension has reduced cardiovascular events. There are no treatment studies of isolated diastolic hypertension. Pulse pressure reflects stiffening of large arteries and is associated with several cardiovascular risk factors. Pulse pressure also predicts events in epidemiologic studies, but elucidation of an independent role is hampered by the close correlation between pulse pressure and systolic blood pressure.

Summary: Epidemiological and treatment studies suggest that systolic blood pressure should be the primary target of antihypertensive therapy, although consideration of systolic and diastolic pressure together improves risk prediction. The greatest practical concern at the moment is the undertreatment of hypertension, especially systolic, and total cardiovascular risk."

Anyway, yeah, I guess my knowledge is a couple decades out of date. I think part of the reason people used to emphasize diastolic pressure was that the number didn't change as radically.