High Blood Pressure

My Doctor has been getting me to self monitor my blood pressure the last 3 months after a check up showed it to be high. At this mornings visit the doctor looked at the results and said that although some of the results look good there are enough high readings that he should be thinking about prescribing medication. We agreed to investigate further first though and I am now waiting to arrange a 24 hour blood pressure test.

In the last 2 years I have been exercising regularly and steadily losing weight from the point where my BMI (Body Mass Index) was in the obese range to now where I am just outside the healthy range. I expect to reach a BMI of 25 early in the new year allowing for a bit of weight gain over christmas. I currently train about an average of 14 hours a week of swimming / cycling / running and weights, eat healthily and have virtually given up alcohol. I am now in training for the Outlaw Ironman distance Triathlon next July.

My question is for those in the know are there certain types of medications I should be avoiding as an endurance athlete? obviously I will discuss with my doctor beforehand but would like to do some research before I start taking any medication.


  • Beta blockers can be used as part of a mix of medications depending on what your resting heart rate is, they will help the BP problem but will limit your upper heart rates so may make it more difficult to push hard.  With luck your continuing programme will get you to a good BP level.

  • I would not take beta blockers unless absolutely necessary as they can have a significant effect on performance.  I have been taking candesartan tablets for quite a few years now, I started at 4mg p.d. then after a few years it was increased to 8mg p.d. after which my blood pressure stabilised.  Also try and avoid being prescribed diuretics for obvious reasons

  • HONK - Beta blockers are probably the main one to watch.  However, there is a well defined protocol now for starting treatment for high blood pressure and beta blockers are now well down the list - usually reserved for when one or two agents alone isn't doing the job.

    Best of luck with the Outlaw

  • Honk, sounds like me. The doctor said I had slightly high blood pressure and he wanted me to self test. I just ignored him and carried on.

  • I had to take beta blockers for years and they are horrible things. Thanks to running and other lifestyle changes which have lead to significant weight loss I'm now off them (monitored regularly) So if your diet goes to plan this might help get your BP down without having to take these tablets. They do have side effects. Good luck!
  • Honk, I was also in a similar position a few years back - I did the 24 hr test, which was horrible and stressfull and only likely to raise your blood pressure! I had blood tests (liver and kidney function) and ended up seeing a cardiologist and having the whole, ECG, stress test etc. Nothing was wrong apart from slightly raised BP and that was only sometimes.

    I really didn't want to medicate so, after a bit of researcg, I started to follow the DASH diet; LOTS of fruit and veg (7 -9 portions a day), wholegrains, low fat, low salt and have manged to generally keep my BP within the acceptable range. I did have a fairly healthy diet beofre but this did make a difference, it's worth looking into, if you haven't already.

  • Totally agree with CB69 whose diet seems pretty similar to mine, although I didn't realise it had a specific name!

  • H0NKH0NK ✭✭✭

    Thanks for the replies everyone, I'm hoping a bit more weight loss will bring the BP down enough that I dont have to medicate, will look into the DASH diet but it does sound similar to what i'm already doing. still some small changes could make all the difference.

  • I'm in two blood pressure drugs.

    Started when I was 40 and just under 16 stone. Now 9st 13, ran a marathon and still on them, but my blood pressure is now in the normal range all the time it was high even on the tablets pre diet and running,

    Lisinopril & Amlodipine are what I'm on.

    If you need them don't worry take them, quick swallow with water in the morning job done. Takes 30 seconds if it saves me from stroking out worth it

    Now that I'm a hell of a lot healthier I'm thinking off stopping only way to prove I don't need them is to stop and keep monitoring my blood pressure. So will give it a try in the new year, but seriously not had any side effects.
  • Mr Soup takes Lisinopril. He did his 41st marathon today. He has no side effects at all and it works. Don't be scared of tablets, high bp isn't healthy. 

  • Booktrunk, if you are thinking of coming off the tablets in the New Year do it under supervision from your GP. My doctor basically reduced the dosage until I was weaned off them completely. Sleeping much better now, far better energy levels and less moody since coming off the pills. However, if I had to take them agrian I would. As the above poster says, high BP isn't healthy.
  • Lisinopril isn't a beta-blocker and it's bbs that are liable to have an impact on your running. I refused to take them and after arguing about 7 times with me they gave up and gave me a nicer alternative instead. Also as Neil says there is a very dangerous effect called rebound tachycardia which you can get if you suddenly stop a bb dosage. Cardiologists love bbs and runners hate 'em.

  • When you say "high" BP, what levels are we talking about?

  • H0NKH0NK ✭✭✭

    my highest readings have been about 150/105 for a male aged 43. 

  • H0NKH0NK ✭✭✭
    Just wanted to bounce this back to the top as I'm now undergoing the 24 hr test.

    Results I've noticed have been high (higher than previous post) so I suspect doctor will want to prescribe something.
  • Let us know how it goes Honk and fingers crossed.

    Not a medical man but your highest readings could be worse. I was up to about 180 / 135 when I was first diagnosed about nine years ago. Was 120 / 77 when I had my latest check up last week and beta blocker free since early October.

  • Good luck Honk. Don't be scared of Losartan. Its better than high blood pressure. I wouldn't want a beta blocker though. Talk to your doctor about your fears. 

  • H0NKH0NK ✭✭✭

    finished the test but computer problems meant they couldnt download results whilst i was there, so nurse suggested I book an appointment with a doctor for a weeks time.

    so off i go to book an appointment only to be told they are fully booked till March and I need to phone in each morning to try to get to see a doctor. GRRRR no wonder my blood pressure is high.

    On the plus side my wife tells me 2 of the doctors there are marathon runners so I will try and get an appointment with one of them.


  • I had a health assessment at work recently and had slightly high BP at 148 / 104. I was hoping to correct this by quitting alcohol, improving diet (and losing weight) and running more.

    Reading this thread leads me to believe that all the above may not be successful ad I'm destined for tablets- which I really want to avoid.

    Is this really the case?
  • Not necessarily Kev.

    At it's peak my blood pressure was a lot higher than yours and was brought under control with medication which I was subsequently on for years. I accepted that I'd probably be on the pills for the rest of my life. However, after slowly getting fitter and chiselling away at my weight for years I made more radical changes to my diet and started adding to my exercise routine. Then one day my exercise bike broke and I was told that it'd be in the workshop for two to three weeks. I was trekking regularly at weekends but needed something else so started running, surprised myself and really enjoyed it at the same time. Cue further weight loss. Around this time I started wondering about my my BP, went to the doctor and it was fine. However, the doctor said it was only fine because of the pills and didn't want to know about reducing the medication. Fast forward a year and I changed my GP ( not because of the above). I had to go to my new doctor for an unconnected issue but as I was there raised the issue again. My BP was on the lower side of the band considered to be ideal and my new GP took an interest and was prepared to lower the dosage with weekly monitoring. My BP continued to hold it's own and actually went down a bit more. My pulse rate was really low, 45 at one point. They did some tests and took me off the beta blockers in early October. As I said in a previous post, my BP was 120/77 last week, pulse 61.

    I hope this isn't too much like my life story but the things you mention above can can definitely be successful but each case is different. I think it also takes time and you have to be patient. Certainly as one poster says above, it's definitely better to be on medication than have high BP. However, if you can avoid the pills then so much the better.    

  • Thanks Neil. I'll probably buy a home BP Monitor to see how things go and if it doesn't come down with my lifestyle changes - off to the docs it is!
  • Fair enough mate and good luck!

    Remember that even if you have to start taking medication it doesn't mean you'll necessarily have to be on it for life. Go for regular check ups and see how it goes. Might take time.
  • H0NKH0NK ✭✭✭
    Running Kev wrote (see)
    I had a health assessment at work recently and had slightly high BP at 148 / 104. I was hoping to correct this by quitting alcohol, improving diet (and losing weight) and running more.

    Reading this thread leads me to believe that all the above may not be successful ad I'm destined for tablets- which I really want to avoid.

    Is this really the case?

    Good luck Kev, hopefully making those steps will be enough to bring yours down, I think its made a difference to mine but not enough difference as yet. High BP runs in my family so I may be stuck with it whatever I do.

    definetely a good idea to start monitoring at Home, i was advised to sit still for 10-15 minutes before measuring.

    I have a drs appointment later on today so will be able to see results and see what they advise. Thanks for everyones replies, I feel a bit more knowledgable now and know more about what to discuss if they want to give me medications.

    will update later. 

  • I'd definitely agree with Honk about sitting quietly for 10 to 15 minutes before checking your blood pressure. I remember having to rush to make my appointment at my local health centre a few months ago and the nurse, seeing that I'd hoofed it to get there on time, made me go and sit quietly for a while before taking a reading.

    Hope your appointment goes well Honk.
  • H0NKH0NK ✭✭✭

    Thanks Neil, Dr has put me on 5mg Lisinopril per day, back next week for blood test and then see dr again in 6 weeks.

    doing a bit of research, im ok with that so long as im not one of those that is affected by some of the side effects.

    Oh and Dr was impressed with my weight lossimage

  • Hi all hope you don't mind me joining for some advice.... It's been really interesting reading all these posts as I have been to the doctor today and she was quite concerned at my BP which was 146/104. I am a 40 year old female, running up to 12 miles now and weigh 8st 12. She has recommended that I wear a 24 hour monitor as she says it is unusual of someone my age and fitness to have those levels.

    Now in the past the doctors have mentioned my BP and I was recommended once before to have a monitor fitted (it wasn't this high though) and when going for the fitting the nurse decided not to proceed as she didn't feel it was high enough.

    My quandary is I am training for London marathon and asked the doctor if this was still okay. She recommended continuing running as the benefits are so good and said not to worry as I will have completed my 24hr test within the next week. When I left the doctor and went to 'book' myself on the waiting list, I now have to wait until 25th March for a monitor to become free. Do I continue to train or am I taking unnecessary risks by pushing too hard and should I defer to next year and continue with more normal steady plods??

    I have waited four years for a place at London but would never forgive myself for doing the wrong thing and pushing too hard. (I'm no Mo though - just a 9-10 min mile plodderimage )
  • H0NKH0NK ✭✭✭

    jollie, everything ive read about high blood pressure reccomends exercise as a way to help lower it and it sounds like your doctor also wants you to continue to run although was expecting results back sooner. if you have concerns i'd recomend you go back to see the doctor certainly not give up your training without talking it over.

    it could be you get white coat syndrome which you could test with a home blood pressure monitor dont think they are too expensive now and well worth getting if youve had a few high readings.

    jollie32 wrote (see)
     Do I continue to train or am I taking unnecessary risks by pushing too hard and should I defer to next year and continue with more normal steady plods??

    is it the extra distance or higher intensity ie speedwork your concerned about here? no reason why you cant train for and complete a marathon without doing any speedwork.
    good luck with London whenever you decide to do it, will that be your first Marathon?

  • Hi Honk - many thanks for the reply. It's really the distance I'm worried about and the pressure it will put on the body.

    I have taken your advice and ordered myself a home monitor today (by the way if anyone is thinking of getting one I ordered an Omron M6 Comfort which is on sale for over ??100 at Boots for ??44 on Amazon with free delivery!!). Hopefully I can get a true regular reading from this to build up a bigger picture. I know previously that I have had my BP taken at the doctors which is high and then they have done it again 5 mins later and it has gone down.

    I am running Silverstone half marathon on Sunday so will see how I get on with that and after using my machine and make a considered decision about London.

    It is my first marathon (and probably only as the training is like a 2nd job!!) which is why I wanted it to be London! At least I have one deferral so if that is the right decision I shall continue to train up to half marathon distance until I get myself sorted. I still have fingers crossed it's White Coat syndrome....

    Have you noticed a drop on your BP since starting the tablets? Well done with the weight loss by the way.... Will help your BP but also make you feel better and has a huge knock on effect!!
  • H0NKH0NK ✭✭✭

    The good news is ive noticed no side effects since going on the medication but whilst ive had some normal bp readings ive also had the odd high one. dr recently doubled my dose to 10mg so hopefully that will bring it down.

    Ive less than a kg to lose now to reach my target weight but the last bit is taking its time to come off, however i'm not too worried about weight as I can no longer see any spare flab, begginning to look like a proper athlete image, feel great and my training should see it off as the distance steps up.

    Good luck at Silverstone, hope it goes well.

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