Exercise and Blood Pressure–What Do You Really Need?

NKF 2010 U.S. Transplant Games. Photo by Jason Cohn

By Dr. Hala Yamout

Many physicians will recommend to their patients that they need to be “in shape.”  What does that mean in terms of exercise?  What’s enough and how much is too much?

Lifestyle modifications are the cornerstone of all guidelines written about blood pressure control.  They are usually the first step in management and should be reinforced frequently.  Dietary recommendations are discussed in detail, including how much salt is enough and what food groups are important. Exercise should be discussed just as thoroughly as its benefit on reducing cardiovascular disease is well known. In fact, reducing blood pressure through physical activity is thought to explain up to 27% of the improvement in cardiovascular disease.

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Planning for A Day at The Beach? Sunshine Vitamin May Impact Your Blood Pressure

Senior couple on cycle rideSummer is here and fun in the sun means your body will produce more Vitamin D. New research says that could be good news for your blood pressure.  The study, published in Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, showed that low levels of Vitamin D may be a cause of high blood pressure and that for each 10% increase in Vitamin D levels, there was an 8% decrease in the risk of developing high blood pressure.

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What’s the Skinny On Salt?

By Beth Piraino, MD

If you were following the health news this week, you may have heard advice contrary to what we have always been told –too little salt is also no good and there’s no reason to toss your salt shaker. That might work for those who do not have heart disease, high blood pressure or kidney disease. For people with high blood pressure who are at risk for kidney disease or people who already have kidney or heart disease, large population studies such as this one do NOT point to safe advice.

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Migraines and Hypertension—Is there a Link?

Many people suffer from headaches, with migraines making up a particularly severe form that can greatly affect quality of life.  Anecdotally, we’ve all heard about people who suffered migraines and later found out they had severe high blood pressure that damaged the kidneys. But what does the science show? Are migraines linked to high blood pressure? This possible connection has been a subject of interest for many years and the results are actually conflicting. What complicates this issue further is that some blood pressure medications can cause headaches, while others are used in its prevention.

 

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Blood Pressure Matters even for Young “Invincibles”

By Alex Chang, MD, MS

A recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that rising blood pressure over time in 18-30 year old adults was associated with increased risk for atherosclerosis. In this study, blood pressure was measured at eight different exams with a cardiac CT scan done at the end of the 25-year time period to evaluate for calcification of the coronary vessels. Almost all young adults had normal blood pressure at the beginning of the study, but some steadily increased over time while others had stable blood pressure.

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Hype or Hope–New Remedies to Treat High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure can commonly be managed and kept under control through a combination of healthy lifestyle and medication. By losing excess weight, cutting down salt, limiting alcohol intake, and exercising regularly, it may be possible to lower your blood pressure. Medications may also be needed and many effective medicines are available to treat high blood pressure. Doctors often recommend a combination of medications to combat hypertension. But sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, high blood pressure can be resistant to treatment. Resistant hypertension, as it is known, continues to be a challenge to physicians.

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New Blood Pressure Recommendations and Kidney Patients

Last month, a new set of blood pressure guidelines were released by the 8th Joint National Committee on the Management of High Blood Pressure In adults, or JNC-8. These guidelines offer doctors information on when to treat high blood pressure in the elderly, those with diabetes as well as kidney patients. These guidelines replace the JNC 7 guideline from 2003.  What do people with kidney disease need to know? The major change in the new guideline is that the target blood pressure for patients with kidney disease and hypertension is now less than 140/90 mm Hg based on the available evidence, whereas the JNC 7 recommended a treatment goal of 130/80 mm Hg.  A review of randomized controlled trials in chronic kidney disease revealed only three studies that achieved the 130/80 target and the analysis did not find consistent benefit for the lower target.

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