High Blood Pressure

What medication is suitable for endurance athletes?

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21/12/2012 at 09:14

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.

21/12/2012 at 10:30

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.

21/12/2012 at 12:15

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

21/12/2012 at 12:20

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

21/12/2012 at 12:51

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.

21/12/2012 at 14:10
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!
21/12/2012 at 15:04

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.

21/12/2012 at 15:20

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

21/12/2012 at 19:45

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.

23/12/2012 at 22:10
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.
Edited: 23/12/2012 at 22:12
23/12/2012 at 22:38

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. 

24/12/2012 at 15:27
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.
25/12/2012 at 09:58

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.

27/12/2012 at 08:49

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

28/12/2012 at 16:17

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

29/01/2013 at 11:04
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.
29/01/2013 at 19:11

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.

29/01/2013 at 20:39

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. 

29/01/2013 at 21:17

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.


30/01/2013 at 07:03
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?
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