A new study from the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) has found an association between high blood pressure during and after exercise and cardiovascular disease later in life. In middle-aged adults, significant markers were identified in those whose blood pressure remained high while exercising and after.
These markers were indicators of a higher risk of hypertension, preclinical and clinical cardiovascular disease, and death among middle-aged to older adults. This study is one of the first to examine these associations between midlife blood pressure responses to moderate exercise with the risk of cardiovascular outcomes and death in later life.
For the study, researchers evaluated the association of blood pressure changes and recovery with indicators of preclinical disease among participants from the Framingham Heart Study. Participants had an average age of 58 years and were 53 percent women. All participants were followed to assess any associations between their blood pressure changes and the risk of developing hypertension, cardiovascular disease, or death.
It was found that both higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings while exercising were associated with a greater risk of developing hypertension. Delayed high blood pressure after exercising was shown to have a greater risk for cardiovascular disease and death.
Study author Vanessa Xanthakis, Ph. D., explained, “The way our blood pressure changes during and after exercise provides important information on whether we will develop disease in the future; this may help investigators evaluate whether this information can be used to better identify people who are at higher risk of developing hypertension and CVD, or dying later in life.”
Check Your Blood Pressure Regularly
The study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association is a good reminder for people to check their blood pressure regularly. It is common for people to take their blood pressure readings while sitting still, but this study helps to outline the importance of taking a reading at different periods throughout the day.
Exercise can increase blood pressure, but the effects are typically temporary. Your blood pressure should gradually return to normal after you finish exercising. But if you notice this isn’t the case, it may be time to speak to your doctor.
Xanthakis recommends knowing your blood pressure numbers while being still and while exercising. She also stresses how important it is to speak to your physician regarding any changes in blood pressure during or after exercise. Following a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity and a healthy diet, can help to lower risk of disease later in life.