High blood pressure of various stages can be treated with medications. This is only usually used for those whose blood pressure is in stage 1,2 or 3, as exercise can be just as effective for those at the lower stages. Indeed, some exercisers have gone on to reduce their medicinal dosage while others can come off it altogether; so if you get yourself out and do some exercise (if you need motivation, we can arrange for one of our personal trainers to come and get you out of bed…) then you may be able to kiss your high blood pressure pills goodbye!!! (ASCM, 1993).
The following guidelines show the different types of blood pressure drugs and some of the effects they have. Normally only prescribed to stage 2 and 3 candidates. Some of these drugs alter the biochemistry of the body and may alter the response to or ability to perform exercise. Consult your GP!
Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors: BENAZEPRIL HYDROCHLORIDE, CAPTOPRIL, LISINOPRIL. Stops production of angiotensin. It’s also a potent vasocinstrictor. Side effects can be coughing, renal dysfunction and hyperkalemia. There are no effects on aerobic exercise..
Calcium channel blockers: AMLODIPINE, ISRADIPINE, NIFEDIPINE. These decrease smooth muscle contractability. Side efects can be bradycardia, constipation, peripheral odema. There are no adverse effects on aerobic exercise.
Beta blockers: PROPANOLOL HYDROCHLORIDE, NADOLOL, METOPROLOL. These blood pressure medications block cardiac beta receptors thus decreasing heart rate contractability. Side effects can be bradycardia, depression, impotence and exacerbation of asthma. They can cause a reduction in aerobic capacity.
Diuretics: HYDROCHLOROTHIAZIDE, FUROSEMIDE. These drugs decrease the volume of blood in the system. Adverse effects can be hyperkalaemia, hyponatraemia and dehydration. There are usually no direct side effects, but any side effects can be made worse in exercise.