Here are more of the questions and answers from my interview with Dr. Mark Houston in February 2010.
Lisa Nelson RD: Is there a connection between blood pressure and heart rate?
Dr. Houston: If blood pressure increases, normally the heart rate should decrease. However, in some patient with dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system the heart rate may increase with the blood pressure.
Lisa Nelson RD: Blood pressure fluctuation – What causes blood pressure to fluctuate drastically throughout the day? Is it something to worry about?
Dr. Houston: Most people have fluctuations during the day due to the normal circadian rhythm (high in AM and low in PM). Stress, anger, eating, exercise, rest, meditation, coffee are some of the things that will alter blood pressure. About 60 % of patients that drink coffee have increase blood pressure for several hours after consumption.
Lisa Nelson RD: What is the risk of not treating high blood pressure? For example, someone has a blood pressure of 160/100, but they feel perfectly fine. Why should they be concerned and seek treatment?
Dr. Houston: Heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney failure, loss of vision, aortic rupture, valve dysfunction, atherosclerosis. Hypertension is the silent killer. At this level the arteries will be damaged over time and all of these complications will occur. At that high level of blood pressure one will decrease life expectancy by about 15 years or more.
Lisa Nelson RD: Do blood pressure recommendations change with age?
Dr. Houston: A normal blood pressure is 120/80 regardless of age. If it goes up with age it means the arteries are not healthy, but very stiff.
Lisa Nelson RD: What is a normal blood pressure response post exercise? How quickly should heart rate return to normal post exercise?
Dr. Houston: Blood pressure will fall for several hours after exercise depending on hydration status and severity and length of exercise. Usually systolic (top number) blood pressure falls about 10-15 mm Hg and diastolic (bottom number) 5-10 mm Hg. Heart rate should return to normal within 2 minutes post exercise.
Part 1 – Top Heart Health Questions Answered By Dr. Houston
I’ll be posting more of the Q&A with Dr. Houston over the next few weeks. Sign-up for the e-course 7 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure and you’ll also be notified when the new blog posts are added.
All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD