Posted by: Patrick | 2011-10-25

BP vs Cholesterol

My recent cholesterol test result came in at 3.9 (good cholesterol levels are apparently supposed to be between 2.8 and 4.9). However, my blood pressure results came in at 180/110, which I believe is very high. This is after a period of +-3 years of high levels of stress and depression. I have improved with more recent measurements to about 153/94. I am 45 and relatively fit but weighing 97kgs at 1.8 metres. My BMI reading is 28. I run +-4kms in the morning and have sessions with a personal trainer at the gym daily and I am sticking to a healthy diet. I am worried though with my BP. Is dropping it to acceptable levels possible at my age? Are there any supplements one could take to stabilise the BP to these levels? Do I need to exercise any preacutions at the gym in light of the elevated BP readings? Is it possible that one could have normal cholesterol levels with elevated BP?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCardiologist

Hi Patrick,

Your cholesterol level is good [but it would be worth getting a breakdown of LDL (bad) and HDL (good), and triglycerides before we conclude that your cholesterol is okay].

Your blood pressure is much too high, but as blood pressure fluctuates tremendously depending on time of day, emotional state, etc, the figure of 180/110 may not be a true reflection of your blood pressure.

The best way to get a good idea of your real or average blood pressure is to arrange for a 24 hour blood pressure test, which your doctor can do for you. That will enable you and your doctor to make much better decisions about whether or not you need treatment.

To answer your questions. It is certainly possible to reduce your blood pressure to acceptable levels at your age!

The first thing I would do is lose weight. Your body mass index actually calculates to 29.9, almost in the obese range. Ideal weight for your height, believe it or not, would be somewhere around 81 kg. If you could lose 15 kg almost certainly your blood pressure would normalize. Supplements will not help to reduce your blood pressure. You don’t need to take any precautions at gym, indeed exercise will help to lower your blood pressure and reduce your weight.

And finally, blood pressure and cholesterol are not closely related. It is common to have high blood pressure with normal cholesterol, and vice versa. However, high blood pressure and obesity do tend to be associated with abnormal cholesterol patterns (low levels of HDL or good cholesterol and high triglycerides) as well as abnormal glucose metabolism.

So to get back to my original comment, I would arrange a full fasting lipogram as well as a fasting blood glucose in addition to getting more information about your blood pressure.

Best wishes, JT

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