Blood Pressure, The Silent Killer: How To Manage
Conclusion: In the same way we plan for sides such as e2, thought needs to be given to blood pressure on cycle. Elevated blood pressure is expected, and critically high blood pressure warrants a trip to your local doctor. Monitoring at home is recommended.
High blood pressure is known as ‘the silent killer’, and is a common occurrence within our community, but one which we lack a systematic approach to tracking and dealing with.
Firstly, a definition:
High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease. Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.
Hopefully, the fact that high blood pressure is a major medical issue, nor that its incidence is increased in users of PEDs, is controversial to those reading this article, so I’ll save us all some time and just jump right to the chase and define the extent of the problem.
AAS use is associated with increased systolic hypertension risk (increasing on average 10mmHg). Systolic is the first number used to measure blood pressure. i.e. 120 (systolic) / 80 (diastolic). If a user’s baseline normal blood pressure is 120/80 and during cycle they experience an increase of 10mmHg that puts them at 130/80. Or in other words, the average increase on the average normal blood pressure would put the AAS user in hypertension stage 1 range. In my opinion, every user of AAS has high blood pressure by this definition at some point whether they realize it or not.
Note that I have not included SARMs here yet. In researching this article there is a lack of blood pressure data in SARM trials, though I see the usual broscience. Accordingly, I’m leaving SARMs out for the moment until I see some data. I suspect that it does increase blood pressure slightly, as any increase in body weight should negatively impact blood pressure, and many SARMs support weight gain through LBM increases.
So what can we do to manage blood pressure?
- Eat your vegetables, eat your vegetables, eat your fucking vegetables
- Limit sodium intake
- Supplements such as CoQ10 and L-arginine. Note that CoQ10 has mixed studies on its effectiveness, while L-arginine is effective, but only up to a point, lowering systolic BP by 5.39mm. Tumeric is also supposed to be effective, but limited to no study data here. Beet juice looks interesting, but yuck.
- Diuretics, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, ARBs, calcium channel blockers, renin inhibitors. ; http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1511939
- Don’t forget your cardio
Your own individual approach will likely combine one or more of the above methods. Personally, I opt for cardio twice a week, and a lot of vegetables.
Monitoring your blood pressure is pretty easy. A blood pressure cuff can be picked up at Amazon or any drug store / pharmacy, or failing that many places have blood pressure machines where you can be tested. If you’re finding that the number is higher than is normal, and changes to your diet and exercise routine are not making a dent, see a doctor sooner than later. High blood pressure causes left ventricular hypertrophy, which as PEDs users we’re already at a higher risk from. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have a heart attack by the age of 40.