Intense exercise can bring on high blood pressure in some individuals.

While hypertensives are advised to exercise as a preventative measure and treatment aid, absurd as it may sound, hypertension can actually be induced by exercise. While it is not a common ailment, a group of scientists conducted a review and meta-analysis of published literature to determine whether exercise-related blood pressure – a hypertensive response to exercise (HRE), could help in the early detection of new-onset hypertension and even a predictor of “cardiovascular events and mortality.” Blood pressure response to exercise can be easily determined from standard treadmill testing.

They selected 12 longitudinal studies of a total of 46,314 individuals without significant coronary artery disease. After adjustment for age, office blood pressure, and CV risk factors, those who had an HRE at moderate exercise intensity, carried a 36 percent greater rate of CV events and mortality than subjects without an HRE. Additionally, each 10mm Hg increase in systolic BP during exercise at moderate intensity was accompanied by a 4 percent increase in CV events and mortality, independent of office BP, age, or CV risk factors. Systolic BP at maximal workload was not significantly associated with an increased rate of CV.

They concluded that an HRE at moderate exercise intensity during exercise stress testing is an independent risk factor for CV events and mortality. This stresses the need to determine underlying pathophysiological mechanisms of exercise-induced hypertension.

On such mechanism is a condition known as pure automatic failure (PAF), a neurodegenerative disorder that can cause the increasing presence of a wide range of symptoms that can worsen over time.

According to, exercise-induced hypertension is rare and high blood pressure is more likely to develop in people who live a sedentary lifestyle. Also, various health factors can help doctors determine who is at risk.

However, Michael Miller, an MD at the University of Maryland Medical Center, exercise-induced hypertension is a vastly under-diagnosed condition. Therefore, it is likely to occur more often than it is recognized. According to Miller, it is likely a product of oxidative stress and a lack of antioxidants like vitamins E and C.

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