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Swimming, biking, and running his way off meds
March 2nd, 2011
05:44 PM ET

Swimming, biking, and running his way off meds

Three months ago I saw my personal physician and was started on three medications, two for high blood pressure and one for high LDL levels, the bad lipids. It was that day that I applied for the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge and decided that I needed to make a change in my life towards healthier living.

My family history is strong for hypertension on my dad’s side of the family. It was no surprise that I would have problems as well. For years I had had borderline hypertension, even medicated for a couple years. When I lost a few pounds the BP improved and I was able to come off medications. Over the years the weight came back and the high blood pressure returned. When I saw my primary care provider in November my blood pressure was 140/98. That is the highest that it has ever been and I was promptly started on my medications.

One of my goals of the challenge was to get fit and get off my medications. On medications my BP improved to 120/70, but I wanted to be at that level without medications. I started exercising an hour 4-5 times a week. I could see and feel the weight coming off and hoped that the blood pressure would start to improve. After this routine for a couple months I had a couple episodes of lightheadedness. I am not the best at drinking water while working out so I thought that it was because I wasn’t getting enough fluids in. I started drinking more water with exercise. Then one morning I bent down to tie my son’s basketball shoes, stood up and almost fainted. Could my blood pressure have improved that much with only a couple months of routine exercise? I went in to the clinic the following Monday and my BP was 90/60! Goodbye medication #1! I always knew that my blood pressure was weight dependent, but didn’t think that it would respond so quickly and dramatically.

I am happy to report that the lightheadedness has resolved and my BP was 116/68 at last check. However, I am still on one blood pressure medication. My goals haven’t changed; I still want to get off that second medication and will continue to work hard and eat healthier and hope that by August 7, the day of the Nautica New York City Triathlon, I will be off all of my medications.


soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Nina Lovel

    Scott, GREAT article! I'm so glad you're seeing these vivid health benefits; I am feeling more energetic every day, myself! Take care, Nina

    March 2, 2011 at 22:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RJ

    I have moderately high BP myself and take HCTZ for it. As per my doctor, I lost weight and exercised more. I am currently at about 170lbs (6 feet tall) and 5% body fat. I am currently running about 80 miles a week and have completed 12 marathons, 3 ultras, and 2 Ironman tris. And I still have the moderately high BP. *shrug* I guess some things are what they are. My doctor says it's probably genetic. Hopefully you can do it though! Good luck!

    March 3, 2011 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • szahn34

      Even with your high BP RJ I am sure that you are more fit and your body is better off with all your running. I can't change my genetics either so I can only keep working hard and hope that I will be able to get off the other medication.

      March 3, 2011 at 15:50 | Report abuse |

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.