Can You Be Physically Fit and Have High Blood Pressure?

Medically Reviewed on 11/23/2022
Physically Fit and High Blood Pressure
Most people with high blood pressure do not exhibit any symptoms.

Yes. According to researchers, one-third of high school, college, and professional players, who underwent screening at the Stanford Sports Cardiology Clinic were reported to have high blood pressure. These people are young, healthy, and have extensive fitness routines.

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association released new blood pressure recommendations in November 2017. Until November 2017, the cut-off to diagnose high blood pressure was 140/90 mmHg. Currently, it is 130/80 mmHg. European standards remain at 140/90 mmHg. Most of the athletes in the study with elevated blood pressure fell in the grey area, between the current United States and European guidelines. Only nine percent of participants had readings over 140/90 mmHg.

Causes of high blood pressure in physically fit people

The causes could include the following:

  • White coat syndrome or anxiety during testing raises blood pressure. It is a condition that affects some athletes with raised blood pressure.
  • Genetics, body composition, and food may cause hypertension. Being an athlete does not preclude you from these factors. However, the way blood pressure is measured has a role. People could be experiencing false positives.

What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the measure of the pressure exerted on the walls of the arteries by the blood that flows within them. Arteries transport blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Blood is forced through the arteries when your heart beats. As a result of the blood flow, your arterial walls are under pressure.

When blood flows through arteries at a pressure greater than usual, it is called high blood pressure or hypertension. High blood pressure can be brought on by several factors. Health issues might arise from blood pressure that is too high or that persists for an extended period. If high blood pressure is uncontrolled, it may lead to renal failure, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

According to The American College of Cardiology or American Heart Association 2017 guidelines:

  • Normal blood pressure: Systolic is lower than 120 mmHg and diastolic is lower than 80 mmHg.
  • Elevated blood pressure: Systolic is 120 to 129 mmHg and diastolic is lower than 80 mmHg.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure): Systolic is 130 mmHg or higher and diastolic is 80 mmHg or higher.


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2 types of high blood pressure

There are two types of high blood pressure based on the cause, including:

  1. Primary hypertension: Also called essential hypertension. When there is no known reason for your high blood pressure, it is referred to as primary blood pressure. The most prevalent form of hypertension. Usually, it takes years to develop. It most likely results from lifestyle, surroundings, and the way your body develops with age.
  2. Secondary hypertension: Could be brought on using specific drugs or by another medical condition. It usually gets better once you deal with the underlying issue or stop taking the medications that are causing it.

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

Most people with high blood pressure do not exhibit any symptoms. It is sometimes referred to as “the silent killer.” Because of this, you must have your blood pressure tested frequently.

Some individuals with high blood pressure might have:

However, those signs can resemble a lot of other things (serious or not). These signs typically show up when the blood pressure has risen dangerously high over time.

What are the risk factors for high blood pressure?

You have a greater chance of getting high blood pressure if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Do not get enough exercise
  • Are older than 55 years
  • Are a heavy drinker (more than two drinks a day in men and one drink a day in women)
  • Eat foods high in sodium (salt)
  • Smoke or use tobacco products
  • Are of African descent
  • Have family members who have high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes

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Medically Reviewed on 11/23/2022
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Even athletes may have high blood pressure, possibly.

High Blood Pressure Symptoms and Causes.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension).

High blood pressure (hypertension).