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heart rate and blood pressure relationship
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heart rate and blood pressure relationship

My heart rate is typically low, ranging between 52 and 60. My blood pressure is usually in the high normal or low high range. Is there a relationship between heart rate and blood pressure? I read in one place that as heart rate drops, blood pressure rises to compensate. Is this true? Why then is it healthy to have a low heart rate?
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dufresnepa,

Thanks for the post.

Q:"Is there a relationship between heart rate and blood pressure?"

Yes, but it is a dynamic relationship.  For example, the heart rate and blood pressure tend to both increase during exercise, and decrease during sleep.  On the flip side, if a person receives a medication that raises blood pressure, such as phenylephrine, the heart rate can decrease.

Q:"I read in one place that as heart rate drops, blood pressure rises to compensate. Is this true?"

As stated above, the relationship is dynamic.

Q:"Why then is it healthy to have a low heart rate?"

No one knows for sure, but in the animal kingdom it is observed that animals that have lower heart rates frequently live longer.  A famous cardiologist, Dr Sam Levine, is apocryphally quoted as having said that "You only get so many heartbeats".

Hope that helps.

4 Comments
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does sam levine think someone with a slow heart rate and high b/p would live longer than someone with low b/p and a faster pulse*like me*?? which one is better?
kim
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My heart rate always was between 54-60 beats per minute before BP meds.  I walk 3 miles real fast 6 days a week for the last 25 yrs.  When I was admitted to the ER with a severe high BP crisis (due to a severe  phobia of doctors and hospitals and high BP) my BP was 227/140 but my pulse was only 72.  I was put on Beta Blockers and my pulse dropped to 30 beats a minute, I had no energy it scared the hell out of me, and the cardiologist took me off the Beta Blockers.  I'm now on BP meds and my pulse is back to the way it was before the meds 54-60 beats.  I thought with a severe elevated BP like I had that day that my pulse would also be severely elevated, but not so.  I saw the numbers on the monitor, and could not believe my pulse was only 72 despite the severely elevated BP.
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Avatar_n_tn
i am actually in the same situation. I'm a 26 year old male, with isolated systolic hypertension (140-155ish), and a resting heart rate of around 45. my primary phys ordered all sorts of testing.. 24hr holter, stress echo, ekg's, 2-d renal ultrasound, bla bla, basically ruled out secondary causes. i'm now on 20mg accupril and hctz, but the systolic stays right up there. what's even more odd (to me) is that occasionally my readings will be perfect, like during the one visit i had with a cardiologist (who subsequently looked at me like i'm some hypochondriac or something). I exercise 2-3 days per week with 30mis of cardio and 1.5 hrs of weight training each day, and have been for about 10 years. It's very frustrating actually, and I'm hoping for a new avenue to explore soon..
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