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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Hypertension

Question: systolic and rate inversely related

 RLH-MAH - Sat Sep 08, 2007 4:07 pm

My husband is 50. We have had major stress in our lives over the last 15 years. He has been a habitual heavy coffee drinker for his entire adult life, and he began to drink coffee as a child. He has had an EKG and x-ray about a year ago, and they said his EKG was fine, and his heart was not enlarged. With borderline hypertension about a year ago, he began to watch his BP closely. We eat well and exercise when we can, but that can be sporadic. Over the last few months, we have again had a stress overload. He has been monitoring his BP closely. It ranges from about 145/90 back down to 127/70. His heart rate ranges from 106 back down into the 70s. Under extreme pressure, his BP has spiked higher than this, and his heart rate, as well, although this is the approximate range. I have noticed that the systolic is inversely related to the heart rate. Why would this be? He is on no medication and had cholesterol checked about a year ago. It was just slightly high, and the next check, it was good. He really is opposed to going to the doctor and getting on meds. He is just trying to control the stress levels while maintaining a healthy diet. Why is the systolic and rate inversely related? I've also wondered if the glass of red wine he drinks at night could cause the fluctuation. He used to drink alcohol heavily, as well, but no longer does. He quit smoking when he was 27 but did breathe second-hand smoke frequently until 16 years ago. Thank you for your help.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Tue Oct 09, 2007 5:08 pm

User avatar Hi RLH-MAH,

When you say that the systolic blood pressure and heart rate are inversely related I am presuming you mean that the heart rate goes down when the systolic pressure goes up. This occasionally can happen because the overall issue related to the heart is perfusion of the body organs. To an extent, when blood pressure goes up, each heart beat does a better job of getting blood to the body so the heart rate can go down. This really only is true in a narrow window of blood pressure ranges. Generally, the opposite position is more commonly seen. When the systolic blood pressure gets too low the HR goes up for the same reason.

I would recommend he see a doctor to have his BP formally evaluated. Even with some normal values if his BP is elevated more of the time than it is normal it can still cause problems.

The red wine is unlikely to be the culprit although in a few people this can occur. There is actually some data to suggest that a glass of red wine per night may be protective of the heart.

Best wishes.

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