Silent But Deadly... and I’m not talking about wind.
Many of my clients have to seek medical approval before starting work with me. It’s not because I’m such a torturer (no matter what you hear) it’s because they have one of a few conditions that requires a health professional’s agreement before exercising.
The most serious of this is high or uncontrolled blood pressure. For anyone not in the know, blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls. High blood pressure is where that force is high enough to cause damage to those artery walls.
Very little is known about the actual cause but we have a lot of information on ways to prevent it. A good diet and healthy lifestyle come high on that list so you can imagine it’s something I see whenever people come to me to change their bad living ways!
One of the difficulties I have is convincing people that they must abide by the Doctor’s advice and take the recommended medication when they’re first diagnosed with high blood pressure (we’ll call it HBP from now on). Unless it’s dangerously high there are few symptoms so when the effects of the force on the artery walls become physically apparent to someone it’s usually too late to prevent a serious event from occurring.
Such an event might be an aneurysm where the artery walls are thinned and weakened, arrhythmia which is an abnormal heart rhythm or even more serious conditions such as a heart attack, stroke or kidney failure.
Knowing all this, I certainly can’t work with clients who have uncontrolled HBP. For one thing, if they keeled over I’d definitely be late for the next appointment and that would really mess up my workflow. (Joke!)
The really great news is that once a client has had their HBP diagnosed, investigated and medicated then we’re free to make all the usual fitness and exercise choices. Occasionally I add a few modifications but none that a client would notice or care about. It would be changes such as prioritising breathing patterns or flowing movements to ensure steady blood flow throughout our sessions.
If you’ve been told you have HBP then I’d ask you a few questions: Is it medicated? How long have you been on your current medication for? How regularly is it checked by the nurse? Is your blood pressure now stable?
The majority of people with HBP will go unnoticed in a gym or exercise class and they’ll be perfectly safe to carry on as if they had never been told they have this condition. Obviously by this, I mean living an active lifestyle with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, not downing 4 pints of Jacob’s Special Brownian Ale and feasting on lard pies of an evening.
When we say Silent but Deadly, we really mean it. You won’t know if you have HBP. But exercise and good living will often prevent HBP, may reduce it and will certainly delay its effects. Please don’t bury your head in the sand. If you’re concerned, speak to your Dr or Nurse and find out the facts. The sooner you do that, the sooner I can be working out your perfect health plan.
Enjoy Good Health!