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Dr Ooi Mun Yooi, Sports and Medicine Specialist

1 February, 2023

Individualised Exercise Prescription for Non-Communicable Diseases:
Hypertension and Dyslipidemia

Can patients with hypertension and dyslipidemia exercise? Yes, individuals with hypertension and dyslipidemia can exercise. In fact, regular physical activity is crucial in managing these conditions and reducing cardiovascular risks. Incorporating Individualised Exercise Prescription as part of a healthy lifestyle can aid in controlling hypertension and dyslipidemia.

It is important to consult with a medical doctor before starting any exercise program, especially if one is on medication.

As a start, it is important to remember to slowly and gradually increase the FITTfrequency, intensity, time and type of the exercises. As a matter of fact, try to avoid activities that cause a sudden increase in blood pressure, such as lifting heavy weights or sudden bursts of high-intensity exercise.

Individualized Exercise Prescription: Hypertension

  • Defined as persistent elevation of systolic blood pressure (SBP) 140 mmHg or > AND/OR diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or >, taken at least twice on two separate occasions.
  • The prevalence of hypertension among Malaysian adult populations was 30.3 % with rates increasing with age as reported by National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS)
  • Regular physical activity is recommended as part of non-pharmacological treatment to regulate blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular (heart) conditions.

FITT Recommendation

Precautions

Consideration should be given to the following:

  • Age
  • Level of blood pressure control
  • Recent changes in an anti-hypertensive drug therapy
  • Medication related adverse effects
  • The present of target organ disease
  • Other comorbidities

For example:

  • Avoid vigorous and short-duration exercise (sprinting or weightlifting)
  • Avoid inhaling and breath-holding while engaging in resistance training
  • Termination of exercise should be gradually (cooling down period) to prevent a sudden drop in blood pressure

Individualized Exercise Prescription: Dyslipidemia

Dyslipidemia, also known as abnormal cholesterol levels, is a common cardiovascular risk in which there is an imbalance of fats in the blood.

Defined as:

  • Total cholesterol of > 5.2 mmol/l
  • High density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) < 1.0 mmol/l (males) and < 1.2 mmol/l (females)
  • Triglycerides> 1.7 mmol/l
  • Low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) depends on other cardiovascular risk factor e.g., age, total cholesterol, HDL level, blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, or whether the patient is a smoker or not 

FITT Recommendation

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Individuals who are taking lipid-lowering agents’ medications (e.g., statins and fibric acids) may experience muscle weakness and soreness (Myalgia).

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