Common drugs that may make exercise dangerous
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Chronic health conditions often go hand in hand with the need to take one or more medications—and when combined with exercise, some of these drugs can cause serious and potentially dangerous health risks. Here’s a look at five common medications that can negatively impact exercise.

1. ACE inhibitors

• People on Lisinopril, captopril, enalapril, and other ACE inhibitors have lower blood pressure values—both at rest and during exercise.

• Blood pressure, however, naturally drops after exercise for up to 9 hours—specifically, systolic blood pressure can decrease by 10-20 mm Hg. This leads to a phenomenon, called post-exercise hypotension (PEH).

• “It is critical that clients who take ACE inhibitors consistently adhere to a gradual cool-down after each and every exercise session,” the author wrote in a review published in the Journal of Human Hypertension.

2. Beta-blockers

• Atenolol, metoprolol, and other beta-blockers are used to treat hypertension and heart disease. Their effects blunt increases in heart rate and blood pressure, which serve as a proxy for exercise intensity and workload.

• Moreover, beta-blockers can lead to glucose intolerance in those with diabetes by masking hypoglycemia symptoms.

• To avoid dangerous dips in blood sugar levels when beginning an exercise regimen, it’s a good idea to check levels with a glucometer while exercising (ie, before, midway, and at the end of the session).

3. Diuretics

• Also used to treat hypertension, hydrochlorothiazide and other diuretics decrease plasma volume by increasing urine output, thus lowering blood pressure.

• Because patients taking diuretics can also be taking ACE inhibitors, hypotension is an even greater concern once PEH sets in.

• Gradual cool-down is necessary, and it may be a good idea to weigh daily to monitor changes in water weight due to diuretic administration.

4. Sulfonylureas

• Sulfonylureas are a class of drugs used in the management of type 2 diabetes. Glipizide and glyburide promote the secretion of insulin, and can thus interfere with exercise.

• Thus, especially when initiating an exercise regimen, anybody taking sulfonylureas should have their blood glucose tested before, while, and after exercising to determine whether drops in blood sugar are within acceptable levels.

5. Statins

• Although uncommon, statins can lead to exertional rhabdomyolysis, which impacts kidney function.

• This repercussion is more likely in exercisers who are deconditioned, those performing high-intensity resistance training, and those exercising in hot/humid environments. Signs and symptoms include dark-colored urine, muscle pain, and fatigue.

To curb the risk for exertional rhabdomyolysis, both aerobic and resistance training should begin at a low intensity and progress slowly. Additionally, exercisers should remain adequately hydrated, and outdoor exercise should also be done during cooler times of the day.

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