If you happen to suffer from BP problem, especially low blood pressure, then doing an hour of daily exercise and staying well-hydrated may help improve the condition of low blood pressure and even control episodes of dizziness and fainting, finds a NASA-funded study on astronauts. The study, published in the journal Circulation, is the first one to examine the condition called "orthostatic intolerance" during daily activities when the astronauts returned home. The researchers observed that following exercise regimens during space flight, followed by saline injections after landing, were sufficient to prevent the condition from occurring.
"Doing an hour or more of daily exercise was sufficient to prevent loss of heart muscle, and when it was combined with receiving hydration on their return, the condition was prevented entirely. We expected to see up to two-thirds of the space crew faint. Instead, no one fainted," said cardiologist Dr Benjamin Levine from UT Southwestern Medical Center.
The study was conducted on 12 astronauts- four women and eight men. To conduct the study, in order to measure blood pressure and every heartbeat, a small blood pressure cuff was used on astronauts' finger. These measurements were taken during multiple 24-hour periods before, during, and after six months of spaceflight.
"We put a catheter in an astronaut's heart -- it was former UT Southwestern faculty member Dr Drew Gaffney -- and sent him into space. It was probably the most expensive right-heart catheterization ever," Dr Levine reminisced.
"Much of our early research was devoted to understanding why astronauts faint when they return from space. Now, we can prevent it from happening".