RAPT Study

Has your doctor told you that you have borderline hypertension or prehypertension?
Or, do you have other reasons to believe that your:

  • Systolic blood pressure (SBP) is between 130-144mmHg, or
  • Diastolic blood pressure (DBP) is between 85-94mmHg?

Are you interested in seeing if you can reduce your blood pressure, without the use of medication?

If you have borderline hypertension (SBP 130-144 or DBP 85-94mmHg) and are interested in reducing your blood pressure through running, you may be eligible to participate in the Running Against Prehypertension Trial (RAPT).  RAPT is a UCSF research study of ways to help people with borderline hypertension safely start and stick with a running program to naturally reduce their blood pressure.

Why running?

Running is not exactly the latest fad in exercise. While it’s true that the popularity of running ebbs and flows, running is a practice that humans have been doing for a long time. In fact, the human body is designed to run. Scientists have suggested that running was central to the early human practice of persistence hunting. Persistence hunting refers to a hunter chasing prey until the prey collapses from exhaustion. The primary tool of persistence hunting is the hunter’s own body, running in pursuit of the prey animal.  While it sounds impossible for a modern human to chase down a prey animal such as a kudu or antelope, our unique anatomy allows us to run longer (in time and distance) than many prey animals who are primarily equipped for short, fast bursts of speed.

In addition to lowering your blood pressure, running may help you:

  • lose weight
  • increase cardiovascular health
  • improve your mood

Running is familiar! Most people have experience with running whether as children playing, to catch a bus, or in prior attempts to get fit.

In addition, running:

  • is free
  • can be done with or without others
  • doesn’t require special equipment (except shoes)
  • is convenient (it can often be started from your front door!)

Who can participate?
If you think that you have boderline hypertension (SBP 130-144mmHg or DBP 85-94mmHg) and you are interested in starting a running program to reduce your blood pressure naturally you may be eligible to participate in our study.  Additional eligibility criteria include:

  1. Over 18 years old
  2. No history of cardiovascular health problems, like a prior heart attack
  3. You are not too overweight  (your  Body Mass Index needs to be < 30  – we can check this for you)
  4. Not pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  5. Not currently exercising vigorously for  90 minutes per week or more
  6. Not on blood pressure lowering medication

If there are any health related concerns, we may ask you to provide a letter from your physician stating that you can start a running program.

If you think you are eligible for RAPT and you are interested in becoming a participant, please call the study staff at (415) 514-8607.

What is involved?
Once you have reviewed your eligibility with the study staff at (415) 514-8607, you will be asked to sign a consent form to have up to 3 screening blood pressure measurements taken to confirm that you are eligible for the study. Your blood pressure will be considered in the borderline hypertensive range if 2 of the 3 screening blood pressure measurements are in range (SBP 130-144mmHg or DBP 85-94mmHg).

The study will last 12 weeks. All participants will receive information about how to start a running program to lower blood pressure. The study will compare different approaches to help people start a running program. You may get a group training as well.

About us

We are researchers at University of California, San Francisco studying how to help people with borderline hypertension (SBP 130-144mmHg or DBP 85-94mmHg) adopt healthy habits to reduce their blood pressure naturally.

For this study, we are offering people with borderline hypertension a free training program to reduce their blood pressure with running.  Our study is aimed at helping participants safely start, and stick with, a running program for long term blood pressure reduction and improved cardiovascular health.

Our research team includes:

  • Kelly McDermott, PhD
  • Fredrick Hecht, MD
  • Wolf Mehling, MD
  • Judy Moskowitz, PhD
  • Vierka Goldman
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