Diet and physical activity help to give up drugs for hypertension

People with high blood pressure require less antihypertensive (lowering blood pressure) drugs, if they change their lifestyle. In a study presented at the annual joint scientific sessions on hypertension-2018 (2018 Hypertension Joint Scientific Sessions) American heart Association, pressure patients have improved during the 16 weeks.

Of lifestyle changes is the first step to lowering blood pressure in accordance with the recommendations of 2017 for the treatment of hypertension, developed by the American College of cardiology and the American heart Association (American College of Cardiology / American Heart Association Hypertension Guideline).

Modification of lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and regular exercise, can significantly reduce the number of patients who require medications that reduce blood pressure. This is especially true of people with blood pressure ranging from 130 to 160 mm Hg.St. systolic and from 80 to 99 mm Hg.St. diastolic, explained study author Alan Hinderliter (Alan Hinderliter), associate Professor of medicine University of North Carolina (University of North Carolina) chapel hill.

The researchers studied 129 men and women aged 40 to 80 years who are overweight or obese and high blood pressure (between 130-160/80-99 mm Hg.St.). According to the latest recommendations of cardiologists, more than half of the participants are candidates for antihypertensive drugs, but during the experiment they had not taken medication.

The researchers randomly allocated three groups:

  • Changed diet and took part in a weight management program that included behavioral counseling and physical activity 3 times a week in control. Furthermore, changed nutritional habits in accordance with the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension dietary approach to the treatment of hypertension is dominated by fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products minimizing intake of red meat, salt and sweets).
  • Changed the diet, focusing on the DASH diet under the guidance of a nutritionist.
  • Not changed as the level of physical activity and dietary habits.

As a result, 16-week experiment, the researchers found (on average in the group):

  • The first group lost 9 pounds and lowered systolic blood pressure by 16 mm Hg.St., and diastolic by 10 mm Hg.St.
  • Participants in the second group reduced systolic blood pressure by 11 mm Hg.St, diastolic 8 mm Hg.St.
  • In the third group the reduction in blood pressure was minimal systolic and 3 mm Hg.St, diastolic by 4 mm Hg.St.

After 16 weeks, only 15% of participants from the first group needed antihypertensive drugs. In the second group the figure was 23%, while the third had no change almost 50% continued to meet the criteria for treatment with drugs.

The researchers suggest that changes in lifestyle would be as useful to people with high risk of cardiovascular disease and patients receiving drugs to lower blood pressure, but to confirm this hypothesis further studies are needed.

Valeria SEMA