WASHINGTON D.C. [USA]: Patients with high blood pressure problems can reduce the need for antihypertensive medications within 16 weeks with the help of some lifestyle changes, according to a new study.
Study author Alan Hinderliter said, “Lifestyle modifications, including healthier eating and regular exercise, can greatly decrease the number of patients who need blood pressure-lowering medicine. That’s particularly the case in folks who have blood pressures in the range of 130 to 160 mmHg systolic and between 80 and 99 mmHg diastolic.”
The researchers studied 129 overweight or obese men and women between the ages of 40 and 80 years who had high blood pressure. Patients’ blood pressures were between 130-160/80-99 mmHg but they were not taking medications to lower blood pressure at the time of the study.
More than half were candidates for antihypertensive medication at the study’s start, according to recent guidelines.
Researchers randomly assigned each patient to one of three 16-week interventions. Participants in one group changed the content of their diets and took part in a weight management program that included behavioral counseling and three-time weekly supervised exercise.
They changed their eating habits to that of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) plan, a nutritional approach proven to lower blood pressure. DASH emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy and minimizes consumption of red meat, salt, and sweets.
Participants in the second group changed the diet focusing on the DASH diet with the help of a nutritionist. The third group didn’t change their exercise or eating habits.
The full findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s Joint Hypertension 2018 Scientific Sessions, an annual conference focused on recent advances in hypertension research.