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Hypertension: Healthy eating, exercise cuts drug dependence

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Researchers attending the American Heart Association (AHA) annual conference, said patients with high blood pressure problems could reduce the need for antihypertensive medications within 16 weeks with the help of some lifestyle changes. Their findings were presented at the Joint Hypertension 2018 Scientific Sessions of the AHA.

 

The conference focused on recent advances in hypertension research. Study author, Alan Hinderliter, said: “Lifestyle modifications, including healthier eating and regular exercise, could 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.”

 

High Blood pressure (HBP) is the force exerted by the blood against the walls of the blood vessels. Hypertension or HBP is a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. High blood pressure usually does not cause symptoms.

 

Medical guidelines define hypertension as a blood pressure that is higher than 130 over 80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg), according to guidelines issued by the AHA in November 2017. ‘The Economic Times’ reported that 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.

 

The 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 programme that included behavioural 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 emphasises fruits, vegetables, and lowfat dairy and minimises consumption of red meat, salt, and sweets.

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