High Blood Pressure
Along with reaching for the appropriate pharmaceutical treatment for elevated blood pressure, there are lifestyle modifications that are also effective in managing hypertension. In the long run, with lifestyle modifications, some patients may be able to avoid 1-2 drugs to manage their hypertension.
A landmark study completed in the 1990's determined that a diet low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol that emphasized fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods and included whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, lowered systolic blood pressure. The study was called DASH — Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension. If sodium was limited to 2400 mg per day, systolic blood pressure was reduced even further.
Below are some evidence-based lifestyle modifications that manage hypertension.
|Modification||Recommendation||Approximate Systolic BP reduction (range)|
|Weight reduction||Maintain normal body weight||5-20 mmHg per 10 kg weight loss|
|Adopt DASH eating plan||Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products with a reduced content of saturated and total fat||8-14 mmHg|
|Dietary sodium restriction||No more than 2400 mg per day||2-8 mmHg|
|Physical activity||Regular aerobic activity such as brisk walking of at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week||4-9 mmHg|
|Moderation of alcohol consumption||Limit to not more than 2 drinks a day for men, 1 for women||2-4 mmHg|
For more information on high blood pressure, try the following resources:
- Facts about the Dash Diet http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/new_dash.pdf
- Change Your SALTY Ways (pdf)
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Information on High Blood Pressure
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute National High Blood Pressure Education Program ~ The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC 7)