Change Your Lifestyle and You May Not Need Blood Pressure Meds
Adults with high blood pressure (hypertension) reduced their need for blood pressure medication within 16 weeks by making lifestyle changes, according to a study presented at the Joint Hypertension 2018 Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association (AHA). Hypertension guidelines issued by the American College of Cardiology and the AHA in 2017 recommend lifestyle changes as the first step in lowering blood pressure.
This study involved 129 overweight or obese men and women between 40 and 80 with hypertension who were not taking blood pressure meds. The researchers randomly assigned each study participant to one of three 16-week interventions:
DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet combined with a weight management program (behavioral counseling and supervised exercise)
DASH diet with the help of a nutritionist
No changes to exercise or eating habits
At the end of the study period, the first group cut their blood pressure an average of 16 mmHg systolic (upper number) and 10 mmHg diastolic (lower number); the second group reduced their blood pressure an average of 11 mmHg systolic and 8 mmHg diastolic; and the third group had a minimal blood pressure decline of 3 mmHg systolic and 4 mmHg diastolic.
According to the researchers, only 15 percent of those in the first group and 23 percent of the second group needed blood pressure medication, while there was no change (nearly 50 percent) in the third group, as recommended by the 2017 guidelines.
Sourced from: American Heart Association