Lifestyle Changes Decrease The Necessity For Blood Pressure Medications
People with high blood pressure reduced the need for antihypertensive medications within 16 weeks after making lifestyle changes, a study has found.
Lifestyle changes, including healthier eating and regular exercise, can significantly lower the number of patients requiring blood pressure-lowering medicine. This principally applies to people with blood pressures in the range of 130 to 160 mmHg systolic and between 80 and 99 mmHg diastolic.
In order to reach these findings, the researchers observed 129 obese or overweight individuals between 40 and 80 years of age with high blood pressure. The participants’ blood pressures were between 130-160/80-99 mmHg but they weren’t taking medications to reduce blood pressure during the length of the study.
The researchers studied 129 overweight or obese men and women between ages 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 50 percent participants were candidates for antihypertensive medication at the study’s start, as per recent guidelines.
Each individual was randomly assigned to 1 of 3 sixteen-week interventions. Individuals in 1 group changed their eating habits and participated in a weight management program which included supervised exercise 3 times/week and behavioral counseling. Their eating habits were changed to that of the DASH plan, an eating plan that has been proven to reduce blood pressure. DASH focuses on vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy and consumption of salt, sweets and red meat is minimized. Individuals in the 2nd group changed diet only, focusing on the DASH diet assisted by a nutritionist. The 3rd group did not change their eating habits or exercise.
The researchers discovered:
- Participants in the first group lost an average 19 pounds and had reduced blood pressure by an average 16 mmHg systolic and 10 mmHg diastolic at the end of the 16 weeks.
- The second group individuals found a blood pressures decrease of average 11 systolic/8 diastolic mmHg.
- The third group those who didn’t alter their eating habits or exercised experienced a minimal blood pressure decline of an average 3 systolic/4 diastolic mmHg.
- At the conclusion of the study, only 15 percent of individuals who had altered their eating habits and started exercising required antihypertensive medications, as compared to 23% of those individuals who changed only their diet. Meanwhile, no change in the need for medications was found among the people who did not change their exercise habits or diet.