Non-pharmacological aspects of blood pressure management: what are the data?

Hypertension affects 29% of US adults and is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Epidemiological data support contribution of several dietary and other lifestyle-related factors to the development of high blood pressure (BP). Several clinical trials investigated the efficacy of non-pharmacological interventions and lifestyle modifications to reduce BP. Best evidence from randomized controlled trials supports BP-lowering effects of weight loss, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, and dietary sodium (Na?) reduction in those with prehypertension, with more pronounced effects in those with hypertension. In hypertensive participants, the effects on BP of DASH combined with low Na? alone or with the addition of weight loss were greater than or equal to those of singledrug therapy. Trials where food was provided to participants were more successful in showing a BP-lowering effect. However, clinical studies with long-term follow-up revealed that lifestyle modifications were difficult to maintain. Findings from controlled trials of increased potassium, calcium, or magnesium intake, or reduction in alcohol intake revealed modest BP-lowering effects and are less conclusive. The reported effects of exercise independent of weight loss on BP are inconsistent.

Kidney International (2011) 79, 1061–1070; doi:10.1038/ki.2011.46; published online 9 March 2011

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Last modified on Friday, 28 March 2014 13:47

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