High blood pressure

High blood pressure is common in adults. And if uncontrolled, it affects vital body organs including the heart. Medicines can bring down the high blood pressures but in some individuals, the blood pressure continues to be elevated and resistant to therapies. In such cases, certain lifestyle changes can help lower the readings. Which are these hypotensive changes?

High blood pressure and heart

High blood pressure or hypertension is a silent killer. Nearly 50% of the adults in the USA are affected with this ailment. It adversely affects the heart and damages brain, kidneys and eyes. Early death rates are higher in these people.

Medicines help control the high bp. But some individuals continue to demonstrate raised bp despite adequate and proper drugs. These are resistant hypertensives.

High blood pressure
Hypertension and the USA (Source: CDC)

Their bp continues to remain above normal even with a diuretic and two other anti-hypertensive medications. Around 20 to 30% of hypertensive people have uncontrolled bp.

But three relatively cheap and simple lifestyle changes can improve the control. These are heathy eating, exercises and weight loss.

The study in Circulation journal

A study published in 2021 in the reputed journal, Circulation states that lifestyle changes help resistant hypertensives. 140 adults were part of this study. Their average age was 63 years. They were on high doses of three anti-hypertensive medicines with no relief. Their bp continued to shoot above 130/90 mm Hg.

The participants were divided into two groups: group one got one time guidance on healthy eating and exercises while the second group were given weekly advices on exercise and healthy eating.

High blood pressure
Tips to control blood pressure (Source: Eufic)

Both groups showed improvement in their systolic bp. In the first group, the drop was 7 points over four months. And in the second group, there was a 12 point improvement in the systolic bp.

Study’s senior author, James A. Blumenthal said:

The most important point is that it is not too late to lower blood pressure by making healthy lifestyle choices,”

“Adopting a healthy lifestyle pays huge dividends, even for people whose blood pressure remains elevated despite being on three or more antihypertensive medications.”

The healthy diet (DASH diet) and exercises

The diet used was the DASH diet. This stands for Dietary approaches to stop hypertension. In this, there are guidelines on how much and how many servings of whole grains, fruits and vegetables you should have each day. Moreover, sodium intake has to be lesser than 2300 mg per day. It also limits added sugar in a week.

Like the Mediterranean diet, this diet is sustainable and effective. It is also easy to follow. Therefore, compliance rare is higher. It does not involve restricting any particular food groups or calories restrictions. But it advises and focuses on moderation.

High blood pressure
DASH diet (Source: Healthify me)

Also, read The best drinks to control elevated blood pressure!

And in exercise, the recruits were taught to do 30 to 45 minutes daily of simple exercises that can increase heart rate by around 70 to 80%. Walking, swimming or biking were excellent. Also, dancing in groups and hiking can help.