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Can your diet lower blood pressure?


The Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) recently reported treating hypertension to a level of 120 mmHg is beneficial in reducing fatal and non-fatal major cardiovascular events and deaths from all causes. To achieve this blood pressure (BP) goal patients required two to three (or more) BP lowering drugs.

The SPRINT study has the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology rewriting BP treatment guidelines. Most likely new guidelines will recommend lowering the current BP goal from 150 mmHg SBP to perhaps 130 or less. Whether physicians will use more drugs to achieve SPRINT’S lower BP goal is a question.

There is caution, SPRINT reported adverse drug related events which are being studied. This is where the DASH eating plan can be helpful.

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) clinical trial was a feeding study demonstrating the role of diet in reducing BP. After just four weeks, DASH reported large reductions in BP of 12 mmHg SBP and 6 mmHg DBP, the equivalent to achievements in many drug studies. Dietary approaches to stop hypertension appeals to doctors, nurses and patients- The DASH eating plan can lower BP and reduce the number or dose of drugs to achieve BP goals.For those requiring BP drugs, DASH helps medications to be more effective. 

Some patients may eliminate the use of drugs and for some it may prevent hypertension.

This eating plan can also help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. The DASH eating plan is rich in fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy, has ample portions of lean meat and fish.

There is plenty of food in the DASH eating plan and participants don't go hungry. It helps people lose weight. Obesity continues to be an important public health problem contributing to high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

DASH has been noted as the best overall diet by US News for six straight years. The easy to read book by Manger and colleagues shows how to incorporate DASH into lifestyles that reduce obesity, overweight, hypertension, elevate blood cholesterol and diabetes.

Hypertension is the number one reason why adults visit their doctor.

It causes stroke, heart attack, heart and kidney failure and can cause dementia. Controlling and preventing hypertension, obesity and its related conditions can be done, it just takes some practice and knowledge. 

Want to learn more about how to treat hypertension in order to have a longer, healthier life? Read more in 101 Questions and Answers About Hypertension and The DASH Diet to End Obesity.