Despite efforts to promote the DASH Diet for hypertension control, a report out from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) notes that out of the over 60 million Americans with the diagnosis of high blood pressure. More worrisome, the majority of them do not have it under control.
The DASH Diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) has been shown to lower blood pressure in most individuals that make simplet dietaty changes of eating more vegetables and fruits higher in potassium and lower in sodium.
High blood pressure is diagnosed when a patient has several blood pressure readings over 140/90 across at least a two week time period. Usually, people with high blood pressure have no obvious symptoms or complaints. However, untreated hypertension is believed to be a major contributor to the later development of heart disease and strokes; which are the #1 and #4 cause of death in the United States.
What’s sad about this report on the status of hypertension control is that for many of these people, simple lifestyle changes can bring their blood pressure back into the normal range and significantly reduce their risk of future medical problems. Changes in diet, such as following the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) have been shown in studies to reduce blood pressure in some patients by over 10 points.
Regular exercise, just as jogging, cycling, swimming, aerobic classes, or simply walking have also been shown to be a valuable component of a smart hypertension control program through lifestyle modification.
Ideally, we should be focusing on the exercise and nutrition intervention rather than medical management for the majority of people with mild hypertension without other medical issues.
Find out more about the DASH diet at www.dashdiet.org