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Hypertension & Stroke

2004 Edition

New Research:
Combining Lifestyle Modifications Best for Blood Pressure Lowering

Combining as many lifestyle modifications as possible (preferably all of them) is the most effective way to lower blood pressure, according to a new study. This is the first demonstration that combining lifestyle measures can have additive effects on blood pressure.

The study randomly assigned 810 adults, average age 50, who had above-normal blood pressure (120 to 159 mm Hg systolic and 80 to 95 mm Hg diastolic) and were not taking antihypertensive medication to one of three groups. The first group received only advice about lowering blood pressure. The second group adopted numerous lifestyle changes: losing weight if overweight, reducing sodium intake, increasing physical activity, and limiting alcohol. The third group made the same lifestyle changes as the second group but also followed the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.

After six months, significantly more people in the lifestyle-plus-DASH group and the lifestyle-only group had normal blood pressure (<120/80 mm Hg) than in the advice-only group (35% and 30% vs. 19%). The results were not statistically different between the lifestyle-plus-DASH group and the lifestyle-only group.

Journal of the American Medical Association
Volume 289, page 2083
April 23/30, 2003


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