One new research has determined that lifestyle changes able to reduce systolic blood pressure to below 130 mm Hg can prevent no less than 26,000 heart attacks and strokes over the next decade and also reduce health care costs.
The study simulated these results using the newest statistics for stage 1 hypertension in the United States.
That being said, several lifestyle changes were considered including weight loss, diet, physical activity and more but the one thing that seemed to make the biggest difference was following the so-called DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.)
The study learned that widespread adoption of such non medical interventions for those with a lower risk of developing Stage 1 hypertension should be able to prevent almost 26,000 cardiovascular events as well as avoid 2,900 deaths and save around $1.6 billion in health care costs over the course of a decade.
The research was presented at American Heart Association’s Hypertension Scientific Sessions in San Diego.
As it turns out, the DASH eating plan is designed in such a way that it targets blood pressure management by including a variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains, and lean meat sources.
On the other hand, it limits the consumption of sodium, red meat, sugars and sugary drinks.
The team has estimated that 8.8 million American adults between the ages of 35 and 64 have untreated stage 1 hypertension and would benefit from a lifestyle change that includes increased physical activity, weight loss, moderate alcohol consumption and adopting the DASH diet.
Co-lead researcher of this study, Kendra D. Sims, shared that “Nearly 9 million young and middle aged adults with untreated stage 1 hypertension represent a significant, impending burden for health care systems. Our results provide strong evidence that large scale, healthy behavior changes may prevent future heart disease, other related complications and excess health care costs.”
Sims went on to stress that “Unfortunately, the availability and the affordability of healthy food sources doesn’t easily allow people to follow the DASH diet. Clinicians should also consider whether their patients live in food deserts or in places with limited walkability. Health counseling should include addressing all these specific challenges to blood pressure control.”