Researchers have suggested through a new study that lifestyle habits influence blood pressure and have demonstrated that a programme aimed at helping people modify lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise is as effective as medication at reducing blood pressure.
According to scientists behind the study participants saw their blood pressure drop 19 points, on average, after taking part in a lifestyle programme for just 14 days. Lead researcher of the study M. Alfredo Mejia, Associate Professor at Andrews University said that people can adapt lifestyle health principles and achieve normal blood pressure within two weeks while avoiding the side effects and costs associated with blood pressure medications.
The researchers found that the reduction in blood pressure accomplished by the programme was equivalent to what can be achieved using three half-dose standard medications for blood pressure. In addition, 93 per cent of the participants were able to either reduce the dose (24 per cent) or eliminate their blood pressure medications (69 per cent).
For the study, the researchers evaluated data from 117 people with high blood pressure who had participated in the lifestyle programme. The participants followed a vegan diet, walked outside daily, drank substantial quantities of water, got adequate daily sleep and participated in optional spiritual activities.
At the end of the programme, half of the participants achieved a systolic blood pressure below the recommended 120 mmHg, the researcher said. The programme was effective at lowering blood pressure in varying types of individuals, including otherwise healthy men and women and people with diabetes or who were obese and those with high cholesterol levels, they noted.