When our hypertension is confirmed, the first thing the doctor often does is to prescribe medication to control our condition. This is usually followed with general advice about losing weight, having a healthy diet and reducing our alcohol consumption. The recently published results of long-term term research in Finland suggest that far greater importance should be placed on simple lifestyle changes to lower high blood pressure.
The Finnish high Blood pressure study
The study followed 9,637 men and 11,430 women aged between 25 and 74 who did not have high blood pressure. Their lifestyle factors were recorded and followed up over a 16 year period. The factors common to the study group were that they:
- consumed less than six units of alcohol per week;
- exercised at least three times per week;
- consumed a variety of vegetables, including green vegetables, each day; and
- had normal weight.
Of the study group, 709 men and 890 women developed hypertension. What is significant is that the risk of developing hypertension among those having all four of the above healthy lifestyle factors is one third of the risk for those having none of the factors.
The results of the study were presented to the European Cardiology Congress in August 2012.
In developed countries, such as the United Kingdom, the lifetime risk of developing hypertension is now 90%. Six million Britons are prescribed medication to control their high blood pressure. There are 350 preventable strokes or heart attacks each day in the United Kingdom that are caused by hypertension.
Healthy lifestyle lowers high blood pressure as well as or better than drugs
A review of studies into drug treatment for mild hypertension, carried out by the charity Blood Pressure Association UK, found :
- no benefit in taking medication to control mild high blood pressure; and
- making lifestyle changes not only lowers high blood pressure naturally, but could be more effective than taking medication in such cases.
Healthy lifestyle lowers high blood pressure
Although the participants in the Finnish study were healthy at the start of the study, the findings also showed that making lifestyle improvements naturally benefits those who already have hypertension.
[important][/important]The Finnish study and the review of studies into drug treatment for mild hypertension, carried out by the charity Blood Pressure Association UK, confirm that by improving four of our lifestyle factors, it is possible to lower our high blood pressure to normal levels using natural methods.