It is well-known that high blood pressure is associated with increased risk of having a heart attack and having a stroke as well as developing heart disease. The results of new research suggest that men with hypertension are 62 per cent more likely to die from prostate cancer than those with the lowest risk. The evidence points to lifestyle factors in developed countries being a significant factor in this increased risk.
The link between high blood pressure and prostate cancer:
The Metabolic Syndrome and Cancer (MeCan) project involved 300,000 men from Sweden, Norway and Austria. Of those involved, 6,673 were diagnosed with prostate cancer and 961 died from the disease.
The research didn’t find any link between health conditions including high blood pressure, obesity and high levels of fats and sugar in the blood, which all fall under the ‘metabolic syndrome’ umbrella, and the chances of being diagnosed with the disease, just its outcome for those who already have it.
However, these metabolic factors were found to lower a man’s chance of surviving prostate cancer.
Dr Christel Haggstrom, from Umea University, Sweden, who lead the research, said: “When we looked to see if the metabolic factors are related to an increased risk of getting or dying from prostate cancer we found a relationship with death from the disease and high blood pressure.”
She went on to say: “the high incidence in Western Europe and North America suggests a link to the lifestyles or environment in developed countries.” (Source: Nursing Times.net accessed 24th October 2012)
Lifestyle factors in lowering high blood pressure:
Lifestyle improvements are an important part of successfully managing hypertension. The two most important lifestyle elements are diet and exercise.
# 1. Diet: To help lower our high blood pressure to normal levels, we should follow a healthy, balanced and calorie controlled diet that is:
- primarily plant-based;
- includes a variety of fruits and vegetables including green leafy vegetables;
- high in fibre;
- low in fat; and is
- limited in the amount of refined sugars.
An example of such a diet is contained in the Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension (Dash diet). In addition, we should drink adequate fluids each day.
# 2. Exercise: We should aim to take thirty to forty-five minutes of cardiovascular exercise, such as brisk walking, running, or swimming each day. Exercising in this way has been shown to reduce systolic pressure by between 4 and 8mm of mercury. Furthermore, the benefits last almost a whole day.
The combination of exercising in this way and a healthy, low fat and calorie controlled diet is that we lose weight naturally. Shedding the excess weight is an excellent way of reducing hypertension.
Lifestyle and prostate cancer:
In their paper “Nutrition and Prostate Cancer”, researchers from the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, reported on an eleven-day study where men followed the Pritikin program. The Pritikin program includes:
- a diet that is high in vegetables, fruits and whole grains and very low in fat. It is the same type of diet that is recommended for people with hypertension.
- This diet is used in combination with 60 minutes of daily exercise.
These are the same lifestyle improvements recommended for lowering high blood pressure.
The researchers noted that serum IGF-I, an insulin-like growth factor, decreased by 20 percent after following the program for 11 days. Higher IGF-I values pare associated with higher risk for various cancers, including prostate cancer. This reduction in IGF-I, and therefore the reduced risk of of developing cancer including prostate cancer, was brought about by the combination of following a healthy, low-fat, plant-based diet and taking regular exercise. (Source: UCSF Medical Center “Nutrition and Prostate Cancer” accessed 24th October 2012).
These research findings can be summarised as follows:
- There is a strong link between hypertension and survival rates for prostate cancer.
- The type of diet recommended for people with high blood pressure combined with taking regular exercise reduces the risk of developing cancer, including prostate cancer.
[important][/important]High blood pressure can be lowered naturally by a combination of a healthy, low-fat, and calorie controlled diet combined with regular exercise. These lifestyle improvements also increase a man’s chances of surviving prostate cancer.
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© Robert Reddin