Joseph Hooper wrote in an article in the current issue of Esquire, what mothers have known for years: Drink (low-fat) milk and eat fruits and vegetables. In the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study published in April in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that people with mildly elevated blood pressure significantly reduced it within two weeks of starting an otherwise unremarkable diet packed with fruits and vegetable, in total, eight to 10 servings a day.
A group that added a heavy dose of low-fat dairy foods to this regimen saw roughly twice as much improvement. On this combo diet, the subjects dropped an average of 11.4 points in systolic blood pressure (the high number) and 5.5 in diastolic pressure (the low number). That’s as large a drop as you’d expect from standard anti-hypertension drugs. Strange as it sounds, good food could be the next therapeutic drug of choice and not a moment too soon.
It is a known fact that a good diet and regular exercise can repel the most adverse of diseases but the problem is that very few people follow through on this practice and neglect their health to such an extent that by the time their health gives way, it is far too late to make amends so therefore prevention is better than cure. Therefore, you will see various medical practice centers online that provide healthy tips to patients who are dealing with such issues and at the same time, give advice to people who are looking at it from business point of view like, for example, How much a medical practice should be spending on marketing
Hypertension afflicts about 50 million Americans one in four adults and contributes mightily to heart attack and stroke. Typically, blood pressure rises with age, so if a man falls in the 130/85 range when young, trouble likely awaits. Conventional drug therapy most commonly diuretics and beta blockers is effective, but it can exact a nasty price. Diuretics marry a person to the bathroom and have a one in three chance of causing impotence. Beta-blockers bring on lethargy, drowsiness, and even more withering odds of impotence. Still, before the DASH study, the idea that diet could replace hypertension drugs would have been regarded by mainstream medicine as loose talk around the health food counter.
Researchers knew about salt, of course. The link between reducing dietary sodium and lowering blood pressure has been pretty well established. But a shelf full of medical literature had failed to find any dramatic improvement in blood pressure when subjects were doused with supplemental potassium, magnesium or calcium. Only when the hypertension researchers stopped trying to isolate a biochemical mechanism for reducing blood pressure did the results occur. Like mothers for millennium before them, they just fed people what they suspected was healthy.
“We used foods in which these minerals travel together,” said Eva Obarzanek, The National Institute of Health nutritionist who oversaw the DASH study. Conveniently the same low-fat high fruit and vegetable diet that battles the mood pressure has been shown to be the best line of nutritional defenses against cancer and heart disease.
But DASH has raised interesting questions as well. When they designed the study, the researchers were banking on fruits and vegetables having some kind of positive effect those low-fat dairy products also proved so beneficial amazed them. Is it the potassium or the calcium in dairy or the fact that overall, the combo diet increases the percentage of protein at the expense of fat?
Because doctors can’t control a person’s willpower, most cardiologists still reach for-the scrip when treating mild to moderate hypertensive. “I ‘m good at getting people to take drugs,” said Dr. Michael Alderman, president of the American Society of Hypertension. “I’m not so good at getting them to change their behavior.”
“Cardiologists don’t know from preventing hypertension,” said Dr. Jerome D. Cohen, director of the Preventive Cardiology programs at St. Louis University Health Sciences Center, “They’re pushing stress tests and catheters.” Perhaps the best course of action to improve one’s health is simply to save oneself.