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DASH Diet and Exercise May Help Improve Resistant Hypertension

Resistant hypertension refers to high blood pressure that does not respond to treatment with 3 or more antihypertensive medications. According to a new study, combining the DASH diet, exercise, and reduced salt intake may help improve resistant hypertension.

140 adults with resistant hypertension participated in the study. Half were assigned to a lifestyle modification program that included dietary counseling on how to adhere to the DASH diet, behavioral weight management, and exercise training 3 times per week for 4 months. The other half were given one counseling session that provided standardized education and physical advice. The researchers evaluated systolic blood pressure, 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure, and several cardiovascular disease biomarkers at baseline and at the end of the study period.

Participants in the DASH diet group saw a 12.5% decrease in systolic blood pressure, compared to a 7.1% decrease in the control group. They also saw a 7% decrease in 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure and improvements in several cardiovascular disease biomarkers. Participants in the control group saw no decrease in 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure.

The DASH diet includes foods that are rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium. It limits foods that are high in sodium, saturated fat and added sugars.

The study was conducted by researchers from Duke University. The study was published online ahead of print on September 27, 2021 in the journal Circulation.

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