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Dr Manesh Saxena explains new blood pressure injection

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Known as the DASH diet, it stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, the dietary changes within it have been found to have the greatest impact on high blood pressure, particularly in young and middle-aged patients with stage one hypertension.

The data has been presented at the American Heart Association’s (the American equivalent of the British Heart Foundation) Hypertension Scientific Sessions.

What does the DASH diet involve?

The DASH diet places great emphasis on fruits, lithium uses everyday life vegetables, sources of lean meat, nuts, seeds, and grains. It also places emphasis on reducing the consumption of red meat, salt, sugar, and beverages sweetened with sugar.

It is believed this diet can help prevent stage one hypertension patients from moving onto stage two and facing an increased risk of serious cardiovascular consequences.

What is stage one and stage two hypertension?

The stages are defined by how high someone’s blood pressure is, as the number rises further, the higher the stage of hypertension someone has reached.

Co-lead researcher on the study Dr Kendra Sims said of the research: “Nearly nine million young and middle-aged adults with untreated stage 1 hypertension represent a significant, impending burden for health care systems.

“Our results provide strong evidence that large-scale, healthy behaviour modifications may prevent future heart disease, related complications and excess health care costs.”

While lowering high blood pressure is key, what is also important is understanding the different types of blood pressure and what they mean.

There are two types of blood pressure which make up a reading, systolic and diastolic. When blood pressure is measured, the systolic pressure is the number on the top and the diastolic pressure is the number on the bottom.

What do the two pressures represent?

Systolic blood pressure is the force at which the heart pumps blood around the body. Diastolic blood pressure, on the other hand, is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.

Both of these are measured in millimetres of mercury, represented on a test as mmHg. Ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. Should anyone watch a medical drama or documentary the figure will be spoken as “90 over 60” or “120 over 80” using the ideal figures.

According to the NHS “high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80)” and what is considered healthy blood pressure will vary from person to person.

What are the best ways to keep blood pressure at a healthy level?

The two best ways to manage one’s blood pressure is through a combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise.

On the impact of the DASH diet, the authors say it may be limited, not because of the diet in question, but because how many people can access what features in it.

Dr Sims said: “Unfortunately, the availability and affordability of healthy food sources does not easily allow people to follow the DASH diet. Clinicians should consider whether their patients live in food deserts or places with limited walkability. Health counselling should include addressing these specific challenges to blood pressure control.”

Should patients not be able to access all the features of the DASH diet, exercise can also help. The NHS recommends at least 150 minutes of exercise a week.

Exercise helps to manage blood pressure in several ways. Regular exercise can help to break down and burn excess fat inside the blood vessels and around the abdomen; this helps to reduce pressure on the heart and thus reduce blood pressure.

Furthermore, regular exercise causes the release of mood improving endorphins; combined with an aesthetic improvement, this can help to boost wellbeing and reduce the stress associated with a lack of fitness.

Although both the NHS and AHA recommend at least 150 minutes of exercise per week, this is only a minimum recommendation; the more exercise that is conducted, the greater the impact it will have.

This impact will be felt not just in reduced blood pressure, but an increased likelihood of a longer life.

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