Effects of a High-Complex-Carbohydrate Diet and Daily Walking on Blood Pressure and Medication Status of Hypertensive Patients


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Abstract

The purpose of this project was to test the efficacy of diet and daily walking for treating mild to moderate hypertension. In phase I, a total of 268 confirmed hypertensive patients (161 men and 107 women aged 38 to 67 years) were treated with a high-complex-carbohydrate, high-fiber, low-fat, and low-salt diet combined with daily walking (1 hr) for 26 days. Of the 216 patients who entered the program receiving antihypertensive medication for at least one year, 180 left the program off medication and with a significant reduction in blood pressure (BP) (134 ± 2/77 ± 1 to 130 ± 2/73 ± 1 mm Hg). Of the remaining 36 patients (17%), many had their antihypertensive medication reduced; however, for this group there was no significant change in BP (151 ± 3/77 ± 2 versus 149 ± 4/77 ± 2 mm Hg). In the 50 patients who were not taking antihypertensive medication when they entered the program, BP was reduced from 152 ± 2/84 ± 1 to 138 ± 2/75 ± 1 mm Hg. Correlations between change in blood pressure and change in weight, cholesterol, or triglycerides were all low (r ≤ .27).In a second study, 13 patients were placed on the diet for six weeks without any exercise. During the first four weeks, BP was reduced from 137 ± 4/82 ± 3 to 123 ± 3/73 ± 2 mm Hg, and six of 12 patients were taken off antihypertensive medication. During the fifth and sixth weeks, NaCl intake was increased by 5 g/day, and BP increased to 132 ± 4/77 ± 2 mm Hg, due mainly to major increases in BP in three “salt-sensitive” patients.These data show that appropriate diet modification and excercise can be an effective nonpharmacologic means of lowering blood pressure in a majority of patients with mild hypertension and in some with more severe hypertension.

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