Lifestyle Modifications in the Treatment of Hypertension

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Having elevated blood pressure or hypertension increases one's risk for renal failure, stroke, cardiovascular disease and mortality. Therefore, timely and effective treatment of hypertension can have dramatic implications on patient outcomes and quality of life. Today, health care providers have a number of treatment modalities at their disposal, one of which consists of'lifestyle therapy’. These therapies attempt to reduce blood pressure by altering patient behaviour. Over the last few decades, a number of key studies have highlighted the benefit of lifestyle therapy for the treatment and reduction of hypertension, so much so that all major hypertension associations espouse the use of lifestyle therapy as a first line therapy or in combination with pharmacological therapy. These lifestyle therapies, which include alterations in diet (increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables, reducing the amount of dietary fat and simple carbohydrates), reducing dietary sodium, participating in regular physical activity, reducing weight, and psychosocial interventions, have been shown to dramatically reduce blood pressure. Understanding the benefits and challenges of implementing lifestyle therapies for the treatment of hypertension can lead to better uptake of these practices and improve patient outcomes.

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