A research team from Finland has identified 5 major lifestyle parameters that could reduce the risk of hypertension by two-thirds. Manage these factors now to reduce the risk of future development of cardiovascular diseases.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the most significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease, leading to an estimated 15 percent of all deaths worldwide each year. Excessive blood pressure causes micro-cracks in the inner lining of arterial walls, leading to a cascade of serious health concerns. In a desperate attempt to prevent a potentially deadly hemorrhage, patching materials are quickly pulled from blood circulation to repair the cracks.
While this may save your life in the short term, over the course of several decades, plaque volume increases until blood flow is cut off to the heart and brain, or a clot becomes lodged in a narrowed artery. Medical researchers have identified a number of important lifestyle factors that increase the risk for hypertension and have found that by modifying these actions, blood pressure can be returned to normal without the need for pharmaceuticals that are ineffective and wrought with deadly side-effects.
A research team from Finland reporting to the European Society of Cardiology Congress has found that healthy behaviors regarding alcohol, physical activity, vegetable intake and body weight reduce the risk of hypertension by two-thirds. They note that prevention of hypertension is essential to improving health and preventing morbidity and mortality.
Follow healthy lifestyle parameters to slash the risk of high blood pressure
The team identified five major cardiovascular disease-related lifestyle factors: smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, obesity and consumption of vegetables. Their task was to determine if correcting abnormalities in these factors could help predict the future increase of blood pressure and development of clinical hypertension. They developed a large cohort study including 9,637 men and 11,430 women, aged 25 to 74 who were free of hypertension during baseline measurements. The study lasted for 20 years.
The researchers set parameters for healthy lifestyle factors as follows:
1. Not smoking
2. Alcohol consumption less than 50g per week
3. Leisure time physical activity at least three times per week
4. Daily consumption of vegetables
5. Normal body weight (BMI lower than 25)
During a 16-year follow-up period, 709 men and 890 women developed hypertension. The study authors concluded “The risk of hypertension was only one third among those having all four healthy lifestyle factors compared to those having none… four modifiable lifestyle factors: alcohol consumption, physical activity, consumption of vegetables and keeping normal weight have a remarkable effect on the development of hypertension.”
The team found that the effect of lifestyle modifications was more pronounced in men than women, likely due to increases in alcohol consumption and a tendency toward obesity found within the male group. Most health conscious individuals live within the lifestyle parameters defined as healthy in this study, yet it still acts as an important reminder to remain vigilant at all stages of life to prevent hypertension and remain disease-free.