DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVE
Baltimore - It has been demonstrated by previous studies that obesity, sodium intake, and alcohol consumption can influence the blood pressure. Chronically elevated blood pressure (medically termed hypertension) is common in the United States-affecting over 40 million persons. Hypertension increases the risk of stroke and heart disease.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (1997;336:1117-24) by Dr. Lawrence J. Appel of Johns Hopkins University and associates at multiples medical centers throughout the United States evaluated 459 adults (133 that had hypertension) during an 8 week period.
The study found that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables combined with low-fat dairy foods and with reduced saturated and total fat significantly lowered the blood pressure, especially in those patients with hypertension.
Because blood pressures were lowered by the diet even in patients without hypertension, the authors of the study suggest that this diet may offer a nutritional approach for the prevention of hypertension.
In any case, it appears that the combination diet offers an additional nutritional approach to treating hypertension. Diets high in fruits and vegetables with low-fat dairy foods and reduced saturated and total fat as well as low-sodium may prove important in the initial management of hypertension.
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