Lifestyle Modifications

“Adoption of healthy lifestyles by all persons is critical for the prevention of high blood pressure and is an indispensable part of the management of those with hypertension.” – JNC 7 Report on Hypertension, 2003

Question 5:

Lifestyle modifications achieve what objectives? Please take a moment to reflect and consider this question. There are many possible answers.

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Lifestyle modifications directly contribute to blood pressure reduction:
Lifestyle modification Approximate systolic BP reduction range
Weight Reduction 5–20 mmHg/10 kg weight loss
DASH eating plan 8–14 mmHg
Dietary Sodium Reduction 2–8 mmHg
Physical Activity 4–9 mmHg
Moderation of Alcohol Consumption 2–4 mmHg

Specific Evidence-Based Recommendations Regarding Lifestyle Modifications

These recommendations are from the 2013 ACC/AHA Working Group on Lifestyle Change*, unless otherwise noted:

Weight reduction: Maintain normal body weight (body mass index 18.5–24.9 kg/m2; JNC 7).

Adopt DASH, USDA Food Pattern, or AHA eating plan: Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, legumes, non-tropical vegetable oils; limit sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages and red meats. Strength of Recommendation: Strong 

Dietary sodium reduction: Lower sodium intake. Strength of Recommendation: Strong. Reduce dietary sodium intake to 2.4 g sodium (6 g sodium chloride). Strength of Recommendation: Moderate

Combine DASH diet and lower sodium. Strength of Recommendation: Strong  

Physical activity: Engage in moderate- to vigrous-aerobic physical activity such as brisk walking (3-4 sessions a week, lasting on average 40 minutes/session). Strength of Recommendation: Moderate

Moderation of alcohol consumption: Limit consumption to no more than 2 drinks (e.g., 24 oz beer, 10 oz wine, or 3 oz 80-proof whiskey) per day in most men, and to no more than 1 drink per day in women and lighter weight persons (JNC 7)

*Eckel  RH, Jakicic  JM, Ard  JD,  et al.  AHA/ACC guideline on lifestyle management to reduce cardiovascular risk: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association task force on practice guidelines. Circulation. 2013.

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