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Heart Attack And Stroke Risk: This Small Change In Eating Habits Of Young People Is Enough

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Kamal S. has been Journalist and Writer for Business, Hardware and Gadgets at Revyuh.com since 2018. He deals with B2b, Funding, Blockchain, Law, IT security, privacy, surveillance, digital self-defense and network policy. As part of his studies of political science, sociology and law, he researched the impact of technology on human coexistence. Email: kamal (at) revyuh (dot) com

A new study presented today at Hypertension Scientific Sessions 2022 in San Diego, California, found that among several lifestyle changes that may help lower heart disease, incorporating the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet or DASH Diet may have the greatest effect on young and middle-aged adults with stage 1 hypertension.

Stage 1 hypertension is defined as a systolic (top number) reading of 130-139 mm Hg or a diastolic (bottom number) reading of 80-89 mm Hg, according to the American College of Cardiology High Blood Pressure Guideline.

Many lives and over a billion dollars could be saved in healthcare expenditures if people adopted healthier lifestyles including cutting back on drinking and getting regular exercise, according to the study’s authors. According to their findings, 15,000 male and 11,000 female cardiovascular disease events could be avoided if more people adopted the DASH diet.

The DASH diet was developed for one reason: to lower blood pressure. The diet places a strong emphasis on foods including fruits, vegetables, lean meat sources, nuts, seeds, and whole grains while restricting the consumption of red meat, sodium, sweets, and beverages with added sugar.

The research team calculated that 8.8 million American adults, aged 35 to 64, have untreated stage 1 hypertension, and they were advised to adopt the DASH diet, increase their physical activity, lose weight steadily, and moderate their alcohol use.

People with stage 1 hypertension are less likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people with stage 2 or higher hypertension if they don’t have other health problems like type 2 diabetes or kidney disease and a predicted 10-year CVD risk of >10%. Systolic or diastolic measurements of 140 mm Hg or greater are considered to be stage 2 hypertension. People with stage 1 hypertension are advised to adjust their lifestyles rather than take medication as part of their treatment.

“Nearly nine million young and middle-aged adults with untreated stage 1 hypertension,” says Kendra D. Sims, co-lead researcher of this study, “represent a significant, impending burden for health care systems.”  

The results “provide strong evidence that large-scale, healthy behavior modifications may prevent future heart disease, related complications and excess health care costs.”

The researchers used evidence from published meta-analyses and trial data about the blood-pressure-lowering effects of lifestyle changes, including dietary changes, sustained weight loss, physical activity, smoking cessation, and alcohol moderation, to simulate heart disease and stroke events, mortality, and health care costs between 2018 and 2027. Women made up around 50% of the population in the model, and 61% of them (5.5 million) had regular access to healthcare.

According to the study, adopting the recommended lifestyle modifications to lower blood pressure to below 130 mm Hg systolic or 90 mm Hg diastolic may have significant health and financial advantages.

They predicted that a change in lifestyle could: avoid 2,900 deaths, 26,000 cardiovascular disease-related events including heart attacks, strokes, or heart failure, and save $1.6 billion on related medical expenses.

“Unfortunately, the availability and affordability of healthy food sources does not easily allow people to follow the DASH diet. Clinicians should consider whether their patients live in food deserts or places with limited walkability. Health counseling should include addressing these specific challenges to blood pressure control,” Sims adds.

Image Credit: Getty

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