A combined approach of reducing salt content by just 10% in processed foods and taxing foods with high salt content could reduce cardiovascular deaths in developing countries by as much as 3%, a new modeling study suggests. This two-pronged approach would also be cheap, Dr Thomas Gaziano (Harvard School of Medicine, Boston, MA) who presented the data at the World Congress of Cardiology 2012.
Hypertension is the number-one risk factor for death worldwide, accounting for 12.8% of deaths every year. It also accounts for 10% of all healthcare spending worldwide—$450 billion per year in the US alone.
Gaziano and colleagues modeled the impact of applying the approach to sodium reduction used in the UK to 19 developing countries, making up half the world’s population. That approach includes voluntary collaboration on the part of food manufacturers to reduce sodium content by 10% and adding a 40% tax to salty foods—similar to the taxes applied to tobacco in many countries.
According to Gaziano, both strategies proved cost saving in all countries and would lead to a drop of roughly 3% in the rate of cardiovascular deaths. Stroke rates would drop even more sharply by as much as 5%.
Collaboration with industry to reduce sodium content in foods was the more effective strategy of the two and produced the most cost savings, he noted. Both, however, were cheap—in the range of $43 to $49 per capita over the lifetime of the individual.
Sounds great! I hope governments are listening!
Are you addicted to tea or coffee?
A large French retrospective analysis provides good news for caffeine lovers: investigators showed that drinking tea or coffee was associated with a small statistically significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Drinking tea and coffee was also associated with a significant reduction in pulse pressure and heart rate, although the heart-rate reductions were greater with tea.
The results of this data were presented at the recently held European Society of Hypertension ESH 2013 Scientific Sessions, at Paris, France.
Presenting the data on 176 437 subjects aged 16 to 95 years of age who had a checkup at their center between 2001 and 2011, the authors explained that the analysis was based on a questionnaire asking participants how much coffee or tea they drank per day. Individuals were classified into three groups: those who drank no coffee/tea, those who drank one to four cups, and those who drank more than four cups.
Overall, coffee is consumed more frequently than tea. Men were more likely to drink coffee, while women were more commonly tea drinkers.
Both coffee and tea consumption was associated with a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
So go ahead. Grab your cuppa!
The European Society of Cardiology and the European Society of Hypertension released Guidelines for Physicians to treat Hypertension (high BP). The joint guidelines are designed to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with hypertension.
Worldwide, 1.5 billion people currently have high blood pressure, according to the World Health Organization.
Dr Robert Fagard, the chair of the ESH/ESC writing committee, reiterated that treatment decisions for patients should be dictated by their overall level of risk and a holistic approach to treatment should be advised by physicians.
Lifestyle changes for treatment!.
The new guidelines make a host of lifestyle recommendations for lowering blood pressure.
1. Salt intake: The Guidelines recommend salt intake of approximately 5 to 6 g per day, in contrast with a typical intake of 9 to 12 g per day. A reduction to 5 g per day can decrease systolic blood pressure about 1 to 2 mm Hg in normotensive individuals and 4 to 5 mm Hg in hypertensive patients.
2. Lower BMI: While the optimal body-mass index (BMI) is not known, the guidelines recommend getting BMIs down to 25 kg/m2 and reducing waist circumferences to <102 cm in men and <88 cm in women. Losing about 5 kg can reduce systolic blood pressure by as much as 4 mm Hg.
3. Exercise: Aerobic endurance training in hypertensive patients can reduce systolic blood pressure by 7 mm Hg.
Fagard said that physicians can typically give low/moderate-risk individuals a few months with lifestyle changes to determine whether they’re having an impact on blood pressure. They should be more aggressive with higher-risk patients, however, noting that drug therapy is started typically within a few weeks if diet and exercise are ineffective.
A small study has demonstrated that the blood-pressure lowering effects of Beet-root juice by increasing the intake of dietary nitrates.
Dr Amrita Ahluwalia (Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, UK) and colleagues have previously shown that beet juice, after coming into contact with human saliva, increases levels of plasma nitrate and nitrite and leads to significant blood-pressure decreases in healthy volunteers.
In their latest study, published online April 15, 2013 in Hypertension, Ahluwalia and colleagues from the Queen Mary University of London, UK turned again to beetroot, which, along with green leafy vegetables, has high concentrations of inorganic nitrate.
The authors tested the beet-juice effects in 15 hypertensive, drug-naive patients, randomized to either 250 mL of inorganic nitrate-rich beetroot juice or an equal volume of water. The “dose” of juice elevates nitrite levels approximately 1.5 fold.
In patients who drank the juice, systolic blood pressure dropped by a mean of 11.2 mm Hg between three and six hours after consumption (vs 0.7 mm Hg in subjects who drank water). By 24 hours, clinic systolic BP remained significantly lower in the beet-juice group and roughly 7.2 mm Hg lower than baseline. Peak drop in diastolic BP also occurred within the first six hours, dropping by a mean of 9.6 mm Hg. Pulse-wave velocity also decreased in the beet-juice group, but not in the controls.
Grab your glass of beet juice today!
Individuals detected to have mildly elevated blood pressure may be able to maintain normal blood pressure for the next 15 years without any medications!
That’s what the HARVEST trial says. The data was presented at the 2013 International Conference on Prehypertension and Cardiometabolic Syndrome.
Young adults (1012 in number with a mean age of 33 years) were diagnosed with mildly elevated blood pressure (grade 1 hypertension). They were followed up for the next 15 years.
It was observed that in 198 patients, the blood pressure fell to within normal range within the first few months and they managed to remain normotensive (normal blood pressure) over next 15 years.
The patients whose blood pressure fell and remained normal had a slightly lower body-mass index (BMI), lower coffee consumption, lower triglycerides, and higher physical-activity levels than the ones in whom the blood pressure remained higher!
Again a trial highlighting the importance of body weight and exercise to avoid diseases like diabetes and blood pressure.
Fifteen years later, hypertension free!
That’s great! Isn’t it? So start walking and eat healthy!