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High blood pressure: drugless treatment?

High blood pressure: Drugless treatment?

Used by nearly 15 million people inthe United States, drugs to lower high blood pressure are a common factor in maintaining health. But, concerned over possible adverse effects, a number of researches are exploring drugless methods to treat the disorder, which is known to increase the risk of heart disease. Two such studies, one of actual remission of hypertension and the other of its control through diet, are reported in the March 20 JURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION.

To determine whether hypertensivepeople can in some cases safely discontinue using blood pressure drugs, Andrew L. Dannenberg of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and William B. Kannel of Boston University School of Medicine analyzed data already accumulated in the Framingham (Mass.) Heart Study. (The extensive study has followed the cardiovascular health of its subjects for 32 years.) Dannenberg and Kannel found that, although most people must continue antihypertensive drug use throughout their lives, a small group of individuals may have a long period of remission without medication. Therefore, they conclude, "guidelines for medical care of hypertensive persons will need to be updated.'

Another alternative may be that ofcontrol through nutrition. Researchers in Chicago and Minneapolis report the final results of a four-year study on the effects of overweight, excess salt and alcohol on blood pressure. They found that 39 percent of mild hypertensives who lost at least 10 pounds, decreased their sodium intake by 36 percent and drank no more than two alcohol drinks per day maintained normal blood pressure without drugs, compared with only 5 percent of those who discontinued drug therapy but did not adjust their diet. However, initial blood pressure levels also affect the outcome.
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Author:Edwards, Diane D.
Publication:Science News
Date:Mar 21, 1987
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