Hypertension: DASH diet may be best to reduce heart attack risk

Posted on September 15, 2022

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Source: Medical News Today
  • Globally, approximately one in three 30–79-year-olds have hypertension — or in other words, high blood pressure.
  • A new simulated study has found that following a DASH diet may be the most effective lifestyle intervention to reduce cardiovascular disease in people with mild hypertension.
  • The study found that this dietary change could prevent nearly 3,000 deaths in the U.S. alone.

The World Health Organization estimates that worldwide 1.28 billion adults ages 30-79 have high blood pressure or hypertension. Two-thirds of them live in low- and middle-income countries. Hypertension can be a deadly condition, causing 7.5 million deaths annually.

Previous research has identified several lifestyle changes that can lower a person’s blood pressure, including dietary changes, regular exercise, and reducing alcohol intake.

A new report finds that for people in the early stages of hypertension, diet — and one diet in particular —stands out as being the most effective means of maintaining healthy blood pressure. The report was presented in early September at the American Heart Association’s Hypertension Scientific Sessions 2022 in San Diego.

According to the new report’s estimate, the DASH diet could avert upwards of 15,000 heart disease events among men and 11,000 among women in the U.S. alone.

The authors of the report conducted a simulation study to assess future hypertension outcomes. About 61% of the modeled population had access to healthcare. Roughly half were women.

Interdisciplinary researcher and educator Dr. Kendra Sims, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, is the co-lead researcher of the study. She explained the methodology behind the report to Medical News Today:

“In our case, a simulation consists of pulling in several sources of information, including the Census, that reflect the current and expected changes in the U.S. population.”

“Among the simulated people initially without heart disease, we plug in the risk factors drawn from rigorous research studies on heart attack and stroke events. This method allows us to confidently project the number of people who are likely to develop heart disease over the next decade,” she said.