What are the Non-Drug Approaches to Hypertension?

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a well-known risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. When it comes to the treatment of hypertension, medications are generally what come to mind. However, the primary approach in the treatment of hypertension is non-pharmacological.

Non-pharmacological approaches include simple measures such as weight loss, dietary changes, exercise, and sodium restriction.

Diet: The recommendation is an Mediterranean-style diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, low in fat, and containing whole grains.

Weight loss: Targeting the ideal body weight is crucial. An expected decrease of 1 mmHg in blood pressure can be anticipated for every 1 kilogram lost. Weight loss not only helps reduce blood pressure but also has overall health benefits, such as preventing plaque formation in the arteries, addressing conditions like type 2 diabetes, and managing cholesterol disorders. The general strategy should focus on preventing weight gain, promoting weight loss, and maintaining the ideal weight after shedding pounds.

Sodium restriction: The goal is to consume less than 1500 milligrams of sodium. Besides avoiding adding salt to meals, attention should also be given to foods that are high in salt, such as pickles, sodas, and processed foods like sausages.

Physical activity: Aerobic, dynamic, and isometric exercises are recommended. If formal exercise is not possible, increasing lifestyle activities throughout the day is essential. This can include low-intensity walks during breaks or free time. Reducing sedentary time is crucial. Exercise not only helps reduce blood pressure but also prevents plaque progression in blood vessels, regulates rhythm disorders, prevents clot formation, and provides additional benefits with its antidepressant effects.

In addition to these, limiting alcohol intake and consuming potassium-rich foods can also be beneficial.

Doç. Dr. Aksüyek Savaş Çelebi