Native News Network Staff in Native Health. Discussion »
WASHINGTON American Indian and Alaska Native adults are 1.3 times as likely as white adults to have high blood pressure. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a major risk for heart disease and the chief risk factor for stroke.
Reduced Sodium Intake
Pushing down high blood pressure can reduce the risk of quite a number of conditions that kill people, such as heart attack, stroke and kidney disease. And obesity raises the risk of high blood pressure. So it makes sense to control your weight.
The National Institutes of Health has a free blueprint - an eating pattern that can help people do it. The long name is Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension - hypertension being a long name for high blood pressure. The short name for the blueprint is the DASH diet.
The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy foods and reduced in total and saturated fat. It also is reduced in red meat, sweets, and sugar containing drinks. It is rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein. Prior studies found that the DASH diet lowers blood pressure and also lowers blood LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) and the amino acid homocysteine, which appears to increase the risk of heart disease. Prior studies also showed reducing dietary sodium lowers blood pressure, both with and without the DASH diet.
DASH Diet Works
The new data comes from the DASH-Sodium study, a multicenter, 14 week randomized "feeding" trial in which all food was provided to participants.
It involved 412 participants, aged 22 and older, and with systolic blood pressures of 120-160 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressures of 80-95 mm Hg.
Fifty-two percent of the participants were women and 48 percent men; 54 percent were African American, 42 percent white, and 10 percent other races. Forty-one percent had hypertension and 59 percent did not.
For 3 months, participants ate either the DASH diet or a typical American diet. Weight was kept stable. During the study period, each group followed three different intakes of dietary sodium for 1 month each in random order. The sodium levels were 3,300 milligrams a day (the average level consumed by Americans), 2,400 milligrams a day (the upper limit currently recommended by the National High Blood Pressure Education Program), and 1,500 milligrams a day.
The largest blood pressure differences occurred for those on the DASH diet with a daily sodium intake of 1,500-milligrams compared with those on the control diet with a sodium intake of 3,300 milligrams.
Detailed analysis showed that the DASH diet and reduced sodium intake reduced blood pressure for all the population subgroups studied.
posted August 3, 2012 6:30 am edt