Healthy Lifestyle Drastically Cuts Hypertension Risk
According to a research presented at the ESC Congress, the risk of hypertension could be decreased by 2 thirds through lifestyle changes. Researchers conducted a cohort study that included 9,637 Finnish men and 11,430 women aged between 25 and 74 years. They were analyzed in terms of lifestyle: smoking, alcohol intake, vegetable consumption, physical activity ( at least 3 times per week), BMI (body mass index). At the time of enrollment in the study participants had no signs of hypertension, but during the 16 years in which they were followed, it was found that 709 men and 890 women developed hypertension. After analyzing all healthy lifestyle factors, researchers found that those who had all risk factors present were three times less likely to develop hypertension. In addition, they found that lifestyle changes have a much greater impact on men than women.
Moreover, Professor Pekka Jousilahti from the National Institute for Health and Welfare, said that there is a much stronger association in men than in women between hypertension and obesity and alcohol. “The risk of hypertension was only one third among those having all four healthy lifestyle factors compared to those having none,” said Professor Jousilahti. He added that lifestyle has a huge impact on hypertension and that both men and women should lead a healthy lifestyle in order not to develop hypertension. Professor Pekka Jousilahti believes that at lifestyle changes should have an impact also on hypertensive patients.
Hypertension is, according to the World Health Organization, the main cause of mortality in the world. Annually, over 7 millions deaths are a direct cause of hypertension. Hypertension is defined by values greater than 140mmHg (systolic) and 90mmHg (diastolic). It is important that hypertension be controlled because there are various complications can occur such as stroke, myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease, heart failure, aneurysm, chronic renal failure. Hypertension can be primary or secondary. Obesity, high sodium intake, increased levels of renin, insulin resistance are among the risk factors for essential hypertension (ie primary hypertension). What is important is that some of these factors can be controlled. Secondary hypertension is caused by various endocrine or renal disease. Cushing’s disease, acromegaly, renal artery stenosis, pheochromocytoma are the most common causes of secondary hypertension.
Hypertension may be asymptomatic, but symptoms such as headache, tinnitus, fainting and others can occur. Sometimes hypertension is diagnosed when a stroke occurs. There are several classes of antihypertensive drugs: diuretics, converting enzyme inhibitors, ARBs, calcium channel blockers, beta blockers and others. Antihypertensive drugs are chosen taking into account the patient’s condition, the degree of hypertension and comorbidities.