WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is apparently effective first-line therapy for many individuals with isolated systolic hypertension (ISH) in the range of 140 to 159 mm Hg.
In the August issue of Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, Dr. Thomas J. Moore from Boston University Medical Center and colleagues report on the 72 of the 459 participants in the DASH trial who had stage 1 ISH.
Subjects in the DASH trial were randomized to a control diet, which was a typical American diet, or to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, or to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods–the DASH diet. Subjects had their blood pressure measured at baseline, and again after 8 weeks on their respective diets.
The DASH diet lowered systolic blood pressure significantly more than the control diet (-11.2 mm Hg, p < 0.001) and the fruit and vegetable diet (-8.0 mm Hg, p < 0.01), the researchers report. "Overall, blood pressure in the DASH group fell from 146/85 to 134/82 mm Hg," they write.
Eighteen of the 23 subject in the DASH group achieved systolic blood pressures below 140 mm Hg compared with 6 of 25 in the control diet group and 12 of 24 in the fruit and vegetable group. "This treatment effect size is comparable to the blood pressure reduction seen with a typical antihypertensive drug," Dr. Moore's group notes.
"A nutritional approach to this problem [ISH] would be especially appealing because it could minimize both the healthcare workload and the dollar cost of therapy. Our observation that use of the DASH diet is effective in ISH makes this dietary approach an attractive and appropriate first-step treatment for stage 1 ISH," Dr. Moore and colleagues conclude.