Lifestyle modifications to prevent and control hypertension. 1. Methods and an overview of the Canadian recommendations. Canadian Hypertension Society, Canadian Coalition for High Blood Pressure Prevention and Control, Laboratory Centre for Disease Control at Health Canada, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.CMAJ. 1999 May 04; 160(9 Suppl):S1-6.CMAJ
To provide updated, evidence-based recommendations for health care professionals on lifestyle changes to prevent and control hypertension in otherwise healthy adults (except pregnant women).
The health outcomes considered were changes in blood pressure and in morbidity and mortality rates. Because of insufficient evidence, no economic outcomes were considered.
A MEDLINE search was conducted for the period January 1996 to September 1996 for each of the interventions studied. Reference lists were scanned, experts were polled, and the personal files of the authors were used to identify other studies. All relevant articles were reviewed, classified according to study design and graded according to level of evidence.
A high value was placed on the avoidance of cardiovascular morbidity and premature death caused by untreated hypertension.
BENEFITS, HARMS AND COSTS
Lifestyle modification by means of weight loss (or maintenance of healthy body weight), regular exercise and low alcohol consumption will reduce the blood pressure of appropriately selected normotensive and hypertensive people. Sodium restriction and stress management will reduce the blood pressure of appropriately selected hypertensive patients. The side effects of these therapies are few, and the indirect benefits are well known. There are certainly costs associated with lifestyle modification, but they were not measured in the studies reviewed. Supplementing the diet with potassium, calcium and magnesium has not been associated with a clinically important reduction in blood pressure in people consuming a healthy diet.
(1) It is recommended that health care professionals determine the body mass index (weight in kilograms/[height in metres]2) and alcohol consumption of all adult patients and assess sodium consumption and stress levels in all hypertensive patients. (2) To reduce blood pressure in the population at large, it is recommended that Canadians attain and maintain a healthy body mass index. For those who choose to drink alcohol intake should be limited to 2 or fewer standard drinks per day (maximum of 14/week for men and 9/week for women). Adults should exercise regularly. (3) To reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients, individualized therapy is recommended. This therapy should emphasize weight loss for overweight patients, abstinence from or moderation in alcohol intake, regular exercise, restriction of sodium intake and, in appropriate circumstances, individualized cognitive behaviour modification to reduce the negative effects of stress.
The recommendations were reviewed by all of the sponsoring organizations and by participants in a satellite symposium of the fourth international Conference on Preventive Cardiology. They are similar to those of the World Hypertension League and the Joint National committee, with the exception of the recommendations on stress management, which are based on new information. They have not been clinically tested.
The Canadian Hypertension Society, the Canadian Coalition for High Blood Pressure Prevention and Control, the Laboratory Centre for Disease Control at health Canada, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.