Friday, August 15, 2008

Exercise Reduces Blood Pressure

But Too Few Doctors Recommend It To Their Patients, Study Finds

“For people with high blood pressure, exercise can be the most important lifestyle change they can make, researchers say. Yet two-thirds of doctors don't take the time to tell their patients with high blood pressure about the importance of exercise and physical activity, a new study finds.‘Patients do follow physician recommendations to exercise when instructed to, and patients who follow exercise recommendations tend to have lower systolic blood pressures than those who do not,’ said lead researcher Dr. Josiah Halm, a hypertension specialist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. The findings are published in the summer issue of Ethnicity & Disease. For the study, Halm's team collected data on 17,474 people who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Among these people, 4,686 reported having high blood pressure. The researchers found that only slightly more than one-third of the people with high blood pressure said their doctor had told them to increase physical activity as a way of bringing down their blood pressure. Yet, 71 percent of patients with high blood pressure saw a drop in their blood pressure when they increased their physical activity, which means that they listened when doctors told them to exercise more, according to the report. ‘Non-pharmacological methods such as exercising are important in improving blood pressure control on a population level as this study looked at the cross-section of the U.S. population,’ Halm said.”

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