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American Heart Association Connects Exercise and Lower Blood Pressure

June 18, 2013

What is sometimes seen as a divide between natural and non-natural medicine is not really the rift it seems to be. Patients have a variety of options and working with a medical professional does not mean that you cannot opt for therapies that do not involve medication. In fact, many doctors have recommendations that combine medication with lifestyle changes that do not require a prescription.

woman stretching on grassEarlier this year, Consumer Reports reported on a review by the American Heart Association (AHA) that found that people who need to lower their blood pressure may be able to do so without using drugs. They cautioned that nondrug methods for lowering blood pressure may not work for everyone and that some people will need to make some of the recommended lifestyle changes in concert with taking medication.

Of the non-medication methods mentioned, "the strongest evidence was for exercise." People in the study took brisk walks, did strength training, and used a hand-grip device for hand exercises and "Four weeks of exercising with that device resulted in a 10 percent drop in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, the review found."

Overall, the AHA found that "due to their modest effects, alternative therapies should be used with, not as a replacement for, standard treatment." Their findings for people with mildly elevated blood pressure was that they people should try some non-medication therapies such as exercise, biofeedback and meditation because these things in conjunction a healthier diet with less sodium could help them avoid full-blown high blood pressure.

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