What helps with high blood pressure?
If people suffer from high blood pressure, they should exercise more to counteract the disease. However, researchers have now found that most people with high blood pressure take medication or tea rather than exercise.
In their current study, the scientists found that most people rely on teas and medication to treat high blood pressure, rather than simply exercising more. The results of the study were presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2018.
Subjects were asked about various treatment options
In their research, the medical team wanted to find out how people weigh the benefits of high blood pressure treatment options against the inconveniences they may experience. To do this, they asked participants if they had high blood pressure and then asked about their willingness to choose one of four types of treatments that could increase their life expectancy. The proposed treatment options included daily cup of tea, exercise, tablets, and monthly or semi-annual injections.
Were the subjects ready to take tablets?
The results showed that taking a pill or drinking tea daily were the preferred treatments. However, there were also some participants who were unwilling to intervene, even if it causes them to live a few years longer. 79 percent of the respondents indicated that they were quite willing to take tablets for an additional month. 90 percent of the participants would take tablets for an additional year of life, and 96 percent of the test subjects would take the pills if they lived an additional five years.
How many subjects preferred tea?
78 percent of the participants would take a cup of tea daily for an additional month of life. 91 percent of the subjects would be willing to drink a cup of tea every day if they could live an additional year as a result. 96 percent of the participants would take the tea if they could live for another five years, the experts report.
Were participants willing to exercise more physically?
But what about the willingness to do more physical activity in order to live longer? 63 percent of the participants would be ready to start physical training if they gave them an extra month of life. 84 percent of the subjects would start doing sports for an additional year of life. A total of 93 percent of those questioned would be willing to exercise regularly if they could live an additional five years as a result.
Injections were the least preferred option
The least preferred option when asked was an injection. 68 percent of respondents would have an injection every six months if they could live a month longer as a result. 85 percent would take syringes for an additional year of life and 93 percent of the participants would use syringes if they could live five years longer. However, only 51 percent of those involved would get an injection every month if they could live an additional month as a result. 74 percent would get injections every month if they could live a year longer. 88 percent of the participants would have one injection a month if this would increase their life expectancy by five years, say the authors of the study.
People perceive inconvenience differently
The results of the study show that people weight the advantages and disadvantages of interventions that can improve cardiovascular health very differently, explains study author Dr. Erica Spatz of the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven in a press release. Side effects from treatments are known, but other inconveniences or stresses can also impair a person's willingness to take lifelong medication or exercise regularly, the expert added.
Study had over 1,200 subjects
1,284 participants took part in the study. Most of the respondents were under 45, and half of them were women. Many of the subjects also had high blood pressure. Because cardiovascular diseases are more common in older people, they may react differently than younger people, which can be seen as a kind of limitation of the study. Another limitation is that respondents were not told the true life-prolonging impact of each intervention, the researchers explain.
American Heart Association recommendations
High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for diseases of the heart and blood vessels or cardiovascular diseases. To prevent high blood pressure, the American Heart Association recommends a healthier lifestyle and regular physical activity. The recommended changes include eating healthy, limiting alcohol consumption, coping with stress, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking. It's also important to work with a healthcare professional and take medication properly, if required, to lower blood pressure, the researchers add. (as)