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Episode 7: Hypertension: Taking the Pressure Off

In our seventh installment, we discuss the options for blood pressure reduction before adding medications. We first talk about medicines, drug use and dietary factors that may increase blood pressure. We review the approach and potential benefits of varying lifestyle interventions like Exercise (e.g. pedometers), Diet (e.g. DASH) and Salt Reduction. The ever elusive balance between nagging and encouragement is debated (James and Mike pick sides).

Show Notes

1) Using a Pedometer

  • Ask the patient to wear the pedometer for one week
  • Have them calculate their “steps/day”
  • Next add 1000 steps to the day average and that will be their daily goal for each day next week.
  • They repeat this every week.
  • Once at 10,000 steps/day. They can stay stable (and come to see you to brag about their success)

NOTE: This is only one way. There are many and you should feel free to use any safe approach to help you patients increase their activity.

2) Approximately 35% of patients who reduced their salt intake either

had no change in blood pressure (20%)

or an increase in blood pressure (15%)

Hypertension 2003;42:459-67

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