According to a new study simple strategies to improve lifestyle habits may not lower blood pressure in patients with a single high blood pressure reading .
Researchers investigated whether simple interventions, such as providing patients with an information booklet, encouraging lower sodium intake, and advice for a healthier diet, had more or less of an effect as standard care. Nearly 300 patients without an established history of high blood pressure were randomized into one of eight groups defined by three factors: an information booklet; low sodium, high potassium salt; prompt sheets for high fruit, vegetable, fiber and low fat. Some patients were given a booklet while others were not. Some patients were advised to use a low sodium, high potassium salt while others did not receive advice on this. Finally, some patients received prompt sheets for high fruit, vegetable, fiber and low fat, while others did not receive any of these prompt sheets.
According to the study, none of the interventions altered blood pressure. Brief advice and careful follow-up resulted in 10 percent to 20 percent changes in diet, and the patients were still eating healthier after six months. Although the changes weren't significant enough to immediately lower the blood pressure, researchers say that these patients will have a lower risk of stroke in the future.