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Hypertension is an increasingly encountered condition in modern society, as sedentary lifestyles, poor diet, and other unhealthy lifestyle choices are becoming more prevalent.

The aging processes generally cause our blood pressure to rise, as they steadily clog our arteries, stiffen blood vessels, and cause our hearts to work harder to get blood to all our tissues. However, the rate at which this happens is subject to a great deal of variation, and diet and lifestyle are two big influences on this. At least initially, hypertension is frequently self-inflicted and something that we can reverse to a certain extent, as a new study shows.

Researchers have recently demonstrated that a program seeking to help people change their lifestyles through diet and exercise was almost as effective as some medications for reducing blood pressure.

The Weimer Institute Newstart Lifestyle program ran for 14 days and saw participants’ blood pressure drop for an average of 19 points. This reduction of blood pressure was similar to what three half-dose medications does. 24 percent of the participants were able to reduce their medications, and 69 percent could stop taking them completely after the program.

Conclusion

The program is basically a calorically restricted, nutritionally balanced diet with a fancy package to make it more appealing. The results are what we would expect from a caloric restriction regimen, and the resulting drop in blood pressure serves to reinforce that while there isn’t much we can do to slow down aging right now, there is plenty we can do to speed it up, particularly a sedentary lifestyle and a poor diet.

With advanced technologies in development that could potentially target the aging processes and reverse the damage that aging causes to our bodies, it makes sense to do everything we possibly can now to stay healthy and not accelerate aging while we wait for these technologies to become available. Exercise, a nutritionally balanced diet, and not smoking are probably the top three things you should do right now to increase your chances of making the cut.

If what it takes is caloric restriction repacked in a fancy box for convenience, so be it, but people who are serious about living longer, healthier lives and seeing an end to age-related diseases should do everything they can right now.

About the author

Steve Hill

As a scientific writer and a devoted advocate of healthy longevity and the technologies to promote them, Steve has provided the community with hundreds of educational articles, interviews, and podcasts, helping the general public to better understand aging and the means to modify its dynamics. His materials can be found at H+ Magazine, Longevity reporter, Psychology Today and Singularity Weblog. He is a co-author of the book “Aging Prevention for All” – a guide for the general public exploring evidence-based means to extend healthy life (in press).
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