One of the marvels of modern medicine is we’ve figured out how to use drug treatments to help control some of the deadliest conditions.
One such condition is high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is linked to the formation of a myriad of cardiovascular issues which is why it’s so important to get it under control.
Fortunately, there are a number of medications that help to bring blood pressure under control.
Unfortunately, many of them have been associated with a number of side effects and resulting health complications.
This is why researchers are always looking for new treatments to help bring down blood pressure.
And it looks like they have found a natural, low-cost treatment.
How Exercise May Outperform Drugs For Lowering Blood Pressure
Millions of people the world over depend on drugs to reduce their blood pressure.
And while these drugs do work, the simple fact is exercise may work just as well, if not better, than drugs.
Researchers recently published a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine — a BMJ publication — showing how exercise compares to drugs in bringing down blood pressure.
In the study, the researchers observed exercise has the power to lower systolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure is the measure of blood pressure in blood vessels as the heart beats.
Medical News Today writes: “In the current study, they looked at the data from 194 clinical trials that focused on antihypertensive drugs and their impact on systolic blood pressure, and another 197 clinical trials, looking at the effect of structured exercise on blood pressure measurements.
In total, these trials collected information from 39,742 participants.
First, they compared the effects of all types of antihypertensive drugs with those of all kinds of exercise. Then, they looked at specific drug types versus specific types of exercise. Finally, they compared the impact of different exercise intensities with those of different drug dosages.
In the first instance, the investigators conducted these analyses by using data from healthy participants with normal blood pressure. Then, they repeated them with data from individuals with high blood pressure only.
They found that antihypertensive drugs were more effective in lowering blood pressure than structured exercise in the case of the general population. However, when they looked specifically at people with high blood pressure, they saw that exercise was as effective as most blood-lowering medication.
Moreover, the study authors concluded that there is “compelling evidence that combining endurance and dynamic resistance training was effective in reducing [systolic blood pressure].”
Before Exercise Replaces Drugs, More Research Is Needed
The researchers can’t say conclusively exercise should be the main way to treat high blood pressure…
They say many people who are already on antihypertensive medication should remain on those drugs and add exercise into their routine if possible.
That’s because they don’t want people to think drugs are useless. And, exercise without consulting a physician could result in serious injury,
Dr. Naci also said that it’s important if physicians hear this information, and think it’s a good idea to implement in a treatment regimen, they make sure a patient can safely follow an exercise plan before recommending it.
“It’s one thing to recommend that physicians start prescribing exercise to their patients, but we also need to be cognizant of the resource implications and ensure that the patients that have been referred to exercise interventions can adhere to them and so really derive benefit.”