A new study has found that exercise appears to lower blood pressure by around the same level as the most commonly used medications.
Reuters Health reported on the findings of the team from the London School of Economics and Political Science. The team combined data from 400 randomized trials that looked at the effects of exercise or blood pressure drugs on patients’ blood pressure.
They concluded that both medication and exercise lowered blood pressure levels in patients with hypertension by almost 9 mmHg (millimetres of mercury).
Although lead author Dr Huseyin Naci told the news provider that “exercise seems to achieve similar reductions in systolic blood pressure as commonly used antihypertensive drugs among people with high blood pressure”, he stressed that none of the studies his team analysed directly compared the drugs to exercise.
As a result, he said that “we need direct head-to-head randomized controlled trials comparing exercise and antihypertensive drugs to fully answer this question”.
The researchers hope that their study could encourage more people with high blood pressure to do more exercise, which could ultimately enable them to be weaned off their medication.
Figures from the NHS show that more than one in four people in the UK suffer from high blood pressure, or hypertension. The health service notes that the only way to diagnose the condition is to have your blood pressure checked.
A high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher, while the ideal blood pressure is 90/60mmHg to 120/80mmHg.
If you work in a business that offers blood pressure testing, make sure that your machinery is in the best working order by regularly carrying out blood pressure monitor calibration.