In a nutshell
This study examined whether physical activity can help lower mortality risk and improve heart health in people with high blood pressure. This study concluded that physical activity reduced mortality risk, including those with high blood pressure.
According to the World Health Organization, hypertension (HT) or high blood pressure is the leading cause of global mortality. Due to an increasing burden of disease, it is essential to provide low-cost public health interventions. These can include lifestyle recommendations such as exercise or daily physical activity. Previous studies show that these interventions can help lower high blood pressure (BP). However, whether exercise helps lower mortality risk and improve heart health remains under investigation.
Methods & findings
This study had 18,974 participants. All participants were given questionnaires about their medical history and physical activity. 3483 participants reported being inactive. 9692 participants reported doing light activity. 5715 participants reported doing moderate or high levels of activity.
Participants in the inactive group had higher BP, heart rate and body mass index. Significantly more participants in this group also had diabetes compared to the light or moderate activity groups (4.6% vs. 2.8% and 2.1%). More patients in the inactive group also reported having heart disease (5.6% vs. 3.0% and 2.9%).
In a separate analysis, mortality risk was measured in participants with very high BP (above 180/110 mmHg). Light activity slightly lowered mortality risk by 7% compared to inactivity. Moderate or high levels of activity significantly lowered mortality risk by 18%.
The risk of heart attack, heart failure, or stroke was also measured in participants with very high BP. Physical activity lowered the risk of these heart health outcomes by 19 – 20%.
The bottom line
This study concluded that physical activity reduced mortality risk and improved heart health outcomes for all participants, including those with high blood pressure.
The fine print
Levels of physical activity were not objectively measured but reported by participants themselves. As physical activity levels could have changed between or after taking the surveys, this may bias the results.
Talk to your doctor about non-drug interventions (such as exercise) that can help lower your blood pressure.
Published By :
Hypertension (Dallas, Tex. : 1979)
Oct 14, 2019