Can Yoga Improve Blood Pressure in Prehypertensive Patients?

Patients who added the practice to a healthy lifestyle saw their pressure levels drop
Patients who added the practice to a healthy lifestyle saw their pressure levels drop

HealthDay News — Yoga may help reduce blood pressure in patients who are at risk for developing hypertension, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Cardiological Society of India, held in Kochi.

The new study included 60 individuals with prehypertension. The participants were randomly assigned to either practice hatha yoga while also making conventional lifestyle changes, or to a control group of just lifestyle changes. The lifestyle changes included moderate aerobic exercise, eating a healthier diet, and quitting smoking. The yoga group, average age 56, received yoga instruction for a month and then did the activity at home. It included stretching, controlled breathing, and meditation for one hour a day. The average age of the control group participants was 52. 

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The researchers found that after three months, those in the yoga group had notable decreases in blood pressure, while those in the control group did not. Participants in the yoga group had 24-hour diastolic blood pressure and night diastolic blood pressure decreases of about 4.5 mm Hg, and 24-hour average arterial pressure decreases of about 4.9 mm Hg.

"Although the reduction in blood pressure was modest, it could be clinically very meaningful because even a 2 mm Hg decrease in diastolic blood pressure has the potential to decrease the risk of coronary heart disease by 6% and the risk of stroke and transient ischemic attack by 15%," study author Ashutosh Angrish, MD, a cardiologist at Sir Gangaram Hospital in Delhi, India, said in a news release from the European Society of Cardiology. "Our research suggests that patients with prehypertension should be advised to practice hatha yoga for one hour daily. It may prevent the development of hypertension and in addition give a sense of well-being."

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