Dietary changes needed to stem rise in BP levels

Related tags Blood pressure Hypertension

More than 1.5 billion people will have high blood pressure by 2025,
or around one in three adults over the age 20, experts have warned.

The researchers from Tulane University in the US called on governments to encourage lifestyle and dietary changes to lower blood pressure levels.

High blood pressure is the most important preventable risk factor for heart attack, the leading cause of death in many developed nations such as the US.

Writing in tomorrow's issue of The Lancet​, the researchers forecast a 60 per cent increase in adults with high blood pressure over the next 20 years, with the world's poorest countries set to be worst hit.

"High blood pressure is a modifiable risk factor for life-threatening, chronic diseases,"​ said lead researcher Jiang He. "The international community should find ways to advocate for low-cost lifestyle changes that can reduce the risk of high blood pressure."

He recommends dietary interventions including weight loss, reducing salt intake, moderating alcohol consumption and increasing potassium intake. These changes would also have a positive effect on risks of obesity and type 2 diabetes, he says.

The food industry is increasingly looking to develop foods specifically designed to lower blood pressure. In Europe, only Finnish company Valio offers a functional food with the claim that it can help reduce blood pressure - its Evolus fermented milk.

But Chr Hansen, the food industry's biggest supplier of probiotics, recently announced that it had developed a bacteria named Cardi-04 that has been shown in animal trials to lower blood pressure. Japanese firms are also developing peptide-containing products to help keep blood pressure levels down.

He's team analyzed data from 30 studies done around the world, representing over 500,000 adults over age 20.

They say that people in poor countries are both more prone to the condition and also lack the government resources to help prevent and treat it. Nearly three out four people with high blood pressure by 2025 will be living in an economically developing country.

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