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Blood Pressure-Lowering Diet May Reduce CHD Risk

DASH diet appears to reduce 10-year coronary heart disease risk in hypertension patients

TUESDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- In individuals with prehypertension or stage-1 hypertension, a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy, and low in fats and cholesterol appears to reduce the long-term risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), according to a study published online Aug. 31 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Steven T. Chen, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues evaluated 459 individuals from the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) trial. The study participants had prehypertension or stage-1 hypertension, were not taking antihypertensive medication, and were randomized to either a control diet, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables but otherwise similar to a typical American diet (F/V), or DASH (rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy, and reduced in fats and cholesterol). The researchers used the Framingham risk equations to calculate 10-year risk of developing CHD.

Among 436 participants with complete data, the investigators found that the median 10-year CHD risk was 0.98 percent at baseline and fell in all groups. Compared to the control group, the relative risk ratio comparing eight-week with baseline 10-year CHD risk was 0.93 for F/V (P = 0.12) and 0.82 for DASH (P < 0.001). The relative risk ratio was 0.89 when DASH was compared with F/V (P = 0.012). The results were similar across subgroups, with the exception of a potentially greater risk reduction in blacks than whites (P for interaction = 0.038).

"In individuals with prehypertension or stage-1 hypertension, the DASH dietary pattern reduced estimated 10-year CHD risk by 18 percent compared with control and by 11 percent compared with F/V," the authors write.

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