Studies included only a few participants
The researchers searched for studies in which volunteers with hypertension had been randomly assigned to two groups. Patients in the intervention group had been advised to exercise more over a longer period of time (e.g. cycling, running, hiking, swimming), while those in the control group had not been given this advice. In addition, only studies lasting 24 weeks or more were considered.
Overall, IQWiG and its external experts included 8 randomized controlled trials lasting 6 to 12 months in the assessment. The studies were relatively small; most included a maximum of 20 people per study group. In addition, most studies were prone to bias, which greatly limited their informative value.
Side effects not investigated
As the assessment showed, the studies considered in the report allow no conclusions on patient-relevant aspects of the benefit of increased physical activity in hypertension. The studies did not provide sufficient results, neither on mortality, disease of the heart and circulatory system (cardiovascular morbidity), and kidney failure (end-stage renal disease), nor on health-related quality of life. Sufficient data were also lacking on side effects (adverse events): as many elderly patients suffer from hypertension they could potentially have a higher risk of falling or injuring themselves.
Systolic blood pressure lowered
In contrast, in all studies the effects of exercise on blood pressure were analysed. The data show that increased physical activity could lower the systolic (higher) value by 5 to 8 mmHg. In contrast, no differences between treatment groups were shown for the diastolic (lower) value. However, the researchers cannot safely predict whether the reduction in
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care