Navigation Links
Relaxation training may improve control of hard-to-treat systolic hypertension
Date:3/27/2008

Adding the relaxation response, a stress-management approach, to other lifestyle interventions may significantly improve treatment of the type of hypertension most common in the elderly. Among participants in a study conducted at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Hypertension Program and the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at MGH, those who received relaxation response training in addition to advice on reducing lifestyle risk factors were more than twice as likely to successfully eliminate at least one blood pressure medication than were those receiving lifestyle counseling only. The study appears in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Nearly 80 million Americans are classified as having hypertension, and although we have many medications to lower blood pressure, only about a third of patients achieve adequate control of their pressures, says Randall Zusman, MD, co-senior author of the report who leads the Hypertension Program at the MGH Heart Center. If a practice that takes only 15 to 20 minutes a day can help decrease patients dependence on antihypertensive medications reducing often-unpleasant side effects and the considerable costs of these drugs we could not only improve their quality of life but lower direct and indirect health costs by billions of dollars.

Among the elderly patients in whom it is most common, isolated systolic hypertension an increase in only the peak arterial pressure is more closely correlated with adverse events like heart attack, stroke or renal failure than is elevated diastolic pressure. Treating systolic hypertension is particularly challenging since older patients who take many medications are at greater risk for drug interactions and may be more vulnerable to other side effects.

The relaxation response is a physiologic state of deep rest involving both physical and emotional responses to stress that can be elicited by practices such as meditation, deep breathing and prayer. Herbert Benson, MD, director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute and co-senior author of the current report, first described the relaxation response almost 35 years ago, and he and his colleagues have pioneered its use in mind/body medicine. While several studies have shown that the relaxation response can help alleviate hypertension involving elevated systolic and diastolic pressures, its usefulness in treating isolated systolic hypertension has not been investigated.

The present study enrolled more than 100 patients, aged 55 and older, whose systolic pressure remained elevated despite their taking two or more antihypertensive drugs. Participants were randomly assigned to two groups. The control group received weekly counseling sessions on cardiac risk factors, the impact of stress on hypertension, and recommendations on dietary and fitness goals. The treatment group attended sessions that also included instruction and practice eliciting the relaxation response. Both groups also received audiotapes to listen to daily the control group with general lifestyle recommendations and the treatment group a guided relaxation response session.

Participants blood pressure was checked after eight weeks, and those whose pressures had dropped into the normal range less than 140 systolic and 90 diastolic were eligible to start reducing the dose of one of their medications. If blood pressures remained normal during subsequent weeks, dosage could be further reduced or eliminated; but participants whose hypertension returned resumed their previous dosage level. The physician conducting weekly evaluations did not know to which group participants belonged, and participants were told only that the study was evaluating different stress management programs.

By the end of the 20-week study period, participants in both groups had experienced a significant drop in systolic blood pressure, allowing two thirds of all participants to attempt medication reduction. Among relaxation response group participants, 32 percent maintained reduced systolic pressure after eliminating one or more medications, an accomplishment achieved by only 14 percent of those in the lifestyle-counseling group.

The other nonpharmacological interventions that we know can reduce systolic blood pressure reducing dietary sodium, weight loss, smoking cessation and increasing physical activity can be very difficult for patients to achieve, says Jeffrey Dusek, PhD, the studys lead author. Our control group received an intensive amount of good-health information and reported making fairly dramatic lifestyle changes, but only the relaxation response group was able to significantly reduce their use of antihypertensive medications. Formerly with the Benson-Henry Institute, Dusek is now with the Institute for Health and Healing at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

Zusman adds, We are now going to look at the very large patient population currently termed pre-hypertensives those whose blood pressure is elevated but does not yet meet the criteria for drug therapy. If we can train those patients to elicit the relaxation response, we may be able to delay or even avoid the onset of hypertension, improving their cardiovascular health, reducing dependence on medications and potentially reducing overall health care costs. Zusman is an associate professor of Medicine, and Benson is the Mind/Body Medical Institute Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. New Scenic Relaxation Videos Help Reduce Stress, Promote Sense of Calm and Tranquility
2. Lutheran Senior Services Partners with Silverchair Learning Systems to Enhance Employee Training and Education
3. Mannatech Launches Phase One of New Sales and Training Tools
4. Study finds limiting work hours for surgical residents enhances training
5. MJGC Welcomes New Administrator-in-Training Shlomo Katz
6. Free Diabetes Community Health Worker Training
7. Aerobic, Weight Training Combo Best Against Diabetes
8. MedAire to Provide Medical Training for Bombardier Safety Standdown
9. Mecklenburg EMS Introduces Most-Advanced Situational Training in America for Emergency Medical Personnel
10. Vet school in £10.7 million initiative to boost veterinary research training
11. Out of the woods: Physicians get urban disaster training in forests, gorges and waters
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/23/2017)... Rosa, California (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 ... ... health management (PHM) technology and a 2017 Best in KLAS category winner, has ... advantageous market position to extend and enhance its technology platform and product offerings,” ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... Rosa, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 , ... ... mosquito season underway in Sonoma County. While officials call for diligence, asking homeowners to ... are looking at potential health concerns. Along with the annoying buzz of mosquitos is ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... ... New patients from Charleston, SC, are now welcome to receive a full ... with or without a referral. A full mouth reconstruction can transform the appearance of ... Charleston, SC. Those who suffer from gum disease, misaligned teeth or jaw pain can ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Therachat , a smart ... in an infographic on the current state of anxiety in support of National Mental ... was conducted in April 2017 and benchmarked general anxiety levels as well as identified ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... May 22, 2017 , ... ... Periodontics, is now welcoming new patients with periodontal plastic surgery treatments, including ... a general dentist. Dr. Green provides these esthetic and functional procedures to help ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/15/2017)... , May 15, 2017 Enterin Inc., a privately-held ... and developing novel compounds to treat Parkinson,s disease (PD), has ... is a Phase 1/2a randomized, controlled, multicenter study involving patients ... will enroll 50 patients over a 9-to-12-month period. The first ... 10 patients with PD. Participating sites include Denver ...
(Date:5/10/2017)... Mass., May 10, 2017 Hologic, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... results for the fiscal second quarter ended April 1, ... of $1.84 increased 666.7% compared to the prior year ... resulted in a significant gain, while non-GAAP diluted EPS ... 3.2%, or 3.8% in constant currency terms.  Excluding the ...
(Date:5/10/2017)... , May 10, 2017 Radiology has become ... its costs have also spiraled to the number one ... to radiology than ever before as the most complete ... a patient with lower back pain an MRI may ... reason for pain, resulting in entirely different treatment protocols.  ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: