Diet prescribed to reduce BP may also lower women’s heart failure risk

May 12th, 2009 - 1:55 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 12 (ANI): The DASH (short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet prescribed to help patients lower their blood pressure may also significantly reduce women’s risk of developing heart failure, a new study has suggested.

The study led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) demonstrates that a diet high in plant foods and low in sugar and saturated fats is good for health.

“High blood pressure is always of concern because it has the potential to lead to major adverse events, including strokes, heart attacks and heart failure,” said senior author Emily Levitan, ScD, a research fellow in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Center at BIDMC.

Therefore, she and her colleagues hypothesized that the DASH diet would also reduce a woman’s risk of heart failure through its blood pressure lowering effects as well as its secondary effects on cholesterol and other heart-disease risk factors.

The DASH diet is plentiful in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole grains.

“These foods are high in potassium, magnesium, calcium and fiber, moderately high in protein, and low in saturated fat and total fat,” said Levitan.

For the study, Levitan analyzed data from women participants in the Swedish Mammography Cohort, in which women aged 48 to 83 who had no evidence of heart failure were invited to participate.

In the fall of 1997, 36,019 women completed food frequency questionnaires to determine how closely their diets matched the DASH guidelines. Participants were given a ’score’ based on their diet’s similarity to the DASH diet.

“We then used records from the Swedish national healthcare system to determine whether the women went on to be hospitalized or to die from heart failure. We compared women with diets most similar to the DASH diet to women with diets that were not similar and found that those women whose diets most closely resembled DASH had the lowest risk of heart failure,” said Levitan.

The study is published in issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. (ANI)

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