DASH - Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension

The DASH diet is a dietary pattern promoted by the U.S.-based National Heart, Lung to prevent and control hypertension. The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods; includes meat, fish, poultry, nuts and beans; and is limited in sugar,sweetened foods and beverages, red meat, and added fats. In addition to its effect on blood pressure, it is designed to be a well-balanced approach.

Hypertension in India - Definition, Prevalence and Evaluation

High blood pressure (BP) is an important cardiovascular risk factor. Hypertension experts still debate on the level of BP considered abnormal. The currently accepted dividing line is systolic BP > or = 140 mm Hg and/or diastolic BP > or = 90 mm Hg based on epidemiological and intervention studies. In India, hypertension has become a major health problem. Epidemiological studies show a steadily increasing trend in hypertension prevalence over the last 40 years, more in urban than in the rural areas. This is converse to findings reported from developed countries where there is a significant decrease in its prevalence. Objectives of clinical evaluation of hypertensive individual are: To establish that BP is elevated, to seek evidence for a causal or contributory factor which may influence management, to assess target organ involvement and to assess relevant factors which will influence the particular mode of treatment to be adopted. Proper measurement techniques are important for diagnosis of hypertension.  A basic, simple screening programme is the most appropriate policy for investigating the majority of hypertensive patients. Assessment of target organ involvement is important and can be obtained from history, physical examination or investigations. Studies of hypertension in general population have shown that secondary hypertension with high BP is present in 1.1% to 5.7% of subjects. Hypertension is a prevalent problem in our society.

Guidelines for DASH Diet:-

- Limit daily sodium intake by consuming between 1500 mg and 2300 mg per day.- Limit your consumption of Trans fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.- Increase the number of fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods.- Increase fiber intake by choosing whole grain products.- Limit the amount of sugar and sugar derivatives in your diet.- Reduce alcohol consumption.- Follow a moderate exercise program for at least 30 minutes per day such as brisk walking, weight training, biking or aerobics.