Nursing Research on the Green
Hannah Roberts, B.S.N, RN, MSN Student
- Background: Approximately 1 out 3 adults has hypertension, which greatly increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease. Prehypertension is a systolic blood pressure between 120 and 139 and a diastolic blood pressure between 80 and 89.
- Significance: Patients that are prehypertensive are at an increased risk of developing hypertension.
- Purpose/objective: The purpose of this integrative review was to identify the evidence of benefits of lifestyle changes, especially the DASH diet, in significantly controlling and reducing prehypertension in order to educate nurse practitioners and other providers on the most effective lifestyle modifications to suggest.
- Methods: A search of peer-reviewed research was performed to identify sources relevant to determining the effectiveness of lifestyle modifications in regards to actually reducing prehypertension. Databases searched included Academic Premier, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Medline Plus, and PubMed using the key words prehypertension, lifestyle, DASH, intervention, implementation, and barriers in various combinations. The NHLBI and CDC websites also were searched. Sources were chosen, based on relevance to the research question, being peer-reviewed, English language, and American studies, from the past 10 years.
- Results: All the recommended interventions showed decreases in blood pressure; however, the DASH diet with therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC) and TLC alone, including a healthy diet, showed the most significant improvement.
- Clinical Implications: Healthcare providers need to be creative in assisting patients overcome barriers to lifestyle modifications. Various suggestions that were derived from the literature were that the healthcare provider can recommend initiating a healthy diet with lowered sodium, starting to exercise, managing weight, stopping smoking or chewing tobacco, minimalizing alcohol consumption, and/or managing stress. Any of these interventions can help, and can be a start to a healthier blood pressure. It is difficult to implement all these at once; starting small can be less overwhelming.
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