Nondrug interventions in hypertension prevention and control

Darwin Labarthe*, Carma Ayala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This review was undertaken to address the relation of various factors to HBP and their potential for preventing and controlling this widespread problem. With respect to salt intake and BP, the 1999 Workshop on Sodium and Blood Pressure of the (US) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [5] will serve the reader well as a point of departure. The body of the present review provides more detailed discussion especially of recent epidemiologic research, including the DASH-Sodium trial, published more recently than the proceedings of that workshop. The DASH-Sodium trial demonstrates significant increases in SBP and DBP, with sodium intake greater than 65 mmol/d (= 3.7 g NaCl - see equivalencies in Appendix A) and with the usual American diet (versus the DASH diet). These results provide substantial evidence against current dietary practices in many populations where daily intakes of salt are much higher than recommended. We also have addressed alcohol consumption, micronutrients/macronutrients, physical activity and inactivity, obesity, cigarette smoking, and alternative approaches to treatment such as stress reduction/biofeedback, yoga/meditation, and acupuncture. Evidence for the efficacy of certain non-pharmacologic approaches to preventing and controlling HBP is strong. This evidence offers a basis for public health policies and clinical approaches that can greatly affect the incidence and consequences of HBP in the population at large. What is needed now is implementation of the policies and practices addressed here. Unless such action is taken on a large scale, we will have made poor use of the knowledge accrued over decades of research. The clinician is referred to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Web site at for resource and guideline information for hypertension. Patients and the general public are referred to the sister web page at\health\public\heart\index.htm for educational fact sheets and general information on hypertension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-263
Number of pages15
JournalCardiology Clinics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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