The findings, recently published in the Journal of Hypertension, confirm a long-held but previously untested theory by the study's principal investigator, Linda Pescatello, a distinguished professor in UConn's Department of Kinesiology, and Dr. Paul Thompson, chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital, that blood pressure self-monitoring can and should be used as a behavioral strategy to help keep patients with hypertension engaged in an aerobic exercise training program, a proven means of addressing the chronic condition known to be a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
"We know that hypertension is the most common and costly, but modifiable, chronic condition in the U.S. and world," says Amanda Zaleski, a postdoctoral fellow in UConn's Department of Kinesiology who works as an exercise physiologist in Hartford Hospital's Department of Preventive Cardiology. Zaleski is the lead author of the study, which was her doctoral dissertation.
Exercise - Lowers - Pressure - Average - Order
"We know that regular aerobic exercise lowers blood pressure on average to the order of five to seven points," she says, "and these reductions are even greater for those with higher baseline blood pressure."
The difficulty, Zaleski adds, is that hypertension causes no outward symptoms, and patients often become frustrated when they don't know or understand what their blood pressure values are and don't see results from lifestyle modifications. These frustrations can make starting and, perhaps more importantly, sticking with an exercise training program more difficult for many patients.
Research - Team - Experts - Kinesiology - Psychology
The research team -- which included experts in kinesiology, psychology, cardiology, and statistics, among other disciplines -- set out to test their long-held notion that encouraging patients to monitor their own blood pressure, especially before and after exercising, would not only show the patients that exercise had an immediate, positive effect on their blood pressure, but also would help them better adhere to an exercise training program.
Exercise, Zaleski says, lowers blood pressure immediately, an...
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