Yoga reduces blood pressure in individuals with prehypertension

Yoga reduces blood pressure in patients with prehypertension, based on a study presented at the 68th Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India (CSI).

Yoga reduces blood pressure in patients with prehypertension, based on a study presented at the 68th Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India (CSI).

The Congress is being held from 8 to 11. Specialists in the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) will present a unique programme.

"Both prehypertension and high blood pressure raise the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure."

This study investigated the effect of hatha yoga on blood pressure in 60 patients with prehypertension who have been otherwise healthy. The information on yoga practice has been printed previously. Briefly, patients were randomised to two groups of 30 each to measure the effect of three months of yoga plus normal lifestyle changes versus normal lifestyle changes alone (control group) on 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure.

Yoga included stretching exercises (asanas), breath control (pranayam) and meditation. It had been educated using a yoga instructor for one month and then it was later followed by patients. Yoga practice was for one hour daily. Standard lifestyle changes consisted of diet moderate aerobic exercise, and smoking cessation.

The typical age of participants was 56 years in the yoga group and 52 years in the control group. Within the control group, there were 13 men and 17 women there were 14 men and 16 women. The 24 hour mean BP at baseline was 130/80 mmHg in the yoga group and 127/80 mmHg in the control group.

The researchers found that in the yoga group, both 24 hour diastolic BP and nighttime diastolic BP significantly fell by approximately 4.5 mmHg and 24 hours mean arterial pressure significantly decreased by around 4.9 mmHg. The control group didn't reveal any significant change.

Dr Angrish said: "Although the decrease in blood pressure was modest, it may be clinically very significant because even a two mmHg decrease in diastolic BP gets the capacity to decrease the risk of coronary heart disease by 6% and also the chance of stroke and transient ischaemic attack by 15%."

The findings indicate a blend of all three elements of yoga (asanas, pranayam and meditation) is helpful but our study is not able to nail their individual contribution."

He concluded: "Our research indicates that patients with prehypertension must be advised to practice hatha yoga (a mix of asanas, pranayam and meditation) for one hour daily. It may prevent the development of hypertension and also give a sense of well-being."

Dr Shirish Hiremath, CSI President-Elect and Chairman of the CSI 2016 Scientific Committee, said: "Yoga is a part of conventional Indian culture, and has shown a clear benefit in cases of prehypertension. As a lot of young Indians is affecting easily to practice and could be adapted by majorities and is also very economic, yoga can go a lengthy way in enhancing the overall well-being of the country. Yoga can turn out to be just the proper response for people in danger."

Professor Roberto Ferrari, a Past President of the ESC and class director of the ESC programme in India, said: "Cardiovascular disease can be avoided by adopting a healthy lifestyle and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol. Exercise, including yoga, a high-quality diet, and not smoking are all measures in the proper course."