A diet to control diabetes also lowers blood pressure, study


New research has shown that diet to control the diabetes type 2, can also help patients balance their blood pressure. Especially if they manage to lose weight during the process. Many of them can effectively control their hypertension and stop or reduce their antihypertensive medication.

A weight management program has been shown to reduce blood pressure and the need for antihypertensive medications. As well as to achieve remission of type 2 diabetes. This was developed by researchers from the Universities of Glasgow and Newcastle, in the United Kingdom. For the DIabetes REmission (DIRECT) clinical trial, funded by the country’s health system.

The program consists of a 12-week diet, with a complete nutritional formula of low-calorie soups and shakes. This induces a weight loss of more than 15 kg if it is followed in its entirety. Medications for diabetes and blood pressure were initially stopped, only to be taken again if blood glucose or blood pressure rose.

Mean arterial pressure decreased steadily with maintenance

The weight loss phase is followed by support in choosing foods and eating wisely. In order to maintain weight loss. This maintenance of the 15 kg weight loss enabled 8 out of 10 people to get rid of type 2 diabetes. Without taking diabetes medications for at least 2 years.

This study looked at 143 people who started the diet program. Of which more than half (78 people) were taking high blood pressure pills at first (and 44 were taking two or more drugs). The researchers found that, in general, mean blood pressure dropped steadily as people lost weight. And blood pressure was still lower after the formula diet period ended, and then at 12 and 24 months.

DASH diet - Food for hypertension
DASH diet

For people who had not received prior treatment for hypertension, their blood pressure dropped significantly from the first week. For those who had stopped taking their blood pressure pills, their blood pressure continued to drop, albeit more slowly.

Just over a quarter (28%) needed to reintroduce a blood pressure tablet during the period of the formula diet. However, the researchers also found that the same proportion of participants (28%) were able to stop taking their medications for at least two years.

In addition to weight loss, it is also an effective treatment for hypertension

Professor Mike Lean from the University of Glasgow explains: ‘We wanted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of withdrawing blood pressure medication when starting our weight loss program. Specially designed for type 2 diabetes. And we are very pleased with the results.

The researcher explains that the study “shows that, in addition to the possible remission of type 2 diabetes, there are other very important health benefits. Since weight loss is a very effective treatment for hypertension and its associated serious health risks.

‘The DiRECT trial was conducted entirely in primary care. Evidence shows that GPs can safely deliver intensive evidence-based weight management intervention. With the goal of achieving substantial weight loss and remission of type 2 diabetes, “he adds.

Person with hypertension measuring blood pressure

The study also highlights the links between diet, weight, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. And how long-term support is vital to maintaining weight loss.

Professor Roy Taylor of Newcastle University notes that ‘the guidelines encourage doctors to start taking pills, but there is little evidence of how you can stop taking them.

Dr Wilma Leslie from the University of Glasgow notes that “the possibility of stopping the need for blood pressure and diabetes medications is a great incentive for people. We hope that our results will reassure healthcare professionals that this is possible, and will encourage a greater offering of diabetes referral services. ‘

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