Suffering from high BP? Try yoga

Kochi: Practising hatha yoga — a combination of asanas, pranayam and meditation — daily as well as maintaining healthy lifestyle may help reduce blood pressure in patients with prehypertension, a study has found.

Prehypertension — slightly elevated blood pressure — is blood pressure readings with a systolic pressure from 120 to 139 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure from 80 to 89 mm Hg. Readings greater than or equal to 140/90 mm Hg are considered hypertension — or high blood pressure.

“Patients with prehypertension are likely to develop hypertension unless they improve their lifestyle,” said lead author Ashutosh Angrish, cardiologist at Sir Gangaram Hospital in Delhi.

“Both prehypertension and high blood pressure raises the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure,” Angrish added.

The investigators found that in the yoga group, both 24 hour diastolic BP and night diastolic BP significantly decreased by approximately 4.5 mmHg, while the 24 hour mean arterial pressure significantly decreased by around 4.9 mmHg.

“Although the reduction in blood pressure was modest, it could be clinically very meaningful because even a 2 mmHg decrease in diastolic BP has the potential to decrease the risk of coronary heart disease by 6 per cent and the risk of stroke and transient ischaemic attack by 15 per cent,” Angrish said.

In the study, the team investigated the impact of hatha yoga, which included stretching exercises (asanas), breath control (pranayam) and meditation, on blood pressure in 60 patients with prehypertension who were otherwise healthy.

Controlling blood pressure, cholesterol as well as adopting a healthy lifestyle including daily exercise regimen such as yoga, may help prevent cardiovascular disease.

The findings were presented at the 68th Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India (CSI) held in Kochi, Kerala.