Sport: Effective for Lowering Blood Pressure?
DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2019.0489-0492german translation / full article
QuestionHigh systolic blood pressure in the sense of arterial hypertension is known to be a major risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease and is therefore indirectly one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Two strategies are well established to reduce elevated systolic blood pressure. On the one hand, guidelines recommend pharmacological treatment to effectively lower elevated blood pressure, on the other hand general lifestyle modifications are believed to be effective in the prevention of cardiovascular events. The question may be raised how effective physical activity is to lower blood pressure in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Do we have evidence from reliable studies to back this recommendation?AnswerBesides pharmacological therapy, physical activity plays an important role as a lifestyle modification for lowering blood pressure in the treatment of arterial hypertension. Physical activity – at best with about 10–20 MET (metabolic equivalents of task) x hours per week – can lower systolic blood pressure by about 5–15 mmHg. This lies within the range of blood pressure lowering by pharmacological monotherapy. It is likely that similar effects on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality can be achieved.