Research Article

The lifestyle modification effectiveness in reducing Hypertension in a Brazilian Community: From the epigenetic basis of Ancestral Survival to the Contemporary Lifestyle and Public Health Initiatives

Roberto Carlos Burini*, Hugo Tadashi Kano, Mariana Santoro Nakagaki, Caroline das Neves Mendes Nunes and Franz Homero Paganini Burini

Published: 12 May, 2017 | Volume 1 - Issue 1 | Pages: 010-031

High blood pressure (HBP) is a strong, independent and etiologically relevant risk factor for cardiovascular and therefore, the leading cause of preventable deaths worldwide. Hypertension has high medical and social costs. Due to its many associated complications, the use of medical services create high costs with medications which represent almost half of the estimated direct expenses. Free distribution of more than 15 medications for HyPERtension and DIAbetes (HIPERDIA program) clearly shows the important role of drugs in the Brazilian Government’s effort to tackle these two diseases. Notwithstanding, the prevalence of HBP is rising in parallel with other NCDs. It is known that HBP results from environmental and genetic factors, and interactions among them. Our ancestors were often faced with survival stresses, including famine, water and sodium deprivation. As results of natural selection, the survival pressures drove our evolution to shape a thrifty genotype, which favored/promoted energy-saving and sodium/water preservation. However, with the switch to a sodium- and energy-rich diets and sedentary lifestyle, the thrifty genotype and ancient frugal alleles, are no longer advantageous, and may be maladaptive to disease phenotype, resulting in hypertension, obesity and insulin resistance syndrome. Low-grade chronic inflammation and oxidative stress would be the underlying mechanisms for these diseases. HBP is often associated with unhealthy lifestyles such as consumption of high fat and/or high-salt diets and physical inactivity. Therefore, alternatively to medicine drugs, lifestyle and behavioral modifications are stressed for the prevention, treatment, and control of hypertension. A lifestyle modification program (LSM) involving dietary counseling and regularly supervised physical activity (“Move for Health”) has been used for decades, in our group, for NCDs primary care. Retrospective (2006-2016) data from 1317 subjects have shown the top quartile of blood pressure(142.2/88.5mmHg) differing from the lower quartile (120.6/69.2mmHg) by being older, with lower schooling, lower income and, lower physical activity and aerobic capacity. Additionally, the P75 showed higher intake of CHO, saturated fat and sodium along with lower-diet quality score with a more processed foods. They showed higher body fatness and prevalence of metabolic syndrome along with higher pro-inflammatory and peroxidative activities and insulin resistance. In this free-demand sample, the HBP rate was 51.2% for SBP and 42.7% for DBP. The rate of undiagnosed HBP was 9.8% and only 1/3 of medicated patients were controlled for HBP. After 10 weeks of LSM the HBP normalization achieved 17.8% for SBP and 9.3% for DBP with a net effectiveness of 8.5% and 2.4%, respectively. The reduction of HBP by LSM was followed by increased aerobic conditioning and reduced intake of processed foods along with decreased values of BMI, abdominal fatness, insulin resistance, pro-inflammatory and peroxydative activities. Importantly, once applied nationwide this LSM would save HBP medication for 3.1 million of hypertensives at an economic saving costs of US$ 1.47 billion a year!

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Blood hypertension; Epigenetics; Drug-treatment costs; Lifestyle modification-treatment


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