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Intensive training of patients with hypertension is effective in modifying lifestyle risk factors


The burden of insufficiently treated arterial hypertension is still underestimated. In addition to pharmacological therapy, patient training is a valuable therapeutic option. During 1998–1999, the Institute for Preventive Medicine conducted an intensive training programme in cooperation with regional practitioners. The goal of this programme was to educate patients about their disease and motivate them to comply with the therapy. To evaluate the effectivity of this programme, 126 patients with arterial hypertension were trained. They received eight training sessions of 90 min each. In 90 patients blood pressure measurements before and 6 months after training were available. In addition, data concerning health status and lifestyle risk factors were analysed with standardised questionnaires. There was a marked reduction in blood pressure after 6 months (152±6/89±10 vs. 145±12/85±8 mmHg, P<0.001). In parallel, mean body weight declined by 0.9 ± 2.9 kg (P<0.001) and body mass index (BMI) by 0.33±1.04 kg/m2 (P<0.001). Further analysis revealed that weight loss was more marked in obese patients (P< 0.01) than in lean subjects. Similarly, the decline of blood pressure was also greater in obese patients, but did not reach statistical significance. The activity score for physical exercise increased overall from 2.1±0.4 to 2.8±3.1 h/week (P<0.01). Moreover, knowledge about hypertension increased as well (P<0.01). Of all the quality life measurements, the vitality index improved from 53±19 to 59±19 (P<0.05) according to the patients' self-estimation. In conclusion, training of hypertensive patients has a profound effect on blood pressure control. It motivates patients to change lifestyle risk factors, namely to lose weight, and increases the patients' physical activity level, thereby decreasing the patients' blood pressure. Thus, intensive training programmes are effective and should be used on a widespread basis.

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Correspondence to R E Schmieder.

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Fleischmann, E., Friedrich, A., Danzer, E. et al. Intensive training of patients with hypertension is effective in modifying lifestyle risk factors. J Hum Hypertens 18, 127–131 (2004).

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