Washington: Alternative therapies such as aerobic exercise, resistance or strength training, and isometric hand grip exercises reduce blood pressure and can be considered an adjunctive treatment for those who can`t tolerate or don`t respond well to standard medications, according to the American Heart Association.In a new scientific statement, the association said alternative approaches could also help people with blood pressure levels higher than 120/80 mm Hg.However, alternative therapies shouldn`t replace proven methods to lower blood pressure - including physical activity, managing weight, not smoking or drinking excess alcohol, eating a low sodium balanced diet and taking medications when prescribed, the association said.High blood pressure - a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke - affects more than 26 percent of the population worldwide and contributes to more than 13 percent of premature deaths.An expert panel assessed three alternative remedy categories: exercise regimens; behavioral therapies such as meditation; and non-invasive procedures or devices including acupuncture and device-guided slow breathing. The panel did not review dietary and herbal treatments."There aren`t many large well-designed studies lasting longer than a few weeks looking at alternative therapies, yet patients have a lot of questions about their value," said Robert D. Brook, M.D., Chair of the panel and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. "A common request from patients is, `I don`t like to take medications, what can I do to lower my blood pressure?` We wanted to provide some direction."
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