New smartphone app to make famed high blood pressure diet easier to follow.
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet has well-proven itself as an effective, inexpensive, way to lower blood pressure. DASH is a lifestyle approach involving a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, restrained portions of low-fat dairy, lean protein, reduced sodium intake, and increased physical activity. However, it is too intense and rigid for most Americans to maintain for the long-term. One study of 4,400 “supposedly committed patients,” found that less than one in five was able to maintain the diet through study completion.
This has prompted a group of researchers at Boston University to test whether a smartphone aids in diet adherence. They attribute DASH underuse to “feasibility limitations of implementing these intense, in-person interventions and poor engagement with desktop computer based versions.”
They maintain that mobile technologies such as smartphones and wireless sensors “have the ability to deliver behavioral interventions in-the-moment and with reduced user burden.” To this end, they are developing the DASH Mobile ─ a new mHealth system that will deliver the diet’s “evidence-based lifestyle intervention to hypertensive patients.” mHealth is the practice of supporting the practice of medicine and public health with mobile communication devices for health services and information.
The system comprises an Android based application (app) that facilitates “easy tracking of DASH food portions, integrated Bluetooth blood pressure, weight and pedometer monitoring, goal setting, simple data visualizations and multimedia video clips to train patients in the basic concepts of the lifestyle change plan.” The system is currently undergoing usability testing with a pilot clinical trial set for spring 2013.
Smartphone apps may not be suitable for every type of person with high blood pressure such as older patients, those just not into hi-tech, or people who simply cannot afford a smartphone. There is another proven, natural way to treat hypertension that also involves a lifestyle approach ─ RESPeRATE.
RESPeRATE is the only non-drug therapy cleared by the FDA for the treatment of high blood pressure and the reduction of stress. It is also the first medical device that has been clinically proven to lower blood pressure. This device-guided breathing also reduces stress, which in itself is important in reducing hypertension. By incorporating RESPeRATE into their lifestyles, more than 250,000 men and women worldwide have lowered their high blood pressure naturally.