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Hypertension. 1996 Aug;28(2):228-37.

Trial of stress reduction for hypertension in older African Americans. II. Sex and risk subgroup analysis.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa 52557-1028, USA.

Abstract

Our objective was to test the short-term efficacy and feasibility of two stress-reduction approaches for the treatment of hypertension in older African Americans, focusing on subgroup analysis by sex and by high and low risk on six measures of hypertension risk: psychosocial stress, obesity, alcohol use, physical inactivity, dietary sodium-potassium ratio, and a composite measure. The study involved a follow-up subgroup analysis of a 3-month randomized, controlled, single-blind trial conducted in a primary care, inner-city health center. Subjects were 127 African American men and women, aged 55 to 85 years, with diastolic pressure of 90 to 104 mm Hg and systolic pressure less than or equal to 179 mm Hg. Of these, 16 did not complete follow-up blood pressure measurements. Mental and physical stress-reduction approaches-the Transcendental Meditation technique and progressive muscle relaxation, respectively-were compared with a life-style modification education control and with each other. Both systolic and diastolic pressures changed from baseline to follow-up for both sexes and for high and low risk level (defined by median split) on the six measures of hypertension risk. Compared with education control subjects, women practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique showed adjusted declines in systolic (10.4 mm Hg, P < .01) and diastolic (5.9 mm Hg, P < .01) pressures. Men in this treatment group also declined in both systolic (12.7 mm Hg, P < .01) and diastolic (8.1 mm Hg, P < .001) pressures compared with control subjects. Women practicing muscle relaxation did not show a significant decrease compared with control subjects, and men declined significantly in diastolic pressure only (6.2 mm Hg, P < .01). For the measure of psychosocial stress, both the high and low risk subgroups using the Transcendental Meditation technique declined in systolic (high risk, P = .0003; low, P = .06) and diastolic (high risk, P = .001; low, P = .008) pressures compared with control subjects, whereas for muscle relaxation, blood pressure dropped significantly only in the high risk subgroup and only for systolic pressure (P = .03) compared with control subjects. For each of the other five risk measures, Transcendental Meditation subjects in both the high and low risk groups declined significantly in systolic and diastolic pressures compared with control subjects. Effects of stress reduction on blood pressure were found to generalize to both sexes and diverse risk factor subgroups and were significantly greater in the Transcendental Meditation treatment group. These effects (along with high compliance) even in individuals with multiple risk factors for hypertension clearly warrant longer-term investigation in this and other populations.

PMID:
8707387
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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