I’m Dr. Bethany Barone Gibbs, chair of the writing group for the American Heart Association’s new scientific statement on sitting less and moving more being a ‘prescription’ for elevated blood pressure and cholesterol! Ask me anything!
Hello Reddit! I’m Bethany Barone Gibbs, Ph.D., FAHA, associate professor in the department of health and human development and clinical and translational sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. I’m also an epidemiologist who chaired the volunteer writing group of a new scientific statement on behalf of the American Heart Association’s Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; the Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; and the Council on Clinical Cardiology.
An estimated 21% of U.S. adults, about 53 million, have systolic (top number) blood pressure between 120-139 mm Hg or diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure between 80-89 mm Hg; both values are abnormally high. Individuals in this range who have an otherwise low risk of heart disease or stroke meet the American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA) High Blood Pressure Guideline criteria for lifestyle-only treatment for elevated blood pressure.
Increasing physical activity results in clinically meaningful reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, typically an average reduction of 3 or 4 mm Hg. Similar improvements are seen with blood cholesterol. For example, increased physical activity typically decreases LDL cholesterol by 3 to 6 mg/dL.
The statement highlights research concluding that physically active people have a 21% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 36% lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases compared to those who are not physically active.
The statement also provides suggestions for clinicians to provide exercise “prescriptions” such as patient counselling, incorporating health behavior professionals (e.g., health coaches) and connecting patients to local resources like community centers to help meet their physical activity needs.
According to the statement, prescribing exercise includes:
• Screening patients about physical activity at every interaction, as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine’s ‘Exercise is Medicine’ campaign. Clinicians can ask patients to report their physical activity with a few questions or by using a wearable device.
• Providing ideas and resources for supporting patients to improve and sustain regular physical activity;
• Meeting patients where they are by exploring activities that the patient enjoys and provide ideas for early success; and
• Encouraging and celebrating small increases in physical activity, such as walking more or taking the stairs.
I’ll be sharing the key takeaways from the new statement and available to answer any questions you have related to high blood pressure prevention and exercise. Ask Me Anything!
[Physical Activity as a Critical Component of First-Line Treatment for Elevated Blood Pressure or Cholesterol: Who, What, and How?: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association](https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/HYP.0000000000000196)
EDIT : Thank you all for your questions! Have a great rest of your week Reddit!