Hypertension and a Healthy Lifestyle
Many health problems are characterized by improper diet and unhealthy lifestyle. The conditions, such as hypertension entail various medications following a positive diagnosis. Besides, patients suffer the related cost of medication. Patients might be worried about the long-term use of medications to control the condition. However, since lifestyle plays an essential role in the development of the condition, lifestyle change can also be an effective strategy towards its treatment. A healthy lifestyle has effectively helped patients and health care providers to manage conditions, such as high blood pressure. Although medications have been necessary for the treatment of hypertension, the eating health treatment approach can be a cost-effective strategy for the treatment and should be integrated into primary care.
Eating Healthy Treatment for Hypertension
Having a healthy eating lifestyle plays a vital role in the prevention, control, and management of hypertension. DASH, which stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension,” is an evidence-based strategy used in the treatment of hypertension. The program is a lifelong approach to healthy eating, which is aimed at preventing and treating high blood pressure (Schwingshackl & Hoffmann, 2015). It is a diet plan that is given to people suffering from or at the risk of developing hypertension. However, healthy people can use it to prevent the future risk of high blood pressure. High-quality diets are associated with considerably low risk of high blood pressure and mortality rate. Medical experts recommend the increased intake of diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber to prevent the risk of hypertension as well as control the condition.
Integrating the Eating Health Treatment Approach in a Primary Care Setting
Eating healthy treatment approach can be useful in the primary care setting to help in the effective management of lifestyle conditions, such as hypertension. Lifestyle adaptations should be included in primary care as part of preventive efforts and to reduce the cost and disease burden associated with preventable lifestyle diseases. The strategy should be part of behavior change to adopt healthy eating habits (Bohanny et al., 2013). For example, health care providers should advise and educate their patients about the importance of a healthy diet and include examples of diet plans that should reduce the risk and assist in the treatment of hypertension.
The Rationale for Using the Eating Healthy Approach
The use of eating healthy approach is beneficial to the individual patient, health care providers, and the health care system in general. The procedure is cost-effective because the patient saves the cost of medication to control hypertension. Furthermore, the patient can control the disease using readily available healthy foods. Health care providers spend less time and resources because the approach involves the self-care model of disease management. Patients are empowered to take control of their health, hence reducing the burden from the health care provider (Bohanny et al., 2013). The healthcare system benefits from cost-reduction when patients use eating healthy approach to control lifestyle diseases such as hypertension.
The healthy eating approach addresses the mental health problem from the perspective of the Health Belief Model (HBM). The model plays an important role when adopting positive health attitude and changing the negative eating behaviors, which cause illnesses such as hypertension. It also plays an important role in adopting disease prevention strategies, including healthy eating (Jones, Smith, & Llewellyn, 2014). The model relates to mental health because it works on flawed beliefs and behaviors to replace them with more positive ones. It also helps in compliance with the lifestyle changes that achieve long-term health outcomes. The person believes in a threat of disease and effectiveness of a strategy, which encourages him or her to change and adopt healthy strategies to prevent or manage an illness or a disease.
The Effectiveness of the Eating Healthy Approach
Recent research has provided evidence to support the effectiveness of the eating healthy approach in the prevention and management of lifestyle diseases such as hypertension. In a systematic review, Bhattarai et al. (2013) established positive effects of diet on controlling lifestyle diseases in primary care. The impact of diet relates to behavior change to adopt healthy eating and prevent lifestyle diseases. Eating healthy interventions have the potential to improve individual and population health if such initiatives are well implemented in primary health settings (McGill et al., 2015). The eating healthy approach is effective in the management of other lifestyle diseases besides hypertension. Schwingshackl, Bogensberger, and Hoffmann (2018) established that diets that score highly on the “Healthy Eating Index (HEI), Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) (p. 74)” reduced the risk of “all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and neurodegenerative disease by 22%, 22%, 16%, 18%, and 15%, respectively” (p. 74). Therefore, the findings reveal the effectiveness of the eating healthy approach.
The eating healthy approach plays a critical role in the control of lifestyle diseases, including hypertension. The integration of dietary interventions within the primary care setting has the potential to improve health outcomes at a lower cost compared with the use of medications. The evidence-based effectiveness of the approach informs the need for its continued use in healthcare.