DASH is a “dietary approach to stop Hypertension”
DASH is a “dietary approach to stop hypertension”. It is one of the various life style measures that are recommended for control of hypertension. Hypertension means high blood pressure. Blood pressure in an individual may be primary (where cause is not known) or it may be a manifestation of some other systemic diseases. The second one responds with the treatment of the associated systemic diseases.
When the Blood pressure is > 140/90 mm of Hg, we call it a case of hypertension. Various factors influences hypertension – age, sex, ethnicity, Diet, Smoking, obesity, exercise, drugs, etc. Out of these eight factors, last five factors are modifiable risk factors ie. We can rectify them whereas age, sex and ethnicity we can not change.
Now question may arise – why we should control hypertension? Hypertension to be treated because it affects the target organs like Heart, kidney, CNS, eyes. So there is a consensus all over the world that Hypertension to be treated in order to avoid target organ damage.
Blood pressure may be treated by Drugs or Life style changes or both. DASH is one of the popular life style measures to treat hypertension. DASH diet regimen comprises a diet with potassium, magnesium, fiber, vegetables, low fat dairy products like fish, white meat. The red meat, high sodium and saturated fat are avoided. In multicentre studies it was seen that DASH diet regimen reduces blood pressure in a non hypertensive patients by 5.6/3 mm of Hg. But the response is much better in hypertensive patients (11.5/6 mm of Hg). The effectiveness of DASH diet is seen in all independent of age, sex and ethnicity.
The only disadvantage of DASH diet is treatment of hypertension due to Chronic Kidney disease where increase in potassium in diet will cause potassium toxicity leading to heart rhythm disturbances including cardiac arrest.
Sr. Consultant ( Internal Medicine)