The effect of dietary interventions in treating essential hypertension in primary care
Hypertension is a major health problem. Clinical guidelines groups, such as NICE, recommend doctors offer advice on” lifestyle modification” as the cornerstone for the treatment of hypertension. However, only a minority of patients receive such advice in primary care and the percentage of patients receiving advice is significantly smaller than the percentage of patients being prescribed antihypertensive medication.
Although the NICE recommendations on anti-hypertensive medication are specific, the ones on lifestyle modification are vague and do not explicitly recommend weight loss programmes or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, both of which are effective in reducing blood pressure in this patient group.
The majority of experimental evidence supporting these interventions comes from trials in academic centres providing intensive support and it is therefore unclear if these findings can be translated into routine care on a large scale.
The objectives of the project are:
- To systematically review the literature on non-pharmacological interventions to reduce blood pressure in primary care settings
- To adapt existing dietary interventions for delivery in primary care using an appropriate theoretical framework.
- To conduct a feasibility trial testing multiple dietary strategies for the treatment of hypertension in primary care.
This project will suit an applicant with a strong academic record and a background in nutrition, dietetics, psychology, or behavioural sciences. The DPhil offers opportunities to develop both qualitative and quantitative skills focusing on designing and delivering clinical trials in routine care that can have a major impact in future clinical practice.