In the healthcare process, many professionals have the opportunity to give dietary advice to help a patient improve a condition like high blood pressure. Due to the complex relationship between nutrition and conditions like hypertension, the presence of dietitians on multidisciplinary care teams leads to better results than when a dietitian is not present, according to a new study in the journal Clinical Nutrition.
Overweight or obesity, too much sodium intake, not enough potassium intake, and low consumption of fruits and vegetables are all dietary factors that can contribute to high blood pressure. The authors of this systematic review aimed to assess whether specific recommendations for weight loss, reduction of sodium intake, and increase in fruits and vegetables consumption are effective in reducing blood pressure of hypertensive patients compared to usual care. Moreover, whether the nutritional counseling is delivered by a dietitian has a higher effect on blood pressure compared to any other health professional was also explored.
The study found that the most successful reductions in blood pressure came when dietitians were present on a multidisciplinary care team. Treatments that focused on reducing sodium intake and/or treating overweight or obesity were the most successful; this was only true when a dietitian was present on the care team.
As the understanding of science and medical treatment becomes more and more specialized, it will become increasingly important that the appropriate professionals be included in treatment via multidisciplinary teams. This systematic review shows the importance of making sure dietitians are the ones providing dietary advice to patients in healthcare settings.