August 17, 2022

Lifestyle changes yield rapid blood pressure benefits

Over the course of over three decades of medical practice, I’ve had many patients who told me they didn’t do as well as they knew when it came to healthy lifestyle practices.

If you can relate to that admission, it is not surprising. After all, we get comfortable with our typical lifestyle choices so, initially, changes simply don’t sound all that appealing. On top of that, many people feel that the benefits of lifestyle change only come after many years. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Consider the case of high blood pressure (known in medical circles as hypertension). It is an extremely relevant example. Hypertension afflicts roughly 30 to 50 percent of the adult population in virtually every country on planet earth. Even if you don’t have high blood pressure today and you live a normal lifespan, you have about a 90 percent chance of developing the condition some time before you die. Although many people feel fine even with significantly elevated blood pressures, hypertension increases the risk of devastating conditions as diverse as heart attack, stroke, dementia, blindness and kidney failure.

In 2016, fellow physician, Dr. Greg Steinke, and nurse practitioner, Trudie Li, collaborated with me to author our ultimately-award-winning book, Thirty Days to Natural Blood Pressure Control. Along with the book, we released a series of videos that could be used by churches or community groups to run an eight-

session blood pressure program (which is still available at When we pooled data from the first three Adventist churches who submitted results, we found that, among 25 participants who started programs with systolic blood pressures of 140 or greater, they lowered their systolic (upper) number by an average of 17.1 points and their diastolic (lower) number by 8.0 points. These results were obtained in 30 to 60 days. (Some churches offered the program over 30 days by covering two sessions per week; others offered the sessions weekly over 8 weeks).

Although community programs are extremely powerful, we later released a free daily video series (available at The same rapid and striking benefits can be obtained by individuals watching the videos.

Consider Opal, a 68-year-old Seventh-day Adventist who resides in the Lake Union. In a published interview, Opal describes having baseline blood pressures that averaged around 152/90. She reported that she often saw systolic readings in the 170s and 180s. Within a few days of following the program available at, Opal noticed that her systolic blood pressures had dropped from the 150s down into the 140s. When I interviewed her after sticking with the program for 4 to 5 months, she reported a weight loss of 24 pounds and an average blood pressure reading of 118/76.

The encouraging message from our work with high blood pressure is this: you can achieve striking benefits in your blood pressure in a relatively short time. Furthermore, there are free or inexpensive resources that can help you and those you love make such lasting lifestyle changes.


David DeRose, MD, MPH, is a board-certified specialist in both Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine. He also holds a master's degree in Pastoral Ministry from Andrews University and pastors the Fort Wayne First Church. He also has an audio devotional ministry. You can receive “The Upward Look” at