About 5% of the adult population in the U.S. has uncontrolled blood pressure, also called treatment-resistant blood pressure. The American Heart Association's website also notes that the condition increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and death.

Researchers at Duke University found that people with resistant hypertension were able to reduce their blood pressure numbers by following a structured diet and exercise program at a Duke cardiac rehab facility. The diet was the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan and the exercise part focused on aerobic activity. People who did this program lost weight.

The DASH diet features fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and limited salt.

One of the researchers says the important thing to get out of this study is that it's not too late to lower blood pressure by making healthy lifestyle choices, even if your blood pressure stays high despite being on three or more medications. And that the results of the study don't mean people with resistant hypertension should stop taking their medications. Talk to your health care provider to see how diet and exercise might help you.

The study is published in the journal Circulation.

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