- Del Meyer, MD - http://delmeyer.net -

Why Are We Losing the Battle with Hypertension?

For the past 25 years, the medical profession has battled hypertension and its related illnesses with great success. Significant declines in deaths from stroke and coronary artery disease are the result of effective treatments. So it was a surprise to hear the latest statistics about hypertension-related conditions: They show a rise in severe kidney disease and heart failure, a slight rise in the rate of stroke, and a leveling off of the death rate for Americans with coronary heart disease. Why the reversal?

The reasons for the turn around are not completely clear yet. However, the culprits include increased obesity, complacency among doctors and patients about high blood pressure, patients who stop drug therapy because of unwanted side effects (such as decreased sex drive and increased fatigue), and ineffective communication about hypertension to the public. Awareness about this disease and compliance with treatment are falling and the effect is deadly.

Hypertension affects 50 million Americans. And therapy generally has to be life long, so it’s a matter of making long-term lifestyle changes in diet and taking continuous drug therapy if hypertension is to be controlled. Health officials have issued new treatment guidelines this year. And for the first time, they suggest a specific diet, one rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods and reduced saturated and total fats. Such a diet could significantly lower blood pressure for all Americans.

So eat, drink and be healthy, and don’t forget the aim of healthy blood pressure, about 140/90 or less.