Keeping Blood Pressure in Check

If you have high blood pressure, do you feel that your medicine is working for you? There are a variety of medications for high blood pressure, and if treatment is tailored to each individual (as opposed to prescribing the same medication to everyone) high blood pressure can be brought under control. Some may feel that high blood pressure is not a serious problem, but it is indeed serious, and is the leading cause of various severe illnesses and disease. Take the care of you or your loved one seriously, and scrutinize the details to ensure that you are receiving the best treatment for you. Remember, medications can only do so much. Take professional advice to heart if you need to exercise more and reduce the intake of certain foods.

Since the start of the 21st century, Americans have made great progress in controlling high blood pressure, though it remains a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes, congestive heart failure and kidney disease.

Now 48 percent of the more than 76 million adults with hypertension have it under control, up from 29 percent in 2000.

But that means more than half, including many receiving treatment, have blood pressure that remains too high to be healthy. (A normal blood pressure is lower than 120 over 80.) With a plethora of drugs available to normalize blood pressure, why are so many people still at increased risk of disease, disability and premature death? Hypertension experts offer a few common, and correctable, reasons:

  • About 20 percent of affected adults don’t know they have high blood pressure, perhaps because they never or rarely see a doctor who checks their pressure.
  • Of the 80 percent who are aware of their condition, some don’t appreciate how serious it can be and fail to get treated, even when their doctors say they should.
  • Some who have been treated develop bothersome side effects, causing them to abandon therapy or to use it haphazardly.
  • Many others do little to change lifestyle factors, like obesity, lack of exercise and a high-salt diet, that can make hypertension harder to control.

Dr. Samuel J. Mann, a hypertension specialist and professor of clinical medicine at Weill-Cornell Medical College, adds another factor that may be the most important. Of the 71 percent of people with hypertension who are currently being treated, too many are taking the wrong drugs or the wrong dosages of the right ones.

Dr. Mann, author of “Hypertension and You: Old Drugs, New Drugs, and the Right Drugs for Your High Blood Pressure,” says that doctors should take into account the underlying causes of each patient’s blood pressure problem and the side effects that may prompt patients to abandon therapy. He has found that when treatment is tailored to the individual, nearly all cases of high blood pressure can be brought and kept under control with available drugs.

Plus, he said in an interview, it can be done with minimal, if any, side effects and at a reasonable cost.

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Advocare provides Geriatric Care Management throughout South Florida. We help families in South Florida with care management in the Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, North Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Riviera Beach and surrounding areas. Care management can include medication management and accompaniment to doctor visits to ensure that proper care is being provided and followed through on.

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