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Hypertension Treatment Clinic Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy

Over the past year I have become shocked by how many people are going through life with untreated high blood pressure. This is a serious threat to life and so I have resolved to make room in my practice for you to correct this problem by the simplest means possible.

Many people do not have their high lood pressure treated because they have no medical insurance and thus they rationalize it away by various means (see discussion below). This is a formula for ultimate disaster. I encourage you to come to my hypertension clinc and get your blood pressure checked. There is no charge for the measurement. If your blood pressure is elevated we can bring it down economically. I would need to see you only twice each year and then keep up with you by email between visits. You can monitor your blood pressure at home with an easy to use blood pressure device. You would spend no more than $125 per visit and unless your situation is very complicated you would need no more than two visits per year. Email me for an appointment: nexus@sonic.net. Please read the information below to find out why this is a critically important feature of your health care.

Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. Blood pressure was originally measured by inserting a needle into the artery of a living person and connecting it to a column of mercury. Then doctors would record the height to which the column of mercury was forced upward above heart level. The systolic blood pressure was the maximum height the column of mercury was pushed to with each contraction of the heart. Between contractions the pressure would fall and the lowest level to which it would fall was termed the diastolic blood pressure. Then the blood pressure cuff or "sphygmomanometer" was invented which allowed the doctor to listen to the blood break through the declining pressure of a blood pressure cuff which had been raised to a pressure sufficient to cut off the flow of blood through an artery. The systolic pressure was the pressure at which the first sound was heard and the diastolic pressure was the pressure at which the last sound was heard. so: silence................boom (systolic) boom, boom, boom, silence (diastolic). (In recent years accurate blood pressure machines have been made available to the public. This is something every family should keep and use often.)

After invention of the first "blood pressure apparatus” It was quickly determined that some people had higher blood pressures than others and through studies of populations of people it was determined that the maximum pressures a person could have without active damage to the circulatory system was 140 over 90, written 140/90. In practical terms blood pressure over 130/80 is cause for concern.

So, why all the fuss about blood pressure? The arterial system is a series of biological pipes made of cells. The cells which make up the system adhere to each other (or otherwise it would all come apart and you would die immediately). However, this adherence is not infinitely strong. At blood pressure above normal the cells which line the inside of the blood vessels are pushed apart and this makes it easy for the inflammatory cells which ignite the process leading to atherosclerosis to penetrate into the arterial wall. This leads to plaque formation and ultimately to blockage - heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral artery disease. Once these events occur the condition is very hard to treat. Similar to cancer, it is much easier (and makes a lot more sense) to prevent the illness than to do nothing and wait for the inevitable outcome and then panic.

Hypertension is known in medicine as the "silent killer" precisely because it usually gives no symptoms until suddenly you die. Fully 1/2 of people who have vascular heart disease learn of their condition by means of sudden death. (It is a short bitter lesson.) The other half are stuck with managing a disease that may ultimately kill them regardless of what they do. Here is a shocking statistic: 2/3 of all deaths in the U.S. are due to vascular disease, primarily heart attack and stroke!

There are various causes of hypertension, but most cases are "esssential," that is to say there is no discernable provoking cause. Many people develop essential hypertension as part of the aging process. The kidneys begin to make too much of a hormone (renin) which provokes a second hormone (hypertensin II) to constrict peripheral blood vessels and cause hypertension. This can happen early in life. Fortunately there is a medicine which blocks this sequence with almost no side-effects.

Whatever the cause, control of hypertension is the single most important thing you can do to add years to your life. I have found that at least 1/2 the people who come to my are hypertensive and very few of those people are in treatment. Many of them know they have blood pressure readings above normal but they rationalize. The rationalizations generally cluster around some form of the statement "Well, this or that stress makes my blood pressure go up. When I am relaxed it is fine." This rationalization will kill you, and here is why: life is full of stress. If your blood pressure goes up with stress, that means a large portion of the time your blood pressure is sky-high. It does not help the vascular system which is under extreme pressure for you to have this rationalization; the damage is done anyway.

(For a rigorous discussion of the causes of hypertension, here is a more complex artice: Discussion of Hypertension. HOWEVER, getting smart about the subject is no substitue for doing something about it.



The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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