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Don’t make drastic changes with New Year’s resolutions


Hypertension is a genetic and age related medical condition which can require more than just alterations to one’s diet. Exercise and monitoring one’s blood pressure is important.[/caption]

It is indeed wonderful to see so many people willing to make changes in their lifestyles at the beginning of the year. Taking better care of your body can only be a good thing. Be realistic in making your goals and be safe in caring for your body. Drastic changes may not be called for.

One of the things I have been hearing from people is their wish to exercise and be able to stop their medications for hypertension. Some have informed me they have read about something that said they could stop their medication if they exercised. Let me clear up the confusion.

You may have heard that the recommended numbers for diagnosing hypertension have been lowered. The numbers were lowered from 140/90 to 130/80. With this lowered number there was an increase in the number of people with hypertension. Here comes the thought that those people who were reclassified as being hypertensive with the more stringent numbers might be able to use exercise as a way of lowering their numbers below that 130/80 minimum.

Yes, it is most certainly true that exercise can decrease your numbers but in someone who has established hypertension, starting exercise may not be enough. Certainly if weight loss and moderation of sodium use, especially in African Americans is incorporated, we may see a greater decrease in the numbers. We must remember that for the majority, hypertension is a genetic and age related event. Exercise, diet and weight loss can certainly help lower your medication needs but there is a world of difference in 20-year-old blood vessels and 60-year-old blood vessels. For those who still cook, I use the analogy of the difference between a fryer and a hen. That fryer you can fry her right up and she will be tender but that hen may need a little stewing because she is tough.

Diabetes is another disease that people again have been saying this year they want to exercise and lose weight and then get off their medication.

Analyzing the type of diabetes you have is a must. For those who do not make insulin, you will need it for the near future. Some patients may have different degrees of lack of insulin or in the efficacy of your insulin there may be another story. We know if you are willing to first watch what you eat, lose weight and exercise there is certainly the chance you can decrease or in some cases stop your medications. This needs to be done in close conjunction with your healthcare provider.

Elevated blood glucose is associated with cardiovascular disease. It should not be ignored.

Any improvement is your health is a huge plus for the quality and quantity of your life. Little steps such as exercising for five minutes a day can grow into larger steps of impressive health gains. If you have not started your consistent health journey to improvement, why not start today.

I see people who stop their medications and pay a costly price. Make sure that is not you.

Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays. Email Dr. Bland at