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Treatment of hypertension can result in greater quality of life


When doctors see a patient’s blood pressure rising beyond the normal 115/75, they need to take action to assure good heart health.[/caption]

One of the most common chronic diseases that healthcare providers treat is hypertension. It has been well recognized for many years that the treatment of hypertension can result in a greater quality in life and a longer life expectancy. Those reasons are why healthcare providers strive so hard to effectively treat patients with this health condition.

As a hypertension specialist, it is a special moment when I receive new recommendations and updates about the latest hypertension treatments.

In recent recommendations, experts reviewed the results of studies that looked at treating those with Stage I hypertension. Stage I is defined as individuals with blood pressure readings of 130 to 139 on their top or systolic numbers and 80 to 89 on their bottom or diastolic numbers.

Previously, healthcare providers watched and recommended lifestyle changes for patients who were in this category. The new recommendations look at these people a little differently. Even if they have a less than 10 percent chance of cardiovascular disease, we are now to be more aggressive with treatment.

If one’s blood pressure does not decline after six months of lifestyle changes, we are to act with further treatment via medications. Lifestyle changes are very important, but widely ignored by many patients. They include obtaining an ideal body weight by exercising 30 minutes five days a week at a moderate intensity. Recommendations also suggest that hypertensive patients limit their salt intake, eat more fruits and vegetables and limit the consumption of fatty foods. As experts make these recommendations, they are acutely aware that these points are often difficult to do in the “western diet.”

The toxic environment of our food choices with readily available fast and cheap foods requires that hypertensive patients develop a different mindset to make sure that foods eaten are higher quality. A deliberate quest for quality food must be made along with a deliberate commitment to exercise and practice self-care of the body.

If hypertensive patients can lower their blood pressure at Stage 1, this would likely result in these patients living longer. It would also decrease patients’ risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

So many times, we forget that normal blood pressure is 115/75. So, if your healthcare provider becomes more aggressive in treating your elevated blood pressure, remember they are responding to the new recommendations and protocols on how we care for you. We want to keep you here as long as possible and in the best shape possible. As the kids say, “work with me” and embrace those lifestyle changes.

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 Wed. Email Dr. Bland at