Let's Talk: High Blood Pressure & Cholesterol
Hypertension (high blood pressure) Management
With nearly 90 million Americans diagnosed with elevated blood pressure (130/80 mm Hg and higher), it is imperative that all adults know their blood pressure and check it on a regular basis.
Hypertension has been called the silent killer since most individuals do not have symptoms for many years, until different organ systems gradually demonstrate damage or a sudden catastrophic event occurs such as a stroke, heart attack, heart failure, renal failure or death.
Unfortunately, most adults do not know their blood pressure on a consistent basis, and at least 25% to 30% of those on medications are not controlled. There are ethnic and socioeconomic variations in the incidence, severity and control of hypertension which must be initially recognized and managed to optimally control blood pressure.
Managing hypertension requires extensive and persistent patient education, lifestyle modification, patient compliance and medication management to consistently control the blood pressure and avoid side effects such as erectile dysfunction, low blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose elevation as well as renal failure. Some individuals are able to improve their lifestyle that in time they can come off blood pressure medications. This is certainly the goal!
Approximately 30 million American adults have cholesterol issues, hence it is extremely important to regularly check a lipid panel. Large population based studies and multiple randomized clinical trials in both the US and internationally, clearly demonstrate the link between cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.
If an individual does not have any evidence of cholesterol plaque formation in their arteries then a Primary Prevention protocol is instituted. Conversely, if there is already evidence of cholesterol buildup in a patient’s cardiovascular system or the patient has already had a stroke or a heart attack or arterial disease in the legs or elsewhere, then a Secondary Prevention strategy is implemented to prevent progression of plaque buildup. The cholesterol target goals for a particular patient vary depending on both of the above.
Cholesterol management currently focuses on 3 main aspects:
1. Lifestyle modification
2. Detecting the presence of cholesterol build up in the cardiovascular system to determine a Primary or Secondary Prevention strategy for each individual.
3. Medications and or natural supplements that control cholesterol and avoid side effects.
The overall goal of the above three items is to decrease inflammation and stress.
Pre and Senile Dementia
Pre and senile dementia has been linked to the gradual narrowing of the small arteries in the brain, with resulting impairment in memory and cognitive thinking. It is recommended that individuals know their cholesterol panel, weather they fit a Primary versus Secondary Prevention strategy and as soon as possible get started on the management program as above!