If you were in a quiz and you were asked a question about what disease happens to be the most frequently diagnosed among woman in America, what would you say? According to the American Heart Association, it is high blood pressure. The fact that it is this most commonly-diagnosed and treated disease is a bit of a problem today. Our bodies are becoming accustomed, resistant to the drugs we generally use to lower blood pressure. The normal high blood pressure remedies are beginning to become less effective; doctors are needing to turn to the use of more medicines to attack the problem in all kinds of new ways to achieve the results they used to get before with far less.
One part of the problem is that even when the drugs remain as effective on the body as they used to, patients are coming in with worse cases of hypertension than they ever did before. They just need larger doses and more drugs to get under control because people in general are succumbing to worse lifestyle habits. A blood pressure reading of 115/80 is considered normal; anything above that, and your risk of a catastrophic heart attack or stroke doubles each time you get a 20 point elevation in the top systolic reading, or a 10 point rise in the bottom diastolic reading. Sustained high blood pressure is so common that it is the biggest cause of untimely deaths around the world. In this country, about half of all blacks and a quarter of all whites have it.
There is a rule to when a case of hypertension gets drug resistant. If you’ve been suffering from high blood pressure and you’re having to take at least three kinds of high blood pressure remedies, you could end up having your blood pressure problem classified as drug-resistant. Doctors have found people to have drug-resistant hypertension for about 40 years now. The older the patient is, the heavier they are, the more they have problems with kidney disease and diabetes, the more likely they are to have unmanageable hypertension. And if you happen to live along the stroke belt, which would be around Florida, Tennessee and neighboring states, the more likely you are to have it – the culture around there favors a diet high in salt and fat, and favors a sedentary lifestyle.
About one in three blood pressure patients in this country needs about three or four high blood pressure remedies to get things under control. And too many drugs aren’t good for you – it could give you organ damage. It turns out that they are just trading one kind of problem for another. Research into blood pressure control is certain to see a lot of activity starting now before it takes over all of humanity.