- Employee Wellness – Susan Levin
- Beautiful Forgiveness – Yvonne Ortega
- Dangerous Sleep – Dr James Marcum
Sleep—that glorious, peaceful escape from the daily grind. We all need it. More to the point, we probably all need more of it. However, there is a medical condition that can turn sweet dreams into your worst nightmare. Dr. James Marcum wakes us up to the reality of dangerous sleep.Read more »
- Cancer Screening – Dr Michael Greger
- New Hypertension Guidelines
Dr. Paul Whelton and a large number of experts in hypertension have recently published new guidelines for the treatment and prevention of hypertension. These guidelines have been published in many scientific journals and the media has covered this release extensively. The new guidelines replace JNC-7 guidelines. Why are the new guidelines getting so much attention?
The new guidelines lower and change the definition of hypertension. The new blood pressure number is 130/70. If your blood pressure is above this, you have high blood pressure. This will increase those with high blood pressure to over 45% of the adult population. I was recently asked to present a perspective on hypertension at a cardiovascular symposium.
The new guidelines are just that, new guidelines. Our bodies were not designed to be exposed to prolonged high pressures in our arteries and organs. Pending our genetic make-up, this leads to damaged organs and the resulting problems such as heart attacks, stroke, aneurysms, kidney disease, dementia, organ dysfunction and the list goes on.
According to a study by the Health Care Cost Institute, those with high blood pressure spend three times more on health care than those without and about two times more on out of pocket. From 2012-2016 spending for those with hypertension grew 18.3 percent.
The new guidelines ask clinicians to define the measurement more accurately and assess risk. The recommendations also emphasize treating the cause of high blood pressure including the myriad of lifestyle factors including too much sodium, too much fat, inactivity, and stress.
One major problem persisting through all previous guidelines is that our culture does not reward lifestyle changes, nor do we stress the importance. There have been numerous guidelines and yet the problem, hypertension, continues to escalate. Clinician and patient education does not seem to be making a large enough impact. We must find a way to promote a reward system for the clinicians and patients who address cause.
Unfortunately, the economics and culture of modern medicine has evolved into, “let’s treat the symptoms and give a medication.” This is not a solution for this chronic symptom, the number one risk factor for death in the world.
The guideline is well written and researched. It does a great job on emphasizing the problem, stressing the importance of correct measurement, and identifying the pressure at an earlier stage, and intervening before the prolonged exposure causes damage. It stresses the importance of lifestyle changes and the need for pharmaceutical intervention for those at increased risk.
For a clinician who focuses on the “how to implement” and “practical steps” to aid in lifestyle intervention, the guidelines were a first step. Acknowledgement that lifestyle changes and earlier intervention is the key is an important first step. I am not sure this point was emphasized enough.
If the guidelines serve as an impetus to change the economic reward system, we may not continue to read about yet another guideline in the health media.
James L. Marcum MD FACC ACLM
Speaker/Director Heartwise Ministries
Chattanooga Heart Institute
- Gut Reaction – Meghan Jardine
- Clean Protein – Kathy Freston
We as a society just can’t leave well enough alone. We’re not satisfied to be overweight, under-energized, or to sit back and allow our planet to pay the price for a “well enough” way of eating. If that describes you, Kathy Freston says you just may be a “wellness activist.” (kathyfreston.com)Read more »
- Totally Modern Medicine – Dr James Marcum
Diet, exercise, nutrition, and all of the other “Biblical Prescriptions” are important. But, if we ever need to walk through the doors of a hospital, it’s nice to know that science has been busy. Dr. James Marcum, founder director of Heartwise Ministries explains.Read more »
- What Works Best – Dr. Hans Diehl
- Childhood Abuse – Dr Gregory Jantz
It leaves scars that can last a lifetime, and it’s on the rise. Around 2000 children each year die in their homes from it. Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center, A Place of HOPE, shares insights from his latest book on child abuse and healing its health-destroying scars. (aplaceofhope.com)Read more »
- Annual Checkups – Dr Michael Greger
Many suggest that a healthy lifestyle requires an annual physical exam and checkup. Is this the best route to take according to the latest studies? Dr. Michael Greger is the driving force behind nutritionfacts.org, specializing in nutrition, food safety, and public health. (nutritionfacts.org)Read more »
- New Stent Study – Dr James Marcum
We hear about them from time to time; perhaps even have one or more implanted in our chest. They’ve almost become synonymous with modern life. What if we need one? Cardiologist James Marcum, founder director of Heartwise Ministries, has some good news concerning stents.Read more »
- The Gift of Health – Dr Janice Stanger
Whenever Christmas rolls around, people go out of their way, slogging through snow and ice, fighting crowds, enduring the bombardment of advertising and promotion, to find the perfect gift. Author and educator Dr. Janice Stanger suggests the gift that keeps on giving—health.Read more »
- Opioids: Looking at Cause
Darlene Superville of the Associated Press has joined the many journalists nationwide in pointing out the dangers of the opioid epidemic. In her article, she focuses on the economic implications. In 2015, the crisis as it is now being referred, cost 504 billion dollars. This is a far higher estimate than previous estimates.
I want to focus on a few points today in this column. More than 64,000 died from overdoses last year. We as a society are becoming more and more dependent on medications. Medications are needed at times and they have a place, but as we see with the opioid crisis, we, in the health care world, need to look at the cause of problems.
This is a major challenge as our cultural values, marketing efforts, and society in general wants a quick fix to our problems. There is so much money and lobbying involved, this problem will linger for a long period of time. We are now in the, “Oh we have a problem phase.”
A few years ago I felt so strongly about the problem of deaths related to medication, I wrote the book, “Medicines that Kill”. This book was intended to give individuals another source to educate themselves. I still feel the number one cause of death in America is the misuse of medications. The opioid crisis is just more evidence. As this is such a problem, we need to continue to speak out in the media. Individuals need to hear other voices that have no financial interests in the industry.
If you are taking an opioid or other medications, ask yourself if this is treating the cause. Is there anything you can do to address the cause of the symptom or the pain? Thinking along these lines is a good place to start. We cannot depend on others. If we do the cost will be much higher.Read more »