Tag Archives: hypertension

DASH to a Wellness Plan


During the course of my daily work, I frequently receive consumer questions.  Many of the questions concern the latest food, juice or weight loss plan advertised on infomercials, TV shows, books, magazines, or TV news. (The number of questions has declined a little since Oprah no longer has a daily TV show).  Imagine my surprise when I read a news story that U.S. News and World Report magazine rated the DASH diet as the number one diet. Why was I surprised? The DASH diet has solid research and it is has been the USDA plan for the 2005 Food Pyramid and now the 2011 MyPlate.  Since it was introduced in 1997, it is a food pattern that Registered Dietitians (RD) have … Continue reading

Posted in Wellness | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Silent Killer


Last week I asked a patient what her blood pressure (BP) runs on a regular basis.  I had noticed a continuing upward trend in her office readings and I know she owns an automated cuff.  “I don’t check it routinely,” she responded, “only when I feel it’s up.” Her implication was that she has the ability to perceive whenever her BP drifts into elevated territory.  In explaining further she told me that she feels anxious and has a headache whenever her hypertension “acts up” and at those times her systolic level is typically over 180 mmHg.  All other times, she continued, her pressure is normal. For years people have referred to hypertension as the silent killer.  The reasons for this … Continue reading

Posted in Cardiology | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

History of Stroke


May is National Stroke Awareness Month, brought to you by the following sponsors: Richard Nixon, Ginger Rogers, Ted Williams, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Ray Bradbury, Joseph Cotton, Ava Gardner, Gerald Ford, Charles Dickens, Woodrow Wilson, Oscar Peterson, Dwight Eisenhower, Cary Grant, Warren G. Harding and Thomas Jefferson. These prominent people share one common characteristic:  they all suffered strokes.  The truly interesting thing about this short list is that is represents only a small fraction of the famous and noteworthy people who have suffered strokes at some time in their lives.  An exhaustive list would take up pages. The reason for this is that stroke is quite literally an everyday occurrence.  It is the second most common cause of death worldwide and … Continue reading

Posted in Cardiology | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment



We fear stroke more than almost any other illness.  This hasn’t always been the case.  I suppose years ago there were other ailments that were deemed more unwanted—say leprosy or the plague.  But since most of these have been eradicated in the developed world we’re left with a pretty short list of common diseases that afflict our population. If you have a heart attack and survive to arrive at the emergency room there’s a good likelihood that you’ll leave the hospital alive and do pretty well.  Within a few days or weeks you’ll probably have no residual after-effects except for the handful of pills you have to swallow every day and the annoying cardiologist you have to put up with.  … Continue reading

Posted in Cardiology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Ounce of Prevention


I saw a middle-aged man in my office the other day for evaluation of shortness of breath (dyspnea, we call it in the medical world).  He came with his wife, who was obviously quite concerned about him and who did most of the talking during the appointment.  His primary doctor had already ordered a thorough panel of studies and they’d all come back normal.  The EKG showed normal rhythm; the echocardiogram confirmed that the heart strength was good and that all the valves functioned appropriately; and the nuclear stress scan ruled out the possibility of significant high-grade coronary obstruction. Still, his symptoms persisted.  He found himself panting with even low levels of exertion such as walking up a flight of … Continue reading

Posted in Cardiology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments