The AP (10/28, Stobbe) has reported that in a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more Americans are aware that they have high blood pressure and more of them are taking medication to control it. High blood pressure also known as hypertension is called the “silent killer” because it doesn’t have symptoms and thus many people are not aware that they have this condition.
In the report from the CDC it was noted that 30% of American adults suffer from hypertension equaling approximately 66 to 74 million adults. The CDC study looked at surveys done from 1999 through 2008. One of the findings was that the percentage of adults who were aware of their condition increased from 69.6% in 1999 – 2000 to 80.6% in 2007-2008. The percentage of individuals who are being treated with medication increased from 60.2% to 73.7%. In addition, a larger percentage of adults were able to control their blood pressure over this time period. This report suggests that efforts to inform the public about the dangers of high blood pressure are succeeding but there is room for improvement. Dr. Steven Reisman, a Manhattan Cardiologist, and Director of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center states that hypertension is a treatable risk factor involved in heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and premature death in the United States. Early detection, Dr. Reisman, noted requires just a simple blood pressure check which can be done in a brief period of time and a standard office visit.
Dr. Steven Reisman, a Manhattan Cardiologist, at an Invited Lecture at the F.B.I. on June 30, 2010 Discussed the Relationship of Salt Intake to High Blood Pressure
Dr. Steven Reisman, Director of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center, at an invited lecture at the F.B.I. in Manhattan on June 30, 2010, discussed the relationship of salt intake and the development of high blood pressure or hypertension. Dr. Reisman referenced an article in the USA Today from April 28, 2010 entitled “Keeping A Lid On Salt; Not So Easy”. A recent report from the Institute of Medicine emphasized the relationship of salt intake to the development of heart disease and stroke. Hypertension is a common disease in the United States and this elevation of blood pressure can be easily diagnosed by a health professional taking several readings of an individual’s blood pressure in the resting state. Since hypertension is without symptoms, early diagnosis before the development of stroke or heart attack is extremely important.
According to the article, Americans now consume an average of 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day. The U.S Department of Agriculture guidelines recommend that adults including those with high blood pressure and individuals at risk should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams a day and other adults should consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. The problem that occurs is many prepared foods or meals in restaurants especially fast foods have a high level of sodium.
The emphasis is to decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke by decreasing sodium intake along with weight control and physical activity. The article in USA Today gives examples of how many milligrams of salt are in different entrees at popular chain restaurants and also ways of decreasing the amount of salt intake. One of the hidden ways that Americans have an increased salt intake is in processed foods such as canned foods, soups, and other foods with additives. Tips for lowering sodium may include limiting salty snacks, add fresh lemon instead of salt to fish and vegetables, and learn how to use spices and herbs to enhance the taste of food instead of salt.
Dr. Reisman also spoke at the lecture about the other important risk factors for heart disease including hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia including elevated cholesterol and elevated triglycerides, obesity, family history of heart disease, and smoking. The New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center, according to Dr. Reisman, can combine a consultation with both a cardiologist and a nutritionist to guide those who have an interest in a tasty diet with a low salt intake.
Dr. Steven Reisman, A New York Cardiologist, discusses the hidden benefits of exercise as an invited speaker at the FBI in New York.
Dr. Steven Reisman was an invited speaker at the F.B.I in Manhattan on June 30, 2010 to discuss heart attack prevention. As part of this lecture he discussed the advantages of exercise in the relationship to general health and in particular, in the prevention of cardiac disease. One of the references Dr. Reisman used was an article in the Wall Street Journal from January 5, 2010 entitled “The Hidden Benefits of Exercise”.
The article described how moderate exercise can be extremely successful in the prevention of disease in general. This includes bolstering the body’s immune system, improving the body’s response to influenza vaccine, and making the individual less prone to viral infections. Dr. Reisman discussed the advantage of regular exercise including something as simple as a thirty to forty-five minute brisk walk daily five times a week which has been shown to have a positive effect. The article described how individuals who undergo this type of program can reduce the number of sick days up to 50% compared to sedentary subjects. Inactivity can pose a significant risk to one’s health contributing to heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, depression, arthritis, and osteoporosis. In relation to heart disease, studies have shown that exercise can lower blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol, and decrease the incidence of diabetes.
There are guidelines developed by the Department of Health and Human Services and available at www.health.gov/paguidelines. A survey conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine and American Medical Association found that only four out of ten doctors talk to their patients about the importance of exercise. Dr. Reisman, a Manhattan Cardiologist stated that at the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center diet and exercise in the prevention of heart disease are important features of all patient interaction. Muscle strengthening activities two or more days a week are also suggested along with aerobic exercise.
Early detection of high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and diabetes can be easily determined on a simple office visit with a basic blood test along with a basic history and physical examination.
The New York Times (7/19, Altman) reports that former Vice President Dick Cheney underwent a procedure to implant a mechanical pump that is now being given to a small number of people with congestive heart failure. It is generally used in individuals who have severe heart failure and are at the risk of dying within several months without the device.
These pumps are partial artificial hearts also known as “ventricular assist devices”. They are implanted as a last resort either for use as a temporary device until heart transplantation or may at times be used as a permanent device. Former Vice President Cheney has congestive heart failure most likely resulting from five prior heart attacks. In addition, Mr. Cheney has had angioplasty to open up blocked coronary arteries and also stents to increase perfusion. He also had a prior pacemaker and defibrillator.
Approximately 5.8 million people in the United States have congestive heart failure. About 670,000 people are diagnosed with heart failure each year. The most common causes of heart failure include coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve quality of life and life expectancy for those who have heart failure. The symptoms of heart failure may include shortness of breath during activity, difficulty in breathing when lying down, swelling of the legs and ankles, and general fatigue and weakness.
Bloomberg news (7/12/2010) reported that hospitals in the United States are delivering more urgent and faster emergency medical care to heart attack patients which results in increased survival. Bloomberg reported that in 2009 88% of patients with heart attacks received procedures within the recommended 90 minutes of arriving at the hospital compared to only 64.5% in 2007. The original study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
According to the American College of Cardiology about 770,000 Americans this year will have their first heart attack. A heart attack is an acute disruption of blood flow to the heart causing the death of the heart tissue. About 38% of those heart attacks will result in death.
These findings showing improved urgent care to these heart attack patients gives hope for increasing survival of heart attack patients brought to the hospital early on. Patients at risk for heart attack include those with cardiac risk factors such as hypertension or high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, a history of smoking, hyperlipidemia or elevated lipids, a family history of heart disease and obesity. These individuals need early testing to evaluate their risk for heart attack.