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Thursday, October 17, 2013

High Blood Pressure Treatments Didn't Even Start Until the 60's

High blood pressure used to be a diagnosis with no cure. In fact, there was no treatment for high blood pressure until the 1960's.  It wasn't until after President Franklin Roosevelt died that attention and dollars were placed to study high blood pressure.

Normal blood pressure is around 120/80.
This is President Roosevelt's tracking data of his blood pressure before he stroked out with a massive brain hemorrhage in April, 1945.

1944 - during WWII
March 27, 186/108
April 1, 200/108 
November 18, 210/112
November 27, 260/150

February (in Yalta) 260/150
April 12, 300/190 - Two hours later, at 3:45 p.m., the president was dead; age 63.

As a medical person, seeing those numbers, and how his blood pressure steadily climbs month by month, makes me gasp.  But treatment back then was an unknown. There was no known way to reduce blood pressure.

After President Roosevelt's death, focus and attention was placed on treating high blood pressure. Eventually, beta blocker medications became available in the 60's. Later, other cardiac medications were developed and used. In the 90's we started to look at diet as a way to help manage blood pressure. Then exercise. We now know that Qigong, Tai Chi, Yoga, meditation, and other life style changes can also help a person control & manage their stress as well as blood pressure.

We really are living at time when we are more empowered to maintain our health.  Now days, high blood pressure is not a death sentence; it is just a bump in the road we can learn to manage.