Scientists find a new way to treat persistent high blood pressure

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High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common health issue in the United States. Despite the availability of medications and the known benefits of exercise, many people still struggle with keeping their blood pressure under control.

This condition, when blood pressure stays high despite treatment, is known as persistent hypertension.

Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine conducted a study to delve deeper into why some people have persistent high blood pressure.

They looked at patients from the Yale New Haven Health System who had high blood pressure readings in at least five consecutive appointments from January 2013 to October 2018.

Their findings were eye-opening. It wasn’t just treatment-resistant hypertension, where medication doesn’t work well due to another underlying condition, causing the problem. Persistent hypertension was often due to a variety of reasons.

These included not being diagnosed properly, not getting enough treatment, not sticking to medication schedules, missing appointments, and other obstacles in accessing healthcare.

To tackle this, the researchers are developing a new approach called a “taxonomy.” This is a way to sort patients based on their specific challenges in controlling blood pressure.

For instance, a social worker might help patients who can’t afford medication, while others may need stronger treatment.

The exciting part is how they plan to implement this. The team wants to use machine learning and natural language processing, which are advanced computer techniques, to create tools within electronic health records.

These tools could automatically identify and direct patients to the right kind of care.

They aim to test this idea at Yale New Haven Health System, starting with their 40,000 hospital employees and their families. This group is diverse in age, gender, and racial and ethnic backgrounds, making it a good sample to work with.

This approach isn’t just for high blood pressure. It could be used for other chronic conditions like diabetes, offering a more personalized and effective way of managing these diseases.

For individuals dealing with high blood pressure, here are some key strategies to manage it:

  1. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Losing weight can significantly lower blood pressure.
  2. Eat a Balanced Diet: Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy. Reducing sodium and cutting back on processed and sugary foods is also beneficial.
  3. Exercise Regularly: Activities like walking, cycling, or swimming can help reduce blood pressure.
  4. Limit Alcohol Consumption: Men should limit to two drinks per day, and women to one.
  5. Quit Smoking: Smoking increases blood pressure and harms blood vessels. Quitting can lower these risks.
  6. Take Medication as Prescribed: If lifestyle changes aren’t enough, medications such as diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and calcium channel blockers may be necessary.

Always consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice and regular monitoring of blood pressure.

This study by Yuan Lu and colleagues, published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, represents a significant step forward in understanding and managing persistent high blood pressure, with potential to transform patient care in this field.

If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about Popular blood pressure pill could cause problems and findings of Common blood pressure drugs linked to memory trouble.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about vitamin that may protect you from type 2 diabetes, and results showing this common chemical in food may harm your blood pressure.

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