Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Good advice - find the balance between treatment risks and benefits

Photo from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Now, as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story.

I've posted quite a bit about high blood pressure as a stroke risk. It's the leading cause of strokes.

A wise doctor, as part of taking care of my aging mother a few years ago, described health decisions about her as a balancing act. Take this medication, and it might affect that ailment, which might affect other medication, and so on and so on. Truer words were never spoken.

Now, here's some thoughts to consider about high blood pressure, new targets and possible medication side affects, in an article stating that new blood pressure guidelines a danger to patients:
"Our study shows the borderline group is probably as risky as having a blood pressure greater than 150, at least for stroke risk," said senior author Dr. Ralph Sacco, chair of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "This was a controversial move, and I think our study suggests we shouldn't switch it to 150. We should stick to 140."
The new findings, published online Feb. 1 in the journal Hypertension, are unlikely to quell arguments over proper blood pressure management, however.
For instance, the new study does not address the risk of side effects associated with blood pressure medications, or how medication would alter a person's overall stroke risk, said Dr. Paul James, head of family medicine at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.
"It's a matter of balancing the risk of treatment with the benefits of treatment," said James. "That's not a simple thing, and it's not really something that one study like this study could answer."
"Balancing the risk of treatment with benefits of treatment" is a good phrase to commit to memory. High blood pressure? Talk with your doctor. Know potential side effects and watch for them if you start a medication. Borderline high blood pressure? Do the same.

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