Monday, April 6, 2009

Some disturbing facts...

...about health guidelines. Courtesy of the Google, I found this article regarding the "new" BP guidelines being applied to patients. Once I saw them, especially the most recent, I balked. Guess I know why now.

This is an excerpt from the article: "
Jean Godden felt as fit as a 71-year-old could hope for. Then a medical panel published new guidelines for treating high blood pressure, and her doctor tried her on three different pills.
One of them almost killed her.
Godden, a Seattle City Council member and former Seattle Times columnist, had lived with moderately high blood pressure since her 40s and took a daily diuretic to head off potential problems.
Diuretics, or "water pills," stimulate the kidneys to remove excess water from the blood, reducing pressure on the heart. They have been a proven hypertension treatment for a half century, with minimal side effects other than more frequent urination.

Godden's father had died of heart trouble at 49, so she was glad to take the white generic pill that cost pennies a day.
"Naturally, I want my life to be saved from a stroke or heart attack," she said.
By avoiding salt and caffeine, exercising and taking diuretics, Godden held her systolic blood pressure — the first number in the two-number reading — to between 140 and 150.
For years, doctors considered 120/80 to be ideal and anything under 140 to be OK. But a change took place in May 2003, when American doctors got new advice from a government-sanctioned medical panel called the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure."

There is a whole series devoted to all the health guidelines, from BP to diabetes to BMI.
This is a link to the series' main page. Here is a link to a chart showing conflicts of interest in this decision-making process. WTG Seattle Times for running this series. It is from 2005 but I think it really brings the point home of just how broken our healthcare system is. I always thought these guidelines struck me as a little fishy and now I know why.


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