Tech5 News: Technology and Medicine #3 in a series

Ben HarrisonThere are an estimated 20.8 million diabetics in the US today and this number is actually on the rise.

Technology and Medicine #3 in a series

Good afternoon and welcome to another Tech 5 program and a five minute trip into the amazing world of technology. This is Ben Harrison.


Yesterday we talked about the role of scientific research and technology in medicine with a focus on Diabetes. Today, I would like to talk about another ‘silent killer’ high blood pressure or hypertension.


The modern history of hypertension begins with the work of a physician William Harvey in the 16th century who described the circulation of blood in his book “De motu cordis“. Descriptions of hypertension as a disease came from Thomas Young in 1808 and Richard Bright in 1836, However hypertension as a clinical entity came into being in 1896 with the invention of the cuff-based sphygmomanometer in 1896 which allowed blood pressure to be measured in a clinic. In 1905, it was further improved by describing the Korotkoff sounds that are heard when the artery is used with a stethoscope while the cuff is deflated.

A series of lengthy studies, confirmed that hypertension increased death and cardiovascular disease, and that these risks increased in a graded manner with increasing blood pressure across the whole spectrum of population blood pressures. Subsequently the National Institutes of Health also sponsored other population studies, which additionally showed that African Americans had a higher burden of hypertension and its complications.


Historically the treatment for what was called the “hard pulse disease” consisted in reducing the quantity of blood by bloodletting or the application of leeches.[98] This was advocated by The Yellow Emperor of China, Cornelius Celsus, Galen, and Hippocrates. In the 19th and 20th centuries, before effective pharmacological treatment for hypertension became possible, three treatment modalities were used, all with numerous serious side-effects


One in three Americans has high blood pressure and many have no idea. It has been referred to as the silent killer. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had type 2 Diabetes.


Family history
Height, hair and eye color runs in families — so can high blood pressure. If your parents or close blood relatives have had HBP, you are more likely to develop it, too. You might also pass that risk factor on to your children. That’s why it’s important for children as well as adults to have regular blood pressure checks.

As we age, we all develop higher risk for high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Blood vessels lose flexibility with age which can contribute to increasing pressure throughout the system.


Lack of physical activity
Physical activity is good for your heart and circulatory system. An inactive lifestyle increases the chance of high blood pressure, heart disease, blood vessel disease and stroke. Inactivity also makes it easier to become overweight or obese. Give yourself the gift of improved health and lower blood pressure with regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.


Poor diet, especially one that includes too much salt
To care for our bodies, we all need good nutrition from a variety of food sources. A diet that’s high in calories, fats and sugars and low in essential nutrients contributes directly to poor health as well as to obesity.


Overweight and obesity
Being overweight significantly increases your chances of developing high blood pressure. Over two-thirds (67.3%) of U.S. adults are overweight or obese (over 149 million adults).Nearly one in three (31.8%) U.S. children (23.9 million) ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese. Excess weight increases the strain on the heart, raises blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and lowers HDL (good) cholesterol levels. It can also make diabetes more likely to develop. Losing as little as 10 to 20 pounds can help lower your blood pressure and your heart disease risk.


Drinking too much alcohol
Heavy and regular use of alcohol can increase blood pressure dramatically. It can also cause heart failure, lead to stroke and produce irregular heartbeats. Too much alcohol can contribute to high triglycerides, cancer and other diseases, obesity, alcoholism, suicide and accidents. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. If you drink, limit your alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.


Smoking and second-hand smoke
Smoking temporarily raises blood pressure and increases your risk of damaged arteries. The use of tobacco can be devastating to your health, especially if you’re already at risk for high blood pressure. Second-hand smoke — exposure to other people’s smoke — increases the risk of heart disease for non-smokers.

High blood pressure is the most common chronic medical problem prompting visits to primary health care providers in USA. The American Heart Association estimated the direct and indirect costs of high blood pressure in 2010 as $76.6 billion.


Research and Technology is essential to save lives and save dollars. Knowing the facts and taking care of ourselves is essential to our quality of life and our longevity.


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This is Ben Harrison from EEZEE Radio 91.1 AND 102.7 on your FM DIAL in St. Vincent and the Grenadines