A debut primer to tackling high blood pressure within one month covers everything from nutrition to spirituality.
This work is a joint undertaking by DeRose, Steinke (both physicians with Master of Public Health degrees), and nurse practitioner Li. The authors have made the slightly unusual choice to speak through a single first-person voice, thereby amalgamating their many years of experience. High blood pressure is known as a “silent killer,” they remark, earning comparatively little media attention even though it “wreaks far more havoc worldwide than do all natural disasters combined.” For instance, it can have devastating effects on eye and kidney health and puts sufferers at increased risk of heart disease. The “NO PRESSURE” mnemonic offers 10 straightforward strategies for tackling hypertension; even small changes made in a few of the areas over the book’s one-month time scale can make a big difference, the authors insist. They emphasize the importance of developing a realistic plan and getting help from an accountability partner. The worksheets at the end of each chapter allow readers to set individualized goals. The book also gives pithy, anonymized case studies of patients with whom the authors have worked, which provide helpful models. Lucid layperson’s explanations and frequent figures, such as a diagram displaying heart anatomy and a chart showing good sources of magnesium, serve to both break up and illustrate the text. The book’s core chapters reflect a dedication to holistic approaches to health, with social connectedness, stress management, and spirituality getting as much attention as diet, exercise, and sleep. Surprisingly, a whole chapter is devoted to beverages (choosing water over alcohol, caffeine, and soft drinks). Were it not for the mnemonic, this could surely just be a subsection in the nutrition chapter. The one slight misstep is in the chapter on spirituality, in which the authors draw well-being messages from the Beatitudes in the New Testament. Generic messages about humility and forgiveness are applicable, but it seems inappropriate to use one faith’s tenets as a framework. In general, though, the guide delivers plenty of good advice and intriguing facts, clearly conveyed. Did you know the vegan diet was naturally cholesterol-free? Now you do.
A useful health companion that focuses on hypertension.