Have a Heart

Posted on by Mark

For many years, conditions were treated and doctors did not really know whether they were achieving anything. Doctors tried to achieve good glycaemic control in people with diabetes without really knowing whether anything was being achieved. It was not until nearly 2000 that it was finally proved that lower blood sugars meant fewer complications and longer lives.

The same applied to lowering blood pressure. What was hypertension? How far should blood pressure be lowered? The debates went on and on.

Now we know and a recent report caused the biggest possible “WOW!” to pass through the Training Centre. The report from Imperial College London, published in The Lancet, said in no uncertain terms that lives are not only being saved but being saved in a truly massive way.

What did they say?

Well the gist of the findings was that, if trends continued, in 2022 no fewer than 55,000 people in the UK would not suffer a heart attack, stroke or death who would otherwise have done so. That is the population of a large town such as Keighley or Kidderminster.

Now how good is that?

They also said that the rule of halves should now become the rule of two-thirds. You will remember that, traditionally, only half the people with hypertension had been diagnosed, only half of those diagnosed were treated and only half of those treated were treated effectively.

Now two-thirds of people with hypertension have been diagnosed, two-thirds of those are being treated and two-thirds are being treated effectively.

That is truly wonderful news and one that GP’s, Practice Nurses and Health Care Assistants should be proud of.

One final thing. We are treating people usually with no symptoms to prevent these horrible outcomes. Luckily modern anti-hypertensive drugs have nowhere near the side effects that older drugs had. Remember methyl dopa? But even the very best drugs only work effectively if they enter the gastro-intestinal tract, in other words if they are taken and taken regularly.

Amongst all the gloom of the news at present, here is something that is all good.