Saturday, 20 March 2010

Book Review - Bringing Down High Blood Pressure

Bringing Down High Blood Pressure
Chad Rhoden, M.D., PhD
with Sarah Wiley Schein, M.S., R.D., L.D.N.

They call high blood pressure the silent killer. It affects at least one in four North Americans and many don't even know they have it. The toll high blood pressure takes on the health care systems as well as the population in general is immense; lives are compromised or cut short by cardiovascular disease or stroke.
It is important to be aware of your blood pressure and the effect your diet and lifestyle have on it. High blood pressure is not merely a condition of the elderly, young and middle adults are more and more prone to this dangerous condition.

Dr. Rhoden begins the book with a straightforward explanation of what exactly high blood pressure is, and how it affects people. He uses easy to understand statistics, personal stories and well written analogies to give the reader a thorough understanding of the condition and what aggravates it.

He addresses all aspects of learning about high blood pressure and controlling it. At first I was worried, when he credited Jesus in his acknowledgments, that the book would have a religious focus to it - it didn't. While he does, near the end of the book, relate that having something to believe in is helpful to health and peace of mind, this is not a religious book.

Rhoden explores diet, exercise, personal stress, different medications, alternative therapies and addiction.

He comes across as very personable, not shaming or patronizing, and genuinely concerned that people take control of their health and blood pressure. As well as being readable cover to cover, the book is also very resourceful and information is easy to look up.

Dr. Rhoden does acknowledge that he has a webstore and sells his own brand of sodium free spice mix, but the references to them are minimal. Also there is a chapter with recipes in it but they looked uninspiring at best to me. They are written by the nutritionist, Schein, and not by Dr. Rhoden.

In the end I was happy to have read this book and felt that I had learned a lot. We are not children anymore and to live a good life means to balance diet, health, and lifestyle. I was left with a positive and energetic feeling and think that anyone whose life or loved ones' lives are affected by high blood pressure will feel the same.

As J. Edward Hill, M.D., FAAFP, the past president of the American Medical Association is quoted on the book jacket, "Everybody who expects to reach optimal health-whether patient or health care professional-should own, read, and treasure this book."