Long before we knew how the cardiovascular worked, ancient doctors may have recognized what we call hypertension. It seemed like maybe there was too much blood, so they treated it with leeches.
Even today, high blood pressure is a little bit mysterious. The way it's typically measured may be the wrong way. And, it's not caused by one single factor so no single drug treats all the things that cause high blood pressure.
One specialist, Samuel Mann, thinks millions of Americans are taking the wrong drug, the wrong dose of the right drug, the wrong combination of drugs, or even drugs when no drugs are needed.
Piled on top of all that are the new American Heart Association guidelines which are not specifically about blood pressure but which illustrate how confusing cardiovascular issues get, even among the experts.
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- Dr. Paul Thompson is the Chief of Cardiology at Hartford Hospital
- Dr. Samuel Mann is a professor of Clinical Medicine and a specialist in hypertension at New York-Presbyterian Weill/Cornell Medical Center and the author of Hypertension and You.