Jessica Goldman Foung fought back. Her most powerful tools were the love and support of family and friends, medicines and a new diet. Within a few years, she went off that waiting list. Then she went off dialysis. Then she went off many of those medicines.
With 1 in 3 young Americans either overweight or obese, we need to marshal every resource we have to take on this epidemic. Schools are on the front lines of this struggle. They are the places where our kids spend most of their days and in many cases, eat half of their calories.
Does our present high-sugar diet do to us what the "garbage dump diet" did to the baboons? Weight gain, pre-diabetes and alarming cholesterol elevations are all results of our diet too. Like the baboons, we humans will certainly respond to dietary insults in a variety of ways.
Critics don't want to admit that they've run out of criticisms of Obamacare. The website is working, enrollments are surging, and millions of Americans are getting affordable, high-quality health insurance.
I believe there is an epidemic of overtreatment, but not because the blood pressure level that we aim for is too low. The current targets have a fabulously successful track record; they should not be abandoned.
For years, the public health nutrition field has warned Americans about the risks associated with a high-sodium diet. When the crux of the conversation focuses exclusively on sodium reduction, though, it overlooks a crucial part of the puzzle -- the ratio of sodium to potassium in our diets.
There is very much a place for the mind/body connection in understanding and treating hypertension. But it is not the cause of hypertension in the 85 percent of patients with ordinary hypertension; and the anger, anxiety and stress we experience are not at the heart of it.
My observations and studies indicate that the mind/body link in hypertension is nearly the opposite of what most suspect. Yes, our anger and anxiety and stress can raise our blood pressure in the moment, but this does not lead to development of persisting hypertension.
Blood pressure is best treated holistically. Severe or poorly-managed stress could be the reason for it, and if so, blood pressure is merely a sign of the underlying condition. Always best to look for causes -- and treat as close to them as possible.
If day-to-day stress and anger and anxiety are not causes of hypertension, do I believe that there is a mind/body connection in hypertension? Yes, I absolutely do. But the connection is very different from what most people think.
The frustration over this nation's inability to control blood pressure in so many people is that this is a problem with very good solutions, tested and proven over half a century. We can and must do better.