NEW BLOOD PRESSURE GUIDELINES MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE
By Dr. Calvin Day**
September 17, 2015
Six days ago the National Institutes of Health announced the results of a new landmark study showing that lives were saved with 25% fewer deaths when more aggressive therapy was used to achieve a target systolic blood pressure of 120, as compared with the previous target recommendation of 140 (http://www.nih.gov/news/health/sep2015/nhlbi-11.htm).
Even more dramatic was the reduction in cardiovascular events where the study showed that heart attacks, heart failure, and stroke were reduced by almost a third. The results were so dramatic that the study was stopped prematurely. Nevertheless, concerned physicians have noted that the NIH first issued a press release to the public containing only sparse details of the “SPRINT” study instead of following their usual protocol of first releasing more detailed results to the scientific community where the results could be analyzed and critiqued. For example, Dr. Lloyd Van Winkle, who is a candidate for the presidency of the American Academy of Family Physicians, on his 9/14/2015 Facebook page wrote “Hmm… But at those goals how many hip FX from orthostatic hypotension on standing?” Data to answer Dr. Van Winkle’s concern is sure to be found in the study results but it cannot presently be accessed by physicians. And with most experienced physicians having seen multiple instances of having preliminary findings subsequently reversed, the NIH announcement is quite naturally viewed by many physicians with some skepticism. But perhaps this study will be an impetus to have more patients monitor their blood pressure at home, especially since smartphone apps in combination with the associated blood pressure cuff allow ease of taking and keeping historical blood pressure records. If the first number on your blood pressure reading (i.e., systolic blood pressure) is consistently above 120, you should consider a visit to your doctor to determine whether you are a candidate for treatment.
**DR. CALVIN DAY — PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY
- Calvin Day is a self-employed medical writer and non-clinical consultant on dermatology, general medical, and general health issues.
- Day graduated summa cum laude from Texas A&M University (College Station), and
- Was the Salutatorian (second academically ranked student) of his 1976 medical school graduating class at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.
- Following graduation from medical school, Dr. Day trained for an additional six years in the Harvard Medical School programs at Massachusetts General Hospital
- in Internal Medicine,
- Dermatology, and
- Day completed his last and seventh year of formal post medical school training as a Mohs Surgery Fellow under the tutelage of Dr. Perry Robins who officed at New York University Medical Center.
- Day was the principal author of more than 60 professional articles published in refereed medical journals, including two publications in the New England Journal of Medicine. The majority of these articles dealt with skin cancer with a focus on malignant melanoma.
- Following his formal medical training, Dr. Day, for 28 years had a private practice in San Antonio wherein he routinely logged more than 90 hours per week while building a thriving practice consisting of approximately 40,000 patients who, by in large, had skin cancer and cosmetic dermatology concerns.
- During this same 28 year period, Dr. Day devoted a portion of his time to teaching skin surgery to dermatology residents at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), where he held an appointment as “Clinical Professor of Medicine (Dermatology)”.
- In 2010, Dr. Day was honored by having a UTHSCSA dermatology professorship named after him after he declined a personal gift of $100,000 and diverted it instead to the Dermatology Program at UTHSCSA.
- From March 2009 through April 2011, Dr. Day made 126 donations to 97 different charitable organizations through charity golf tournaments.
- For seven consecutive years, from 2004 through 2010 Dr. Day was selected by Texas Monthly as one of Texas’ “Superdoctors”, and
- In 2010, he was also designated by Newsweek magazine as one of the “Best Doctors in Texas”.