National Geographic : 1953 Dec
The HARE,the TORTOISE and HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE NEARLY everyone knows the famous Aesop fable about the hare and the tortoise. There is a good lesson in it for all of us, but for people who have high blood pressure this ancient fable can have a special meaning. You may remember that the tortoise "pursued a slow but steady pace straight to the end of the course." Yet he won the race simply by taking it in his stride. Indeed, he took life much, much easier than the hare. This is exactly what doctors wish that all patients who have high blood pressure, or hypertension, would do. In fact, people who have moderate, un complicated high blood pressure are often helped simply by learning to adjust their lives to a slower pace. A relaxed attitude toward life is important in the treatment of this disorder because rush, "drive" and emotional tension can cause an already ele vated blood pressure to rise to even higher levels. This is why doctors advise a steady, easy pace during the day and eight or more hours of sleep every night. In addition, patients should carefully follow their doctor's advice about diet and eating habits. Above all, weight should be constantly kept at the proper level, because high blood pressure and overweight often go hand in hand. People who learn to take these precautions may live happily, usefully and actively with hypertension even to old age. Of course, if blood pressure reaches and stays at an excessively high level ... or if it is caused by an underlying disease ... the situation becomes more serious. Even in these cases, there are often ways to lower pressure and relieve symptoms-such as drugs, surgery and special diets. High blood pressure affects at least 4 million Americans ... and is a major cause of heart disease in middle age and later years. If you have reached the years when high blood pressure is most likely to occur . .. if you are overweight . . . and if there has ever been high blood pressure in your family, do not neglect to see your doctor for regular medical examinations. When discovered early, hypertension is usually easier to control. The outlook for still better methods of treating hyper tension is promising-as studies by many agencies, including the Life Insurance Medical Research Fund, progress. The Fund, supported by 146 Life Insur ance Companies, is devoting much of its research to hypertension and blood vessel disorders. Please send me the free book let, 1253N, "Your Heart." Street City State_________________..