An Interview With Dr. Janet Brill About Her New Book – Part 1
Posted May 04 2013 10:00am
1. Why did you write this book?
As a nutritionist specializing in cardiovascular disease prevention, I saw a need among Americans that was not being filled. Sadly, 1 in 3 Americans has this condition—hypertension–making this a public health epidemic of great magnitude. The statistics are chilling. Every thirty nine seconds, we lose another American to a fatal heart attack or stroke, and yet, despite the fact that the largest risk factor for cardiovascular death—high blood pressure—is both reversible and preventable, seventy-eight million adult Americans continue to suffer from this life-threatening condition, and another two million will be diagnosed over the next year. Perhaps even more alarming, fifty-six percent of those already diagnosed with this potentially fatal affliction still do not have their blood pressure under control, with many deterred by the frustrating side effects of medications. The good news? Lifestyle changes can be just as effective as prescription drugs in reversing and preventing hypertension. In fact, the government-endorsed Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet was rated the #1 Best Diet Overall by the U.S. News & World Report. Drugs alone will not solve the problem. Americans need to know that lifestyle is the first line of defense against this silent killer.
I give people the optimal science-based blood-pressure-lowering lifestyle on a silver platter in an easy-to-read and follow 10-step plan.
2. How is your approach to treating high blood pressure different from other books?
My program is a nutrition and exercise-based therapy that has been scientifically-proven to reduce blood pressure. This book shows how high blood pressure can be lowered and prevented quickly and safely—without the side effects of many blood pressure medications. In ten simple—and delicious—steps, this unique plan harnesses the power of lifestyle changes, including elements of the DASH diet, proven to be the most effective dietary medicine for hypertension. There are several books on the market that outline the DASH diet. Essentially, the Blood Pressure DOWN plan is the DASH diet and much, much more. It includes blood pressure power foods like bananas, yogurt, soy, and dark chocolate, as well as exercise and stress reduction. Each component of the plan tackles high blood pressure from a different angle; together, this potent, natural combination therapy can lower blood pressure as much as most single prescription blood pressure medications. Put them all into action simultaneously, and you have the safest and most effective natural method to get your Blood Pressure Down.
Backed by solid research, the plan cuts through the medical jargon to explain how and why each step in the program works. The Blood Pressure Down plan is both thorough and accessible, including many convenient checklists, charts, meal plans, and over fifty delicious heart-healthy recipes that make incorporating each step into a heart-healthy lifestyle easy, practical, and never overwhelming.
It’s not complicated. Many of the steps in the plan are basically plain old healthy eating, with no harmful side effects or expensive prescription medications. Most can be purchased at your local supermarket. Add in a few supplements, lose a few pounds, cut down on your sodium intake and get some exercise in, and you have a safe and effective natural alternative (or adjunct) to prescription medication. Best of all, over time the benefits endure and continue to improve. Following these 10 simple steps will surely be conducive to a salubrious lifestyle—you will add years to your life and life to your years.
3. What is a healthy/normal blood pressure for adult Americans?
• Normal. Normal blood pressure is defined as a top number (systolic) of less than 120 mm mercury and a bottom number (diastolic) of less than 80 mm mercury.
Numbers Your Doctor Will Be Concerned About:
• Prehypertension. The following numbers categorize you as having prehypertension: systolic blood pressure (top number) of 120 to 139 mm Hg or a diastolic blood pressure reading (bottom number) of 80 to 89 mm Hg. It is estimated that 15% of deaths from heart attacks occur in people with blood pressure in the prehypertension range. Individuals with prehypertension face twice the risk of developing full blown hypertension compared to those whose blood pressure is normal.
• Stage 1 hypertension. Systolic blood pressure (top number) of 140 to 159 mm Hg or a diastolic blood pressure reading (bottom number) of 90 to 99 mm Hg. Individuals with stage 1 hypertension are advised by the medical establishment to take a prescription medication (typically a thiazide diuretic)–in addition to lifestyle therapy–to treat their hypertension.
• Stage 2 hypertension. Systolic blood pressure (top number) of 160 mm Hg or more or a diastolic blood pressure reading (bottom number) of 100 mm Hg or more. Individuals with stage 2 hypertension are advised by the medical establishment to take at least a two-drug prescription medication combination–in addition to lifestyle therapy– to treat their high blood pressure. Both side effects and medication costs pose significant problems for these people, associated with increasing doses and increasing numbers of medications.
4. Why is it dangerous to walk around with high blood pressure?
Persistent high blood pressure is a life-endangering situation. It is the number one cause of stroke and a major cause of heart attacks, blindness and kidney failure. These are diseases that kill nearly 1 million Americans each year, more than any other condition. Get your blood pressure down and you can prevent premature disease, disability and death.