Sample text for Control high blood pressure without drugs : a complete hypertension handbook / Robert L. Rowan, with Constance Schrader.

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This book is the result of fifty years of medical practice, during which I've treated hundreds of patients and conferred with dozens of other physicians, attended conferences, and reviewed medical journals, papers, and other research. It is also the result of my efforts to communicate better with my patients who come to me seeking better health.

It all started half a century ago. I graduated from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1950. During these past five decades I've witnessed the wonderful advances in our understanding of how the human body works and in every aspect of medicine and patient care. Years ago, we had very few methods of seeing within the body without invasive surgery. Some tests, such as those for glaucoma, as well as mammography and magnetic or sound imaging, were unavailable and some were unimaginable. Many medicines we have at our disposal now were unheard of at that time. Even the practice of medicine was different in some ways. However, some things have not changed at all: The close and trusting relationship between doctor and patient has always been the same; it is the crux of medical art.

Until recently, preventing disease received little attention. But times have changed. Improving your diet, exercising, and getting regular checkups are now an individual's responsibility. People with chronic diseases, like high blood pressure, can prevent further disability, and in some cases, control the progress of the disease.

I have been fortunate because I have been able to see these advances in medicine, and to use these developing strategies and theories to improve the quality of life for my patients. It has been a blessing to have had the opportunity to help other human beings.

My intense interest in hypertension was inspired by the two years I spent as a drug monitor for Schering Corporation during their development of an antihypertensive drug. This experience increased my respect for scientists and researchers who toil long and hard to create effective and useful medicines. The fact that this book is devoted to the nondrug treatment of hypertension in no way diminishes my belief in the value of medication in many situations. But there are many nondrug activities you can -- and should -- do for yourself.

My goal in this self-help book is to review accepted practice and to present to you the most recent and reliable medical information. It is a book of real strategies for busy and hurried people who must cope with real-life situations.

Strategies for weight reduction, incorporating exercise into your life, and stress management are presented in the context of today's lifestyles. The beeper you wear on your belt, or the telephone that rings in your pocket are samples of the most recent stressors applied to your body. Appealing new foods are introduced in supermarkets and restaurants almost every month, but which are right for you and your body? A careful selection of foods and beverages is important. I've tried to guide you to the answer.

Perhaps one of the greatest changes has been the acceptance of alternative medicine. About a dozen years ago I wrote about a new concept known as biofeedback. Today it is a well-known and well-accepted technique. Other ideas, some from other cultures, such as acupuncture, and some ancient but newly popular, such as the use of herbal supplements, have been added to the arsenal of weapons we use against disease. In fact, 40 percent of all Americans today use some type of alternative medical therapy along with standard traditional care.

All these advances are exciting and open many options in treatment. It makes me think back on the teachers and colleagues who have been supportive throughout the years. Many physicians have contributed to my education and experience through the years: I will always be indebted to Dean Harvey E. Jordan, Ph.D., who accepted me into medical school; Dr. Thomas Howley, who appointed me to the staff of St. Vincent's Hospital of New York City; and Dr. Pablo Morales, who invited me to teach at the New York University Medical School. I am particularly proud of the time I spent in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War because it allowed me, in a small way, to repay the country that has done so much for me.

I thank my agent, Agnes Birnbaum, who is a tireless advocate for the reader as well as the author and publisher. Through Ms. Birnbaum I met Constance Schrader, who has helped me put my ideas and advice into written words. We hope this book will be your best medicine for controlling high blood pressure.

-- Robert L. Rowan, M.D.

New York City, March 2001

Copyright © 1986 by Robert L. Rowan, M.D.

Copyright © 2001 by Robert L. Rowan, M.D., and Constance Schrader

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Hypertension -- Popular works.
Hypertension -- Alternative treatment.