Guest Post by:
Robert A. Glass, M.D.
Internal Medicine
MUSC Health

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was one of the most influential twentieth century Presidents of the United States. While his childhood bout with polio and subsequent wheelchair use was well publicized, few know about his battle with high blood pressure. Modern day blood pressure medications had yet to be discovered in President Roosevelt’s time. Accordingly, many of his great acts of history were done with blood pressures that would likely cause any modern day physician to hospitalize their patient. Can you imagine trying to divide Europe after World War II from the intensive care unit? Any modern day President would have found himself in that exact situation with blood pressure readings similar to President Roosevelt’s.

Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Since the time of FDR, medicine has grown tremendously in our ability to treat high blood pressure. Though FDR was cared for by some of the best physicians in the country, he still did not get the care that is available today down the street at your local MUSC Physicians Primary Care practice. In partnership with your primary care physician, there are three concrete steps that you can take to ensure that your blood pressure is even better than the President.

Get Screened

Unbeknownst to many, blood pressure screening is an essential part of a complete wellness and prevention program. It is recommended that all adults of average risk have their blood pressure screened at least every two years. This requirement can be met through regular visits to your physician as part of your regular health maintenance. There are also health fairs or corporate wellness programs that provide blood pressure screening, and these results can then be taken to your primary care physician for discussion.

Control Your Diet

Obesity is an epidemic in the United States, and it greatly contributes to poor blood pressure control. A well-balanced diet is important for all adults, regardless of their health problems. Salt intake is particularly important for those with high blood pressure. It is currently recommended that people with high blood pressure consume less than two grams of salt per day. Consuming more may worsen your blood pressure. Make sure that you read the label on all foods that you eat and know how much salt you are consuming. If you want further education, then discuss with your primary care doctor or consider sitting down with an MUSC nutritionist for more detailed information.

Take Your Medication

The majority of adults with high blood pressure ultimately require some form of medication. Many medications are only taken on an as needed basis, like pain relievers. It is a common misconception that blood pressure medicines can also only be taken as needed. In order to take their full effect, blood pressure medications should be taken every day as directed, whether you feel any symptoms or not. Blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer” because patients never feel symptoms until the situation has gotten out of hand. By taking medication every day, you can prevent this “silent killer” from having large unwanted effects on your health.

If you follow these three steps of getting screened, controlling your diet, and taking your medication, then you will be able to take control of your health in a way that even one of the greatest men in American history could not. Come see us at your local MUSC Physician Primary Care location and discuss more how we can partner together to provide you health care fit for a President.