Time to Grow Up


For many of us, the initial diagnosis of high blood pressure is the first clue that it is time to reassess our childhood sense of immortality. (The same could be said when we first hear we have high cholesterol.)

For a few of us, this reality check will be a lifesaving wake-up call that realigns our lifestyle choices with the desire to live a long and healthy life.

But for most of us, we’re more comfortable just adopting the new fantasy, “All we really need is a prescription drug or two”. What are the facts?

The American Heart Association’s 2017 Hypertension Guidelines1 point out that blood pressures between 120/80 and 140/90 have an increased risk for heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, stroke, and premature death. At these blood pressure levels, the guidelines are very clear  – changing one’s lifestyle, not drugs, is the appropriate treatment for the great majority of us.

This should blow the “all we need is a drug” fantasy out of the water. A 2010 article points out why it won’t.2 It won’t because most of what we’ll hear about these guidelines is to make sure the risk from high blood pressure gets treated. The often unstated implication is “with medications”.

The new guidelines are crystal clear about which lifestyle choices work:

  1. Being physically active,
  2. Eating fewer processed, high fat, and high sugar foods and substituting more fruits, vegetables, and beans,
  3. Choosing foods with less sodium (salt) and more potassium, and
  4. Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight.

Our healthcare system has adequate capacity to prescribe more drugs, but it is poorly equipped to enhance better lifestyle choices.

This creates a huge gap between what’s needed and what’s done.

If you think your company could benefit from reality-driven healthcare innovation, let us know.

Breakthrough To Better,

12017 High Blood Pressure Clinical Practice Guideline
2Why New Blood Pressure Guidelines Could Lead to Harm


Switch Conversations informs business leaders on the “whys”
behind healthcare ineffectiveness and how we can help.




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Edition 1 – Solving a Well-Entrenched Problem
Edition 2 – A Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Edition 3 – Best marketing tagline of all time?
Edition 4 – Post-Truth Killed a President
Edition 5 – What’s an employer to do?
Edition 6 – Profiting From the Opioid Epidemic
Edition 7 – The Keys to Unlocking Better Decisions
Edition 8 – When Difficult Things Need to be Done Well
Edition 9 – Fixing Healthcare
Edition 10 – Beware of a Singing Cow
Edition 11 – Wise Reflections
Edition 12 – Warning: Reader Discretion Advised
Edition 13 – Can AI save healthcare? (Part 1)
Edition 14 – Can AI save healthcare? (Part 2)
Edition 15 – Can AI save healthcare? (Part 3)
Edition 16 – Embracing Reality to Improve Healthcare
Edition 17 – Everything I Needed To Know…
Edition 18 – The Eighth Circle of Hell
Edition 19 – So… What’s Our Solution?
Edition 20 – Protecting Integrity as a Core Strategy
Edition 21 – An Unadorned Legacy
Edition 22 – Time to Grow Up
Edition 23 – Against All Odds
Edition 24 – When Everyone Has Stopped Listening
Edition 25 – Focusing on What’s Important
Edition 26 – Don’t Give Up Your Shot
Edition 27 – Join the Goodhood
Edition 28 – Fixing Healthcare (Recycled)
Edition 29 – Taming the Healthcare Beast
Edition 30 – Leadership
Edition 31 – Better Health Requires Good Sense
Edition 32 – Little Decisions With Big Consequences
Edition 33 – Transformational Courage
Edition 34 – Transformational Courage – Part 2
Guest Post – Happy Thanksgiving! By Jeff Novick, RD
Edition 35 – Transformational Courage – Part 3