The pressure tactics
FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK
Although it is called “the silent killer,” there is nothing muted about the growing fear of hypertension in Western society. Largely due to their heightened consciousness, younger men and women have joined their parents and older acquaintances in confronting the precise measurement of their own mortality—in the form of blood pressure readings during medical examinations. In all, 1.5 to two million Canadians now face the unsettling prospect of living
the rest of their lives on medication prescribed to tame the causes of a condition that can lead to heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease. But in the Canadian medical community, there is a vigorous debate about the merits—and troubling side effects—of drugs. And, surprising^ ly, there are also serious \ reservations about the o presumption that physi1 cal fitness will help reI duce hypertension, z Still, the percentage
m AT North AmpriPiiriQ Hopkins and Ohlendorf: control with hypertension, compared to people in other countries, is startling. Commented Contributing Editor Pat Ohlendorf, who wrote this week’s cover story: “In the end, it struck me that we must be doing something terribly wrong in North America and that it can probably be directly traced to controllable factors like diet and stress which we do not know how to handle.”
Departments Editor Thomas Hopkins, who edited the cover package, concluded that, regardless of its causes, hypertension is indeed a matter of mass concern: “As people found out that we were doing the story, it was astounding how many of them came forward wanting to give their personal accounts. It was also disturbing.” The package begins on page 34.