Despite a wide variety of dietary options available, a prolonged controversy still exists about optimal nutritional plans for cardiometabolic patients, which contributes to the challenges faced by clinicians while caring for these patients. A poor diet is a major contributor in exacerbating the impacts of the cardiometabolic disease; as well as a leading contributor to morbidity and mortality worldwide.1,2 Thus, proper nutrition for cardiometabolic health is paramount, a view emphasized in several clinical practice guidelines.3-5 However, defining proper nutrition for cardiometabolic disease is challenging and can be very controversial. Clinicians may not be aware of appropriate healthy eating patterns or the evidence for different dietary approaches on cardiometabolic health outcomes; this is more apparent by the fact that many clinicians do not receive adequate training on nutrition and are less likely to address nutrition as a topic during a clinical visit. To gain more insight in this area, we had an opportunity to talk with Stephen Devries, MD, FACC, a preventive cardiologist, and Executive Director of the Gaples Institute for Integrative Cardiology, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing the role of nutrition and lifestyle in medicine.
Recently updated guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology have contributed to a growing number of patients being diagnosed with hypertension. Lowering the threshold for hypertension from 140/90 to 130/80 mm Hg resulted in a significant increase of patients — with previously normal or slightly elevated blood pressure (BP) — who now rank in the hypertension stage 1 category. Although the revisions were made with the intention of encouraging early preventative action and lifestyle interventions, they have also prompted a rise in patients who qualify for antihypertensive medications.
In certain cases, blood pressure medication is necessary for hypertension treatment and ensuring adequate cardiometabolic care. A multitude of different antihypertensive drugs are available for patient use, including beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, diuretics, and calcium-channel blockers, which are often used in tandem. Although, these medications are often associated with adverse effects, such as gastrointestinal problems, dizziness, weakness, headache, and many other undesirable symptoms.