Icarus, Blood Pressure, and the Dangers of Flying Too Close to the Sun
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- adverse effects
- blood pressure
- cardiovascular diseases
- practice guidelines as topic
In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster …
—W.H. Auden, Musée des Beaux Arts
Icarus, according to the myth, escaped from imprisonment on the island of Crete by flying with wings his father formed from feathers and wax. Icarus’s father, Daedalus, warned him not to fly too close to the sun because the wax would melt. We all know the rest of the story: Icarus, feeling exulted as he was flying through the air, wanted more than low flight could provide and so flew higher, toward the sun, until his wings melted and he plummeted to the sea.
This essay will discuss 3 unintended consequences of lowering the blood pressure threshold for hypertension as recommended in the new hypertension guidelines.1 Under the new guidelines, an additional 31 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with hypertension. The main impetus for the dramatic change in blood pressure target was data from the SPRINT study (Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial), a randomized study of 9361 persons who met strictly defined entry criteria that included being at least 50 years old and …