Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Your Blood Pressure is Rising! What Should Your do?

heartfruits

You’re not alone if you have questions about your blood pressure.

 

Nearly 1 out of every 3 American adults need to be concerned… And, according to the American Heart Association, 28 percent don’t know it.

 

Many people go about their lives unaware that their blood pressure levels may be creeping higher, even as it is maintained within the normal range, as they age or add on extra pounds.

 

Things you take for granted – like remembering names or your ability to think or learn – can be affected.

 

I strongly advise you to know your numbers. Get your blood pressure tested right away if you haven’t in the last two years. The risk of not knowing – and not acting – is simply too great. You have many options available to take control.

A healthy blood pressure is one of the key measures of a healthy heart, so your blood pressure is vitally important!

 

What exactly is blood pressure?

 

Blood pressure is a measure of the force against the walls of your arteries in response to the pumping of your heart.

 

The amount of blood being pumped and the flexibility of your arteries both influence that force. Your blood pressure can rise when either or both of these things happen:

 

Your arteries contain a large amount of blood

Your arteries lose some of their flexibility

If your arteries become less flexible and can’t expand easily to handle the extra amount of blood flow, your blood pressure rises.

 

When your blood pressure rises, your heart has to work harder to keep blood flowing. Certain situations could cause this increased demand for a short time – like high-intensity training – but that’s not an issue if you’re healthy.

 

The problem is when it’s continuous. Forcing your heart to pump hard without a break can place it under a great deal of stress.

 

And here’s a fact you may not know about blood pressure… When your blood pressure is high within the normal range, your arteries can become stiffer, which makes your heart work harder – and your blood pressure go even higher within the normal range.

 

Should You Be Thinking More About Your Blood Pressure?

Two numbers are used to measure blood pressure. The systolic, or top number, measures the force when your heart contracts. The bottom number, or the diastolic, measures the force when your heart rests.

 

blood pressure detection

Blood pressure issues can go undetected for years. Do you know your numbers?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a “normal” reading is 120/80.

 

You are considered “at risk” if you’re:

 

Systolic is 117 to 139 mmHg

Diastolic is 80 to 89 mmHg

And once your levels reach these numbers, they’re considered “high”:

 

Systolic is 140 mmHg or higher

Diastolic is 90 mmHg or higher

If you are under 60 and have no other risk factors, your diastolic pressure may be most important. If you’re over 60, your systolic pressure is your most important cardiovascular risk factor.

 

Be aware that, depending on your overall health, your doctor may want to treat you with medication even if your pressure is as low as 130/80.

 

In addition to testing your blood pressure levels, be sure to check your fasting insulin level. As you’ll soon see, insulin resistance is very closely linked to blood pressure.

 

What You Can Do Right NOW to Help Maintain Your Healthy Blood Pressure

The U.S. Joint National Committee (JNC) on blood pressure recently stated:

 

“The potential benefits of a healthy diet, weight control, and regular exercise cannot be overemphasized. These lifestyle treatments have the potential to improve blood pressure control and even reduce medication needs.”

If you have questions about your blood pressure – and for that matter, rising blood sugar or insulin levels or an expanding waistline – know there’s much you can do to help maintain normal healthy levels. Here are 6 of my top tips:

 

ideal outdoor exercise

Get plenty of exercise, ideally barefoot and outdoors in the sun

Get active and walk more steps.

Exercise is one of your most powerful strategies for managing your blood pressure and your insulin level.

 

Try tracking your steps with a fitness tracker or your smart phone and shoot for 7,000-10,000 steps a day. And if you work at a desk all day, make sure you stand up, or better yet, switch to a stand up desk like I did.

 

Ideally, exercise outdoors with bare feet. Studies show that walking barefoot outside – called Earthing or grounding – improves both your blood viscosity and flow, which regulate blood pressure.

 

 

Breathe deeply and slowly and let go of stress.

The way you breathe can affect your blood pressure. One method of breathing, the Buteyko Method, was discovered by a 26-year old Russian physician while trying to manage his own blood pressure.

 

Slow, deep breathing and practices such as yoga, tai chi, and qigong help decrease stress hormones, and in turn, lower an enzyme that raises blood pressure. Also, inhale slowly and exhale deeply for 5 minutes twice a day.

 

There’s a strong link between stress and blood pressure. If you have unaddressed negative emotions like fear, anger, and sadness, you’re less able to cope with normal, everyday stressors.

 

The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) are outstanding ways to transform your suppressed, negative emotions and relieve the stress in your life.

 

Many grocery store food choices today don’t even resemble real food

Get the processed foods out of your cart – and out of your home.

Many processed foods contain high levels of sugar and fructose, processed salt, unhealthy trans fats, and damaged omega-6 vegetable oils – all things that can affect your blood pressure and health.

 

In fact, I believe one of the primary causes of blood pressure issues is related to your tissues becoming insulin- and leptin-resistant in response to a high-carbohydrate and processed food diet!

 

As your tissues become more resistant to their actions and your insulin and leptin levels rise, so does your blood pressure. In a group of study subjects who were insulin-resistant, nearly two-thirds also had blood pressure above optimal levels.

 

A good rule to remember: buy food that still looks like the original food. In other words, brilliantly colored, sweetened fruit rollups are NOT the same as fresh, organic berries or apples!

 

Shop the outer isles of your grocery store. This is where you’ll find the fresher, unprocessed foods like produce, meat, and eggs. Even better, visit your local farmer’s market. Look for grass fed and pasture-finished meats.

 

 

probiotics on blood pressure management

Balance your gut flora with probiotics for blood pressure management

Eat more fermented foods and consider a probiotic supplement.

While many doctors still cling to the idea that limiting sodium is the “cure-all” for blood pressure issues, I’m not convinced.

 

Sure, it’s wise to cut out processed salt (the kind found in processed foods and most salt shakers).

 

But here’s something I think might help your blood pressure equally as much: balance your gut flora.

 

Rather than relying on commercial yogurt and milk products for your probiotics, I recommend eating fermented foods each day. The Dairy products in the USA are highly dangerous to everyone.  In 1980 the American Pediatric Association said that the milk in the USA was harmful to new borns and children.  Yet, I don’t see a lot of doctors telling their patients this, unless they are at a teaching hospital.

 

 

Optimize your vitamin D levels.

I talked earlier about how a lack of flexibility of your arteries can affect your blood pressure.

 

Researchers have discovered that both trans fats and a lack of vitamin D can contribute to stiff arteries. And too little vitamin D is related to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, too.

 

Sunlight exposure – my preferred way for you to get vitamin D – increases the level of nitric oxide in your skin, which helps dilate your blood vessels.

Vegetables and fruits benefit your heart and arteries

There are several types of Vitamin D out there.  Do you know which one is the best for you?  Do you know that you MUST take another supplement with that in order for it to work?

Call us, or ask your healthcare provider, and if they say “anyone will work” , then you know they do not know what they are talking about.

 

Eat more Potassium

Potassium is an essential mineral, but also an electrolyte, and plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy blood pressure.

 

Many people believe salt to be one culprit behind high blood pressure. Studies now reveal it is an imbalance between the intake of sodium and potassium that may be causing the problem.

 

Eating food rich in potassium such as avocado, cremini mushrooms and green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and Brussel sprouts can help to correct this imbalance.

 

 

Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits.

The latest research suggests that the biggest benefit of eating lots of vegetables and fruits may be for your heart and blood pressure.

 

Certain fruits and vegetables contain a type of phytonutrient called polyphenols that have been shown to support healthy normal blood pressure and cardiovascular health.

 

Many Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables – the CDC reported in 2013 that the average adult eats less than 3 servings a day.

 

Do your heart and blood pressure a favor and eat plenty of fresh, organic produce each day!

Especially grapes, with the seeds!

 

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Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Lower Your Blood Pressure with Onions

onion-flower

Lower Your BP with Onions

 

Lower your Blood Pressure with a daily dose of onions.

 

In a Spanish study, eating 1/3 cup of onions daily, any kind of onions,

 

it cut patients blood pressure by 21% in five weeks. Onions are

 

rich in quercetin, a natural diuretic that lowers pressure by

 

flushing our excess fluids and salt. Many people stop eating onions

 

because of bad breath worries, but please put them back in your

 

diet and make sure any older people put them back in their diets

 

also, to avoid congestive heart problems.

 

If you are having any concerns, please call us and ask to set up a consultation.

 

Picture:  Onion Flower

 

Health and Wellness Associates

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Artificial Sweeteners Trick the Brain

dietsoda

Artificial Sweeteners Trick the Brain

 

New research may help explain the reported link between the use of artificial sweeteners and diabetes, scientists say.

 

Researchers at Yale University School of Medicine say that in nature the intensity of sweetness reflects the amount of energy present. But in modern-day life, the body’s metabolism is fooled when a beverage is either too sweet or not sweet enough for the amount of calories it contains.

 

That means that a sweet-tasting, lower-calorie drink can trigger a greater metabolic response than a drink with higher calories, they said.

 

“A calorie is not a calorie,” explained senior author Dana Small, a professor of psychiatry.

 

“The assumption that more calories trigger greater metabolic and brain response is wrong. Calories are only half of the equation; sweet taste perception is the other half,” Small said in a university news release.

 

When a “mismatch” occurs, the brain’s reward circuits don’t register that calories have been consumed, the researchers said. Many processed foods have such mismatches, such as yogurt with low-calorie sweeteners.

 

“Our bodies evolved to efficiently use the energy sources available in nature,” Small said. “Our modern food environment is characterized by energy sources our bodies have never seen before.”

 

Small and her colleagues said the study may help explain the link between some artificial sweeteners and diabetes discovered in previous research. The topic remains controversial, however, and experts agree more research needs to be done.

 

 

 

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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tied To Lower Drug Costs

heartdisease

Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Tied to Lower Drug Costs

People with heart disease spend a lot less on medications when they take steps to lower their risk of complications by doing things like getting enough exercise, avoiding cigarettes and keeping their blood pressure in check, a U.S. study suggests.

For the study, researchers focused on adults diagnosed with the most common type of heart disease, known as atherosclerosis, which happens when fats, cholesterol and other substances build up on artery walls.

 

When these patients did as much as they could to avoid so-called modifiable risk factors for heart disease – inactivity, obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and diabetes – their total average annual pharmaceutical expenditures were $1,400, the study found.

But patients who did little to modify these risk factors had total average annual pharmaceutical expenditures of $4,516, researchers report in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

 

“Individuals who are unwilling to modify their lifestyles so as to have a favorable risk factor profile would most likely resort to medications to control the risk factors,” said lead study author Dr. Joseph Salami of the Center for Health Care Advancement and Outcomes at Baptist Health South Florida in Coral Gables.

 

“A person getting little or no exercise has a higher risk of obesity,” Salami said by email. “Someone obese is more likely to have diabetes, high blood cholesterol and hypertension.”

 

For the study, researchers examined 2012 and 2013 data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a national snapshot of spending based on surveys of almost 76,000 American patients, families, doctors and employers. The total pharmaceutical costs, reported in 2013 dollars, include patients’ out-of-pocket fees like co-payments and co-insurance as well as the portion of the tab covered by insurance or other sources, Salami said.

Among the survey participants, 4,248 adults aged 40 or older had atherosclerosis, representing about 21.9 million people in the U.S. population. They were 68 years old on average, and 45 percent were women.

 

Overall, average annual drug costs for each participant were $3,432. About a third of this was for cardiovascular disease drugs and another 14 percent was spent on diabetes medicines.

 

The remaining expenditures – more than half of the total – were for non-cardiovascular disease and non-diabetes drugs and were significantly associated with the modifiable risk factors, the study team notes.

Nationwide, this adds up to annual drug spending of $71.6 billion for patients with atherosclerosis, researchers estimated.

 

One limitation of the study is that it might overestimate expenditures because it’s possible some people prescribed medications for heart disease might be taking them for other reasons, the authors note. Researchers also lacked data on the type of insurance patients’ had or for individual characteristics of patients, doctors or pharmacists that might influence drug costs.

 

Costs should be considered in the context of how well treatments work, and the study doesn’t address this, noted Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston who wasn’t involved in the study.

 

“In some cases, the benefit that patients get from these non-pharmacologic therapies may be much more substantial than the benefit that drug therapy can offer,” Kesselheim said by email. “In other cases, the drug might be more helpful.”

The study also isn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove that people will spend less on drugs when they make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of heart disease, said Julie Schmittdiel of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research in Oakland.

 

“It does suggest there is promise that addressing modifiable health behaviors will reduce costs,” Schmittdiel, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

 

Knowing this might help motivate some patients to make changes, said Stacie Dusetzina, a pharmacy researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who wasn’t involved in the study.

 

“I think many of us realize how hard these risk factors are to modify,” Dusetzina said by email. “But having incentives that include feeling better and saving money may help with motivation.”

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Seven Most Dangerous Prescriptons

spoonful

The Seven Most Dangerous Prescriptions You Can Take

 

A damning Harvard University report has advised that according to the European Commission, about 328,000 patients in the U.S. and Europe die from prescription drugs each year – making prescription drugs the 4th highest cause of death, on a par with stroke.

We could get into legal trouble if we advised you to go against the recommendations of your doctor; however, we can advise you to be as informed as possible about the risks involved in taking prescription meds.

According to the World Health Organization, the pharmaceutical industry is worth 300 billion dollars annually – with an additional hundred million expected to add to the value in the next three years. A third of this entire multi-billion-dollar market is controlled by ten of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. According to CMR International, a partner of Thomas Reuters, global pharmaceutical sales reached one trillion dollars in 2014 and will be booming to 1.3 trillion by 2018.

It goes without saying that this is big business – but like every big business, there is a dark side as well. Can we really trust the research – seeing as the same companies selling the pills are funding many of the medical journals and medical schools? And then we have the issue of doctors receiving kickbacks for prescribing certain drugs, after being “educated” on the benefits of the drugs by pharma salesmen.

Remember that doctors do not get paid from your insurance company unless they write a prescription or a procedure, or a follow up with another doctor.

Take a look at this list of seven of the most dangerous prescription drug types and see how they can hurt you.

 

#1: Sleeping Pills (OTC and prescribed)

 

The use of sleeping pills has been associated with an increased risk factor for stroke. A study published by Petrov, et. al. in 2014 revealed that over-the-counter and prescription sleeping pills increased a person’s risk for stroke, independently and beyond any of the other known risk factors like blood pressure, personal history of heart disease, and vices like smoking and drinking alcohol. Isn’t it worrying that compared to all other factors that place a person at risk for stroke, sleeping pills top that list?

This includes any medications that make you drowsy i.e. Benadryl, Night time Nyquil, Tylenol Pm, Valerian,  and such.

 

#2: Cholesterol Drugs (Statins)

Did you know that deaths attributed to heart failure more than doubled from 1989 to 1997, while statins were first given pre-market approval in 1987? This is an alarming “coincidence” – to say the least. Interference with production of Co-Q10 by statin drugs has been proposed as the most likely explanation.

 

Drugs that are meant to control your cholesterol levels may also be damaging your liver. Hepatotoxicity is not completely absent among people who undergo statin therapy, but it is uncommon. However, several studies have discovered that statins cause severe liver damage, especially in in dosages higher than 50 milligrams per day – a scary thing to realize when statin dosages can climb up to 80 milligrams per day when a person has high or uncontrollable cholesterol levels. Atorvastatin, Simvastatin, Fluvastatin, Lovastatin, and Pravastatin have all been linked to liver injury.

 

#3: Blood Pressure Drugs (Beta-blockers, Calcium channel blockers)

 

Among the different drugs prescribed to manage hypertension, calcium channel blockers have been found to be the most common ones linked to adverse drugs reactions (ADRs). The most common ones linked to CCBs are bipedal edema, chest pain, hypersensitivity, and difficulty of breathing. A recent study published in 2014 discovered that immediate-release CCB use was positively associated with an increased risk for breast cancer. On the other hand, beta-blockers have been associated with several adverse side effects, such as increased incidence of post-operative dysrhythmia, troponin elevation, and heart failure, risk for hepatic failure, and small-for-gestational age births.

 

#4: Alzheimer’s Drugs

 

While the positive effects of psychotropic drugs have been well-documented, there have also been studies revealed their adverse effects. A study conducted on the pharmacological treatment of Alzheimer’s disease found that antipsychotics increased a person’s risk for developing diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and stroke, and even overall mortality. The most popular drug prescribed for Alzheimer’s is Aricept or Donezepil and has been linked to nausea, diarrhea, malaise, dizziness, and insomnia.

 

#5: Arthritis Drugs (NSAIDs)

 

It is so easy to be prescribed a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for pain, and even easier to purchase one from the pharmacy. What most people fail to realize is that NSAIDs are one of the leading causes of drug-related morbidity, especially in elderly and immunocompromised people. They have been directly linked to gastrointestinal problems, destroying the inner lining of the stomach and increasing the risk for ulceration and internal bleeding. Renal effects have also been linked to NSAID use, causing fluid and sodium retention and hypertension (and eventual cardiovascular problems). In worse case scenarios, people with severe kidney problems might even require dialysis. This seemingly innocuous drug is one of if not the most dangerous ones on this list.

 

#6: Diabetes Drugs (Actos, Avanida, Byetta, Metformin)

 

Another class of drugs to watch out for are those prescribed to manage high blood sugar, a characteristic symptom of diabetes. Liver damage has been linked to metformin use. In a study focusing on different ADRs, metformin-induced hepatitis was seen in a case of a person taking 500 milligrams of Metformin three times a day and insulin glargine. Liver damage can manifest as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) and discoloration of the urine and stool. Further liver damage can cause uncontrollable bleeding and insufficient clearing of toxins from the blood.

 

#7: Chemotherapy (Tamoxifen)

 

The one category of drug on the list that is universally regarded as harmful to a person’s health is chemotherapeutic drugs. When people diagnosed with cancer are advised to undergo chemotherapy, they are prepped for the side effects they will undoubtedly experience along with it. Chemotherapeutic drugs are strong enough to kill rapidly proliferating cancer cells – however there is collateral damage: Healthy cells are also killed and it’s the oft-repeated hope with chemotherapy that it “kills the cancer and doesn’t kill you”. Weakness, hair loss, and appetite loss, are the mildest of these side effects, with more serious ones involving blood in the urine or stool, high-grade fever, severe pain over the chemotherapy infusion site, vomiting and diarrhea, and difficulty breathing.  Chemotherapy is known to kill a significant number of cancer patients.

 

Try to do everything you can not to start any of these medications.  Once you have taken them for a while, your body gets lazy and does not want to work, and lets the pill do all the work.  Then you are on them for life.

 

Call us if you need help getting off medications, or hopefully never getting on any medications.

 

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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Low Blood Pressure

low-blood-pressure-s3-blood-pressure-chart

Low blood pressure facts

 

Low blood pressure, also called hypotension, is blood pressure low enough that the flow of blood to the organs of the body is inadequate and symptoms and/or signs of low blood flow develop shock.

Low pressure alone, without symptoms or signs, usually is not unhealthy.

The symptoms of low blood pressure include lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting. These symptoms are most prominent when individuals go from the lying or sitting position to the standing position (orthostatic hypotension).

Low blood pressure that causes an inadequate flow of blood to the body’s organs can cause strokes, heart attacks, and kidney failure. It’s most severe form is shock.

Common causes of low blood pressure include a reduced volume of blood, heart disease, and medications. volume of blood, heart disease, and medications.

The cause of low blood pressure can be determined with blood tests, radiologic studies, and cardiac testing to look for heart failure and arrhythmias.

Treatment of low blood pressure is determined by the cause of the low pressure.

Blood pressure is the force exerted by circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels. It constitutes one of the critically important signs of life or vital signs which include heart rate, breathing, and temperature. Blood pressure is generated by the heart pumping blood into the arteries modified by the response of the arteries to the flow of blood.

 

An individual’s blood pressure is expressed as systolic/diastolic blood pressure, for example, 120/80.

 

The systolic blood pressure (the top number) represents the pressure in the arteries as the muscle of the heart contracts and pumps blood into them.

The diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) represents the pressure in the arteries as the muscle of the heart relaxes following its contraction.

Blood pressure always is higher when the heart is pumping (squeezing) than when it is relaxing.

The range of systolic blood pressure for most healthy adults falls between 90 and 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Normal diastolic blood pressure ranges between 60 and 80 mm Hg. Current guidelines define normal blood pressure range as lower than 120/80. Blood pressures over 130/80 are considered high. High blood pressure increases the risk of damaging the arteries which leads to the development of:

 

Heart disease

Kidney disease

Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis)

Eye damage

Stroke

Low blood pressure (hypotension) is pressure so low it causes symptoms or signs due to the low flow of blood through the arteries and veins. When the flow of blood is too low to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidney, the organs do not function normally and may be temporarily or permanently damaged.

 

Unlike high blood pressure, low blood pressure is defined primarily by signs and symptoms of low blood flow and not by a specific blood pressure number. Some individuals routinely may have blood pressure numbers of 90/50 with no symptoms and therefore do not have low blood pressure. However, others who normally have higher blood pressures may develop symptoms of low blood pressure if their blood pressure drops to 100/60.

 

In pregnancy, blood pressure tends to decrease. Normal blood pressure during pregnancy may be lower than 100/60. Blood pressure should be monitored by the obstetrician during pregnancy.

How is blood pressure generated?

 

During relaxation of the heart (diastole) the left ventricle of the heart fills with blood returning from the lungs. The left ventricle then contracts and pumps blood into the arteries (systole). The blood pressure in the arteries during contraction of the ventricle (systolic pressure) is higher because blood is being actively ejected into the arteries. It is lower during relaxation of the ventricle (diastolic pressure) when no blood is being ejected into the arteries. The pulse we feel when we place our fingers over an artery is caused by the contraction of the left ventricle and the ejection of blood.

 

Blood pressure is determined by two factors: 1) The amount of blood pumped by the left ventricle of the heart into the arteries, and 2) the resistance to the flow of blood caused by the walls of the arterioles (smaller arteries).

 

Generally, blood pressure tends to be higher if more blood is pumped into the arteries or if the arterioles are narrow and/or stiff. Narrow and/or stiff arterioles, by resisting the flow of blood, increase blood pressure. Arterioles may become narrower when the muscles surrounding them contract. Arterioles may become stiff and narrow when older patients develop atherosclerosis.

 

Blood pressure tends to be lower if less blood is being pumped into the arteries or if the arterioles are larger and more flexible and, therefore, have less resistance to the flow of blood. How does the body maintain normal blood pressure?

 

The body has mechanisms to alter or maintain blood pressure and blood flow. There are sensors that sense blood pressure in the walls of the arteries and send signals to the heart, the arterioles, the veins, and the kidneys that cause them to make changes that lower or increase blood pressure.

 

There are several ways in which blood pressure can be adjusted; by adjusting the amount of blood pumped by the heart into the arteries (cardiac output), the amount of blood contained in the veins, the arteriolar resistance, and the volume of blood.

 

The heart can speed up and contract more frequently and it can eject more blood with each contraction (more forcefully). Both of these responses increase the flow of blood into the arteries and increase blood pressure.

The veins can expand and narrow. When veins expand, more blood can be stored in the veins and less blood returns to the heart for pumping into the arteries. As a result, the heart pumps less blood, and blood pressure is lower. On the other hand, when veins narrow, less blood is stored in the veins, more blood returns to the heart for pumping into the arteries, and blood pressure is higher.

The arterioles can expand and narrow. Expanded arterioles create less resistance to the flow of blood and decrease blood pressure, while narrowed arterioles create more resistance and raise blood pressure.

The kidney can respond to changes in blood pressure by increasing or decreasing the amount of urine that is produced. Urine is primarily water that is removed from the blood. When the kidney makes more urine, the amount (volume) of blood that fills the arteries and veins decreases, and this lowers blood pressure. If the kidneys make less urine, the amount of blood that fills the arteries and veins increases and this increases blood pressure. Compared with the other mechanisms for adjusting blood pressure, changes in the production of urine affect blood pressure slowly over hours and days. (The other mechanisms are effective in seconds.)

For example, low blood volume due to bleeding (such as a bleeding ulcer in the stomach or from a severe laceration from an injury) can cause low blood pressure. The body quickly responds to the low blood volume and pressure by the following adjustments which all increase blood pressure:

 

The heart rate increases and the forcefulness of the heart’s contractions increase, pumping more blood through the heart.

Veins narrow to return more blood to the heart for pumping.

Blood flow to the kidneys decreases to reduce the formation of urine and thereby increases the volume of blood in the arteries and veins.

Arterioles narrow to increase resistance to blood flow.

These adaptive responses will keep the blood pressure in the normal range unless blood loss becomes so severe that the responses are overwhelmed.

 

Is low blood pressure bad for your health?

 

People who have lower blood pressures have a lower risk of stroke, kidney disease, and heart disease.

 

Athletes, people who exercise regularly, people who maintain ideal body weight, and nonsmokers tend to have lower blood pressures. Low blood pressure is desirable as long as it is not low enough to cause symptoms and damage to the organs in the body

What are low blood pressure symptoms and signs?

 

When blood pressure is not sufficient to deliver enough blood to the organs of the body, the organs do not work properly and can be temporarily or permanently damaged. Symptoms of low blood pressure caused by conditions or diseases depend upon the specific cause of the low blood pressure. For example, if insufficient blood flows to the brain, brain cells do not receive enough oxygen and nutrients, and a person can feel lightheaded, dizzy, or even faint.

 

The most common symptoms of low blood pressure include:

 

Lightheadedness

Dizziness

Fainting (syncope)

Symptoms of low blood pressure due to conditions or diseases include:

 

Orthostatic hypotension: Going from a sitting or lying position to a standing position often brings out symptoms of low blood pressure. This occurs because standing causes blood to “settle” in the veins of the lower body, and this can lower the blood pressure. If the blood pressure is already low, standing can make the low pressure worse, to the point of causing symptoms. The development of lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting upon standing caused by low blood pressure is called orthostatic hypotension. Normal individuals are able to compensate rapidly for the low pressure created by standing with the responses discussed previously and do not develop orthostatic hypotension.

Heart disease:Chest pain (a symptom of angina) or even a heart attack due to is insufficient blood pressure to deliver blood to the coronary arteries (the arteries that supply blood to the heart’s muscle), a person may develop.

Kidney disease: When insufficient blood is delivered to the kidneys, the kidneys fail to eliminate wastes from the body, for example, urea (BUN) and creatinine, and increases in their levels in the blood occur.

Shock is a life-threatening condition where persistently low blood pressure causes organs such as kidney, liver, heart, lung, and brain to fail rapidly.

 

Causes of low blood pressure: Dehydration, bleeding, and inflammation

Conditions that reduce the volume of blood, reduce cardiac output (the amount of blood pumped by the heart), and medications are frequent reasons for low blood pressure.

 

Dehydration is common among patients with prolonged nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive exercise which shunts blood away from the organs to the muscles. Large amounts of water are lost when vomiting and with diarrhea, especially if the person does not drink adequate amounts of fluid to replace the depleted water.

 

Other causes of dehydration include exercise, sweating, fever, and heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. Individuals with mild dehydration may experience only thirst and dry mouth. Moderate to severe dehydration may cause orthostatic hypotension (manifested by lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting upon standing). Prolonged and severe dehydration can lead to shock, kidney failure, confusion, acidosis (too much acid in the blood), coma, and even death.

Moderate or severe bleeding can quickly deplete an individual’s body of blood, leading to low blood pressure or orthostatic hypotension. Bleeding can result from trauma, surgical complications, or from gastrointestinal abnormalities such as ulcers, tumors, or diverticulosis. Occasionally, the bleeding may be so severe and rapid (for example, bleeding from a ruptured aortic aneurysm) that it causes shock and death rapidly.

Severe inflammation of organs inside the body such as acute pancreatitis can cause low blood pressure. In acute pancreatitis, fluid leaves the blood vessels to enter the inflamed tissues around the pancreas as well as the abdominal cavity, concentrating blood and reducing its volume.

 

Causes of low blood pressure: Heart disease

 

Weakened heart muscle can cause the heart to fail and reduce the amount of blood it pumps. One common cause of weakened heart muscle is the death of a large portion of the heart’s muscle due to a single, large heart attack or repeated smaller heart attacks. Other examples of conditions that can weaken the ability of the heart to pump blood include medications that are toxic to the heart, infections of the muscle of the heart by viruses (myocarditis), and diseases of the heart’s valves such as aortic stenosis that reduce the flow of blood from the heart and into the arteries.

Pericarditis is an inflammation of the pericardium (the sac surrounding the heart). Pericarditis can cause fluid to accumulate within the pericardium and compress the heart, restricting the ability of the heart to expand, fill, and pump blood.

Pulmonary embolism is a condition in which a blood clot in a vein (deep vein thrombosis) breaks off and travels to the heart and eventually the lung. A large blood clot can block the flow of blood into the left ventricle from the lungs and severely diminish the blood returning to the heart for pumping. Pulmonary embolism is a life-threatening emergency.

A slow heart rate (bradycardia) can decrease the amount of blood pumped by the heart. The resting heart rate for a healthy adult is between 60 and 100 beats/minute. Bradycardia (resting heart rates slower than 60 beats/minute) does not always cause low blood pressure. In fact, some highly trained athletes can have resting heart rates in the 40s and 50s (beats per minute) without any symptoms. The slow heart rates are offset by more forceful contractions of the heart that pump more blood than in non-athletes. But in many patients bradycardia can lead to low blood pressure, lightheadedness, dizziness, and even fainting.

Several common reasons for bradycardia include: 1) sick sinus syndrome, 2) heart block, and 3) drug toxicity. Many of these conditions occur in the elderly.

 

Sick sinus syndrome: Sick sinus syndrome occurs when the diseased electrical system of the heart cannot generate electrical signals fast enough to maintain a normal heart rate.

Heart block: Heart block occurs when the specialized tissues that transmit electrical current in the heart are damaged by heart attacks, degeneration from atherosclerosis, and medications. Heart block prevents some or all of the electrical signals from reaching parts of the heart, and this prevents the heart from contracting as well as it otherwise would.

Drug toxicity: Drugs such as digoxin (Lanoxin) or beta blockers for high blood pressure can slow the transmission of electricity in the heart chemically and can cause bradycardia and hypotension (see section “Medications that cause low blood pressure”).

An abnormally fast heart rate (tachycardia) also can cause low blood pressure. The most common example of tachycardia causing low blood pressure is atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a disorder of the heart characterized by rapid and irregular electrical discharges from the muscle of the heart causing the ventricles to contract irregularly and (usually) rapidly. The rapidly contracting ventricles do not have enough time to fill maximally with blood before each contraction, and the amount of blood that is pumped decreases in spite of the faster heart rate. Other abnormally rapid heart rhythms such as ventricular tachycardia also can produce low blood pressure, sometimes even life-threatening shock.

Low blood pressure causes: Medications

 

Medications that cause low blood pressure

 

Medications such as calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, and digoxin (Lanoxin) can slow the rate at which the heart contracts. Some elderly people are extremely sensitive to these medications since they are more likely to have diseased hearts and electrical conduction tissues. In some individuals, the heart rate can become dangerously slow even with small doses of these medications.

Medications used in treating high blood pressure (such as angiotensin converting enzyme or ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and alpha blockers) can excessively lower blood pressure and result in symptomatic low blood pressure especially among the elderly.

Water pills (diuretics) such as hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL) and furosemide (Lasix) can decrease blood volume by causing excessive urination.

Medications used for treating depression, such as amitriptyline (Elavil); Parkinson’s disease, such as levodopa-carbidopa (Sinemet); and erectile dysfunction (impotence), such as sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), and tadalafil (Cialis) when used in combination with nitroglycerin, can cause low blood pressure.

Alcohol and narcotics also can cause low blood pressure.

 

Other conditions that cause low blood pressure

 

Vasovagal reaction is a common condition in which a healthy person temporarily develops low blood pressure, slow heart rate, and sometimes fainting. A vasovagal reaction typically is brought on by emotions of fear or pain such as having blood drawn, starting an intravenous infusion, or by gastrointestinal upset. Vasovagal reactions are caused by activity of the involuntary (autonomic) nervous system, especially the vagus nerve, which releases hormones that slow the heart and widen the blood vessels. The vagus nerve also controls digestive tract function and senses activity in the digestive system. Thus, some people can have a vasovagal reaction from straining at a bowel movement or vomiting.

Postural (orthostatic) hypotension is a sudden drop in blood pressure when an individual stands up from a sitting, squatting, or supine (lying) position. When a person stands up, gravity causes blood to settle in the veins in the legs so that less blood returns to the heart for pumping, and, as a result, the blood pressure drops. The body normally responds automatically to the drop in blood pressure by increasing the rate and narrowing the veins to return more blood to the heart. In patients with postural hypotension, this compensating reflex fails to occur, resulting low blood pressure and its symptoms. Postural hypotension can occur in persons of all ages but is much more common among the elderly, especially in those on medications for high blood pressure and/or diuretics. Other causes of postural hypotension include dehydration, adrenal insufficiency (discussed later), prolonged bed rest, diabetes, and certain rare neurological syndromes (for example, Shy-Drager syndrome) that damage the autonomic nerves.

Another form of postural hypotension occurs typically in young healthy individuals. After prolonged standing, the individual’s heart rate and blood pressure drop, causing dizziness, nausea, and often fainting. In these individuals, the autonomic nervous system wrongly responds to prolonged standing by directing the heart to slow down and the veins to dilate thereby removing blood from circulating in the arteries.

Micturition syncope is a temporary drop in blood pressure and loss of consciousness brought about by urinating. This condition typically occurs in elderly patients and may be due to the release of hormones that lower blood pressure.

Adrenal insufficiency, for example, due to Addison’s disease, can cause low blood pressure. Addison’s disease is a disorder in which the adrenal glands (small glands next to the kidneys) are destroyed. The destroyed adrenal glands can no longer produce sufficient adrenal hormones (specifically cortisol) necessary to maintain normal bodily functions. Cortisol has many functions, one of which is to maintain blood pressure and the function of the heart. Addison’s disease is characterized by weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, low blood pressure, and, sometimes, darkening of the skin.

Septicemia is a severe infection in which bacteria (or other infectious organisms such as fungi) enter the blood. The infection typically originates in the lungs (as pneumonia), bladder, or in the abdomen due to diverticulitis or gallstones. The bacteria then enter the blood where they release toxins and cause life-threatening and profound low blood pressure (septic shock), often with damage to several organs.

Anaphylaxis (anaphylactic shock) is a potentially fatal allergic reaction to medications such as penicillin, intravenous iodine used in some X-ray studies, foods such as peanuts, or bee stings (insect stings). In addition to a severe drop in blood pressure, individuals may also experience hives and wheezing due to constriction of the airways, and a swollen throat which cause difficulty breathing. The shock is caused by enlargement of blood-containing blood vessels and escape of water from the blood into the tissues.

 

What is the treatment for low blood pressure?

 

Low blood pressure readings in healthy subjects without symptoms or organ damage need no treatment. All patients with symptoms possibly due to low blood pressure should be evaluated by a doctor. Patients who have had a major drop in blood pressure from their usual levels even without the development of symptoms also should be evaluated. The doctor needs to identify the cause of the low blood pressure; remedies will depend on the cause. For example, if a medication is causing the low blood pressure, the dose of medication may have to be reduced or the medication stopped. Do not adjust medication dose on your own, and do not stop taking any medication without first consulting your doctor.

 

Dehydration is treated with fluids and minerals (electrolytes). Mild dehydration without nausea and vomiting can be treated with oral fluids and electrolytes. Moderate to severe dehydration usually is treated in a hospital or emergency room with intravenous fluids and electrolytes.

Blood loss can be treated by treating the cause of the bleeding, and with intravenous fluids and blood transfusions. Continuous and severe bleeding needs to be treated immediately.

Septic shock is a medical emergency and is treated with intravenous fluids and antibiotics.

Blood pressure medications or diuretics are adjusted, changed, or stopped by the doctor if they are causing low blood pressure symptoms.

Bradycardia may be due to a medication. The doctor may reduce, change, or stop the medication. Bradycardia due to sick sinus syndrome or heart block is treated with an implantable pacemaker.

Tachycardia is treated depending on the nature of the tachycardia. Atrial fibrillation can be treated with oral medications, electrical cardioversion, or a catheterization procedure called pulmonary vein isolation. Ventricular tachycardia can be controlled with medications or with an implantable defibrillator.

Pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis is treated with blood thinners, initially with types of heparin. Later, oral warfarin (Coumadin) or other oral medications are substituted for heparin.

Pericardial fluid from pericarditis can be removed by a procedure called pericardiocentesis.

Postural hypotension can be treated with changes in diet such as increasing water and salt intake,* increasing intake of caffeinated beverages (because caffeine constricts blood vessels), using compression stockings to compress the leg veins and reduce the pooling of blood in the leg veins, and in some patients, the use of a medication called midodrine (ProAmatine). The problem with midodrine is that while it increases blood pressure in the upright position, the supine blood pressure may become too high, thus increasing the risk of strokes. Mayo Clinic researchers found that a medication used to treat muscle weakness in myasthenia gravis called pyridostigmine (Mestinon) increases upright blood pressure but not supine blood pressure. Pyridostigmine, an anticholinesterase medication, works on the autonomic nervous system, especially when a person is standing up. Side effects include minor abdominal cramping or increased frequency of bowel movements.

Postprandial hypotension refers to low blood pressure occurring after meals. Ibuprofen (Motrin) or indomethacin (Indocin) may be beneficial.

Vasovagal syncope can be treated with several types of drugs such as beta blockers, for example, propanolol (Inderal, Inderal LA) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as fluoxetine (Prozac), escitalopram oxalate (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa), and fluvoxamine (Luvox). Fludrocortisone (Florinef) (a drug that prevents dehydration by causing the kidney(s) to retain water) also may be used. A pacemaker can also be helpful when a patient fails drug therapy.

Natural remedies have not been proven. Some herbs reported to raise blood pressure include ginger, rosemary, aniseed, cinnamon, and pepper. Do not take any herbs without first consulting your doctor.

*Note: Increasing salt intake can lead to heart failure in patients with existing heart disease and should not be undertaken without consulting a doctor.

 

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P Carrothers

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Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Lower Your Blood Pressure with A Daily Dose of Onions.

onions

 

Lower your Blood Pressure with a daily dose of onions.

In a Spanish study, eating 1/3 cup of onions daily, any kind of onions,

it cut patients blood pressure by 21% in five weeks. Onions are

rich in quercetin, a natural diuretic that lowers pressure by

flushing our excess fluids and salt. Many people stop eating onions

because of bad breath worries, but please put them back in your

diet and make sure any older people put them back in their diets

also, to avoid and congestive heart problems.

 

As always please share with family and loved ones.  If you need help with your personalized healthcare plan, please call us.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Fruits that Fight Heart Disease

berrries

 

Fruits that Fight Heart Disease

 

The next time you are at the grocery store, seek out a selection of colorful berries to add to your shopping cart. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are an easy, delicious way to protect your health. Berries can be found year-round, either fresh  or frozen – you can even grow your own, and including them in your diet is effortless. They taste great and can be eaten for breakfast in oatmeal or added to a smoothie, tossed into a salad at lunch, or blended into a nutritious “nice” cream for dessert after dinner.

 

These vibrant, health-promoting fruits are rich in fiber and cardioprotective antioxidant phytochemicals. Antioxidants, both from the diet and naturally produced by the body, are critical for your health as they protect against oxidation and minimize damage to your cells from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules with unpaired electrons that can potentially damage genetic material and other cellular components. Accumulated free radical damage over time ages the body and contributes to chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants slow or stop the reactions of free radicals, neutralizing them.

 

Berries: More than Antioxidants

Some dietary antioxidants, like vitamin C, work in the body primarily as antioxidants. The antioxidants in berries are different: The major antioxidant phytochemicals in berries are anthocyanins, in the class of flavonoids. These phytochemicals are concentrated in the skins of berries, give rise to their deep colors, are thought to have a number of benefits that are unrelated to direct antioxidant effects.

 

Flavonoids do have antioxidant activity; however, their most powerful health benefits are thought to be due to their other biological effects. Berries and their flavonoids have been found to decrease oxidation of LDL cholesterol which helps prevent the production of atherosclerotic plaque, increase blood antioxidant capacity, decrease adhesion of inflammatory cells to vessel walls, and improve blood pressure regulation.

 

Higher anthocyanin and berry consumption is associated with lowering an inflammatory marker called C-reactive protein, suggesting that berries may curb inflammation. The phytochemicals in berries also may enhance nitric oxide production in blood vessels, which helps to properly regulate blood pressure. Studies have shown that high flavonoid intake is associated with an up to 45 percent reduction in risk of coronary heart disease. Nurses’ Health Study II data showed that young and middle-aged women who ate three or more weekly servings of blueberries or strawberries had a 34 percent reduction in heart attack risk compared to those who consumed a smaller amount of berries over the 18-year follow-up period. Furthermore, berries also have anti-cancer effects and provide protection against diabetes and cognitive decline with aging.

 

Berries Are Superfoods

Long-term studies measuring berry or flavonoid consumption suggest that all these cardiovascular benefits of berries add up to longevity value, according to the reduced risk of all-cause mortality observed in these studies.

 

Berries are the fruits with the highest nutrient-to-calorie ratio and an important component of a high-nutrient diet; I consider them to be superfoods. Along with greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, and seeds, berries .  These are foods you should eat every day, and they should make up a significant portion of your diet to promote health and longevity and to fight chronic disease.

 

One thing is for sure: It is clear these small packages of sweetly tart fruits have an amazing capacity to benefit our health. They are an important component of a high-nutrient diet. Eat some berries daily to provide your body with protection against free radicals, inflammation, heart disease, and cancers.

 

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived: JF

312-972-WELL

Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Eggs and Your Blood Pressure

eggs

Eggs and Your Blood Pressure
Three recent studies suggest that eating two eggs daily can reduce blood pressure as effectively as taking a low-dose ACE… inhibitor. Eggs are rich in peptides, compounds that help keep your artery walls relaxed, preventing pressure-raising spasms. Do not worry, eggs do not affect your cholesterol levels. That bacon with toast does! If you can only eat egg whites, that is fine. The poly peptides are found in egg whites too.
Please share with family and friends.
Health and Wellness Associates
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Health and Disease

Astronauts and Blood Pressure

astronaut

Astronauts may have the most high-pressured job in the world.

But you’ll be stunned when you hear what astronauts do to keep their blood pressure in check.

They never take normal blood pressure drugs.

In fact, if an astronaut takes any of the most-prescribed blood pressure drugs, they’re not allowed to fly.

You might think they have a special kind of drug that is more expensive and more effective.

You’re wrong.

They only take natural remedies.

They don’t have a choice.

The Aerospace Medical Association guidelines insist they use natural remedies for blood pressure.

That’s right: NASA has effectively banned common high blood pressure drugs in favor of natural remedies.

Something for you to think about.

Health and Wellness Associates

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Marchione

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