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Tag Archive | "blood pressure"

Four things you can do today to support your heart health


HEA-Four-things

(BPT) – On the path to good health, it pays to follow your heart – literally. A healthy heart is essential to supporting good overall health, yet many people ignore the warning signs that their heart is not as healthy as it could be.

A 2016 survey from the American Academy of Family Physicians, conducted by Harris Poll, found that nearly three in 10 men and women reported they had been diagnosed with high blood pressure. This result mirrors the findings of research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings translate to an estimated 75 million people with high blood pressure, and just slightly more than half have the condition under control.

“This finding is concerning because we know that high blood pressure and heart attacks or chronic heart failure are so closely related,” said John Meigs, Jr., MD, president of the AAFP. “According to the CDC, seven out of 10 people who have a first heart attack have high blood pressure. Seven out of 10 people who develop chronic heart failure have high blood pressure. So it’s important that people know what their blood pressure is.”

To lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health, the American Academy of Family Physicians offers these recommendations.

  • Be deliberate with your diet. Fruits and vegetables are essential, but pay special attention to their color too. Vegetables and fruits of different colors offer different nutrients, so mix them up. At the same time, avoid heavily processed foods and those high in sodium. You should also make sure you’re drinking plenty of water rather than soda or energy drinks. Aim for at least eight 8-ounce glasses every single day.
  • Balance your BMI. If you don’t know your BMI, a quick Internet search can lead you to several easy-to-use BMI calculators. And once you do know your BMI, you can start taking steps to reduce it, if necessary. According to the American Heart Association, losing just 5-10 percent of your body weight can dramatically reduce your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. And that leads us to …
  • Jump start your heart with aerobic exercise. Your heart is a muscle, and like other muscles in your body, exercise strengthens it. So put your heart through a workout with activities like walking, biking or hiking to increase your heart rate. Exercise can also lower your risk of developing plaque in your arteries, allowing your heart to be more efficient in delivering blood and nutrients to other parts of your body.
  • Stop the stress. Aside from a poor diet, there may be no larger culprit for high blood pressure than stress. Successful stress management has been proven to reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke. So relax, exercise, meditate, breathe deep or just have some fun. Whatever you do to burn off stress, make it an essential part of your day. You and your heart will be better for it.

“Get your blood pressure checked,” says Meigs. “If you have high blood pressure, work with your doctor to treat it and lower your risk factors. That same advice applies to knowing what your blood cholesterol levels are.”

To learn more about how you can reduce your blood pressure and improve your heart health, have a conversation with your family doctor today. Your doctor will be able to give you an accurate assessment of your current health and offer ideas on where and how you can improve. And to find more heart-healthy tips, visit familydoctor.org.

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Six things that raise your blood pressure


Read about things that raise your blood pressure at www.heart.org/ bpraisers.

Read about things that raise your blood pressure at www.heart.org/bpraisers.

(NAPS)—Keeping blood pressure under control can mean adding things to your life, such as exercise, that help lower it. But you may not realize that it also means avoiding things that raise it.

If you or someone you care about is among the one in three U.S. adults—about 80 million people—with high blood pressure, you need to be aware of these six things that can raise blood pressure and thwart your efforts to keep it in a healthy range.

1. Salt. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends people aim to eat no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. That level is associated with lower blood pressure, which reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. Because the average American’s sodium intake is so excessive, even cutting back to no more than 2,400 mg a day can improve blood pressure and heart health.

2. Decongestants. People with high blood pressure should be aware that the use of decongestants may raise blood pressure. Many over-the-counter (OTC) cold and flu preparations contain decongestants. Always read the labels on all OTC medications. Look for warnings to those with high blood pressure and to those who take blood pressure medications.

3. Alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. Your doctor may advise you to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink. If cutting back on alcohol is hard for you to do on your own, ask your health care provider about getting help. The AHA recommends that if you drink, limit it to no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women.

4. Hot Tubs & Saunas. People with high blood pressure should not move back and forth between cold water and hot tubs or saunas. This could cause an increase in blood pressure.

5. Weight Gain. Maintaining a healthy weight has many health benefits. People who are slowly gaining weight can either gradually increase the level of physical activity (toward the equivalent of 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity) or reduce caloric intake, or both, until their weight is stable. If you are overweight, losing as little as five to 10 pounds may help lower your blood pressure.

6. Sitting. New research shows that just a few minutes of light activity for people who sit most of the day can lower blood pressure in those with type 2 diabetes. Taking three-minute walk breaks during an eight-hour day was linked to a 10-point drop in systolic blood pressure.

For more information about blood pressure management, visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org/hbp. Bayer’s Consumer Health Division, maker of Coricidin® HBP, is a sponsor of the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure website.

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Colder weather: 


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How to manage your blood pressure and health

(BPT) – Research shows that as the temperature drops, your blood pressure tends to increase. The changing weather brings cooler temperatures and increases your risk for heart attack, stroke and other serious health conditions.

Measure Up/Pressure Down is a national high blood pressure campaign, led by the American Medical Group Foundation, and aims to empower people to measure, monitor and maintain a healthy blood pressure. As the weather changes, Measure Up/Pressure Down and campaign supporter United Health Foundation have three tips for your heart health:

1. Understand high blood pressure:

High blood pressure, also called hypertension by medical professionals, means that the force of blood pushing through your body is too strong. That pressure puts a strain on your arteries, which carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. In colder weather, blood vessels constrict more than normal, which raises blood pressure. By understanding what high blood pressure is, you can make lifestyle changes to stay on top of the disease.

2. Practice healthy habits:

Healthy habits -such as being physically active, eating healthy and limiting alcohol, can be critical to managing your high blood pressure year round, especially during fall and winter. Try to get up and move for at least 30 minutes each day. As the weather changes, modify your exercise routine to include raking leaves, shoveling snow or walking indoors at a nearby mall. During the holiday season, many people indulge in unhealthy food and large amounts of alcohol at holiday parties, family festivities and other gatherings. You don’t need to give up everything you love, but set limits before each event to ensure you don’t go overboard. With high blood pressure, it’s important to limit sodium and harmful fats. You should also limit alcohol to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

3. Measure and monitor your blood pressure regularly:

If you have high blood pressure, talk with your healthcare team about how frequently you should monitor your blood pressure. Blood pressure monitors are inexpensive and can be purchased at pharmacies and other stores. Many community locations, like supermarkets and pharmacies, have machines that take and record your blood pressure. Others, including fire departments or local gyms, may have staff on hand that can measure your blood pressure for you. Be sure to properly position your body for an accurate reading. For instance, when you measure blood pressure over a coat or jacket, your reading can be falsely elevated.

More than one in three Americans have high blood pressure. To measure, monitor and maintain your blood pressure all year round and learn more about this disease, please visit MeasureUpPressureDown.com.

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What you need to know to control this silent killer


HEA-Blood-pressure

(BPT) – Most people assume they only need to take their medication when they are sick, meaning when they experience symptoms. But in the case of hypertension, this type of thinking could kill you.

Patients who have hypertension are often completely asymptomatic – that’s the reason hypertension is often called the silent killer. The belief that symptoms such as headaches, nose bleeds, nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping or facial flushing are signals to take blood pressure medication is a myth.

Nonadherence to hypertension medication is a huge challenge. Research shows that one in three American adults suffer from high blood pressure, but only 47 percent effectively treat their disease to keep blood pressure levels under control.

Higher risk for heart attack, stroke

Express Scripts’ specialist pharmacist Ed Dannemiller recently spoke with a patient who was 40 days late to refill her blood pressure prescription.

“When I asked her about the delay, she said she only takes her medication when she feels stressed or has a headache. The problem with this is that patients with hypertension may feel perfectly fine before suffering a heart attack or stroke,” says Dannemiller.

Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80, but consistent levels above 140/90 require medical attention. Simply keeping a patient’s blood pressure under control decreases the risk of heart attack by 25 percent, stroke by 33 percent and heart failure by 50 percent.

But the only way to have a precise measurement is through a blood pressure reading.

Become an engaged patient

“I encourage patients to become engaged in their own health and keep track of their blood pressure readings, which can help prevent unnecessary hospitalizations or ER visits,” Dannemiller explains.

For patients with white-coat hypertension – those whose blood pressure rises from stress in the doctor’s office – a home blood pressure monitor is a good option.

Dannemiller offers these useful tips for patients monitoring their pressure at home:

* Take blood pressure readings in a seated position with arm at the heart level

* To regulate the monitor, discard the first reading

* Keep a record of your blood pressure levels to bring to your doctor’s appointment

This additional data will help your physician better understand your condition and make better medical decisions to ensure healthier outcomes.

Lifestyle changes can help

In addition to staying adherent to blood pressure medication, regardless of symptoms, the following lifestyle modifications also can improve cardiovascular health:

* Consume a heart-healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in salt, fat and cholesterol

* Engage in regular aerobic physical activity

* Manage your weight, limit alcohol consumption and do not smoke

Value of specialized understanding

“Even with lifestyle modifications, most patients need at least two medications to reach their blood pressure goal,” says Dannemiller.

Intervention and education from specialist pharmacists provide an important resource to improve medication adherence. When patients understand the value of their treatment and embrace good cardiovascular health, they bring a little more noise to this silent killer. For more information, visit lab.express-scripts.com.

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Health story of the year: Salt vindicated


(ARA) – Paul T. Meagher sometimes gets disapproving stares when people see him sprinkle his food with salt as he has done since he was a young lad growing up in Ireland. He has a response for such people.
“I tell them you can take my blood pressure right now, or we can have a run around the block, and I guarantee you I’m in better shape than you,” said Meagher, 68, who now lives in Westport, Mass. “I’m fit, at least for my age, and I use salt every day in volume. Hasn’t done me a blind bit of harm, which is the way we put it from where I come from.”
Recent research quantifies Meagher’s experience. In 2011, half a dozen medical studies showed the health benefits of salt or revealed the significant risks of low-sodium diets — providing vindication for this essential nutrient and the people, like Meagher, who love it.
“The vindication of salt is probably the biggest health and nutrition story of the last year,” says Lori Roman, president of the Salt Institute. “Everyone knows salt tastes good, but the latest research published in leading medical journals confirms that salt is good for you, too. The medical studies underline what we have been saying for years: science is on salt’s side.”
The new data raises questions about the federal government’s effort to put Americans on a low-salt diet. The Food and Drug Administration is inviting online public comments about ways to reduce sodium consumption. In the past, such invitations have foreshadowed the rollout of new regulations.
The six peer-reviewed medical studies documented:
Type 1 Diabetes risk: In a study of patients with type 1 diabetes, low sodium intake was associated with renal disease and premature death.
Type 2 Diabetes risk: In an Australian study of type 2 diabetes patients, lower sodium was associated with increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
No benefit to salt reduction: A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension showed eating less salt will not prevent heart attacks, strokes or early death. On the contrary, low-sodium diets increase the likelihood of premature death.
Risk of death: A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that lower salt intakes resulted in higher death rates.
Other negative effects of low-salt intakes: An analysis published in the American Journal of Hypertension showed individuals placed on the U.S. Dietary Guidelines-recommended salt levels experienced significant increases in cholesterol and other risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Risk with current U.S. Dietary Guidelines: An analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that people who ate salt at the levels recommended by the U.S. government were at greater risk of cardiovascular events.
The research has prompted new scrutiny of the government’s attempts to put all Americans on a low-salt diet. Scientific American reviewed medical studies over several decades and concluded in a headline: “It’s time to end the war on salt.” The respected magazine also said, “The zealous drive by politicians to limit our salt intake has little basis in science.”
Meagher remembers when the federal government told him eggs could be bad for his health. He ignored that advice, too.
“I would rather the federal government stay well away from my kitchen altogether,” Meagher says. “I will continue to eat my boiled eggs from an egg cup, with an egg spoon, and with plenty of salt.”

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