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Tag Archive | "high blood pressure"

Colder weather: 


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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Good news about high blood pressure


HEA-High-blood-pressureNine out of 10 people can control it but only half do

(BPT) – There is some really good news about high blood pressure that you simply must hear.

“This silent killer can be prevented, and in the majority of patients who already have high blood pressure, it can be controlled,” says Dr. George Mensah, director of the Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health. “Our research supports these two facts.”

Recent studies suggest that 9 out of 10 people with high blood pressure can control it; however, only about half of the people in the United States with high blood pressure do.

“We need to understand, develop, and scale up strategies to support patients and their health care providers to achieve higher control rates,” says Dr. Mensah. Many lives can be saved by controlling high blood pressure rates, according to Dr. Mensah. For example, effectively controlling high blood pressure in 10 percent more patients can save about 14,000 lives every year in the United States.

Work must also be done to prevent high blood pressure in children. Most babies and children have normal blood pressure. In fact, 90 percent of girls and 80 percent of boys in the United States have healthy blood pressure levels. “This is good news because if prevention begins in childhood, we have the greatest chance of most children growing into adulthood without developing high blood pressure,” says Dr. Mensah.

Anyone, including children and teens, can develop high blood pressure. The risk of developing high blood pressure increases with advancing age. And although high blood pressure is more common in African Americans, it can develop in anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender.

In most people, a specific cause of high blood pressure cannot be identified. Factors associated with high blood pressure include a family history of high blood pressure; a diet high in salt; not enough exercise; stress; some sleep disorders; and drinking too much alcohol. It is important to talk with your health care provider if you have any of these factors. Everyone should:

* Follow a healthy diet. Limit the amount of salt and alcohol that you consume. The NHLBI’s Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan promotes healthy eating.

* Be active. Regular physical activity can lower high blood pressure and reduce your risk for other health problems.

* Maintain a healthy weight. Staying at a healthy weight can help you control high blood pressure and reduce your risk for other health problems.

* Learn to manage and cope with stress. Learning how to manage stress, relax and cope with problems can improve your overall health.

* Check your blood pressure. The test is easy and painless and can be done at a health care provider’s office or clinic. Your health care provider can tell you how often you should be tested.

* Know your family history. Figure out if a blood relative such as a mother, father, sister, or brother has or had high blood pressure. This will help you determine if you are at a higher risk of developing it.

Many people who adopt these healthy lifestyle habits may prevent high blood pressure or delay its onset. And if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is important that you work with your health care provider for lifelong blood pressure control and follow your treatment plan closely. Early and ongoing treatment may help you avoid heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and other high blood pressure-related problems.

“It is important to continue research that will inform us on how to get high blood pressure controlled in everyone,” says Dr. Mensah. “NHLBI-supported research on high blood pressure has led to many advances in medical knowledge and health care. Much of this research depends on the willingness of volunteers to participate in clinical trials. Clinical trials test new ways to prevent, diagnose or treat various diseases and conditions such as high blood pressure.”

To learn more about high blood pressure and how to prevent and control the condition, visit NHLBI’s website: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp. And to learn more about DASH, visit: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dash.

For more information about clinical trials related to hypertension and the ways you can get involved, visit: http://clinicalresearch.nih.gov.

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Boomers: help stop a silent killer

Tony Thomas and his family

Tony Thomas and his family

(BPT) – Eating well, exercise, sleep—these are all things we can control when it comes to our health. But unfortunately, some health-related things are out of sight, and therefore, often out of mind. Hidden health issues can escalate for years before becoming potentially life-threatening. For example, the term “silent killer” refers to fatal medical conditions that often exhibit no warning signs. High blood pressure is one such condition that many people are familiar with, but there is another very serious condition that most people have never heard of: abdominal aortic aneurysm.

More than 1 million people are living with an undiagnosed abdominal aortic aneurysm, also known as AAA (pronounced “triple A”), and it’s the third-leading cause of death in men 60 and older. The good news is that AAA can be managed and treated if found in time through a simple ultrasound screening test; so, it’s important for boomers to know the risk factors for themselves and their loved ones so they can ask their doctor about screening, if necessary.

What exactly is AAA? AAA is a balloon-like bulge in the body’s main artery that can burst unexpectedly. The problem with AAA is there are no symptoms, and when the aneurysm ruptures, only 10 to 25 percent of people will survive.

Tony Thomas of Detroit, Mich., is one of the lucky survivors. One morning Thomas woke up feeling great, and with no warnings, suffered a ruptured AAA. He was reading a newspaper, suddenly felt a gurgle on the right side of his back and quickly become incapacitated. His daughter called an ambulance and he was rushed to emergency surgery.

Today, Thomas feels very fortunate to have survived a ruptured AAA. He has partnered with a non-profit, AAAneurysm Outreach, to become an advocate for their ambassador program – made possible by Medtronic, Inc. – spreading the word about AAA risk factors and the importance of screening.

A quick and painless ultrasound screening of the abdomen, similar to a pregnancy ultrasound, can easily detect the condition. In just a few minutes, a doctor can determine if AAA is present and if corrective action is necessary. The good news is at least 95 percent of AAAs can be successfully treated if detected prior to rupture through screening and most health plans cover AAA screening tests at no cost for people who fit the risk profile.

So who is at greater risk of developing AAA? Risk factors associated with this condition include:

* Age: Individuals 60 or older are most likely to develop this condition.

* Gender: AAAs are between five to 10 times more common in men than in women. However, research shows AAA may be more deadly in women.

* Family history: 15 percent of those with AAA have close relatives with the condition.

* History of smoking: Tobacco users are eight times more likely to be affected than non-smokers.

* Other health conditions: Including clogged arteries (atherosclerosis), high blood pressure (hypertension), and high cholesterol.

“I want to urge others to learn about AAA and get screened if they are at risk. I didn’t have that opportunity when I was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery,” says Thomas. “It’s important for others to know that a simple ultrasound screen can help save your life.”

If you or a loved one may be at risk for AAA, ask your doctor about a simple ultrasound screening. Visit www.AOutreach.org to learn more.





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Medicine cabinet makeover tips for people with high blood pressure

HEA-Flu-and-high-blood-pressure(BPT) – If you’re among the 68 million Americans who have high blood pressure, you may feel that taking your medicine, getting plenty of exercise and eating a healthy diet means you’re doing everything you can to manage your condition. But with cold season in full swing and many areas of the country recording record numbers of flu cases, it might be time for a medicine cabinet makeover as well – a total renovation in which you toss out any over-the-counter (OTC) medications that contain decongestants.

That’s because the same ingredients in decongestants that help relieve the nasal swelling associated with congestion also affect other blood vessels in the body, causing blood pressure and heart rate to rise—a potentially dangerous situation for those with high blood pressure. Unfortunately, just 10 percent of those with high blood pressure are aware they should avoid decongestants, and nearly half don’t know they should take a special OTC medicine when they have a cold or the flu, according to a survey by St. Joseph, makers of over-the-counter medications.

“The number of hypertensive people who don’t know to avoid decongestants is shocking,” says Bernie Kropfelder of -St. Joseph Health Products, LLC. “Each year, 5 to 20 percent of Americans will catch the flu, so it’s important for people with high blood pressure to talk to their doctors or pharmacists about which OTC medicines to avoid.”

If you have high blood pressure, start your medicine cabinet makeover by replacing OTC medicines that contain decongestants with remedies that don’t. Use products for fever and pain that contain acetaminophen, which will not interfere with aspirin’s benefits if you’re on an aspirin regimen.

Next, remove from your medicine cabinet, pantry or refrigerator dietary supplements that are high in sodium, as high levels of salt are commonly known to increase blood pressure. For example, many protein supplements contain hundreds of milligrams of sodium per serving.

Likewise, avoid supplements that contain extracts of grapefruit, and talk to your doctor about whether you should also remove grapefruit and grapefruit juice from your diet. Research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal points out that the number of medications that interact adversely with grapefruit is on the rise. There are now more than 85 drugs known to be affected by grapefruit, including calcium channel blockers that are used to treat high blood pressure, according to a CBC News report.

Once you’ve removed adverse products from your medicine cabinet, you’ll have plenty of room for additions that are good for your heart, your high blood pressure and your overall health, including:

  • Fish oil—supplements like fish oil that contain omega 3 fatty acids offer a host of health benefits, and are known to be good for your heart. People with high blood pressure are at increased risk of heart disease, so adding heart-healthy supplements to their diets may be beneficial.
  • Beet juice—OK, while this one should probably go in your refrigerator, adding beet juice to your diet may help your blood pressure control. Researchers at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia have found that within hours of drinking beet juice, study subjects had lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of four to five points, WebMD reports.
  • Sesame and rice bran oil—WebMD also reports that a recent study showed taking 35 grams of a sesame/rice bran oil blend daily can help lower blood pressure.

Finally, add some relaxation time to your “mental medicine cabinet.” Stress can elevate blood pressure, so engaging in activities that help reduce stress can aid in your efforts to control your blood pressure. While it’s not always possible to avoid stressful situations, you can counter the effects of daily stress with activities like meditation, yoga, listening to relaxing music or even just spending time with a beloved pet.




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Kent County Credit Union
Ray Winnie


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