Monday, June 27, 2011

Home remedies to cure low blood pressure

While high blood pressure is much talked about and people are aware of its symptoms and effects, not many know about low blood pressure.
In fact, it affects a large number of people worldwide. Very often people don't realise they are suffering from it and often dismiss it as an one-off case of feeling dizzy or ill. It could be a sign of a serious issue with the heart, endocrine or even signal neurological disorders. Severe low blood pressure can block oxygen and vital nutrients from flowing to the brain and hence shouldn't be taken lightly.

There can be plenty of reasons why you may be suffering from low blood pressure.
Dehydration : Drinking enough water is extremely essential for your well-being. If you are one of those who gets dehydrated easily, you must do something about it. One needs to drink more fluids than one loses. If you are one of those who works outdoors, ensure you keep sipping on liquids like nimbu paani. This will help keep the weakness in check.
Pregnancy : If you are pregnant, there's a good chance your pressure might drop. This is normal but get yourself checked if it becomes too frequent.
Heart issues : Some heart problems could cause blood in your body to not circulate properly.
Deficiency of nutrients: A lack of some essential vitamins such as B-12 and iron can lead to anaemia, which is turn can result in low blood pressure.
- Increase your salt intake: Generally people are told to avoid using too much salt in their diet. For people suffering from low blood pressure, salt can help. Check with your doctor though before turning to salty foods.
- Drink more water: Water is necessary for your basic body functioning. It also helps prevent dehydration. Don't forget to increase your water intake if you're constantly feeling giddy.
Home remedies : Take a cup of the raw beetroot juice twice daily. It is one of the best home remedies for low blood pressure. Drinking a cup of strong black coffee can also help. Some people suggest making a paste of almonds and drinking with lukewarm milk.
Exercise : Include a little exercise in your daily regime. A walk or a quick swim can help circulate the blood.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blood Pressure Medications - Bark More Than Bite

Don’t be reluctant to take blood pressure medications provided you have the right choice for your situation. See the guidelines on this webpage. Here we’ll discuss the pros and cons of five classes of medication that have been shown to be the most effective. The large scientific trials used to gather the necessary evidence are outlined on this sister page Blood Pressure Medication
There are five classes of blood pressure medicines that have been found to be the most effective in reducing morbidity and mortality in hypertension:

  • Thiazide diuretics
  • Beta-blockers
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers

Thiazide diuretics

Probably the overall drug of choice of all blood pressure medications. Inexpensive. Work by reducing intra-vascular volume and excreting salt. Extra benefit in inhibiting the normal loss of calcium in older people thereby reducing fractures of the hip. Extra benefit in people with heart failure. Some possible side-effects are sodium and potassium loss, minor increase in cholesterol and glucose, and others. Also elevated uric acid (gout) and lower magnesium. Usually well tolerated.

Beta blockers

There are more than a dozen, all generic names end in -lol. Work by decreasing the release of renin and decreasing the cardiac output and possibly actions on the sympathetic nervous systems. Significant extra benefit in treatment of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure and arrhythmias. Also useful in glaucoma, migraine, intention tremor, hyperthyroidism and performance anxiety (stage fright). May worsen asthma, emphysema, decompensated CHF, second or third degree heart block. Should use with caution in Type I diabetes (insulin). May cause confusion in the elderly. Occasional depression and cold hands or feet. One of the top 5 or 6 classes of all medication in my opinion.

ACE inhibitors

One of the best blood pressure medications. There are more than ten, all generic names end in -pril. Work by decreasing the conversion of angiotension to angiotension II which is a vasoconstrictor. Extra benefits in reducing non-fatal cardiovascular events and heart attack and left ventricular dysfunction (heart failure). Also good for kidney disease especially diabetics as well as acute MI (heart attack). Possible side effects include dry cough (10 to 20%), renal damage in renovascular hypertension, high potassium and allergic swelling. Not for use in pregnancy.

Angiotensin receptor blockers

Growing class. All generic names end in -sartan. They have an action very similar to the ACE inhibitors and a side effect profile also similar. Their action is in a different part of the angiotensin II conversion process so their effects are additive to that of the ACE inhibitors, that is they can be used in combination. One nice advantage: they do not have the cough side effect of the ACE inhibitors.

Calcium channel blockers

We can divide these into dihydropyridines and the nondihydropyridines. The former would be the best choice. The passage of calcium is blocked resulting in vasodilation and thus lowering blood pressure. May result in compensatory tachycardia (fast heartbeat). Able to control angina symptoms but lack the proven reduction in mortality of the beta blockers. Sometimes cause peripheral edema (fluid swelling).

Doctor’s Practical Guide

It seemed to me that some people had a fear of taking any blood pressure medications because of side effects. This is a reasonable concern but does not justify outright fear. I tried to reassure everyone that very few side effects are severe or irreversible, that most were just the opposite. We take the approach that you try a medication and if a side effect occurs and persists the medication is changed. Many times no significant side effect is present. Almost always a suitable agent can be found.
It stands to reason that if a company has a drug that causes everyone side effects they might as well not even try to bring it on the market, nobody would take it. Also if an occasional side effect is severe it would not make sense to market it because everyone would be afraid, including the doctors. Unfortunately something bad can get through despite everyone’s best efforts.
When you balance what happens to you with unchecked hypertension against the perils of taking some of our high blood pressure medications the answer is easy. You are much better served by working with your doctor to find the combination of medicines that is best for you.
What I like even better is making the life-style changes that lower blood pressure with no risk whatsoever. These can eliminate the problem altogether or make it much easier to treat.
Let’s also remember that your elevation could easily be false and that the only way to really know your true blood pressure is to take it yourself.

The operation to 'cure' high blood pressure: how it works

LIfestyle improvements such as weight loss if necessary, exercise, stopping smoking and a low salt diet can reduce high blood pressure but many will require medication.
There are an estimated 15 million people in Britain with raised blood pressure and drugs to treat the condition are amongst the most commonly prescribed drugs.
For some people their blood pressure remains high even though they eat little salt and take medication.
In these patients the nervous system keeps sending signals from the brain to the kidneys to leave large amounts of salt in the blood which increases the volume of blood, causing a rise in pressure. The kidneys also produce hormones which cause the blood vessels to contract or dilate which also affects blood pressure.
The new procedure interferes with the signals to the kidneys by damaging the nerves carrying them.
The procedure involves passing a wire into the blood vessel in the groin and up into the main artery leading into the kidneys. From there the wire is used to make a series of tiny burns on the inside of the blood vessel which damages the nerve running along the outside of it.
The tiny burns just one millimetre across are the equivalent of snuffing a candle out between the fingers. A series of four or five burns are carried out in a spiral pattern along the inside of the artery to each kidney.
The blood vessel itself does not sustain serious damage as the blood flowing along inside it cools the burn, like running a burned finger under a tap. But the burn is deep enough to affect the nerve on the other side of the vessel.
Once the connection between the brain and kidneys is distrupted the signals to raise blood pressure should stop.
Early results show it can take between one and three months for the procedure to have an effect on blood pressure.
For some patients it will mean their blood pressure will respond to medication and for others it will mean they can reduce their dose or even stop taking them altogether.
Blood pressure is expressed with two numbers, systolic and diastolic. Systolic, the first number, reflects pressure in the arteries as the heart beats and the diastolic, the second number, is the pressure between beats.
A normal blood pressure is around 120/80 with most otherwise healthy people not suffering any ill effects up to around 130/80 and 140/90. Blood pressure between 140/90 and 160/100 is known as mildly raised and above 160/100 is definitely too high.

Monday, June 20, 2011

New ultrasound technique can measure blood pressure at many points in the body

Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology, together with the Italian company Esaote, have developed a new technique to measure the blood pressure. Using an ultrasound scanner, which is well known from pregnancy ultrasound scans, they will soon be able to measure the blood pressure pulse at many points in the body. That will provide much more information about the vascular system than the traditional measurement method using an inflatable cuff on the arm. As a result, physicians will be able in the future to quickly gain an overall impression of the condition of the heart and blood vessels. This is in line with the current trend in healthcare with an increasing focus on the prevention of cardiovascular disease. The results were published last month in  the scientific journal Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology.

"Scientists have for years been looking for a non-invasive method to measure the blood pressure pulses at highly localized points in the body", explains TU/e researcher dr. Nathalie Bijnens of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. "The usual method is to insert a catheter with a pressure sensor. But that's an invasive procedure, and not suitable for preventive diagnostics. There's also the traditional method using an inflatable arm cuff. But that doesn't allow any conclusions to be drawn about - for example - the blood pressure in the carotid artery. In this method, the cuff is inflated until the blood flow in the arm is stopped, allowing the systolic and diastolic (maximum and minimum) values in the arm to be measured. That means you won't find anyone willing to have the blood pressure in their neck measured using an inflatable cuff."
The new technique uses ultrasound to make patient-friendly blood pressure measurements at many points in the body. All that is needed is to apply a small amount of gel so that the ultrasound scanner makes good contact with the skin. The key to the new technique is above all the sophisticated signal processing. The researchers are able to achieve good visualization of the blood flow and the blood vessel wall motion, from which the blood pressure can be derived, by means of a mathematical model. They can also see the variations in blood pressure and flow in time as a result of the beating of the heart. The simultaneous knowledge of pressure and flow also provides information about 'downstream' parts of the vascular system. The new technique will allow physicians to carry out preventive investigations of the cardiovascular system, for example, and to monitor the development of diseases such as atherosclerosis, thrombosos or aneurysms (dangerous dilations of a blood vessel).

Preventive scanning
The researchers published their results last month in the scientific journal Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology. The method was first tested on elastic plastic tubes, and after that on pigs' carotid arteries from an abattoir, with good results. The technique is currently being tested on volunteers, in advance of clinical tests with patients. The results are promising. It is still expected to take several years before the technique can be used in clinical practice, for example in family doctors' surgeries, says Bijnens . "By performing a simple scan, the physician can detect vascular disease in an early stage and decide for a preventive treatment."

New direction
This new method for measuring blood pressure is part of a new direction for the research group led by prof. Frans van de Vosse. The group's work focuses on making mathematical models of the vascular system. "For example we have developed a model to locate the best places to enter veins in the arms of dialysis patients", says Van de Vosse. "But that model needs detailled input, which is why we decided to develop a measurement method ourselves."

Source: Eindhoven University of Technology

Deep Brain Stimulation Might Ease Tough-to-Treat Hypertension

Doctors administering deep brain stimulation to control a patient's severe pain report that they discovered the treatment consistently lowered the man's hard-to-control high blood pressure.
The finding introduces the possibility that deep brain stimulation -- a surgical implant that delivers electrical pulses to the brain -- might one day become a treatment for drug-resistant hypertension or lead to clues about the brain's role in regulating blood pressure.
The study is reported in the print issue of the journal Neurology.
About 10% of high blood pressure cases either can't be controlled with medication or patients cannot tolerate them, study author Dr. Nikunj K. Patel, a neurosurgeon at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, England, said in a journal news release.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high blood pressure affects 30% of American adults. The condition raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.
"It's a really interesting paper," said Dr. Nicholas D. Schiff, director of the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuromodulation at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. "I thought it was compelling, though single cases are always questionable" to generalize.
In the case study, a 55-year-old man was implanted with a deep brain stimulator to treat severe pain stemming from a stroke. Although the patient was taking four drugs to control his high blood pressure, which was diagnosed at the time of his stroke, his blood pressure had remained high.
The man's blood pressure gradually decreased enough for him to stop taking all blood pressure medications, though the deep brain stimulation failed to control his pain long-term. When researchers tested turning off the stimulator after two years, the patient's blood pressure rose significantly.
The study adds to other recent research focused on neuromodulation, which harnesses the power of electrical impulses in the body for therapeutic benefit. Tactics being tested include renal nerve ablation, a procedure that emits low-power radiofrequency along the nerves next to the kidneys, interrupting signals that trigger high blood pressure.
"In the general sense, neuromodulation for blood pressure is really going to be a revolutionary treatment for chronic [high] blood pressure," said cardiologist Dr. Marc Penn, director of the Cleveland Clinic's Bakken Heart-Brain Center.
"I think it's really interesting physiology," added Penn, noting that the results would need to be repeated multiple times before a therapy based on it could be developed.
Schiff, however, was hesitant to predict that deep brain stimulation might become a common treatment for hard-to-control high blood pressure.
"This is a case report, and not a treatment for anything," he said, adding, "There are risks to this procedure and one has to really look at the tradeoffs."

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Does being exposed to too much estrogen lead to high blood pressure?

Contrary to widely-held belief, sustained high levels of estrogen in women via hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not necessarily a good thing, as the hormone can create excess amounts of superoxide compound in the brain. According to new research out of Michigan State University (MSU), buildup of superoxide leads to blockages in the areas of the brain that regulate blood pressure, which has led researchers to conclude that estrogen may be directly responsible for high blood pressure and resultant heart disease.

Published in the American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology, the study, led by P.S. Mohan Kumar and his team, investigated how the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVM) area of the brain stem, which regulates blood pressure, was affected by estrogen. After injecting rats with either estrogen or resveratrol, a beneficial compound known to reduce superoxide levels as well as blood pressure, the team observed that rats given estrogen exhibited heavy buildup of superoxide and increased blood pressure, while resveratrol rats exhibited the opposite effect.

"This is an important study on at least two levels," MohanKumar said. "First, it continues to confirm the negative effect that long-term estrogen exposure has for females. Second, it provides a new rationale for how and why this relationship occurs."

But what the study also shows is that resveratrol, a natural compound found in grape skins, mulberries, and cacao, can help to extend life and maintain overall health during the senior years better than HRT can -- and all without raising blood pressure or causing other health problems such as cancer and dementia.

Mounds of research show that resveratrol helps to reverse the aging process and extend lifespan, burn excess fat, prevent dementia and other brain diseases, reduce inflammation and disease, and prevent cancer, among many other things. So why take the risk with synthetic HRT drugs when natural resveratrol performs better without any negative side effects?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Get down: 68 natural ways to lower blood pressure

It's an emerging epidemic in North America: One out of every three people has pre-hypertension, a condition thal leads to high blood pressure. And most of them don't know it.
Don't assume that your blood pressure is normal lust because it used to be. Get it checked often. Once high blood pressure develops, it usually lasts a lifetime. Sure, you can lower it with treatment. But stop treating it, and it goes up again. It's easier and wiser to prevent high blood pressure in the first place.
So fight this key risk for heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease now. Read on to learn about assessing your risk--and about 68 natural options for preventing high blood pressure. And be assured that even the 50 million Americans currently afflicted with high blood pressure can lower their readings by following our prevention plan.

1. Watch Your Weight: In over weight people, a 10 percent reduction in total body weight will sometimes normalize blood pressure.
2. Get Physical: Go for a brisk 30-minute walk 6 days a week.
3. Meditate: A new study shows it works for teens too.
4. Try Yoga: It reduces stress and strengthens the mind and body.
5. Butt Out: All forms of tobacco dramatically raise blood pressure.
6. Shake Off Salt: And sodium-rich foods such as soy sauce and canned soups.
7. Leave the Bar: 1-2 drinks a day is OK--even stress-relieving--but more can cause health problems.
8. Check Your Blood: Have cholesterol and triglycerides checked regularly.
9. Reject Refined Foods: Shun the sally, sugary, pre-made, preserved, fried and fatty.
10. Swear Off Sodas: Soft drinks can deplete potassium (see No. 20).
11. Find Fiber: Think veggies and whole grains.
12. Forgo Fat: Choose white fish and skinless chicken and turkey. Skip cheese, bacon, red meat, gravy and desserts.
13. Toss the Trans Fats: These are a greater risk than even saturated fats.
14. Howl for Whole Oats: Eaten daily, oats lower hypertension.
15. Try L-Carnitine: Another amino acid, also found in protein.
16. DASH Your Diet: DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is high in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy, and it's low in fat.
17. Defeat Diabetes: Diabetics who control their condition reduce hypertension risk.
18. Compute Your Body Mass Index: Multiply your weight in pounds by 703; then divide by your height in inches; then again divide by your height in inches. Try to stay between 18.5 and 24.9.
19. Mull Over a Multi: A daily multivitamin ensures that you're getting the basics.
20. Prefer Potassium: This crucial mineral is found in many fruits, vegetables, dairy foods, fish and supplements.
21. Make It Magnesium: It's in leafy greens, legumes, whole grains and supplements.
22. Value Vitamin C: The less vitamin C in the blood, the higher the blood pressure in hypertensive patients.
23. Boost Bioflavonoids: Available in fruits, vegetables and supplements, bioflavonoids enhance vitamin C's effect.
24. Embrace Vitamin E: Evidence suggests that vitamin E also magnifies vitamin C's blood pressure-lowering effect.
25. Get Milk: Hypertensive patients seldom drink enough milk--and they are usually low on calcium. Broccoli, spinach, tofu, goat milk and calcium supplements are alternatives.
26. Pick Pycnogenol: French maritime pine bark extract lowered blood pressure in a Chinese study, which was reported in the January 2, 2004 issue of Life Sciences.
27. Fish for Omega-3s: Stress essential fatty acid-containing foods or supplements of fish oil, flaxseed oil and primrose oil.
28. Queue Up for Coenzyme Q10: Hypertensive patients are often deficient in ubiquinone. Aside from supplements, organ meats are the richest sources.
29. Seize the Soy: Studies suggest that the isoflavones in soy, tofu, tempeh and miso make arterial walls more elastic.
30. Think Zinc: Zinc may reverse hypertension that has been caused by too much cadmium.
31. Have Some Hawthorn: An enzyme that can cause arteries to constrict is blocked by this berry.
32. Look for Linden: This blossom is often combined with hawthorn for blood pressure.
33. Target Taurine: This amino acid--available in protein and as a supplement--balances sodium and potassium in the blood, lowering blood pressure.
34. Crave Carrot Juice: Studies show it cleans arteries.
35. Cook with Cayenne: The capsicum in cayenne slows arteriosclerosis, which can cause hypertension.
36. Don't Pass on Parsley: It's a natural diuretic, which cuts blood pressure.
37. Go for Ginger: Ginger offers hypertensive benefits to some.
38. Seal the Deal: Goldenseal root may reduce blood pressure, especially when taken in conjunction with ginger.
39. Defy Dracula: Evidence shows that garlic lowers hypertension 2-7 percent. Onions help too.
40. Single Out Psyllium: Take this soluble fiber with plenty of water. Other sources of fiber include peas, beans, apples, pears and citrus fruit.
41. Consider Black Cohosh: Commonly used to alleviate the symptoms of menopause, this herb may also help with hypertension.
42. Cultivate Celery Seeds: They also contain calcium, which might add to their effect.
43. Dig Dandelions: Available in tinctures, tea, capsules and edible fresh leaves or roots.
44. Yell for Yarrow: Herbalists also call it milfoil.
45. Mind Your Melatonin: This hormone decreases nighttime blood pressure, concluded a study published in the January 2004 issue of Hypertension.
46. Stork Up on Perinatal EFAs: The fatty acids DHA, EPA and ALA--taken by pregnant women 5 months before and 1 month after giving birth--help prevent hypertension in adulthood.
47. Bring on Biofeedback: Using a special biofeedback machine, individuals learn to control their own physiological responses--including blood pressure.
48. Omit Oral Contraceptives: Birth control pills can increase blood pressure.
49. Don't Knock Noni: This Polynesian fruit is also known as morinda citrifolia and Indian mulberry.
50. Spice It Up: Try basil, black pepper, cinnamon, chili powder, cloves, curry, dillweed, dillseed, fennel, horseradish, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme. Their antioxidants may help--some directly lower blood pressure, and all substitute for salt.
51. Grasp Grape Seed Extract: Research at the University of Alabama suggests grape seed extract can lower blood pressure significantly.
52. Fall in Love with Lutein: Eat your spinach--or your kale or collards or mustard greens--or lake lutein supplements.
53. Don't Give Up on Ginkgo Biloba: It relaxes arterial walls, easing pressure.
54. Remember These Three Bs: Alter angioplasty surgery, three different B vitamins--folate, [B.sub.6] and [B.sub.12]--cut in half the risk that arteries will re-close.
55. Air Out Antioxidants: Zeaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin and alpha-carotene may help.
56. Go Mad About Saffron: This herb contains a blood pressure-lowering chemical called crocetin.
57. Reach for Reishi Mushroom Extract: Taking 55 mg of concentrated reishi mushroom extract three times a clay was found to reduce moderately high blood pressure after 1 month.
58. 'Tai' One On: Tat chi proponents say their rituals lower blood pressure.
59. Call Your Motherwort: This herb is also known as Leonurus cardiaca.
60. Highlight Herbs: Chamomile flowers, fennel seed and rosemary may cut hypertension risk.
61. Go Cuckoo for Coleus Forskohlii: This mint-family herb lowers blood pressure naturally.
62. Buy into Bilberry: This European blueberry contains anthocyanosides, which are powerful flavonoids.
63. Let in the Cat's Claw: Contains the alkaloid rhynchophylline, which has anti-hypertensive effects.
64. Keep Kelp: A 1997 study suggested kelp may help.
65. Go to Gotu Kola: For insomnia and lowering blood pressure.
66. Indulge in Aromatherapy: Aromatic bath or massage oils temporarily lower hypertension. Try 5 drops each of lemon balm and lavender essential oils in warm bath water.
67. Jilt the Java: Too much daily coffee-and even tea-can raise blood pressure.
68. Now, Go to Bed: High blood pressure patients deprived of sleep experience significant increases in blood pressure, especially during the evening.

Low salt diet does not reduce heart disease, study finds

A new European study published in the May 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that a low salt diet increases the death rate from cardiovascular disease and fails to prevent high blood pressure. These startling findings, reported by The New York Times, are diametrically opposed to traditional medical thought, which for decades has spurred doctors to recommend a restricted salt diet to their patients. Limitations and problems in the study, however, have fueled the debate over the salt issue.

The study observed 3,681 healthy, middle aged Europeans for an average of 7.9 years. Investigators determined the sodium intake of the participants by measuring the quantity of sodium found in the urine over a 24 hour period. Researchers found as inverse relationship between the amount of sodium consumed and the death rate from heart disease. Those eating the lowest amount of salt had the highest heart mortality, while participants eating the greatest quantity of salt had the lowest.

Furthermore, those consuming the greatest amount of salt exhibited only a tiny elevation in systolic blood pressure and did not display a greater likelihood of developing hypertension.

Two flaws are present in the study, according to CBS News. Investigators only measured sodium in the urine twice during the study. As levels of this mineral can vary markedly from day to day, they may not have collected enough data to make an accurate assessment. The second limitation is that the participants were all white, relatively young and weighed less than the average American. Even with these limitations, the findings add confusion to the public salt debate.

Prominent members of the American medical community have strongly criticized the study. Dr. Peter Briss, a medical director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, points out the small size of the study and the fact that the participants all started out healthy. He states that the results are contradictory to a body of evidence showing that elevated sodium consumption raises cardiovascular disease rates.

Conversely, not every member of the medical community is discounting the study. Dr. Michael Alderman, editor of the American Journal of Hypertension, notes that medical literature on the health effects of salt is inconsistent. He observes that the new study is not the first to discover detrimental health effects from a low salt diet.

Dr. Alderman conducted a study of high blood pressure patients and found that those who consumed the least amount of salt had the greatest likelihood of death. He contends that a large study is needed to ascertain the effects of salt. The debate goes on.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lower blood pressure and improve health naturally with celery

Celery contains a high level of calcium, magnesium, potassium and active compounds called phthalides, which have been found to lower blood pressure and promote a healthy circulatory system. Celery is best eaten raw and the juice is especially useful for overall good health. Celery leaves, seeds and roots can all be eaten. The seeds are particularly rich in iron and vitamins and have anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties.

According to a recent study published in Cancer Prevention Research, the compound called apigenin found in celery can stop certain breast cancer tumor cells from multiplying and growing.

In Ayurvedic remedies, celery seed is commonly used as a diuretic, since fluid retention aggravates high blood pressure and other problems such as gout, arthritis, pre-menstrual syndrome and congestive heart conditions. It is also said to help in recovering from the common cold, coughs, sinus congestion, respiratory infections, bronchitis, and laryngitis.

Caution: Celery seed may cause minor discomfort in some people, and anyone suffering with a stomach upset or diarrhea after ingesting the seeds should discontinue its use. Pregnant women should not take celery seed without seeing a medical professional because of its strong diuretic properties.

More uses for celery

Celery may help in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatic disorders. In Japan, rheumatic patients are sometimes put on a celery-only diet until their condition improves.

Celery stimulates the thyroid and pituitary glands.

It is said to clear uric acid from painful joints.

Preparing Celery

Eat raw, whole celery to reduce high blood pressure and to act as a tonic for the liver.

Grated, raw celery can be used as a poultice for swollen glands.

Celery juice or an infusion of celery seeds may be drunk to alleviate conditions such as sciatica.

A glass of celery juice taken before a meal is said to act as a natural appetite suppressant for those wanting to lose weight. Chewing celery seeds after a meal helps digestion.

Celery root is said to be an aphrodisiac.

Although best eaten raw for optimum health benefits, celery is also useful and tasty added to soups, stews and a variety of other cooked dishes. Experiment with combinations of celery and/or onions, green peppers, garlic, chili powder, tomatoes, parsley, barley, carrots and coriander for a hearty soup.

Try celery as a cooked, sauteed vegetable. Celery prepared in this way will retain most of the potassium, and it stays crunchy. Celery is high in sodium, making it unnecessary to add salt when this vegetable is part of a dish.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

10 best and worst food for blood pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is estimated to be responsible for 7.1 million deaths every year worldwide. Are you about to become a statistic? What are you eating?

According to research, Western-style dietary habits are the number one reason for essential hypertension, or high blood pressure. Think about it: People living in rural areas of China, Brazil, and Africa show no signs of essential hypertension, even with advanced age.

There are foods that can help this condition and then there are foods that should absolutely be avoided. Read on to find the foods that improve your blood pressure! 

Top 6 foods to choose
Every day, you should eat a balanced array of fresh wholesome fruits and vegetables of all colors. The foods below will bring your blood pressure extra benefits!

1. Fish:
Of all animal products, fish is the healthiest, owing to its high protein and low fat content. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish, along with other nutrients, protect blood vessels from plaque, reduce inflammation, and prevent high blood pressure.

2. Flaxseed oil: Flaxseeds, like fish, are full of omega-3 fatty acids that protects your blood vessels from plaque.

3. Celery juice: A time-tested Chinese remedy for high blood pressure is celery juice, which can be made with a blender or a juicer. Two to three 8 oz glasses a day for a month can help prevent high blood pressure or restore it to normal. In addition, celery is known to prevent gout and other arthritic conditions. Studies have found that this stalk is packed with over a dozen anti-inflammatory agents, including apigenin, a cox2-inhibiting compound similar to some anti-inflammatory drugs. Who knew celery was more than just a garnish?

4. Olive oil: Olive oil, long a staple of the Mediterranean diet, has been shown to have beneficial effects on blood lipids and may also lower blood pressure. According to a recent study, "Olive oil intake is inversely associated with both systolic and diastolic blood pressure." Translation: consuming more olive oil is linked with lowered blood pressure. Use olive oil for cooking and on salads.

5. Apple cider vinegar: Vinegar alkalizes the body and lowers your blood pressure. First thing in the morning, when your stomach is empty, drink 8 ounces of warm water mixed with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp honey regularly. The honey ensures regularity of bowel movement, which is helpful since constipation may aggravate high blood pressure.

6. Cucumber: A natural diuretic, cucumber will help hydrate and lower the pressure in the arteries. Eat 2 fresh cucumbers every day for 2 weeks.

Also, an extraordinary blend of Chinese herbs that supports your circulatory and heart health is Super Clarity.

Top 4 foods to avoid — and what to choose instead
In general, for healthy blood pressure cut back on salt, caffeine, white flour, alcohol, deep-fried food, nicotine, preservatives, sugars, and artificial flavoring and coloring. Specifically, here are the main offenders to avoid:

1. Salt: Sodium has long been implicated in chronic ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. Additionally, recent studies have shown that increased salt intake is proportional to an increase in cancers of the stomach, esophagus, and bladder.

Swap for: Herbs and spices.
Your best choices are fennel, garlic, ginger, oregano, black pepper, basil and tarragon, all of which possess active ingredients that are beneficial for hypertension. Vinegar is another flavorful option.

2. Coffee: For people who don't consume caffeine on a regular basis, caffeine can cause a temporary but sharp rise in blood pressure. Exactly what causes this spike in blood pressure is uncertain. Some researchers have suggested that caffeine narrows blood vessels by blocking the effects of adenosine, a hormone that helps keep them widened. Caffeine may also stimulate the adrenal gland to release more cortisol and adrenaline, which causes your blood pressure to increase.

Swap for: Green teaScientific studies point to green tea as a food that can help reverse some of the risk factors associated with heart disease, including high blood pressure and abnormal blood clotting. Much of the research on green tea has been conducted in Japan, where men and women drink a high daily intake of green tea, and also have one of the lowest incidences of heart disease in the world.

3. Refined Sugar: The average American consumes nearly 240 pounds of sugar per year. Most of the excess sugar ends up being stored as fat in your body, resulting in weight gain and elevating heart disease and cancer risk. Sugar makes blood pressure rise, especially in people who are overweight.

Swap for: Honey
Honey contains vitamins and minerals that are lacking in refined table sugar, making it much healthier for you. Instead of refined sweets, go for the natural delicious flavors of fresh fruit and berries.

4. Alcohol: Several studies have found that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can raise blood pressure to unhealthy levels. Also, keep in mind that alcohol contains calories and may contribute to unwanted weight gain — a risk factor for high blood pressure. Worse still, alcohol can interfere with the effectiveness and increase the side effects of some blood pressure medications.

Swap for: Non-alcoholic drinks
Filtered water with a lemon or lime is going to be much better for your health in the long run.

High blood pressure is a condition with serious consequences; don't stop taking any prescribed medications and work with your physician before making drastic changes to your diet.

I hope you find which foods to choose and which foods to lose! I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Learn How To Take Blood Pressure

It is easy and even fun but the reasons for learning how to take blood pressure are serious health matters. Most of these reasons are related to taking your own pressure.

Reasons For Taking Your Own Blood Pressure:

  1. Prevent erroneous diagnosis: 25% of elevated readings are false, when taken by someone other than yourself. You could be labeled as hypertensive and placed under treatment unnecessarily. This potential error is eliminated when you take your own blood pressure.
  2. Prevent over-treatment: By the same token your readings (by someone else) could cause you to get more treatment than you need. Self-monitoring eliminates this problem.
  3. Provide the numerous readings required. Blood pressure is a continuously dynamic entity, varying up and down as result of current demands for circulation. How can 1 or 2 readings over 3 to 6 months be representative of your average blood pressure? How else can you get this many readings?
  4. Monitor your response to any measures you institute to lower your blood pressure. You can’t be running into the doctor’s office this often.
  5. Get readings under many different circumstances. The doctor’s office is only one.
  6. Become confident when you know what your pressure averages. Learn how to take blood pressure and eliminate nagging concern or worry.
  7. Convenient Take your blood pressure whenever and wherever you like.
  8. Costs very little Free, actually, once you buy your apparatus.
  9. Save money Avoiding one unnecessary office visit buys your monitor. Avoiding one unnecessary medication saves roughly one thousand dollars a year.
  10. Read pressures on relatives, friends, elderly parents, etc. You could really do some good here because millions of hypertensive people are not under treatment. Don't forget about the falsely elevated readings mentioned above.

      The first four reasons are each compelling enough in their own right.

      How To Take Blood Pressure

      Two methods:
      (These first two paragraphs apply to both methods:)
      Sit at a table or desk with both feet flat on floor and appropriate arm bared to shoulder. If your bladder is anywhere near full, empty it. Arm rests on the table or desk.
      Sit quietly for several minutes. Position the cuff around the upper arm so that the edges are parallel and the cuff is mildly snug but still admits a finger under it. The lower edge should be one inch above the bend of your elbow, if physically possible. Position the marker (or the hose) over the brachial artery just to the inside of the midline of the elbow crease.
      Auscultatory method: (Using the stethoscope to listen)
      The cuff is on the right upper arm. Place the stethoscope in your ears and with the left hand place the other end over the brachial artery at the elbow bend. Holding the inflation bulb in your right hand inflate the cuff briskly to about 30 mm above the expected systolic pressure. Stop and relax your right arm. You'll notice the pressure drops 10 to 20 mm. Now open the release valve so that the pressure falls about 10 mm for every 3 bumps of sound or heartbeats or about 3 mm per beat.
      Note the pressure at which you first hear a continual series of bumps as this is the systolic pressure. Continue allowing the pressure to fall and note the pressure at which the bumps disappear, this is the diastolic pressure. Write them down stat lest you forget. They are written for example as 120 over 80. See pages BP Log and BP Chart on navigation bars at left.
      Do this over and over perhaps 10 or 12 times just to gain familiarity with the operation of the apparatus and the sounds of the blood (called Korotkoff Sounds). Come back another day and do it again and when you are familiar enough then do it seriously to obtain a good reading. Don’t be surprised after the second or third reading (at one sitting) that the pressure goes goofy. I learned never to take a reading more frequently than this.
      Alternative method: (Using a digital monitor)
      Follow the first two paragraphs above.
      Place the cuff on your arm, usually the left.
      Relax your arm and do not move it.
      Press the start button. ----Finished!

      Doctor's Practical Guide:

      You have undoubtedly noticed how much easier it is to use the digital monitor. This is the most suitable method for the non-professional.
      The modern devices have overcome most of their disadvantages so I am now recommending several made by A and D Lifesource, the company that pioneered the digital method.

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    Best blood-pressure monitors

    You don't need a prescription to buy an at-home blood-pressure monitor. But before spending the money (our tested models were $30 to $130), you should talk with your physician about whether you need one, and check with your health-insurance carrier to determine if the cost may be covered.
    The American Heart Association and other medical groups recommend that people with hypertension or suspected high blood pressure routinely monitor themselves. Our experts say that good candidates for at-home monitoring include:
    • Seniors, whose blood pressure can vary;
    • People who experience "white-coat hypertension," a spike in blood pressure when they are tested in a doctor's office or hospital; and
    • People with diabetes, for whom tight blood-pressure control is important.
    "People need to play an active role in their own health care, and managing high blood pressure is a very important first step," says Timothy Gardner, M.D., past president of the American Heart Association and medical director of Christiana Care's Center for Heart and Vascular Health in Newark, Del. He and other experts we interviewed said home monitoring gives patients a sense of control that motivates them to work with their doctors and stick with their treatment regimen.
    More patients need to monitor themselves at home, and it's important that they choose the best blood-pressure monitor for their needs, including devices that will provide accurate readings. "If you have high blood pressure and you don't treat it, you're much more prone to developing heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems," Gardner says.
    For our latest update we added four new models to our Ratings of nine previously tested models. We compared the results of the home monitors with those obtained by pairs of trained testers who used a mercury sphygmomanometer, the standard instrument for recording blood-pressure readings. In our analysis, only models with readings that met criteria based on both U.S. and British international standards were judged excellent for accuracy.
    We've also changed some aspects of our testing, which resulted in slight adjustments to previously published scores. Our accuracy scores reflect more current standards, and our convenience scores now reflect button and display size.
    Six models received Excellent overall scores (available to subscribers), and seven received Excellent scores for accuracy. Just one model received Poor accuracy and overall scores in our blood-pressure tests.

    BP102 Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor

    The user-friendly blood pressure monitor includes an automatic inflation function and features one-button operation for automatic power on, cuff inflation, blood pressure measurement and cuff deflation.
    It simultaneously displays the heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels and wirelessly transmits the measurements data to a telemedicine monitoring center through the Telcomed gateways (MedicGate / MiniGate).
    Wireless Blood Mressure Monitor Features:
    • Fully wireless, un-tethered operation (no communication or power cords) lets customer use the blood pressure monitor anywhere within coverage area
    • 250 meter communication range (open space)
    • Measures and simultaneously displays systolic and diastolic readings
    • Large,easy to read, wide-angle LCD display
    • Fully automatic, one-button pressurization, measurement and exhaust
    • Dual user support
    • Low-noise cuff inflation pump
    • Automaticre-pressurization function
    • Accurate oscillometric method
    • Measurement range from 20 mm Hg to 280 mm Hg
    • Automatic power-off preserves battery life
    • Compact and lightweight
    • Uses 4 ‘AA’ batteries, permitting approximately 6 months of use (at 3 daily measurements)
    • Unique digital ID transmitted

    Choose Your Blood Pressure Monitor Wisely

    Learn which ones are accurate and reliable and don’t cost a lot. We’ll go over the different kinds, how they work, their features and their advantages and disadvantages.

    How They Work:

    Any blood pressure monitor with which we might be concerned uses an inflatable bladder (cuff) encircling a body part (almost always the upper arm) and must include at least 80% of it.
    A flexible bulb is connected by a hose to the cuff and provides the air inflation. The digital devices often have an automatic pump for air inflation thus adding a higher degree of consistency.
    The air pressure within the bladder is displayed by a gauge except for the digital blood pressure monitors that display it with numerals. The operator listens with a stethoscope over the artery near the bladder or cuff to the sounds the pumping blood makes as the pressure in the bladder is gradually lowered by a valve.
    The digital ones do not listen to sounds but rather measure the oscillations of pressure variations and convert the data to blood pressure. This method is called oscillometry or the oscillometric method.
    As the pressure is allowed to fall at a measured rate the pressure at which the sounds (or oscillations) begin is called the systolic and the pressure at which they disappear is called the diastolic. Needless to say, the systolic is always higher than the diastolic.
    Those sounds are called the Korotkoff Sounds. These two pressures constitute the blood pressure and are displayed for example as 120 over 80.

    Kinds of Blood Pressure Monitors

    The First Ones, the Mercury Filled: This blood pressure monitor and all subsequent monitors use an inflatable cuff. The first ones used a column of mercury (Hg) to indicate the pressure in the cuff. The column could be as high as 300 millimeters (11.81 inches). This explains why pressures are read in millimeters (mm) of Hg. A stethoscope is used to listen to the Korotkoff sounds.
    Characteristics: Must be a foot tall and upright and either sit on a table or desk, or be mounted on a wall or rolling stand. Not very portable, you wouldn’t want to carry it around in your pocket.
    Accuracy: Excellent. The most accurate of all.
    Reliability: The best. Needs only infrequent calibration.
    Cost: Tends to be more expensive than others.
    Aneroid: This means “without liquid” and thus means "not mercury". It consists of a round standard-looking air-pressure gauge with a rotating needle pointer and graduated in... yes, mm of Hg. This was so that continuity and comparison to all the previous readings could be preserved. Uses a stethoscope to listen to the Korotkoff sounds.
    Characteristics: Light, small and portable. You wouldn’t mind carrying it in your pocket.
    Accuracy: Very good to excellent.
    Reliability: Good but should be calibrated once a year and any time it is dropped to the floor.
    Cost: Less expensive than the mercury.
    A sub-category: Some of these come as kits for self-monitoring with the business end of the stethoscope sewed into the cuff so that is automatically applied to the arm along with applying the cuff. Yes, this makes it a little easier, but to what purpose? Here is where you start to lose some control of measurement. Not a good idea. How do we know how good that end of the stethoscope really is? Is it really applied to the right place with the proper amount of pressure?
    Digital: In general, these have an inflatable bladder as described above and as do all blood pressure monitors. Here is where there is considerable divergence. First, there is no stethoscope and nothing in the ears. In place of the stethoscope is a pressure-measuring device the purpose of which is to translate the pressure oscillations into visible digits.
    Each device has proprietary software which is a company secret. This software, which varies from company to company, interprets the oscillations and translates them into systolic and diastolic pressure numbers. Some inflate the cuff for you, some lower the pressure and some do both. Others store multiple readings, average the readings, allow multiple users, give you a printout and even a few allow connection to a computer.
    Characteristics: Usually sit on the table or desk. Easy to read. Reading more influenced by muscle movements, cuff placement, etc.
    Accuracy: Some of the modern ones pass the accuracy standards of the rating agencies such as the Assoc. for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation.
    Reliability: Not quite as good as the mercury and aneroid but close.
    Cost: Range from not very expensive to quite expensive but now comparable to the others.
    The wrist blood pressure monitors are an offshoot of the digital types. See Wrist Blood Pressure Monitors.
    For a more detailed discussion of digital devices see Digital Blood Pressure Monitors.

    Doctors Practical Guide:
    First of all, accuracy and reliability are the most important considerations. Remember, you are dealing here with your health and life.
    Convenience and ease of use are also important factors because these might make the difference between taking your own pressure and not.
    Cost certainly is important to most of us and rightly so. Why pay more than necessary?
    We want to be confident in our measurement. I insist and so should you. My experience with the digital machines years ago was not good. Their readings were frequently erratic; I just didn't trust them. Now they are a lot better and I have one that I like a lot. I routinely read with both devices and I am pleased with them both.
    The best way you can be sure you are getting the right reading is to hear it and see it yourself but the digital method is a good second choice.
    My recommendation: At first I thought to choose a mercury device, mainly for accuracy, but the aneroids are nearly as accurate and smaller, lighter, more portable and less expensive. Having them calibrated once a year should take care of the reliability issue.
    The digital monitors have improved a lot and are tops for convenience and ease of use. In fact, after you place the cuff on your arm it does the rest.
    I now recommend both the aneroid and selected digitals. I am beginning to think that the good digitals are the best all-around choice for the non-professional.

    Smart blood-pressure monitor reports your readings to iPhone

    Some wags have talked for a long time about the “internet of things.” Now that’s being replaced by the “intelligence of things,” as evidenced by the latest web-connected gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show. In the internet of things, companies added web connectivity to dumb gadgets.
    With the intelligence of things, they add sensors, connecitivity, and the ability make use of that data.
    A case in point is Withings‘ smart blood-pressure monitor. The device is made for iOS devices (iPhones, iPods and iPads). You wrap the monitor around your arm and connect it via wire to your iPhone. The free app records you heart rate and blood pressure and then transmits your measurements to your online health book. You can look at the pattern of your readings graphically over a period of time. Then you can compare them with recommended World Health Organization readings. The device is accurate to plus or minus 5 percent on pulse and plus or minus 2 percent on blood pressure.
    The whole point of such devices is that they can use the internet to take a dumb device and turn it into a smart one. If you add sensors, the internet, and data analysis to an ordinary device, you get something that is worth a product upgrade, says Sean Dubravac, an analyst at the Consumer Electronics Association. The device operates on four triple A batteries. Price and availability will be available later.

    What should your blood pressure be?

    blood pressure of 120/80 mmHg is considered to be normal.

    For most people, high blood pressure (hypertension) is diagnosed if the top number is 140 mmHg or higher and/or the lower number is 90 mmHg or higher.

    In people with diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease, the threshold for diagnosing hypertension is lower. They are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of high blood pressure, so their blood pressure needs to be more strictly controlled. In people with these conditions, a blood pressure of 130/80 mmHg or above is considered to be high.
     NB: Blood pressure is measured in units called “millimeters of mercury” or “mmHg” for short. The device traditionally used to measure blood pressure has a column filled with mercury, which rises and falls according to the pressure of blood in the arteries. This device is increasingly being replaced with one that measures blood pressure electronically.

    Your blood pressure goal

    If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure it is important to know your blood pressure goal. This is the blood pressure you should aim for.

    By reaching your blood pressure goal you will reduce your risk of:
    • Stroke by 35–40%
    • Heart attack by 20–25%
    • Heart failure by more than 50%
    For most people, the blood pressure goal is less than 140/90 mmHg. If you have diabetes, kidney disease, or heart disease, your blood pressure goal is less than 130/80 mmHg.

    Your doctor or nurse can tell you your blood pressure goal.

    Remember: High blood pressure is only well controlled if you reach and maintain your blood pressure goal.

    Fluctuating Blood Pressure not a big deal but what if fluctuating blood pressure predicts something that is a big deal? Find out what labile blood pressure means in this Doctor’s Practical Guide:

    Definitions of Fluctuating and Labile Blood Pressure:

    Fluctuating blood pressure: This is not an official term in medicine. It merely means that the pressure varies from the desirable level to an undesirable level.
    Labile blood pressure: Also called borderline hypertension. A condition in which the pressure is sometimes in the normotensive range and sometimes in the hypertensive range.
    This sounds a lot alike and as far as I know they are basically the same thing.

    The Significance of Fluctuating Blood Pressure:

    This depends on what percentage of the time your pressure is up and what percentage it is down:

    • Up a small % of the time: Then you will get only a small % of the adverse effects and risks of the higher pressure.
    • Up about one half of the time: You will get about one half of the adverse effects and risks.
    • Up most of the time: You will probably suffer most of the adverse effects of elevated pressure.

    Doctor’s Practical Guide:

    So the significance of the fluctuations in blood pressure is dependent on how high it goes and how long it stays up.
    There is a further significance. There is something different about someone whose blood pressure is sometimes elevated. Today’s intermittent elevation is tomorrow’s sustained elevation. In other words it is a predictor of hypertension in the future.
    This is a great opportunity and a very fertile area for natural measures to lower blood pressure and indeed prevent moving into the actual hypertensive state. Measures like:

    • Exercise
    • Diet
    • Smoking cessation
    • Alcohol restriction (1 or 2 drinks a day)
    • Weight loss (easier said than done)
    • Sodium (salt) reduction
    • Deep breathing exercises
    • Herbs and other supplements. See Herbs That Lower Blood Pressure

    These carry no real risk and can make a marvelously better you. The benefits of the measures go far beyond just eliminating fluctuations in blood pressure. SEE Lower Blood Pressure Also see Exercise High BloodPressure

    Blood pressure measuring devices

    Modern health care experts know that a patient's blood pressure is a good indicator of how healthy a person is. A high blood pressure reading indicates stress and possible heart problems. The blood pressure device we use today has its roots in seventeenth-century England.

    William Harvey (1578-1657) did pioneering work on blood circulation in the 1600s. During his studies, Harvey noted that blood pulsated (beat or throbbed) out of a severed artery as if it were under rhythmic pressure. Nearly a century later, Stephen Hales (1677-1761), an English cler-gyman and physiologist, continued those studies. Hales devised a method to measure the pressure exerted on the blood vessels as blood was pumped through them. He inserted a brass pipe into an animal's blood vessel and used the flexible windpipe of a goose to connect the pipe to a long glass tube. The height to which the animal's blood spurted up into the tube gave a measure of the pressure on the blood.

    One of Hales' most dramatic experiments using this simple manometer involved a white mare, tied flat on the ground to a stable door. The glass tube in this instance was 12 feet, 9 inches (3.8m) long, and the horse's blood rose in it to a height of 9 feet, 6 inches (2.9 m). Hales began his blood pressure measurement experimentation around 1706, continued around 1712-1713, and finally reported his technique in his 1733 book Haemastaticks ("Blood Facts").
    It took another century before the Hales manometer was improved upon. In 1828 French physician Jean Leonard Marie Poiseuille (1797-1869) replaced the long glass tube with a U-shaped tube filled with mercury. The tube was calibrated in millimeters of mercury to record pressure levels. The German physiologist Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig modified Poiseuille's manometer in 1847. He added a revolving cylinder and float with a revolving drum on it. By attaching a pen to it, the blood pressure levels could be recorded on this kymograph. In 1863 Etienne-Jules Marey created a better recording machine he called a sphygmograph.

    A Practical Device

    All of the blood pressure devices developed up to the 1870s required that the blood vessel be penetrated for the pressure to be taken. It took Samuel Siegfried von Basch (1837-1905), a German physician, to come up with the sphygmomanometer in 1876. This device was the first to measure pressure without piercing the skin. His device was replaced in 1896 by a sphygmomanometer made by Italian physician Scipione Riva-Rocci (1863-1937). This device was the prototype of today's standard instrument.

    Today, home versions of this device are widely available.
    It used an arm band which could be inflated until the blood flow through the arteries could no longer be detected. Air was then released from the band. The blood pressure was measured on a mercury manometer at the moment when the pulse reappeared.

    Riva-Rocci's instrument was accurate. The only problem was that it measured only systolic pressure (pressure within the artery when the heart is contracting). Russian physician, Nikolai Korotkoff added the missing element in 1905 when he suggested that a stethoscope be used to listen to the blood flow. Heard through the stethoscope, the tapping that begins when air is released from the band is the systolic pressure. The moment the tapping sound disappears is the diastolic pressure (pressure between contractions while the heart is at rest).
    Wide clinical use of blood pressure measurement using the sphygmomanometer was promoted by American surgeon Harvey Williams Cushing. Standard readings were soon established and became basic indicators of heart and lung health or problems. Today, home blood pressure devices are widely available and in use, with a mercury tube, a circular needle gauge, or an electronic display to give readings.

    Significance and types of Sphygmomanometer


    By observing the mercury in the column while releasing the air pressure with a control valve, one can read the values of the blood pressure in mm Hg. The peak pressure in the arteries during the cardiac cycle is the systolic pressure, and the lowest pressure (at the resting phase of the cardiac cycle) is the diastolic pressure. A stethoscope is used in the auscultatory method. Systolic pressure (first phase) is identified with the first of the continuous Korotkoff sounds. Diastolic is identified at the moment the Korotkoff sounds disappear (fifth phase).


    There are three types of sphygmomanometers:
    • Digital with manual or automatic inflation. These are electronic, easy to operate, and practical in noisy environments. They measure mean arterial pressure (MAP) and use oscillometric detection to calculate systolic and diastolic values. In this sense, they do not actually measure the blood pressure, but rather derive the readings. Digital oscillometric monitors are also confronted with "special conditions" for which they are not designed to be used: arteriosclerosis; arrhythmia; preeclampsia; pulsus alternans; and pulsus paradoxus. Some wrist cuff blood pressure monitors have been found to be quite inaccurate, and the monitor has to be at the level of the heart when the reading is taken.
    • Digital portable finger blood pressure monitors with automatic inflation. These are more portable and easy to operate, although less accurate. They are the smallest blood pressure monitors.
    • Manual. Ideally operated by a trained person, mercury manometers are considered to be the gold standard and cannot be decalibrated , they are consistently accurate. Due to their accuracy, they are often required in clinical trials of pharmaceuticals and for clinical evaluations of determining blood pressure for high risk patients including pregnant women. Aneroid, (mechanical types with a dial) are in common use but they require regular calibration checks, unlike a mercury manometer. The prime reason for such maintenance is their susceptibility to bumps which can alter their accuracy. Wall mounted and mobile aneroids avoid this shortcoming. The aneroid sphygmomanometer should be checked for accuracy (usually every 6 months)by using a mercury manometer, as the gold standard. The unit of measurement of blood pressure is millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and are usually given as an even number.Manual sphygmomanometers require a stethoscope for auscultation. Although it is possible to obtain a basic reading through palpation, this only yields the systolic number


    A sphygmomanometer (pronounced /ˌsfɪɡmoʊməˈnɒmɨtər/ sfig-moh-mə-nom-i-tər) or blood pressure meter is a device used to measure blood pressure, comprised by an inflatable cuff to restrict blood flow, and a mercury or mechanical manometer to measure the pressure. It is always used in conjunction with a means to determine at what pressure blood flow is just starting, and at what pressure it is unimpeded. Manual sphygmomanometers are used in conjunction with a stethoscope.
    The word comes from the Greek sphygmós (pulse), plus the scientific term manometer (pressure meter). The device was invented by Samuel Siegfried Karl Ritter von Basch in 1881. Scipione Riva-Rocci introduced a more easily used version in 1896. Harvey Cushing discovered this device in 1901 and popularized it.
    A sphygmomanometer consists of an inflatable cuff, a measuring unit (the mercury manometer, or aneroid gauge), and inflation bulb and valve, for manual instruments.


    In humans, the cuff is normally placed smoothly and snugly around an upper arm, at roughly the same vertical height as the heart while the subject is seated with the arm supported. Other sites of placement depend on species, and may include the tongue, flipper, tail or teat. It is essential that the correct size of cuff is selected for the patient. Too small a cuff results in too high a pressure, while too large a cuff results in too low a pressure. The cuff is inflated until the artery is completely occluded. Listening with a stethoscope to the brachial artery at the elbow, the examiner slowly releases the pressure in the cuff. As the pressure in the cuffs falls, a "whooshing" or pounding sound is heard (see Korotkoff sounds) when blood flow first starts again in the artery. The pressure at which this sound began is noted and recorded as the systolic blood pressure. The cuff pressure is further released until the sound can no longer be heard. This is recorded as the diastolic blood pressure. In noisy environments where auscultation is impossible (such as the scenes often encountered in emergency medicine), systolic blood pressure alone may be read by releasing the pressure until a radial pulse is palpated (felt). In veterinary medicine, auscultation is rarely of use, and palpation or visualization of pulse distal to the sphygmomanometer is used to detect systolic pressure.

    Blood Pressure 101: Why Are Those Numbers Important?

    Having blood pressure is a good thing. Blood pressure helps blood circulate through your body, sending oxygen and nutrients to vital organs and keeping you alive.
    What causes blood pressure?
    With each beat, your heart pumps blood to your arteries and creates two kinds of force—or pressure—in your arteries.

    • The first kind of force happens when blood is pumped into your arteries and through your circulatory system.
    • The second force happens when your arteries resist the blood flow. In a healthy person, the arteries are elastic and they stretch a bit when blood is pumped through them. How much they stretch depends on how much force the blood exerts.
    Under normal conditions, your heart beats between 60 and 80 times a minute and your blood pressure changes frequently, increasing with each heartbeat and decreasing when the heart rests between beats.

    How is Blood Pressure Measured?

    1. The most common blood pressure measurement tool is a cuff that is wrapped around your upper arm. A tube attaches the cuff to a reservoir of mercury at the bottom of a vertical glass tube. Using a rubber bulb, your health care practitioner blows air into the cuff, making it tight around your arm. This pressure moves the mercury in the column--up with a heart beat and down when the heart is resting between beats.
      While watching the level of mercury, the practitioner uses a stethoscope to listen to your pulse while the air is being released.
      Blood pressure measurements are shown as two numbers and measured in levels of mercury, for example: 120/80mmHg
      The first number (120) is systolic pressure, measured when the pulse is first heard.
      The second number (80) is diastolic or resting pressure, when the pulse is no longer heard and the mercury level drops.
    2. Electronic measuring devices are becoming more common because mercury is now considered a hazardous substance. Electronic devises can eliminate some of the human error that can occur using a blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope.
    3. With ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, you wear a device that measures your blood pressure during a 24 period. Your blood pressure readings are recorded, providing a detailed report of how your blood pressure varies during a normal day, including sleep.
      This method is useful for patients who get nervous during medical appointments, which creates a higher than normal blood pressure reading.

    What Are the Ranges of Blood Pressure?

    Your blood pressure changes as you go through your day. Exercise, sleep and even sitting in a chair can increase or decrease your blood pressure.
    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers the following guidelines for blood pressure:

    • Normal blood pressure should be less than 120/85mmHg.
    • Prehypertension occurs when the systolic or first number is between 120 and 139, and the diastolic or second number is between 80 and 89mmHg. People with prehypertension are twice as likely to get hypertension as people with normal blood pressure.
    • Hypertension or high blood pressure occurs in people with blood pressure readings of 140/90mmHg or higher. Your health care practitioner may take several blood pressure readings over time to determine if your blood pressure is high.

    Why Should I Be Concerned About High Blood Pressure?

    Having untreated high blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease and other life-threatening illnesses.

    According to DSHS:
    • People over age 55 have a 90 percent chance of developing high blood pressure.
    • People who are overweight or obese increase their risk for high blood pressure.
    • Treating high blood pressure can save your life. Lowering your blood pressure reduces your chance of heart attack by 27 percent, stroke by 38 percent, and heart failure by 55 percent.
    See your medical provider for a blood pressure check. If it’s high, there are things you can do to reduce your blood pressure.
    With proper attention, high blood pressure can be controlled, and even prevented.

    What is Diastolic Blood Pressure?

    Systolic blood pressure is the pressure of blood when the heart is in a relaxed state, in between heartbeats.
    The force with which blood pushes against the walls of blood vessels at it makes its way through them is called blood pressure. A single blood pressure reading consists of two separate figures that represent the pressure of blood during two different times:
    One when the heart is beating and the pressure during this time is called the systolic blood pressure.
    Another when the heart is in a relaxed state and the pressure of blood during this time is called the diastolic blood pressure. Hence, diastolic pressure is a measure of the force with which the blood is pushing against the walls of blood vessels in between heartbeats.
    How to Measure Diastolic Blood Pressure?
    This is done by a device called the sphygmomanometer, which includes a cuff of fabric that is wrapped around the arm and is then inflated to a certain level. A gauge attached to the fabric cuff shows the pressure reading as air is slowly released from the cuff. Blood pressure can also be measured by other devices as well.
    There are two numbers that make up a blood pressure reading and is written in the form of a fraction, with one number on top and the other at the bottom. For instance, the normal blood pressure of a person is 120/80. The number on the top is the systolic pressure and signifies the pressure in blood vessels at the instant the heart beats. Similarly, the number at the bottom is called diastolic pressure and is the pressure in the blood vessels in between two consecutive heartbeats.
    Of these, diastolic pressure is prone to changes during the course of the day and can, in fact, show marked variation even during a span of a few minutes. There are several factors responsible for this and include:
    • Posture
    • Amount of exercise undertaken
    • Stress and tension
    • Use of nicotine and such compounds
    Hence, general recommendation is to take several blood pressure reading taken several minutes apart, the average of which will be the correct blood pressure reading of the individual.
    Also, when comparing an individual’s blood pressure reading to what is considered as normal, it is important to take into consideration the overall health, lifestyle, diet and the person’s family history before arriving into any conclusion. This, since the above mentioned factors can lead to blood pressure being above or below the range that is accepted as normal.
    Importance of Diastolic Blood Pressure
    The act of heart pumping blood causes pressure to be created in the blood vessels, which is the diastolic pressure and is enough to send blood to every part of the body. As for the blood vessels, the farther it moves away from the heart, the greater it branches off and tends to get smaller and smaller, much like a tree. One branch may feed the brain while another may go to the other organs like the kidney. Diastolic blood pressure ensures blood flows unhindered to every cell of the body so that cells get the oxygen and nutrients required for their normal functioning and waste products are removed.
    When Diastolic Blood Pressure Becomes Low
    Diastolic blood pressure is considered to be low if it gets below 60 and requires immediate corrective measures. Diastolic pressure becoming low also means cells are not getting the required oxygen and nutrients they need for their maintenance while waste products too are not getting eliminated the way it should be. The condition is known as hypotension or low blood pressure and may even cause the cell to die in the long run.
    When Diastolic Blood Pressure Becomes High
    Similarly, diastolic blood pressure is considered to be high if it gets anywhere above 90 and leads to a condition known as hypertension or high blood pressure. Hypertensive individuals are prone to have their small blood vessels to be effected the most if the condition persists for a prolonged period of time as these tend to get scarred, hardened and loose its elasticity. This may lead to them getting blocked or ruptured, causing organ damage or, in worst cases, their complete failure. This often happens as people advances in age no matter whether you’re having high blood pressure or not. However, persistent high blood pressure condition can make it happen earlier than it would have been, making it all the more important to maintain normal blood pressure consistently if you wish to eliminate the risk of hear attack, stroke or permanent organ damage.
    Again, when the diastolic blood pressure remains between 80 and 89, then the condition is known as prehypertension.
    Also, people tend to ignore high blood pressure and an estimated 1% of the population will stay away from medical care until symptoms becomes too severe. This is known as malignant hypertension and is characterized by diastolic blood pressure readings that may exceed 140mmHg. Symptoms associated with malignant high blood pressure includes:
    • Headache
    • Nausea
    • Lightheadedness
    In severe cases of malignant high blood pressure, immediate medical supervision often becomes necessary which may even involve emergency hospitalization, in order to bring blood pressure within normal limits and prevent bleeding in the brain or stroke.
    Lowering High Diastolic Blood Pressure
    Bringing about a change in lifestyle is often the first and foremost requirement towards bringing your blood pressure within normal limits. For they not only help restore normalcy of your blood pressure, it will also work great for improving your quality of life. Lifestyle changes that should be considered for bringing blood pressure under control includes:
    • Weight loss
    • Exercise
    • A diet that is high on fruits and vegetables and includes less of cholesterol and fat
    • Drastic reduction in salt consumption
    • Consuming less alcohol

    Blood pressure: what is your target?

    How is blood pressure measured?

    Blood pressure is measured using an instrument called a sphygmomanometer. It consists of an inflatable cuff, an inflating bulb, and a gauge to show the blood pressure.
    The cuff is wrapped around the upper arm, and inflated to a pressure where the pulse in the arm can no longer be heard or felt. The doctor then raises the cuff pressure slightly beyond this point, and then slowly lowers it in order to get a reading of the systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
    The systolic reading (the first number of the two) indicates the pressure of blood within your arteries during a contraction of the left ventricle of the heart. The diastolic reading (the second number) indicates the pressure within the arteries when the heart is at rest. Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg), for example 120/80 mmHg (known as 120 over 80).

    What are the acceptable blood pressure levels?

    According to the Heart Foundation of Australia, blood pressure just below 120/80 mmHg can be classified as ‘normal’ and blood pressure between 120/80 and 140/90 mmHg is classified as ‘high-normal’.
    A person is defined by the Heart Foundation as having high blood pressure (hypertension) if they have a systolic pressure greater than or equal to 140 mmHg and/or a diastolic pressure greater than or equal to 90 mmHg. Hypertension is further classified as mild, moderate or severe as the pressure increases above this level.
    Low blood pressure, or hypotension, is not as easy to define as it is usually relative to a person’s normal blood pressure reading, and varies between different people. It generally refers to a blood pressure below an average of about 90/60 mmHg.

    Getting an accurate reading

    It is recommended that you do not smoke or drink caffeine-containing drinks for 2 hours before having your blood pressure monitored, as this can cause an increase in your readings.
    It has also been estimated that about 15 per cent of people who have elevated blood pressure readings taken at the doctor’s surgery actually have acceptable levels outside the surgery, when under normal stress levels. This is known as ‘white coat’ hypertension. People with white coat hypertension may benefit from self-monitoring or monitoring of their blood pressure outside the clinic setting. This can be achieved by a person wearing a portable automatic blood pressure machine for 24 hours while they go about their usual daily routine.

    Keeping on target

    Raised blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and the higher your blood pressure, the greater your chance of having heart disease or stroke. For this reason it is important that you have your blood pressure monitored regularly, and that you always take any medicine prescribed for hypertension.
    Hypertension can also be controlled to a large extent by lifestyle modifications such as reducing excess weight, undertaking regular physical activity, and giving up smoking. Dietary interventions such as reducing your alcohol, salt and fat intake may also help to lower your blood pressure and reduce your absolute risk of cardiovascular disease.

    High blood pressure - How to Lower Blood Pressure

    High blood pressure also called hypertension affects millions of people increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart failure.
    High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. The only way for you to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it measured with a blood pressure monitor.
    You can buy an accurate machine online from medical supply specialists online who offer the latest machines from manufacturers such as Omron, A&D, Microlife and Resperate that are suitable for home use.

    High blood pressure causes strain on the blood vessels carrying blood around your body. This strain can cause vessels to become clogged up or to weaken, and this can lead to narrow blood vessels and clots that can cause damage to the heart or brain. Having high blood pressure can also cause heart and kidney failure.

    It is important to realise that the higher your blood pressure, the higher your risk of heart disease or stroke. This means that all of us should be adopting a lifestyle that will help to lower our blood pressure whether we have high blood pressure or not.

    How can I lower my blood pressure?

    Fortunately there is a wealth of quality information about things you can do now to begin to understand, lower and control your blood pressure as well as prescription drugs and medicines.
    Leading a healthy lifestyle means exercising, healthy eating - a diet low in fat and salt and more fruit and vegetables, being the right weight for your height, drinking sensibly and not smoking. By following these guidelines the risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the future is reduced.

    High blood pressure can be treated and there are many things that help lower it. To see the impact on lowering your blood pressure by changes in your lifestyle, diet and medicines many people find encouragement in regularly measuring their own blood pressure with automatic digital home monitors

    Where can I buy an accurate blood Pressure Monitor?

    Medisave is a UK stockist of British Hypertension Society validated machines from Microlife, Omron and A and D Instuments.  Make an informed purchase and trust machines that are considered accurate by the British Hypertension Society.
    The information presented here is to give you information about your blood pressure and help you understand more about treatments and help you keep your blood pressure controlled.

    What is blood pressure?

    Your heart pumps blood around your body through a network of tubing called arteries. Every time your heart pumps it forces blood through these arteries and into smaller blood vessels called capillaries. The force that your heart produces in your arteries when it pumps is called your blood pressure. When the heart contracts and forces blood through the arteries your blood pressure goes up, when the heart relaxes it goes down.
    This pressure can be measured and the readings are usually written down like this:
    The top number, which is called the systolic pressure, shows the pressure in your arteries when your heart is forcing blood through them. The bottom number, called the diastolic pressure, shows the pressure in your arteries when your heart relaxes. The top number can be anywhere from 90 to 240 and the bottom number can be anywhere from 60 to 140. Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury, which is written down as: mmHg
    Everyone has a different blood pressure and it can change in the same person during the day and night.

    What is high blood pressure?

    High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. The higher your blood pressure the higher the chnace of heart disease or stroke.
    140/90mmHg is the level of blood pressure used to diagnose high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is consistently raised at these levels and above, it will need to be treated. Treatment may involve making changes to your lifestyle and/or taking medication. This level of 140/90mmHg is the level for high blood pressure for everyone, male/female, young/old.
    140/85mmHg is the target blood pressure for people who are receiving treatment for their high blood pressure. The only exception to this target level is if you have diabetes, kidney disease or have already suffered a stroke or heart attack. Then it may be worthwhile lowering your blood pressure even further.

    Why is lowering blood pressure important?

    High blood pressure increases risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and dementia. If you have high blood pressure the greater your risk of developing these conditions.
    Having high blood pressure causes strain on the vessels carrying blood around your body. This strain can cause vessels to become clogged up or to weaken and this in turn can lead to narrow blood vessels and clots, which can cause damage to the heart or brain. Having high blood pressure can cause heart failure. High blood pressure can cause kidney failure and some eye conditions.
    High blood pressure is a serious condition that you should not ignore. However it can be lowered either by changing your lifestyle or if necessary adding in tablets. The lower your blood pressure the lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease.

    How common is high blood pressure?

    In the United Kingdom there are about 16 million people with a blood pressure higher than 140/90mmHg. One in every three women and two in every five men now have high blood pressure, with larger numbers affected in older age groups. For example, about half of all people over the age of 75 have the condition. Although you may be said to have high blood pressure, or a normal blood pressure, it is important to realise that the higher your blood pressure, whatever it is, the higher your risk of heart disease or stroke. This means that all of us should be adopting a lifestyle that will help to lower our blood pressure whether we have high blood pressure or not.

    How is blood pressure measured?

    Your blood pressure can be measured either by using a device called a sphygmomanometer or by using a digital machine.
    A sphygmomanometer is the older kind of equipment that measures blood pressure using a column of mercury. These are used less frquently now as they can often give inaccurate measurements
    These day automatic, or partly automatic, digital machines are used to measure blood pressure.  Models that have been validated by the British Hypertension Society are considered accurate when used properly. See the fact sheet How to Measure Your Blood Pressure.
    In order to be sure that you have high blood pressure, you will be asked to have readings taken several times. This is to make sure that you have consistently high blood pressure, rather than high blood pressure because you are anxious or nervous in medicall environments or have rushed to be there - see White Coat Hypertension

    What causes high blood pressure?

    There is no definite cause for their high blood pressure for most peple and doctors call this essential hypertension. The small blood vessels in the body narrow and this causes the pressure to build up.
    High blood pressure can run in the family, and if you have a parent with high blood pressure then you are more likely to have high blood pressure yourself.
    Some other conditions are also linked to high blood pressure, such as diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease. If you have any of these conditions then it is even more important that your blood pressure is well controlled.
    Your blood pressure is very much affected by your lifestyle. The important factors are:
    · Eating too much salt
    · Not eating enough fruit and vegetables
    · Not exercising enough
    · Being overweight
    · Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
    You cannot change your genes, or the fact that you will grow older, you can change your lifestyle. Changing your diet and exercising more will help lower your blood pressure.

    Can high blood pressure be treated? How to lower blood pressure

    High blood pressure can be treated. Lowering blood pressure causes a large reduction in strokes, heart attacks, heart failure and kidney disease that would otherwise have occurred and may reduce your risk of developing some kinds of dementia.

    How will my high blood pressure be treated?

    How your high blood pressure is treated will depend on how high it is and on what other ‘risk factors’ you have for heart disease and stroke.
    If your blood pressure is between 140-160/90-100mmHg then you will probably be asked to make some changes to your lifestyle. You will probably not need to take tablets providing that the changes you make work. In this way you can lower your own blood pressure without needing to take tablets. However, some people with a blood pressure in this range may be prescribed medication to take. This is usually if they are older or have other risk factors for heart disease and stroke, such as high cholesterol, smoking or already have complications such as a previous stroke or heart attack.
    So if you have a blood pressure reading in this range you should make the lifestyle changes described at below.
    If your blood pressure is 160/100mmHg or more you will probably be given tablets as well as being asked to make changes to your lifestyle. You are aiming to reach a target blood pressure of 140/85mmHg or less whilst feeling fit and well. There will, however, be a small number of people who may find their blood pressure very difficult to control even with medication.

    Changing your lifestyle to lower high blood pressure.

    All people who have high blood pressure should make changes to their lifestyle. These changes can be enough to lower your blood pressure to a level where you may not need to take tablets. Even if you need tablets, the changes to your lifestyle will make the tablets more effective.
    These changes to your lifestyle should be adopted by the whole family, as, increasing evidence suggests that this will lower blood pressure and prevent high blood pressure from occurring later in life. A healthy diet will also make you feel much better.

    These are the five main changes you can make to help lower blood pressure:

    1. Cut down on your salt
    We each eat about 10 grams of salt (sodium chloride) each day and this can easily be reduced by half to 5 grams each day. That means cutting down from a dessert spoon of salt every day to a teaspoon. You should not add salt to food or use it in cooking. However, most salt is hidden in many processed foods and this may not be obvious, for example salt may be hidden in bread, many cereals and ready meals so avoid these high salt foods where possible.
    2. Eat more fruit and vegetables
    Fruit and vegetables contain potassium, which has the opposite effect of salt and can help to lower blood pressure. If you can manage to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables and cut down the amount of salt that you eat then you should see your blood pressure fall by quite a lot. We should all be eating seven to nine portions of fruit or vegetables each day.
    3. Exercise - be more active
    Being active can help you to lower your blood pressure. It will also help you to lose weight and reduce the amount of fats (cholesterol) in your blood. Being active doesn't have to mean jogging, it can mean walking the dog regularly and gradually increasing the amount you do over three to six months. You should aim to be active for at least 30 minutes, five times a week.
    4. Weight -
    Everyone has an ideal weight. Your ideal weight will depend on how tall you are and whether you are male or female. If you are overweight you should try and get down to a weight within the ideal range for you.
    Many people find losing weight, and maintaining weight loss, difficult. A healthy diet is an essential first step. Once you are eating a healthy diet cut down the amount of food you eat until you start to lose weight.
    5. Drink alcohol in moderate amounts only
    As well as the five factors set out above there are two other key risk factors for stroke and heart disease, smoking and eating too much saturated fat. They don't in themselves cause high blood pressure but they do make you more at risk of heart disease or stroke. However, the combined effect of stopping smoking, cutting down the amount of saturated you eat and lowering your blood pressure causes a very large reduction in your risk of having a stroke or having a heart attack.
    Giving up smoking
    Smoking is the biggest risk factor for having a heart attack. If you smoke it will not directly affect your blood pressure, but it will cause your arteries to narrow, just as high blood pressure does. So, if you smoke and you have high blood pressure your arteries will narrow much more quickly. There are now lots of ways in which you can make giving up smoking easier for yourself. Nicotine replacement therapy, in the form of patches and gum, for example, and groups to help smokers quit are just a few. If you have difficulties talk to your doctor or nurse.
    Cutting down on saturated fat
    We all eat too much fat. The type of fat that causes the most problems is saturated fat, for example animal fats and some vegetable oils such as palm and coconut oil. Fat increases the amount of cholesterol in your blood. The higher the level of cholesterol in your blood the greater your risk of heart disease and stroke. If you have high blood pressure reducing you saturated fat intake is very beneficial.
    These changes to your lifestyle will reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke, but they may not lower your blood pressure enough. It may be necessary for you to take tablets as well.
    Medicines for high blood pressure
    If you need tablets, there is very strong evidence that they will reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease, provided your blood pressure is well controlled. Tablets can prolong life and reduce the risk of complications from high blood pressure. In most people lowering blood pressure with tablets causes no problems, in fact many people feel better.
    As with any medicines, those for high blood pressure can cause side effects in some people. Side effects are rare and only happen in a small number of people. It is important that if you feel that any medicine you are taking is makes you feel unwell that you should go back to your doctor to talk. Tablets and combination of drugs can be changed to find the best ones that keep your blood pressure controlled, and leave you feeling well. Most people are prescribed more than one tablet to control blood pressure and it may take time to find the combination of tablets that suits you best. The aim of any tablet, combined with lifestyle changes, is to get your blood pressure to below 140/85mmHg.
    Taking tablets for high blood pressure is something that most people will have to do for the rest of their lives and continuing to take them is very important. You may have no symptoms from your high blood pressure, but if it is left untreated you will put yourself at risk from heart disease or stroke. As soon as you stop taking tablets your blood pressure will go back up, as will your risk of heart attack or stroke. Many people find that once they get into a routine with their tablets, they become a part of their daily lives, like cleaning their teeth.
    The purpose of both the lifestyle changes that you make and the tablets that you take is to lower your blood pressure with you feeling completely well. Once your blood pressure is controlled you should be able to lead your life as normal.