Sunday, August 28, 2011

Enjoy juicy watermelons and lower your blood pressure

Elevated blood pressure (hypertension) is common for many of us from time to time and it has often been the practice of doctors to treat high blood pressure by prescribing dangerous statin drugs. Now, researchers have found that healthy watermelons can do just as good of a job without all the nasty side effects which have been linked to statin drugs.

In a study just published in the American Journal of Hypertension, food scientists at Florida State University found that consumption of six grams of L-citrulline extract from watermelon extract for six weeks normalized the blood pressure of all nine adults in the study who previously had elevated blood pressure.

"We are the first to document improved aortic hemodynamics in pre-hypertensive but otherwise healthy middle-aged men and women receiving therapeutic doses of watermelon," said Dr. Arturo Figueroa, lead researcher of the new study. "These findings suggest that this 'functional food' has a vasodilatory effect, and one that may prevent prehypertension from progressing to full-blown hypertension, a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes," added Figueroa

The large watermelon fruit is the richest edible source of the amino acid L-citrulline, which regulates healthy blood pressure. L-citrulline is converted to another amino acid, L-arginine, once in the body. However, taking L-arginine as a dietary supplement can cause nausea, gastrointestinal problems and diarrhea, especially among adults who already suffer from raised blood pressure.

"Individuals with increased blood pressure and arterial stiffness - especially those who are older and those with chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes - would benefit from L-citrulline in either the synthetic or natural (watermelon) form," Figueroa said.

Helping lower and control blood pressure is just one of many health benefits for the large summertime favorite. Watermelons have the highest water content of any fruit and, in addition to being a supreme thirst quencher, are excellent sources of several vitamins: vitamin A, an antioxidant which helps maintain eye health; vitamin C, which strengthens immunity, heals wounds, prevents cell damage, and promotes healthy teeth and gums; and vitamin B6, which helps brain function and helps convert protein to energy.

Tomatoes have been highly advertised as a great source for lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight heart disease and several types of cancer, especially prostate cancer. Watermelon, however, has the highest concentrations of lycopene of any fresh fruit or vegetable.

Watermelons also have plenty of thiamine, magnesium, and potassium which are all vital for optimal health. Thus if your children, or perhaps yourself, are reluctant to dig into spinach, other dark green leafy vegetables or lima beans on a regular basis, servings of watermelon would be a very healthy substitute - and would make a healthy addition at any rate.

Watermelons help muscle and nerve function and help maintain the body's proper electrolyte and acid-base balance. They also reduce the risk of colon cancer, asthma, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Watermelons are also excellent for kidney health as it can both flush the kidneys and dissolve kidney stones. One of the most popular and effective natural remedies for kidney stones is a tea made from watermelon seeds, though often the juice alone in plentiful quantities will do the trick.

A good one way to cleanse both the colon and the kidneys is to go an entire day consuming nothing but watermelon. Besides flushing the kidneys it will also usually clean out the colon as well - so well, in fact, that a good piece of advice is to not stray too far from available toilet facilities from about mid-afternoon on when doing a watermelon flush.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

High blood pressure can be caused by viruses

A study carried out by a team of Chinese doctors says that high blood pressure could be caused by a common virus. This finding has possible implications for millions of people around the world.

The human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infects most adults but is repressed by the body's immune system and rarely causes any symptoms.

But a team from Beijing Chaoyang Hospital's cardiology centre has found the first evidence of a link between HCMV and essential hypertension, according to a report published on the website of the US medical journal Circulation.
Essential hypertension, the world's most common form of high blood pressure, has in the past been linked to lifestyle and genetic factors.

The findings "demonstrate a novel link between HCMV infection and essential hypertension," according to the report.

"These findings may reveal important insights into the pathogenesis of essential hypertension," it added.

The study could have widespread health implications -- the World Health Organization says around a billion people worldwide suffer from high blood pressure.

Former Circulation chief editor James Willerson posted comments on Beijing Chaoyang Hospital's website, saying the findings of the study "might present a new strategy for preventing and treating cardiovascular disease".

Dialysis and low blood pressure - not good combination

A new study shows patients who have low blood pressure or experience a sudden drop in blood pressure while undergoing dialysis are at an increased risk of blood clotting at the point where the blood vessels are connected to the dialysis machine, which is known as vascular access.
"Vascular access is their lifeline. It's required for dialysis, and without dialysis, they'll die," Tara Chang, M.D., a Stanford nephrologist and lead author of the study, was quoted as saying.
In dialysis, blood is cleaned by exchanging fluid and electrolytes across a membrane during a three- to four-hour session. One of the most common forms of vascular access is a fistula, which is created surgically from the patient's own blood vessels. The tubes to take blood to and from the body to the dialysis machine are connected to the body at this access point. Clotting is a major complication of an access point. It can lead to its closure.
"These access points don't last forever," Chang said. "Many patients go through multiple access points moving from the right to left arm, or into the legs if necessary after repeated failures in the arms. When a patient runs out of access points, it becomes an emergency situation. Anything you can do to extend the life of the access point is important."
The investigators found patients who had the most frequent low blood pressure episodes during dialysis were two-times more likely to have a clotted fistula than those with the fewest episodes. According to the researchers, low blood pressure during dialysis occurs in about 25 percent of dialysis sessions.
Previous research has shown a dip in blood pressure during dialysis can lead to strokes, seizures, heart damage, and even death. Patients experiencing this problem are also at risk for short-term troubles like gastrointestinal, muscular and neurologic symptoms.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tasty food which will lower your blood pressure

Optimal blood pressure is at or below 120/80 mm Hg.
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor has probably already told you the basics. You can control blood pressure by getting to and maintaining a healthy weight; reducing your “bad” cholesterol (LDL) if it’s high; limiting the salt in your diet; exercising; and adding calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and potassium to your diet.
The following eight foods are among the best of the best when it comes to lowering your blood pressure.
Skim milk Skim milk provides calcium and vitamin D, two nutrients that work as a team to help reduce blood pressure by about 3 to 10 percent. Although this doesn’t sound like much, it could add up to about 15 percent reduction in risk for cardiovascular disease.
Spinach, unsalted sunflower seeds, beans (black, white, navy, lima, pinto, kidney) Spinach, unsalted sunflower seeds and beans are all loaded with magnesium, a key ingredient for lowering and maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. These foods also provide lots of potassium, a primary nutrient in the fight against high blood pressure (see below).
Baked white potato, banana, soybeans These three foods provide ample potassium. Your blood levels of potassium and sodium are inextricably linked. When potassium is low, the body retains sodium (and too much sodium raises blood pressure). When potassium is high, the body gets rid of sodium. Eating potassium-rich foods is important for maintaining a healthy balance of both minerals and, by extension, for keeping blood pressure low.
Important note: Do not take potassium supplements unless specifically prescribed by your doctor. Too much potassium will upset the balance, and could have serious, even life-threatening consequences.
Dark chocolate Hooray for dark chocolate!  Eating about 30 calories a day — that’s less than half an ounce of dark chocolate — was associated with a lowering of blood pressure without weight gain or other adverse effects.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

High blood pressure research - different drugs for different patients

Having high blood pressure and a particular genetic alteration dramatically increases the risk of heart attack, stroke or death, and may explain why some hypertensive patients fare worse than others - even if they take the same medication, University of Florida researchers announced.

The discovery, reported at the annual Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association, brings scientists a step closer toward determining how certain genes influence the development of hypertension and the bad outcomes associated with the condition. Just as discriminating shoppers buy made-to-order suits to flatter their figure, this type of research may someday enable patients to seek out medicine tailored to fit, based not on their size and shape but on their genetic makeup.
UF researchers studied about 5,700 patients ages 50 and older who were participating in a National Institutes of Health-funded substudy of the International Verapamil SR-Trandolapril study, or INVEST-GENES. Other scientists had previously found that hypertensive patients with a certain version of the alpha-adducin gene were less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke if they were taking a diuretic.
"Specifically, their data suggested that one genotype group benefited from the diuretic and had a reduction in heart attack and stroke, while the other genotype group did not," said Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., director of the UF Center for Pharmacogenomics and chairwoman of the department of pharmacy practice at UF's College of Pharmacy. "We felt we had an ideal population for trying to replicate this finding, which if true could have important clinical implications.
"In our study, carriers of the genetic variation had an approximately 43 percent higher risk of death, heart attack or stroke," she said. "Thus, this helps us piece together the puzzle of the various genes that lead to some people having worse outcomes than others when they have hypertension."
Genes likely determine nearly half one's risk of developing hypertension, and factors such as diet, age, health status and the environment determine the rest. Similarly, certain genes are associated with the risk of the adverse consequences of hypertension, such as heart attack, stroke and kidney failure, said Johnson, a member of the UF Genetics Institute.
"One of the goals of our research is to identify the genes that are related to patient-to-patient differences in response to medications," Johnson said. "Personalizing drugs based on genetic makeup instead of taking a trial-and-error approach could lead to safer, more effective treatments for individual patients."
About 65 million Americans have high blood pressure, and another 25 million are at high risk of developing hypertension in the next decade, Johnson said. Elevated blood pressure is associated with kidney disease and up to half of all cases of coronary artery disease, the No. 1 killer of men and women in the United States. Many patients fail to achieve targeted blood pressure goals.
In the INVEST substudy, nearly a third of the participants were carriers of the tryptophan version of the alpha-adducin gene, a protein associated with the movement of ions, especially sodium, across cells. In these individuals, the amino acid glycine has been swapped with the amino acid tryptophan. Up to 40 percent of the population carries at least one copy of the tryptophan form of the gene.
In the UF study, those with this version had a 43 percent higher risk of heart attack, stroke or death than those with the glycine form in the 2 ½ years after the study began; 258 patients, about 5 percent, experienced a heart attack or stroke, or died. But unlike previous research, the UF study did not show that patients with the glycine form benefited more from diuretics, which help lower blood pressure by ridding the body of excess salt and water.
"We were not able to show any relationship between the genetic variations and benefits associated with diuretic therapy," Johnson said. "Thus, our data suggest that we would not use this genetic information to help determine who should get a diuretic. However, it does provide us clues into at least one gene that likely places people at risk for death, heart attack and stroke, and so perhaps in the future this information can be used to be more aggressive in the preventive therapies for these individuals."
As researchers learn more, they hope to better understand the complex interplay between genes, disease development and the treatments that work best depending on one's DNA. For now, identifying patients at risk remains a challenge, and treatment is often inadequate, Johnson said.
"There are five first-line drug classes, with probably an average of seven to eight drugs in each class, then an additional half-dozen or so other drug classes that aren't considered first-line," Johnson said. "This means there are many choices for drug therapy in hypertension - a good thing - but also adds to the trial-and-error element of finding the right drug for the right person, as any specific drug has only about a 50 percent chance of being effective in a specific patient."
Identifying genetic risk factors is only the first step, said epidemiologist Sharon Kardia, Ph.D., director of the Public Health Genetics Program at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
"Large research studies need to be undertaken to prove that genetic risk can be reduced through medical or public health interventions. Second, this whole new realm of genomic medicine greatly expands the responsibilities of doctors, nurses and pharmacist to assure the proper use of genetic information in prescribing, dispensing and administering drug therapies," Kardia said. "Lastly, we have to tread lightly until we have assurances that people's genetic information will be properly protected so that identifying someone as more expensive or difficult to treat won't result in insurance or perhaps job discrimination. As Dr. Johnson's research illustrates, we now have good evidence that we should be investing in genetics education, regulation and social engagement so that we can move these results to the next level - namely, decreasing health-care costs and saving lives."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Excersise for low blood pressure

Simple exercises can supports the treatment of low blood pressure, which helps the heart to work effectively, increase the muscle strength and limit blood pressure fluctuations.
Low blood pressure exercise along do not do much, but when combined with low pressure home remedies and low BP foods then the result will be amazing.
The below said Low pressure exercises makes the heart & lungs work harder and provides enough blood & oxygen to your body. Thus most of the annoying low bp symptoms vanishes.
Beginners should start by walking 5 to 10 minutes at a time gradually increase up to at least 30 minutes per session.

Keep the feet shoulder width apart and the back straight. Bend the knees and lower the rear as if sitting down in a chair, keeping the knees over the ankles. Tips: Practice squats with a chair to master this move. First, sit all the way down in the chair and stand up. Next, don't sit on the chair; barely touch the chair's seat before standing back up. Finally, graduate to doing squats without a chair.

Take a big step forward, keeping the spine straight. Bend the front knee to approximately 90 degrees. Keep weight on the back toes and drop the back knee toward the floor - but don't let it touch the floor.

Face down, place hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Place toes or knees on the floor, creating a smooth line with the body, from shoulders to knees or feet. Keeping rear-end muscles and abdominals engaged, lower and lift the body by bending and straightening the elbows, keeping the torso stable throughout the move.
Abdominal Crunches

Begin by lying on your back with feet flat on the floor and palms supporting your head. Press your low back down. Contract abdominals and raise first your head (tucking your chin slightly), then your neck, shoulders, and upper back off the floor. Tips: Do crunches with your feet off the floor and knees bent. This technique may help you avoid arching your back; it also engages your hip flexors.
Simplified pushups for beginners
Wall push up

Dramatically reduces the pressure on the arms, upper back and abs. Stand closer to the wall, it is easier to perform, but remember, it's still important to be aware of the body alignment. As once gain strength and confidence, move the feet slightly further away from the walls to make the workout more challenging. Feel free to consider moving knee style push ups once the initial strength has increased.
Knee push up

Reduce the lifting load by about 50% for the same exercise, but do it on the knees. Keeping a straight line from neck to torso is still important, so please pay attention to correct body alignment when performing workout. Feel free to consider moving to actual push ups once strength and confidence has increased.
This low blood pressure exercises can strengthen muscles and nerves, which in turn helps to prevent sudden blood pressure variations. But be cautious when practicing don't change positions suddenly do every thing slowly.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Skimmed milk lower down your blood pressure

Drinking a glass of skimmed milk a day can cut blood pressure by up to a third, study finds.

The study found middle-aged men and women who consumed lots of healthy dairy products, such as skimmed milk and low-fat yogurts, were much less likely to have high blood pressure later in life.
The research, carried out in the Netherlands, is not the first to link dairy goods with a healthy heart.
Experts now think minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium – all found in milk – could play a vital role in protecting against high blood pressure, or hypertension.
Around 270,000 people a year in the UK suffer a heart attack and high blood pressure – which affects one in five people – is a major risk factor.
Clinical guidelines state a healthy reading - measured in millimeters of mercury, comparing when the heart beats to when it's at rest - is 120mmHg/80mmHg or below. Regular exercise and reduced salt intake can help to lower it but patients who have readings consistently above 140mmHg/90mmHg usually need drugs to control it.
The latest study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests increased consumption of low-fat milk could help.
Researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands monitored 2,245 men and women aged 55 or over who did not have high blood pressure at the start of the trial, for ten years.
The results showed that in the first two years of the study, the risk of developing high blood pressure was reduced almost 30 per cent in those consuming the most low-fat dairy goods.
High-fat products, such as butter or cheese, did not have a protective effect, although they did not increase the risks either.
High blood pressure tends to affect the body as it ages and researchers think although skimmed milk may help delay its onset, it cannot prevent it completely.
The research paper said: "Trials show a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and low-fat dairy products can substantially reduce blood pressure.
"Although the underlying mechanism remains to be established, it has been linked to proteins, bioactive peptides and minerals such as calcium, potassium or magnesium."