Monday, September 26, 2011

How to control high blood pressure in 10 easy steps

If you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure (a systolic pressure — the top number — of 140 or above or a diastolic pressure — the bottom number — of 90 or above), you might be worried about taking medication to bring your numbers down.
Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you may avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.
Here are 10 lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and keep it down.

1. Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline

Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Losing just 10 pounds can help reduce your blood pressure. In general, the more weight you lose, the lower your blood pressure. Losing weight also makes any blood pressure medications you're taking more effective. You and your doctor can determine your target weight and the best way to achieve it.
Besides shedding pounds, you should also keep an eye on your waistline. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure. In general:
  • Men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (102 centimeters, or cm).
  • Women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (88 cm).
  • Asian men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 36 inches (90 cm).
  • Asian women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 32 inches (80 cm).

2. Exercise regularly

Regular physical activity — at least 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). And it doesn't take long to see a difference. If you haven't been active, increasing your exercise level can lower your blood pressure within just a few weeks.
If you have prehypertension (systolic pressure between 120 and 139 or diastolic pressure between 80 and 89), exercise can help you avoid developing full-blown hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.
Talk to your doctor about developing an exercise program. Your doctor can help determine whether you need any exercise restrictions. Even moderate activity for 10 minutes at a time, such as walking and light strength training, can help.
But avoid being a "weekend warrior." Trying to squeeze all your exercise in on the weekends to make up for weekday inactivity isn't a good strategy. Those sudden bursts of activity could actually be risky.

3. Eat a healthy diet

Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
It isn't easy to change your eating habits, but with these tips, you can adopt a healthy diet:
  • Keep a food diary. Writing down what you eat, even for just a week, can shed surprising light on your true eating habits. Monitor what you eat, how much, when and why.
  • Consider boosting potassium. Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The best source of potassium is food, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements. Talk to your doctor about the potassium level that's best for you.
  • Be a smart shopper. Make a shopping list before heading to the supermarket to avoid picking up junk food. Read food labels when you shop, and stick to your healthy-eating plan when you're dining out, too.
  • Cut yourself some slack. Although the DASH diet is a lifelong eating guide, it doesn't mean you have to cut out all of the foods you love. It's OK to treat yourself occasionally to foods you wouldn't find on a DASH diet menu, like a candy bar or mashed potatoes with gravy.

4. Reduce sodium in your diet

Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg. The recommendations for reducing sodium are:
  • Limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day or less.
  • A lower sodium level — 1,500 mg a day or less — is appropriate for people 51 years of age or older, and individuals of any age who are African-American or who have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
To decrease sodium in your diet, consider these tips:
  • Track how much salt is in your diet. Keep a food diary to estimate how much sodium is in what you eat and drink each day.
  • Read food labels. If possible, choose low-sodium alternatives of the foods and beverages you normally buy.
  • Eat fewer processed foods. Potato chips, frozen dinners, bacon and processed lunch meats are high in sodium.
  • Don't add salt. Just 1 level teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium. Use herbs or spices, rather than salt, to add more flavor to your foods.
  • Ease into it. If you don't feel like you can drastically reduce the sodium in your diet suddenly, cut back gradually. Your palate will adjust over time.

5. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink

Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. In small amounts, it can potentially lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg. But that protective effect is lost if you drink too much alcohol — generally more than one drink a day for women and more than two a day for men. Also, if you don't normally drink alcohol, you shouldn't start drinking as a way to lower your blood pressure. There's more potential harm than benefit to drinking alcohol.
If you drink more than moderate amounts of it, alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of high blood pressure medications.
  • Track your drinking patterns. Along with your food diary, keep an alcohol diary to track your true drinking patterns. One drink equals 12 ounces (355 milliliters, or mL) of beer, 5 ounces of wine (148 mL) or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor (45 mL). If you're drinking more than the suggested amounts, cut back.
  • Consider tapering off. If you're a heavy drinker, suddenly eliminating all alcohol can actually trigger severe high blood pressure for several days. So when you stop drinking, do it with the supervision of your doctor or taper off slowly, over one to two weeks.
  • Don't binge. Binge drinking — having four or more drinks in a row — can cause large and sudden increases in blood pressure, in addition to other health problems.

6. Avoid tobacco products and secondhand smoke

On top of all the other dangers of smoking, the nicotine in tobacco products can raise your blood pressure by 10 mm Hg or more for up to an hour after you smoke. Smoking throughout the day means your blood pressure may remain constantly high.
You should also avoid secondhand smoke. Inhaling smoke from others also puts you at risk of health problems, including high blood pressure and heart disease.

7. Cut back on caffeine

The role caffeine plays in blood pressure is still debatable. Drinking caffeinated beverages can temporarily cause a spike in your blood pressure, but it's unclear whether the effect is temporary or long lasting.
To see if caffeine raises your blood pressure, check your pressure within 30 minutes of drinking a cup of coffee or another caffeinated beverage you regularly drink. If your blood pressure increases by five to 10 points, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine.
Regardless of your sensitivity to caffeine's effects, doctors recommend you drink no more than 200 milligrams a day — about the amount in two cups of coffee.

8. Reduce your stress

Stress or anxiety can temporarily increase blood pressure. Take some time to think about what causes you to feel stressed, such as work, family, finances or illness. Once you know what's causing your stress, consider how you can eliminate or reduce stress.
If you can't eliminate all of your stressors, you can at least cope with them in a healthier way. Take breaks for deep-breathing exercises. Get a massage or take up yoga or meditation. If self-help doesn't work, seek out a professional for counseling.

9. Monitor your blood pressure at home and make regular doctor's appointments

If you have high blood pressure, you may need to monitor your blood pressure at home. Learning to self-monitor your blood pressure with an upper arm monitor can help motivate you. Talk to your doctor about home monitoring before getting started.
Regular visits to your doctor are also likely to become a part of your normal routine. These visits will help keep tabs on your blood pressure.
  • Have a primary care doctor. People who don't have a primary care doctor find it harder to control their blood pressure. If you can, visit the same health care facility or professional for all of your health care needs.
  • Visit your doctor regularly. If your blood pressure isn't well controlled, or if you have other medical problems, you might need to visit your doctor every month to review your treatment and make adjustments. If your blood pressure is under control, you might need to visit your doctor only every six to 12 months, depending on other conditions you might have.

10. Get support from family and friends

Supportive family and friends can help improve your health. They may encourage you to take care of yourself, drive you to the doctor's office or embark on an exercise program with you to keep your blood pressure low. Talk to your family and friends about the dangers of high blood pressure.
If you find you need support beyond your family and friends, consider joining a support group. This may put you in touch with people who can give you an emotional or morale boost and who can offer practical tips to cope with your condition.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What is the best blood pressure medicine?

Many people take prescription medicines to help their blood pressure. This is because their blood pressure is probably higher than 140/90 mm Hg. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in both men and women, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). If you have high blood pressure, it is important to consult with your doctor to find out which medications you should take.
  1. Beta Blockers

    • Beta Blockers are medications used to lower blood pressure, treat angina (chest pain), prevent heart attacks and to prevent irregular heartbeats. Lopressor and Atenolol (Tenormin) are examples of Beta Blockers. These medication can be taken with or without food. If you have shortness of breath, chest pain, sudden weight gain, swelling in your legs and feet, and wheezing alert your doctor immediately.

    ACE Inhibitor

    • An ACE Inhibitor is a heart medication that is used to treat high blood pressure and also helps treat heart failure after a heart attack. It lowers blood pressure by helping the pumping function of a person's heart. Lisinopril (Prinivivl, Zestril) and Enalapril (Vasotec) are examples of ACE Inhibitors. These medications are usually taken with food. Alert your doctor if you get a side effect of a nagging, dry cough.

    Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers

    • These medications block a chemical in the body called Angiotensin II. Angiotensin II makes the blood vessels in the body narrow, which causes the blood flow to restrict. Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers help the blood vessels to widen and relax. This lowers blood pressure and it reduces stress on the heart. Diovan (valsartan) and Cozaar (losartan) are examples of Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers. These medications are usually taken with food. Alert your doctor if you get dizzy, have a fever and chills.

    Calcium Channel Blockers

    • Calcium Channel Blockers help lower a person's blood pressure. This helps by keeping calcium out of the the blood vessel muscle cells and heart. By keeping the calcium out it helps the cells and heart relax. Nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia) and Amlodipine (Norvasc) are examples of Calcium Channel Blockers. Medicine is usually taken with food. Alert your doctor if you experience very low blood pressure, rash, drowsiness, dizziness or if your legs swell up.

    Blood Thinner

    • A blood thinner is used to keep harmful blood clots from going into the heart. It helps blood clots from recurring, too. However, it does not dissolve the blood clots that you may already have in your body. Coumadin (Warfarin) is an example of a blood thinner. Watch what you eat while on this medication because the medication does not work well with certain foods. For example, foods that are not good while taking a blood thinner contain a lot of Vitamin K. If you have abnormal bleeding in your stools or get nose bleeds, alert your doctor immediately.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sex drive and high blood pressure

There is definitely a relationship between prescribed high blood pressure medication and one's sex drive, for both men and women. They can cause erectile problems in men and lack of lubrication in women.
Most prescription medications are accompanied by uncomfortable and often unusual side effects, and the same goes for high blood pressure medications. There is definitely a relationship between high blood pressure medication and one’s sex drive, for both men and women. In men high blood pressure medication can cause erectile problems because they slow down the flow of blood to the penis, thereby making it much more difficult for the man to get an erection when sexually aroused. Women taking these medications may experience pain during intercourse due to a lack of lubrication which is a side effect of the drugs.
Exactly how high blood pressure and sexual dysfunction are connected is not completely clear, but a very important issue for everyone to be aware of, even if they themselves are not presently dealing with a high blood pressure condition. Women actually experience a bigger affect to their sex drive when taking high blood pressure medication than men do, namely a loss of natural lubrication. Women also may experience a recurring decrease in sexual desire, persistent or recurring decrease in sexual arousal, or a difficulty or even complete inability to achieve an orgasm.
One of the biggest ironies of the strange relationship between blood pressure medication and sex drive becomes more understandable when one studies the effect of these medicines on sexual functioning. While it is safe to use certain sexual performance products such as ProSolution for instance, it is very important that proper care and common sense is used here, and that they are not taken with nitrates, because the combination here can be dangerous, and even potentially lethal.
The most commonly used medicines for high blood pressure that cause a dysfunction in one’s sex drive include:
  • Antihypertensive medicines such as clonidine and methyldopa
  • ACE inhibitors like enalapril and lisinopril
  • Beta blockers such as atenolol and propanolol
  • Thiazide diuretics
These and other high blood pressure medications can result in causing impotency, delayed ejaculation, and even a completely diminished sex drive. Even though there are premature ejaculation treatment and other treatment options available here, obviously the most important thing one can do is be positively sure that these medications are necessary for their high blood pressure before starting on them. Only a medical professional will be able to determine this, and this decision will be based on a few factors in particular. This includes how severe the condition actually is and how long the person has been dealing with it.
All of these symptoms and side effects can be incredibly frustrating and devastating to a person’s life, and this is why careful consideration should be put forth before one is started on any type of prescription medication.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Discovery: 16 gene regions that affect on blood pressure

British, European and American researchers have discovered 16 new gene regions that play key roles in blood pressure levels, according to an article published in Nature Genetics and Nature. The articles were published by the International Consortium for Blood Pressure Genome-Wide Association Studies. The authors say their breakthrough represents an enormous step forward in our understanding of how inheritable factors impact on people's blood pressure.

The scientists added that their finding should help create potential new targeted therapies for the treatment and prevention of hypertension, stroke and heart disease - the biggest causes of death around the world.

European and American researchers led an international study which included 351 scientists from 24 different countries worldwide. They gathered data on 270,000 individuals to determine what genetic variations in each person's DNA might be linked to blood pressure variations (low and high blood pressure).

The scientists were able to identify 16 new gene regions which play a role in regulating blood pressure levels. They also confirmed another 12 gene regions which researchers at the Barts and London Medical School had previously identified.

They then examined the 28 gene regions to see what effects their combinations might have on people's risk of developing coronary heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, and structural heart changes.

They found that the combined effects of these variations were similar to the effects standard blood pressure lowering medications have on blood pressure. Notably, they also observed that their genetic effects on blood pressure levels were similar in individuals of African, South Asian, East Asian and European ancestries.

The authors explained that the factors which impact on blood pressure - a combination of lifestyle and genetics - have been, until now, difficult to identify accurately. Over one billion people globally suffer from hypertension. It does not take much of an increase in blood pressure to raise the risk of heart attack and stroke, they added.

President of the British Hypertension Society, Professor Mark Caulfield, said:

"High blood pressure affects a quarter of the adult population in the UK. These new gene regions we report today offer a major leap forward in our understanding of the inherited influences on blood pressure and offer new potential avenues for treatment which is particularly welcome for those who do not achieve optimal blood pressure control."

Professor Patricia Munroe, from Barts and The London Medical School, said:

"This large multicentre collaboration has yielded many new genes for blood pressure, determining which gene and their function will improve our understanding of the basic architecture of hypertension, and should facilitate new therapeutic drug development."

Dr Toby Johnson said:

"There were enormous challenges to overcome in collecting and analysing the amount of data we needed for this study. Our discoveries illustrate the power of international collaborative research."

Related study, published in Nature Genetics

Louise Wain and Martin Tobin from the University of Leicester, and Paul Elliott from Imperial College London, wrote about gene regions identified which influence pulse pressure (PP) and mean arterial pressure (MAP) - both of which can predict cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

They discovered two new gene regions for arterial pressure and four for pulse pressure - indicating new genetic mechanisms which bring about variations in blood pressure.

Louise Wain said:

"Our study shows the importance of looking at different measures of blood pressure in order to identify new genetic variants that affect levels of blood pressure in the population."

Paul Elliott said:
"Pulse pressure is a marker of the stiffness of the arteries that carry blood from the heart round the body. Our results could help understanding about the genetic mechanisms underlying relationships of pulse pressure with risk of heart disease and stroke."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Spice up your life and lower your blood pressure

Here are few tips and tricks how to improve your cooking and lower your high blood pressure with natural spices.

1. Eliminate packaged moreover organized meals. These are in general high in sodium which is departing headed for increase in intensity your blood pressure.
2. ensue creative with flavor. You bottle manipulate a category of spices, herbs furthermore equal fruit juices headed for tally season headed for your foods.
3. shun accumulation saline headed for your foods. This includes at what time you are cooking d next to the table.
4. proviso you are with bottle foods you must wash them more willingly than preparing the meal. This willpower take out a large amount of the saline furthermore additives worn headed for carry on the food.
When you are cooking you must reflect on idea farther of the envelope representing flavor. in attendance are some spices as a consequence herbs with the intention of you bottle add together headed for your victuals with the intention of desire not solitary compliment the savor except moreover get better your blood pressure rank as well as convey it headed for a better number. at this point are a number of of the spices in addition to herbs with the intention of boast been associated headed for lowering blood pressure:
* Thyme
* Basil
* fowl seasoning
* Bay leaves
* cherry pepper
* Black Pepper
* Chili Powder
* Parsley
* Cinnamon
* Paprika
* Curry powder
* Oregano
* laconic mustard
* Onion powder
* Garlic powder
If you bottle incorporate a number of of these hooked on your each day meals you desire apt be real talented headed for not solitary hold sway over your high blood pressure. all of these comprise been associated headed for lowering it. Not solitary bottle you get better your whole wellbeing with consumption fit foods except you bottle fall your high blood pressure because well. counting these spices bottle enhance the savor of your foods merely as much as necessary headed for gratify your nibble buds exclusive of having headed for venture greater than ever your blood pressure.
Lowering high blood pressure with spices is not solitary fit except and relatively a full of flavor alternative. You desire apt ensue proficient headed for attain as a result new to the job recipes headed for manipulate these spices before proviso you desire you bottle manipulate your obtainable recipes with replacement a number of of the greater than mentioned spices although eliminating salt.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Does drinking too much water lowers your blood pressure?

Sometimes when reading tips for reducing blood pressure, drinking water is recommended. However, authority websites including the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the Mayo Clinic do not mention drinking water to lower blood pressure, when discussing treatments and lifestyle changes.
Why should some articles say that drinking water lowers blood pressure?
The idea that drinking water will lower blood pressure seems to come from the idea that when lots of water is consumed, that sodium will be flushed out of the body and consequently pressure will drop.
After all, several classes of diuretics are very effective at reducing pressure. These diuretics function by increasing the loss of sodium from the body and an increased volume of urine. Both the loss of sodium from the blood and decreasing the blood volume result in decreased blood pressure.
So, if drugs, that effectively lower blood pressure in most people, work by increasing the volume of urine and the amount of sodium, then drinking more water should do the same thing?
Unfortunately, there is a problem with this reasoning. To understand why, it is necessary to understand that the body very tightly controls the levels of fluid and ions such as sodium and calcium. For optimal functioning, the body has evolved a wide range of control processes that are involved in keeping many ions and fluid levels within a narrow range.
Diuretics act on parts of the system that control sodium. For instance thiazide diuretics bind to, and inhibit, a protein called the Na/Cl symporter (Na=sodium, Cl=chloride) that controls the amount of sodium that is reabsorbed back into the blood from the urine that is being formed. The result is that the body recovers less sodium from the urine as it is being formed, and so more sodium is lost in the urine and there is a slight increase in volume. So diuretics affect the regulatory system and change a part of this.
Water has no impact on the sodium or fluid control system so it will not change the total amount of sodium in the urine, or change the blood volume. Drinking more water will increase the volume of urine as the body regulates fluid levels, to keep the blood volume stable. Additionally, the same amount of sodium (and other ions etc.) in a bigger volume will lead to the urine being more dilute.
Think about the color of urine. If not much fluid has been consumed, or there has been a lot of sweating, there will a small quantity of urine with a strong yellow color (from urobilin). If a person is well hydrated, there is more urine with a pale color. Same thing with sodium. In a healthy individual, the greater the volume of urine due to increased fluid consumption, the lower the concentration of sodium.
So the bottom line is that, generally, increasing the amount of water that is consumed will not increase the amount of sodium lost by the blood, so blood pressure will not be lowered.
In fact, drinking water can actually cause a very short term increase in blood pressure in some people, particularly those with some types of very low blood pressure. This is only temporary and has no long term impact on blood pressure.
Keeping hydrated is good for health, but overhydration has no benefit for lowering blood pressure.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Are you sleeping light? Not good for your blood pressure

Older men who sleep lighter are at increased risk of developing high blood pressure, according to a study about the importance of a good night's rest.

Men who spent the least amount of time in slow-wave sleep, marked by synchronised brain waves and a deep sleep from which it's hard to wake up, were 83 per cent more likely to develop hypertension during the three-year study.

The findings remained consistent even with weight, race and age taken into account, according to the report in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Men are more likely to have high blood pressure than women, and poor sleep quality may help explain why, according to Prof Susan Redline, a professor of sleep medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. The findings add to previous reports that show deep sleep is important for learning and memory and may play a role in diabetes, cardiovascular disease and changes in metabolism.

"People should recognise that sleep, diet and physical activity are critical to health, including optimal blood pressure," said Prof Redline. The study included 784 men, aged 75 on average, who did not initially have high blood pressure.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lowering blood pressure with potato diet

They have long been maligned as fattening and shunned by those  following the Dukan and other low-carb diets.
But potatoes could be the latest superfood. For eating a portion twice a day can lower blood pressure, researchers say. What is more, it seems there is no weight gain involved and high blood pressure is gone.
However, before you get out the roasting tin or rush to the chip shop, read on.
Microwaved spuds, free of butter, oil or ketchup, are best for health, scientists say. Baked potatoes and boiled spuds, including mash, are also acceptable.
In the study, 18 men and women were asked to eat six to eight golf ball-sized potatoes with their lunch and dinner, as part of their normal diet.
Most of those taking part were overweight or obese and on pills to lower blood pressure.
After a month of the ‘tattie treatment’, their blood pressure readings dropped significantly – suggesting the potatoes were powerful enough to take over when the tablets could not do any more
In addition, none of the volunteers put on any weight.
Potatoes are thought to have a satiating effect but it is also likely that those taking part in the study cut back on other foods, the American Chemical Society’s annual conference reported.
Those used in the U.S. agriculture department-funded study were purple and so small that they contained as few as 12 calories each, but the researchers believe that ordinary potatoes should also benefit health.

They should be cooked – ideally in the microwave – with their skins on.
This is because many of the health-boosting, blood pressure-lowering chemicals are in the skin.
Microwaving is preferred because, unlike the high temperatures used to fry and roast, it preserves most of the goodness. Researcher Joe Vinson, from Scranton University in Pennsylvania, said: ‘Mention “potato” and people think “fattening, high carbs, empty calories”. 
‘We hope our research helps to remake the potato’s popular nutritional image.’  
Dr Vinson, who likes his potatoes baked and topped with salad cream, added that lowering blood pressure cuts the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Previous research has shown potatoes contain phyto, or plant, chemicals similar to those found in blood pressure drugs.