Category Archives: blood pressure

What happens after you quit smoking: A timeline

As regular readers know, I feel strongly that smoking is an unmitigated blight on our lives. We lose over 170,000 people to it every year – just in lung cancer alone – totally preventable. To be honest, I am surprised that anyone who can read would choose to be a smoker. Nonetheless, it is so. I have a Page on it – How many ways does smoking harm you?   which I recommend you check out after reading this.

I am reproducing what follows from Medical News Today because I like the way they spell out positive aspects of ceasing smoking. Jenna Fletcher wrote it.

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Cigarette smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the United States. Despite this, some smokers find quitting daunting. They think it will take a very long time before seeing improvements in their health and well-being.

However, the timeline for seeing real benefits to quitting smoking is much faster than most people realize. Health benefits begin in as little as an hour after the last cigarette and continue to improve. Continue reading

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Home blood pressure monitors inaccurate 70 percent of the time: Study

What to watch out for when choosing and using your own device

Advances in technology have made it possible for us to take measurements of our body that previously we had to rely on doctor visits to get done. This is a positive development that saves us time and money – on the assumption that we can do as accurate a measurement as the hospital. Seems that is not necessarily the case with home blood pressure monitors.

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Seventy per cent of readings from home blood pressure monitors are unacceptably inaccurate, which could cause serious implications for people who rely on them to make informed health decisions, new UAlberta research reveals.

“High blood pressure is the number one cause of death and disability in the world,” said medical researcher Jennifer Ringrose, who led the research study. “Monitoring for and treating hypertension can decrease the consequences of this disease. We need to make sure that home blood pressure readings are accurate.” (my emphasis)
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Some fruit and veggies may lower blood pressure

Here is yet another reason to be sad about the SAD – Standard American Diet.

A new study by  Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California researcher links increased dietary potassium with lower hypertension.

Consuming potassium-rich foods like sweet potatoes, avocados, spinach, beans, bananas — and even coffee — could be key to lowering blood pressure, according to a USC researcher.

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“Decreasing sodium intake is a well-established way to lower blood pressure,” said Alicia McDonough, professor of cell and neurobiology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, “but evidence suggests that increasing dietary potassium may have an equally important effect on hypertension.” Continue reading

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Rapid middle age blood pressure drops linked to dementia in old age – Study

Regular readers know how much I follow developments in the study of the brain. Here is some fresh fascinating info from Johns Hopkins.

Summary: Researchers report orthostatic hypotension could cause lasting damage to the brain because it can reduce blood flow to the brain.

Middle-aged people who experience temporary blood pressure drops that often cause dizziness upon standing up may be at an increased risk of developing cognitive decline and dementia 20 years later, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests.

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The findings, being presented March 10 at the American Heart Association’s EPI|LIFESTYLE 2017 Scientific Sessions in Portland, Ore., suggest that these temporary episodes – known as orthostatic hypotension – may cause lasting damage, possibly because they reduce needed blood flow to the brain. Previous research has suggested a connection between orthostatic hypotension and cognitive decline in older people, but this appears to be the first to look at long-term associations. (my emphasis)

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Guys – Get that check up

I started writing this blog for guys nearly seven years ago. The idea was that women did a great job of keeping track of their health; men, not so much. Over the course of writing it, I have found that more than half of my readers are women who are paying attention to their  health, so the focus shifted from guys to simply good health and living past 100. But, according to this little infographic, guys still don’t do a very good job. With 34% of men over age 20 overweight or obese, guys need to wake up.

I hope this little Men’s Health 101 from Texas A&M University Health Science Center gives you a wake up call.

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Tony

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Clinic readings may underestimate blood pressure during daily activities – AHA

Ignorance about blood pressure is widespread.

Harvard Medical School reports “Blood pressure has long been one of the best markers of your health. It is a number you can remember and monitor. High blood pressure (hypertension) is linked to a greater risk of heart attacks and strokes.

“About one out of three adults has high blood pressure, which is usually defined as a reading of 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or higher.”

You can have high blood pressure, or hypertension, and still feel just fine, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA). That’s because high blood pressure often does not cause signs of illness that you can see or feel. But, high blood pressure, sometimes called “the silent killer,” is very common in older people and a major health problem.

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Study Highlights
•    24-hour ambulatory, or around-the-clock monitoring, during daily activities revealed undetected high blood pressure among otherwise healthy adults who had normal readings in the clinic.
•    Healthcare providers should be aware that normal blood-pressure tests in the clinic may not rule out high blood pressure among otherwise healthy patients. Continue reading

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Heart disease and brain health linked – Harvard

I have written time and again about the link between exercise and brain health. The Harvard Heart Letter has a nice post on how heart disease and brain health are tied together.

“Just like in the rest of your body, advancing years can take a toll on your brain function. Much of this slowing down is predictable and can be chalked up to normal aging. However, when thinking skills become increasingly fuzzy and forgetfulness gets to be a way of life, an early form of dementia known as mild cognitive impairment may be setting in,” so writes Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter.

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“Often, the first reaction is to attribute these changes to the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease. But blood flow problems may be to blame, as well. “An estimated one-third of all cases of dementia, including those identified as Alzheimer’s, can be attributed to vascular factors,” says Dr. Albert Hofman, chair of the department of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Continue reading

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Filed under blood pressure, coronary heart disease, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, heart, heart disease, heart health brain health, stroke

What is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is one of the critical and least understood aspects of our health. For that reason, I am reblogging this post I wrote five years ago. This is a perfect example of ‘what you don’t know can hurt you.’

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushed against the the wall of the arteries, according to Nurse Practicioner Deborah Bergman, MS, RN, speaking to the Northwestern Memorial Healthy Transitions Program®.

Bergman explained that blood pressure depends on the strength of the heartbeat, thickness and volume of the blood, the elasticity of the artery walls and general health. It is the arterial pressure of the circulation. It is a dynamic process and fluctuates all day.

She said that blood pressure (BP) varies between a maximum (systolic) pressure – working phase. And the minimum (diastolic) pressure – the resting phase. Average blood pressure decreases as the blood moves away from the heart through the arteries. It drops most rapidly around the small arteries and continues to decrease as it moves through the capillaries and back to the heart through the veins.

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Why eating olives is a good idea

I like to eat olives and I know a lot of folks who share my preference. So, besides a fascinating taste, what are they good for?

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Here is what the olive industry says:

– Olives eliminate excess cholesterol in the blood.

 – Olives control blood pressure.

 – Olives are a source of dietary fiber as an alternative to fruits and vegetables.

 – Olives are a great source of Vitamin E

 – Olives act as an antioxidant, protecting cells

 – Olives reduce the effects of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, benign and malignant tumours, including less serious varicose veins and cavities

 – Olives help prevent blood clots that could lead to a myocardial infarction or deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

 – Olives protect cell membranes against diseases like cancer

 – Olives are a great protection against anemia

 – Olives enhances fertility and reproductive system

 – Olives play an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system, especially during oxidative stress and chronic viral diseases

 – And just in case these benefits weren’t enough, they are also a great aphrodisiac.

 – Olives are nutritious and rich in mineral content as sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and iodine

 – Olives provide essential vitamins and amino acids.

 – Olives contain oleic acid, which has beneficial properties to protect the heart.

 – Olives contain polyphenols, a natural chemical that reduce oxidative stress in the brain. So by eating a daily serving of olives helps improve your memory by up to 25%.

 – Just one cup of olives is a great source of iron – 4.4mg.

 – Eating olives can improve the appearance of wrinkles by 20% since they contain oleic acid, which keeps skin soft and healthy.

 – By eating just 10 olives before a meal, you can reduce your appetite by up to 20%. This is because the monounsaturated fatty acids contained in olives slow down the digestion process and stimulate the hormone cholecystokinin, a hormone that sends messages of fullness to the brain.

 – Not only does it do that, but it also helps your body to stimulate the production of adiponectin, a chemical that burns fat for up to five hours after ingestion.

Tony

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High Blood Pressure May Impair Cognitive Function and Pose Risk for Alzheimer’s

My family history of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia popped this news item up onto my radar screen.

Before considering problems with high blood pressure, let’s understand what it is. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushed against the the wall of the arteries. It depends on the strength of the heartbeat, thickness and volume of the blood, the elasticity of the artery walls and general health. It is the arterial pressure of the circulation, a dynamic process that fluctuates all day.

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Normal BP is 120/80, systolic/diastolic. Prehypertensive is 120-139 over 80-89. Stage one hypertension is 140-159 over 90 – 99. Stage two hypertension reads 160 -179 over 100 – 109.

Some of the causes of high blood pressure include smoking, overweight, lack of physical activity, too much salt, too much alcohol, stress, older age, genetics. Continue reading

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9 Ways Eating Bananas Can Benefit Your Health

I have a banana in my smoothie every morning. It’s one of the excellent foods.

For more on bananas check out these posts:

20 Health benefits of bananas – Infographic

7 Amazing facts about bananas – Infographic

More good reasons to eat bananas – Infographic

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Tony

Our Better Health

If you’re like many people, no trip to the grocery store is complete until you add a bunch of bananas to your cart.

Bananas are inexpensive, tasty, and versatile, but the best reason to eat them is their health benefits. Read on to learn how this curvy, yellow wonder can help you stay well.

1. Tames Your Tummy
If you’ve ever had the stomach flu or food poisoning, you’ve probably been told to eat the BRAT diet during recovery. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Bananas are included in the acronym for good reason. They are bland enough to pass through the digestive tract easily, their potassium helps replenish lost electrolytes, and their fiber adds bulk to your stool to help calm diarrhea.

Some pregnant women report that bananas help ease morning sickness. It makes sense since bananas are high in vitamin B-6. One medium banana provides about…

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Low blood pressure diet also cuts risk of kidney disease – Johns Hopkins

People who ate a diet high in nuts and legumes, low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and low in red and processed meat, sugar-sweetened beverages and sodium were at a significantly lower risk of developing chronic kidney disease over the course of more than two decades, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests.

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The diet, known as DASH for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was designed to help reduce blood pressure, but research has shown it to be effective in preventing a series of other chronic illnesses including cardiovascular disease. The findings, published online in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, suggest that kidney disease now can be added to that list.

“In addition to offering other health benefits, consuming a DASH-style diet could help reduce the risk of developing kidney disease,” says study leader Casey M. Rebholz, PhD, MPH, MS, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School. “The great thing about this finding is that we aren’t talking about a fad diet. This is something that many physicians already recommend to help prevent chronic disease.”

Researchers estimate kidney disease affects 10 percent of the U.S. population — more than 20 million people. Less than one in five who have it are aware that they do, however. (my emphasis)
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Harvard on Understanding Blood pressure

As a senior citizen, I know that high blood pressure is very widespread. I used to think it was about the same as having grey hair. But, I was wrong.

Harvard Medical School reports “Blood pressure has long been one of the best markers of your health. It is a number you can remember and monitor. High blood pressure (hypertension) is linked to a greater risk of heart attacks and strokes.

“About one out of three adults has high blood pressure, which is usually defined as a reading of 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or higher.

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“The first, or upper, number (systolic pressure) represents the pressure inside the arteries when the heart beats, and the second, or lower, number (diastolic pressure) is the pressure between beats when the heart rests.

“Blood pressure rises with age because of increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term buildup of plaque, and the effects of other diseases involving the heart and blood vessels. Typically, more attention is given to the diastolic reading as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Continue reading

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What about your blood pressure? – NIH

You can have high blood pressure, or hypertension, and still feel just fine, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA). That’s because high blood pressure often does not cause signs of illness that you can see or feel. But, high blood pressure, sometimes called “the silent killer,” is very common in older people and a major health problem. If high blood pressure isn’t controlled with lifestyle changes and medicine, it can lead to stroke, heart disease, eye problems, kidney failure, and other health problems. High blood pressure can also cause shortness of breath during light physical activity or exercise. My emphasis

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What Is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries. When the doctor measures your blood pressure, the results are given in two numbers. The first number, called systolic blood pressure, is the pressure caused by your heart pushing out blood. The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, is the pressure when your heart fills with blood. The safest range, often called normal blood pressure, is a systolic blood pressure of less than 120 and a diastolic blood pressure of less than 80. This is stated as 120/80.

Do You Have High Blood Pressure?
One reason to have regular visits to the doctor is to have your blood pressure checked. The doctor will say your blood pressure is high when it measures 140/90 or higher at two or more checkups. He or she may ask you to check your blood pressure at home at different times of the day. If the pressure stays high, even when you are relaxed, the doctor may suggest exercise, changes in your diet, and medications.
The term “prehypertension” describes people whose blood pressure is slightly higher than normal—for example, the first number (systolic) is between 120 and 139, or the second number (diastolic) is between 80 and 89. Prehypertension can put you at risk for developing high blood pressure. Your doctor will probably want you to make changes in your day-to-day habits to try to lower your blood pressure.

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What if Just the First Number Is High?
For older people, the first number (systolic) often is 140 or greater, but the second number (diastolic) is less than 90. This problem is called isolated systolic hypertension. It is the most common form of high blood pressure in older people and can lead to serious health problems. Isolated systolic hypertension is treated in the same way as regular high blood pressure but often requires more than one type of blood pressure medication. If your systolic pressure is 140 or higher, ask your doctor how you can lower it. Continue reading

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Health Benefits of Watercress

Watercress is most commonly consumed fresh in salads but can also be incorporated into pastas, casseroles and sauces just like any other green. Watercress will sauté faster than tougher greens like kale and collard greens because of its tenderness and lends a mild, slightly peppery taste to any dish.

Cooking with Kathy Man

Watercress, along with beetroot and other leafy greens, contain a very high level of dietary nitrate.

An ancient green said to have been a staple in Roman soldiers diets, watercress is actually a part of the cruciferous (also known as brassica) family of vegetables.

High intakes of dietary nitrate have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce the amount of oxygen needed during exercise and enhance athletic performance.2 Moderate intakes do not appear to have the same effects.1

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, two cups of fresh watercress (about 68 grams) contains only 7 calories.

Two cups of watercress also have 1.6 grams of protein, 0.1 grams of fat, and 0.9 grams of carbohydrate (including 0.3 grams of fiber and 0.1 grams of sugar).

Consuming 2 cups of watercress will meet 212% of vitamin K, 48% of your vitamin C, 44% of vitamin A, 8% of calcium and…

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Hypertension Self-Management Program Helps Reduce Blood Pressure For High-Risk Patients

“This trial has shown for the first time, to our knowledge, that a group of high-risk individuals, with hypertension and significant cardiovascular comorbidity, are able to self-monitor and self-titrate antihypertensive treatment following a pre­specified algorithm developed with their family physician and that in doing so, they achieved a clinically significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure without an increase in adverse events,” the authors write. “This is a population with the most to gain in terms of reducing future cardiovascular events from optimized blood pressure control.”

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Among patients with hypertension at high risk of cardiovascular disease, a program that consisted of patients measuring their blood pressure and adjusting their antihypertensive medication accordingly resulted in lower systolic blood pressure at 12 months compared to patients who received usual care, according to a study in the August 27 issue of JAMA.

Data from national and international surveys suggest that despite improvements over the last decade, significant proportions of patients have poor control of their elevated blood pressure. Self-monitoring of blood pressure with self-titration (adjusting) of antihypertensives results in lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension, but there are no data about patients in high-risk groups, according to background information in the article.

Richard J. McManus, F.R.C.G.P., of the University of Oxford, and colleagues randomly assigned 552 patients with hypertension and a history of stroke, coronary heart disease, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease to self-monitoring of blood pressure combined…

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