Category Archives: high blood pressure

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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Healthy arteries may be possible with aging – AHA

As a 77 year old, I was heartened to learn that a lot of the damage expected by aging could be controlled by attention to the American Heart Association’s (AHA) seven steps in yesterday’s post.

Study Highlights

  • High blood pressure and increased blood vessel stiffness are often considered common parts of aging.
  • Having healthy arteries into one’s 70s and beyond is challenging and depends on modifiable lifestyle factors, not necessarily genetics.

Having the blood vessels of a healthy 20-year-old into one’s 70s is possible but difficult in Western culture, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.

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“For the most part, it’s not genetic factors that stiffen the body’s network of blood vessels during aging. Modifiable lifestyle factors – like those identified in the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 –  are the leading culprits,” said study author Teemu J. Niiranen, M.D., research fellow at Boston University School of Medicine, Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, Massachusetts. Continue reading

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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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Poor sleep may raise risk for irregular heart rhythms – AHA

Regular readers know that I feel strongly that sleep is one of the cornerstones of good health. You can check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? for more details.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA):
• Poor sleep – even if you don’t have sleep apnea – may be linked to higher risks of developing an irregular heartbeat.
• In addition, getting less rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep may also be linked to higher atrial fibrillation risks.

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Disruptions in sleep may be raising your risks of an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation (AF), according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016. Continue reading

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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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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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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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Some People with High Blood Pressure May Have Early Brain Damage – AHA

A new imaging technique found that some people with high blood pressure also have damage to nerve tracts connecting different parts of the brain, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 2015 High Blood Pressure Conference.

The area of brain damage detected is linked to difficulties in certain cognitive skills, decision-making, and the ability to regulate emotions.

IMG_7718“We already have clear ways to explore the damage high blood pressure can cause to the kidneys, eyes, and heart. We wanted to find a way to assess brain damage that could predict the development of dementia associated with vascular diseases,” said Daniela Carnevale, Ph.D., the study’s senior author and assistant professor at Sapienza University of Rome, based in Neuromed Institute.

While there has been a lot of research on hypertension-related brain changes in the grey matter, Carnevale proposed that a look into the brain’s white matter could tell if high blood pressure was having an effect even earlier than what is known.

Researchers used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), an enhancement of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to evaluate and compare the structural and functional properties of the main connections between different brain regions. Fifteen participants were on medication for moderate to severe high blood pressure and 15 participants had normal blood pressure. Participants were also given a cognitive assessment.

The brain imaging found that, while none of the participants showed abnormalities on a standard MRI, the more advanced DTI revealed that participants with high blood pressure had damage to:
•    brain fibers that affect non-verbal functions;
•    nerve fibers that affect executive functioning and emotional regulation; and
•    limbic system fibers, which are involved in attention tasks.

In addition, imaging and laboratory tests indicated damage to the heart and kidneys from high blood pressure.

Researchers also found those with high blood pressure performed significantly worse on two different assessments of cognitive function and memory. However, there were no differences in tests evaluating verbal function or ability to perform daily activities.

“DTI provides a way to evaluate pre-symptomatic brain damage in people with high blood pressure in order to identify possible therapies to help control brain damage and reduce the eventual development of dementia. It is generally accepted that not all available medications have the same impact on different kinds of organ damage,” Carnevale said.

DTI, also called tractography, is not performed in routine medical practice, but the researchers suggest that physicians should start to consider potential brain damage as they treat patients with high blood pressure.

To read further on high blood pressure check out my posts:

What is High Blood Pressure?

What You Need to Know About High Blood Pressure

Leisure Time Activity Could Lower Your Risk of High Blood Pressure

Tony

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The Result of Eating Too Much Salt Can be Measured in Blood Pressure

More than 75 percent of sodium in the U.S. diet is found in the salt added to processed food. In the United States, about 9 of every 10 people consume too much sodium. The Salty Six foods – breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup and sandwiches – are the leading sources of overall sodium in the U.S. diet.

Because of this it is really important to beware of eating processed food. Lots of folks cut down on their table salt, but that isn’t the real culprit in the sodium problem. They need to beware of the stealth sodium in the processed foods they eat.

Here are a few of the posts I have written on salt:

High Salt Diet Doubles Thread of Cardiovascular Disease in People with Diabetes

How Much Salt is Too Much Salt?

Some Sneaky Salt Statistics

Where Does All the Salt in our Diet Come From?

Tony

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People who gradually increase the amount of salt in their diet and people who habitually eat a higher salt diet both face an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

In a Japanese study of more than 4,000 people who had normal blood pressure, almost 23 percent developed high blood pressure over a three year period. Those who ate the most salt were the most likely to have high blood pressure by the end of the study. Participants who gradually increased their sodium intake also showed gradually higher blood pressure.

The researchers estimated the amount of salt an individual was consuming by analyzing the amount of sodium in the urine of people who were visiting their healthcare provider for a routine check-up, and conducted follow-up urine analysis for approximately three years.

At the conclusion of the study…

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What You Need to Know About High Blood Pressure – Infographics

I went to a talk at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on high blood pressure late in 2011. I wrote the post What is High Blood Pressure then.

Some of the points made in the post included: “Normal (blood pressure) 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.

“Modifiable causes of high BP or hypertension include smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity, dietary salt, alcohol consumption and stress.

“Causes of high BP over which we have no control include older age, genetics, family history of high BP, chronic kidney disease and adrenal and thyroid disorders.

“The Mayo Clinic said that most people with high BP have no signs or symptoms, even if BP readings reach dangerously high levels.”

I hope this has piqued your curiosity about high blood pressure because I have found two dynamite infographics on it that will fill in a lot of details. The first is from the American Heart Association and is very personal and the second from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and covers a broad spectrum of high blood pressure in the U.S.
BPConsequencesmh_bp_infographicTony

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Ability to Balance on One Leg May Reflect Brain Health and Stroke Risk

Researchers found that the inability to balance on one leg for longer than 20 seconds was associated with cerebral small vessel disease, namely small infarctions without symptoms such as lacunar infarction and microbleeds.

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Struggling to balance on one leg for 20 seconds or longer was linked to an increased risk for small blood vessel damage in the brain and reduced cognitive function in otherwise healthy people with no clinical symptoms, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.

“Our study found that the ability to balance on one leg is an important test for brain health,” said Yasuharu Tabara, Ph.D., lead study author and associate professor at the Center for Genomic Medicine at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine in Kyoto, Japan. “Individuals showing poor balance on one leg should receive increased attention, as this may indicate an increased risk for brain disease and cognitive decline.”

The study consisted of 841 women and 546 men, average age of 67. To measure one-leg standing time, participants stood with their eyes open and raised one leg. The maximum time for keeping the…

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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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Eating Probiotics Regularly May Improve Your Blood Pressure

“We believe probiotics might help lower blood pressure by having other positive effects on health, including improving total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol; reducing blood glucose and insulin resistance; and by helping to regulate the hormone system that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance,” Sun said.

Cooking with Kathy Man

Eating probiotics regularly may modestly improve your blood pressure, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.

Probiotics are live microorganisms (naturally occurring bacteria in the gut) thought to have beneficial effects; common sources are yogurt or dietary supplements.

“The small collection of studies we looked at suggest regular consumption of probiotics can be part of a healthy lifestyle to help reduce high blood pressure, as well as maintain healthy blood pressure levels,” said Jing Sun, Ph.D., lead author and senior lecturer at the Griffith Health Institute and School of Medicine, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. “This includes probiotics in yogurt, fermented and sour milk and cheese, and probiotic supplements.”

Analyzing results of nine high-quality studies examining blood pressure and probiotic consumption in 543 adults with normal and elevated blood pressure, researchers found:

  • Probiotic consumption lowered systolic blood pressure (the top number) by an average 3.56…

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Benefits of Nigella Sativa

Hypertension is a condition involving elevated blood pressure, and if not treated, it can lead to heart disease, stroke and other health problems. A 2008 study published in “Fundamental and Clinical Pharmacology,” found that subjects taking Nigella sativa twice daily had significantly lower diastolic blood pressures than those not taking this herb.

Our Better Health

May 20, 2011    By Jaime Herndon

Nigella sativa, also known as black cumin, nutmeg flower, black caraway and black onion seed, is a plant that contains seeds that can be used in cooking and also for medicinal purposes. These seeds may not be effective for everyone, and even though they are natural, they can still cause adverse effects and interactions with medications. Consult your health-care provider before using Nigella sativa for any health purposes.

Anti-cancer Properties

Nigella sativa contains a chemical called thymoquinone that is said to have anti-cancer effects. A 2011 study published in “Cell Biology International” found that thymoquinone has an additive effect on cell destruction when combined with radiation therapy for breast adenocarcinoma and ductal carcinoma. If you have cancer, do not take Nigella sativa without first talking to your doctor, because it may interact with medications. It can also have effects on your platelets, which…

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