Archive for the 'Tips on Hypertension' Category

Coffee is GOOD for the HEART

August 27, 2010

Go to fullsize imageAnother good news for us coffee lovers. 

Coffee has been shown to have good effects on the vessels and has been shown to improve the vessels capacity to dilate.  This finding is another plus factor for us drinkers of coffee because it helps reduce the stress of the heart in pushing blood out of the vessels. 

And this plus effect is on top of previous studies showing coffee to be protective against developing diabetes.

The study will be presented during the European Society of Cardiology meeting as an abstract.  The abstract was discussed online in MedPage today.

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One to two cups a day correlated with greater aortic distensibility compared with rarely consuming coffee (P=0.45) in a cohort of men and women 65 and older on the Greek island of Ikaria

Likewise, Chrysohoou and colleagues found that, compared with rarely drinking coffee, moderate consumption of one or two cups a day was associated with:

  • Lower prevalence of diabetes (22% versus 34%, P=0.02)
  • Lower prevalence of high cholesterol (41% versus 55%, P=0.001)
  • Lower body mass index (28 versus 29 kg/m2, P=0.04)
  • Higher creatinine clearance levels (70.2 versus 65 mL/min, P=0.01)
  • Lower prevalence of cardiovascular disease (19% versus 26%, P=0.04)
  • Higher values of aortic distensibility (P<0.05)

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The coffee blend that was used according to the authors were of the traditional Greek blends, which apprently have higher levels of phenol compounds thought to be protective for the heart than coffee typically consumed in the U.S.

This study tells us to drink coffee in moderation and advises us to drink only 1-2 cups per day.

There you go guys…another toast to more days of fun with coffee……

Cut Down on Sweetened Juice To Help Improve BP

June 14, 2010

Go to fullsize imageOne major aspect in controlling ones BP is to lower salt intake. Salt basically increases the reaction of the blood vessels to contrict or “close” – raise your BP then increase the pressure of the heart in pumping blood out of the circulation which in the long term cause heart failure or heart enlargement. As a precaution, we always warn patients from enjoying too much salt.

Now comes an interesting study published in Circulation in June 2010 looking at another aspect of food that we know should be avoided if one has high sugar…but now is known to affect and lower ones BP also.

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BACKGROUND: Increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) has been associated with an elevated risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type II diabetes mellitus. However, the effects of SSB consumption on blood pressure (BP) are uncertain. The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between changes in SSB consumption and changes in BP among adults.

METHODS AND RESULTS: This was a prospective analysis of 810 adults who participated in the PREMIER Study (an 18-month behavioral intervention trial). BP and dietary intake (by two 24-hour recalls) were measured at baseline and at 6 and 18 months. Mixed-effects models were applied to estimate the changes in BP in responding to changes in SSB consumption. At baseline, mean SSB intake was 0.9+/-1.0 servings per day (10.5+/-11.9 fl oz/d), and mean systolic BP/diastolic BP was 134.9+/-9.6/84.8+/-4.2 mm Hg. After potential confounders were controlled for, a reduction in SSB of 1 serving per day was associated with a 1.8-mm Hg (95% confidence interval, 1.2 to 2.4) reduction in systolic BP and 1.1-mm Hg (95% confidence interval, 0.7 to 1.4) reduction in diastolic BP over 18 months. After additional adjustment for weight change over the same period, a reduction in SSB intake was still significantly associated with reductions in systolic and diastolic BPs (P<0.05). Reduced intake of sugars was also significantly associated with reduced BP. No association was found for diet beverage consumption or caffeine intake and BP. These findings suggest that sugars may be the nutrients that contribute to the observed association between SSB and BP.

CONCLUSIONS: Reduced consumption of SSB and sugars was significantly associated with reduced BP. Reducing SSB and sugar consumption may be an important dietary strategy to lower BP.

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What does this study tell us:

 That of the >800 adults in the study: that drinking one less sugar-sweetened beverage a day resulted in the lowering of both systolic and diastolic BP by about 1.2 mm Hg and 1.1 mm Hg  over 18 months period of observation.

I am actually not surprised by this relationship.  We all know, anytime a patient has high BP, I always make sure he is not at risk to become diabetic with high cholesterol since the three always come in groups and are always partners in crime. So controlling for one may result in the improvement of the other.  So any dietary intevention that I do for my patients incorporate for the control of the three conditions.

Remember: For every 3-mm-Hg reduction in systolic BP : the risk of dying from stroke is reduced by 8% and the risk of dying for heart disease is redcued by 5%.  So any small amount of decrement is worth it!

There you go guys: another reason to cut down on SUGAR!

Exercise and High Blood Pressure

January 29, 2010

We all know that both diet and exercise are important.  We know they work together to help keep our body healy. Pure determination to succeed and discipline are the two keys to help keep and manage our body’s health.

Recently a new article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine ,January 2010, showed that diet alone may not be as effective as diet PLUS exercise in helping control ones blood pressure.

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BACKGROUND: Although the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet has been shown to lower blood pressure (BP) in short-term feeding studies, it has not been shown to lower BP among free-living individuals, nor has it been shown to alter cardiovascular biomarkers of risk.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the DASH diet alone or combined with a weight management program with usual diet controls among participants with prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension (systolic BP, 130-159 mm Hg; or diastolic BP, 85-99 mm Hg).

DESIGN AND SETTING: Randomized, controlled trial in a tertiary care medical center with assessments at baseline and 4 months. Enrollment began October 29, 2003, and ended July 28, 2008. PARTICIPANTS: Overweight or obese, unmedicated outpatients with high BP (N = 144).

INTERVENTIONS: Usual diet controls, DASH diet alone, and DASH diet plus weight management.

OUTCOME MEASURES: The main outcome measure is BP measured in the clinic and by ambulatory BP monitoring. Secondary outcomes included pulse wave velocity, flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery, baroreflex sensitivity, and left ventricular mass.

 RESULTS: Clinic-measured BP was reduced by 16.1/9.9 mm Hg (DASH plus weight management); 11.2/7.5 mm (DASH alone); and 3.4/3.8 mm (usual diet controls) (P < .001). A similar pattern was observed for ambulatory BP (P < .05). Greater improvement was noted for DASH plus weight management compared with DASH alone for pulse wave velocity, baroreflex sensitivity, and left ventricular mass (all P < .05).

CONCLUSION: For overweight or obese persons with above-normal BP, the addition of exercise and weight loss to the DASH diet resulted in even larger BP reductions, greater improvements in vascular and autonomic function, and reduced left ventricular mass.

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The above study showed that the famed DASH diet should be combined with exercise and weight loss to result in greater BP reductions than just the DASH diet by itself or usual diet.   Likewise the study showed based on some biochemical markers that weight management augmented the cardiovascular benefits of the DASH diet.

Overall this study tells us the importance of including behavioral modification and lifestyle programs for patients with high blood pressure.  This is an important study result because the combination of diet and exercise should remain the cornerstone of therapy of any chronic diseases associated with high blood pressure including diabetes and high cholesterol.

Another reason to EXERCISE!!!!

Sleep Well To Prevent High Blood Pressure!!!

July 4, 2009

A simple measure to reduce BP is to have a good night’s sleep!!!

Here’s a new study that shows us one tip to have a better controlled blood pressure  published in Archives of Internal Medicine:

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BACKGROUND: Epidemiological studies have reported an association between self-reported short sleep duration and high blood pressure (BP). Our objective was to examine both cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between objectively measured sleep and BP.

METHODS: This study is ancillary to the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) cohort study. Blood pressure was measured in 2000 and 2001 and in 2005 and 2006. Sleep was measured twice using wrist actigraphy for 3 consecutive days between 2003 and 2005. Sleep duration and sleep maintenance (a component of sleep quality) were calculated. Analyses included 578 African Americans and whites aged 33 to 45 years at baseline. Outcome measures were systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) levels, 5-year change in BP, and incident hypertension.

RESULTS: After we excluded the patients who were taking antihypertensive medications and adjusted for age, race, and sex,

  • shorter sleep duration and lower sleep maintenance predicted significantly higher SBP and DBP levels cross-sectionally as well as more adverse changes in SBP and DBP levels over 5 years (all P < .05).
  • Short sleep duration also predicted significantly increased odds of incident hypertension (odds ratio, 1.37; 95% confidence interval, 1.05-1.78).
  •  Adjustment for 16 additional covariates, including snoring and daytime sleepiness, slightly attenuated the associations between sleep and BP.

 CONCLUSION: Reduced sleep duration and consolidation predicted higher BP levels and adverse changes in BP, suggesting the need for studies to investigate whether interventions to optimize sleep may reduce BP.
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There you go guys… nake sure you sleep better..and rest well. 

Dont let worries or pressure bother you too much. 

Associate the bed with a good night’s sleep…  not only will you feel refreshed the next day BUT healthier too!

For a Healthier Heart… Sleep Well!!!

Nutrition in Health and Disease….

March 17, 2008

This is called the Paradox of Food:  you need food to live and survive but the very reason for disease and illnesses stem from the abundance of food and poor nutrition!

I practice a field dealing with the metabolic diseases where poor nutrition plays a key role in its onset and progression to develop complications.  Control of blood glucose requires the right balance of nutrition, exercise and medications. The same formula apllies when treating obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol.

The problem with handling these diseases stem from the medical field lack of understanding of nutrition and the lack of importance given to medical nutrition therapy!   If you make rounds in the hospital … you see the diet prepared for a diabetic hypertensive is almost similar if not similar to the other patient in the other room who is not a  diabetic…  It may not be the dietician’s fault but the doctor prescribing the diet!  This is where I am very particular with my patients because I believe the long term success of successfully controlling their blood sugar or blood pressure or cholesterol stem from not what I give them as medications but what they take in as food!

The recent 2008 ADA recommendation for Nutrition  reasons out why Nutrition is important:

Clinical trials/outcome studies of Medical Nutrition Therapy have reported decreases in HbA1c (A1C) of 1% in type 1 diabetes and 1–2% in type 2 diabetes, depending on the duration of diabetes . Meta-analysis of studies in nondiabetic, free-living subjects and expert committees report that MNT reduces LDL cholesterol by 15–25 mg/dl . After initiation of MNT, improvements were apparent in 3–6 months. Meta-analysis and expert committees also support a role for lifestyle modification in treating hypertension .

The proportion of calories in the specific nutrition Rx will now be individualized and should be prescribed by your doctor.  I have my own personal dietician in my clinic now that I offer free couseling to my patients where personal preferences of food is taken into consideration.  I believe in individualized counseling so as to offer a  more successful diet regimen.  No prepared diets printed on a piece of paper!

I have been a proponent of using a 40% of total calories from carbohydrates for my diabetic patients as more and more data are coming out regarding the benefits of limited carbohydrate not only for losing weight but for better glycemic control.  It is but proper that for the first time the American Diabetes Association came up with their position paper recommending the same.

For me…it is plain and simple challenging one’s self discipline in not giving in to the “want” but following to the details of what is nutritious and healthy!!!

Live Life To The Fullest…By Eating Right!

Can Noise Increase Blood Pressure?

February 21, 2008

Go to fullsize imageA sudden noise or commotion can make your heart rate go up and can be felt as sudden chest beating or palpitation.  We all know that one reason for an increased BP is an increase in heart rate.

A new study published in the European Journal of Hypertension Februaury 12, 2008 looked at this relationship and examined the population living near the airport. The BP and heart rates were checked and evaluated during the noise caused by the airplanes and the results were interesting.

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Non-invasive ambulatory BP measurements at 15 min intervals were performed. Noise was measured during the night sleeping period and recorded digitally for the identification of the source of a noise event.

  • An increase in BP 6.2 mmHg for systolic and 7.4 mmHg for diastolic was observed over 15 min intervals in which an aircraft event occurred.
  • A non-significant increase in HR was also observed (by 5.4 b.p.m.).
  • When the actual maximum noise level of an event was assessed there were no systematic differences in the effects according to the noise source.

Conclusion: Effects of noise exposure on elevated subsequent BP measurements were clearly shown. The effect size of the noise level appears to be independent of the noise source.

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This study has clinical implications on the future risk of heart disease and stroke with elevated BP. It would be nice to know the future risk of these population compared to the general population in terms of heart disease in relation to their exposure to noice.

Environment plays an important role in how stress manifests in our body. Noise generated from any source will definitely have the same effect as the study population and in itself increases a patient’s risk for heart disease due to rises in BP.  What is important is that the study also found that any level of noise including traffic sounds and other bedtime noise like snoring can cause a BP to spike!

For me… relaxing in between stresses in life can make a difference.  Any noise generated while at work can be stressful in itself and taking time to relax and listen to music or the waves of the sea and enjoy can spell a huge Difference!

Take a Break From Noise…Why Not Enjoy a Spa?

The Sun May Protect You Against Heart Disease

January 14, 2008

Recent findings of Vitamin D deficiency as another risk factor for high blood pressure and heart disease made me realized that we always take for granted the beneficial effects of the sun.

The findings published in Circulation. January 2008 is the first to show prospectively the relationship between Vitamin D and the Heart:

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Hazard ratio for heart disease according to level of 25-OH D

Level of 25-OH D
Hazard ratio (95% CI)
10-15 ng/mL
1.53 (1.00-2.36)
<10 ng/mL
1.80 (1.05-3.08)

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The above findings suggest the Vitamin D Deficiency may increase your risk by more than 50% to develop heart disease.  Likewise it may also be an important risk for factor for the development of Hypertension.

It is estimated that approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of middle aged men and women are VitD deficient owing to lack of exposure to the sun.  The sun rays are important for the formation and activation of Vitamin D in the skin.  So hiding ourselves from the sun because of heat will increase our risk to develop Vitamin D Deficiency.

Vitamin D is also important for muskuloskeletal strength and in fact deficiency of Vitamin D may be responsible for a lot of muscle weakness noted in a population.

So how much sun exposure do I recommend?

Just like anything…do it in moderation…meaning not sunbathing but exposing your face, arms and legs to the morning sun at least 15 minutes per day should be sufficient. 

You can also check your Vitamin D level which can be done locally in your lab.

Enjoy the Health benefits of the SUN!

Simple Steps To Control Your Blood Pressure

January 3, 2008

Go to fullsize imageAfter the holidays comes the Blues…. high sugar, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These form the deadly triad which if coupled with obesity forms the Deadly Quartet called the Metabolic Syndrome.  Its deadly because of the complications associated with the combination of diseases resulting in stroke and heart attack.  But we can do something about them if we are dsicplined enough to do it for the new year.

Recently the Harvard Medical School Publication: The Harvard Healthbeat came up with easy suggestions that we can do to help control our Blood Pressure.  Medications come in handy but they can have side effects.

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1. Check it. You can’t do much about your blood pressure unless you know what it is. Your doctor should check it at every visit. Measuring it at home is even better. Relatively inexpensive home monitors are available in most pharmacies.

2. Get moving. Regular exercise, even something as simple as brisk walking, improves blood vessel flexibility and heart function. It can lower blood pressure by 10 points, prevent the onset of high blood pressure, or let you reduce your dosage of blood pressure medications.

3. Eat right. A landmark study called Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) showed that you can eat your way to better blood pressure. The DASH diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, and downplays red meat, sweets, sugar-containing beverages, and saturated fat and cholesterol.

4. Control your weight. If you are carrying too many pounds for your frame, losing weight can lower your blood pressure. You don’t need to become rail-thin — losing 10% of your current weight, or even 10 pounds, can make a big difference.

5. Don’t smoke. Nicotine constricts small blood vessels. Smoking a cigarette can cause a 20-point spike in systolic blood pressure. Quitting is tough, but there are now more aids to help.

6. Drink alcohol in moderation. A drink a day for women and one or two a day for men is good for the heart and blood vessels. Going beyond that can contribute to higher blood pressure.

7. Shake up your salts. Too much sodium and too little potassium boost blood pressure in people who are sensitive to salt. The imbalance is so great that the American Medical Association is calling for food makers and restaurants to cut the sodium content of food by 50% by 2016. Aim for less than 1.5 grams of sodium a day, and at least 4.7 grams of potassium.

8. Sleep is good. Burning the candle at both ends night after night can contribute to high blood pressure, not to mention increase the chances of developing heart disease or a sudden cardiac arrest. How much sleep is enough? At least six hours a night, though eight hours is probably more like it for most people.

9. Reduce stress. As surely as mental and emotional stress can raise blood pressure, meditation, deep breathing, and other stress-busting activities can lower it.

10. Stick with your medications. Taking pills to keep your blood pressure in check won’t make you feel any different. But it can keep you from having a stroke, heart attack, or other problem.

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So be warned and be good this new year.  Resolve to keep our body healthy by keeping our lifestyle clean.  Our biggest enemy is really the habit of eating out and enjoying the food too much neglecting to consider that harm that can be done to our body with what we put in!

Following Simple Lifestyle Changes can make a Difference!

Cough Medicines and Stroke…. How To Avoid A Stroke!!!

October 23, 2007

1619007209.jpgThe risk of stroke with OTC cough medicines had been with us since 2003 after the publication of the study in STROKE  linking OTC cough and colds meds to stroke.  Apparently these decongestants contribute to around 200 to 400 cases of stroke annually. The study eventually led to FDA giving advisory against the use of Phenylpropanolamine ( PPA ) in any medications for sale as cold remedies. 

Now comes a new FDA advisory targetting the cold remedies we use for children.  Apparently the cold remedies have not been proven to be safe but instead cause harm including death.  This really comes timely considering the increase numbers of upper respiratory tract infections in this rainy season. 

But what is really important is for us to understand that there are reasons why one gets a Stroke. Here’s a list of risk factors compiled by WebMD which I want to share:

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Certain diseases or conditions increase your risk of stroke. These include:

Certain behaviors can increase your risk of stroke. These include:

  • Smoking, including secondhand smoke.
  • Physical inactivity.
  • Being overweight.
  • Diet with few fruits and vegetables. Research suggests that people who eat more fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains (for example, brown rice) may have a lower risk of stroke than people who eat lots of red meat, processed foods such as lunch meat, and refined grains (for example, white flour).
  • Diet with too much salt. A healthy diet includes less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day (about one teaspoon).
  • Use of some medicines, such as birth control pills-especially by women who smoke or have a history of blood-clotting problems-and anticoagulants or steroids. In postmenopausal women, hormone replacement therapy has been shown to slightly increase the risk of stroke.
  • Heavy use of alcohol. People who drink alcohol excessively, especially people who binge drink, are more likely to have a stroke. Binge drinking is defined as drinking more than 5 drinks in a short period of time.

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So if you have any of those risk factors…the more one should avoid decongestants based on what we now know in terms of the potential for PPA to cause a stroke.

Storke can be avoided and should be avoided because it is  disabling disease.  I always counsel my diabetic hypertensives that the main reason why I try to make sure they get an excellent control in terms of their sugar and blood pressure including cholesterol is mainly: TO REDUCE THEIR RISK in getting a Stroke and Heart disease.

Genes and Lifestyle Complement Each Other….

Dark Chocolate for Hypertension? Anyone?

July 30, 2007

22173473171.jpgWe have long heard about the good news of enjoying dark chocolates.  The mere thought of eating one makes your tummy growl for food! Just recently while browsing my JAMA journal noted another study on dark chocolate which is really good news to chocolate lovers.

The July 4, 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reported a new study to show the benefits of cocoa in dark chocolate long-term — the study lasted 18 weeks.  

This study is a well conducted study being a randomized, controlled, investigator-blinded, parallel-group trial with 44 adults, aged 56 to 73, with untreated mildhypertension without concomitant risk factors.  This study is well matched and the two groups compared were given either a one square (6.3 g) of a commercial brand of dark chocolate per day, constituting just 30 kcal, or white chocolate which is  polyphenol-free to enjoy for 18 weeks.

Results Are Amazingly GOOD NEWS:

From baseline to 18 weeks, dark-chocolate intake reduced mean systolic BP by 2.9 mm Hg (p<0.001) and diastolic BP by 1.9 mm Hg (p<0.001) without changes in body weight, lipids, glucose, or 8-isoprostane. Hypertension prevalence decreased from 86% to 68%.  There was  a sustained increase of S-nitrosoglutathione by 0.23 nmol/L (p<0.001) and the appearance of cocoa phenols in the plasma among the dark chocolate eaters.

Te reseacrchers explain the phenomonon: “The apparent mechanisms by which dark chocolate lowered BP suggests a chronic increase in the production of nitric oxide in the vascular endothelium… and it is likely that cocoa flavanols in dark chocolate were responsible for the observed effects on S-nitrosoglutathione and BP.”

BUT before everyone indulges on dark chocolates… it is important to remember that it should be DARK and not Milk or White chocolates…likewise keep in mind the AMOUNT because remember the CALORIES! The one square of dark choco can give you around 30 kcal per day.

A Chocolate A Day Keeps Your Doctor Away!

How Much Salt Can We Take?

July 28, 2007

imagessd.jpgThe new recommendations from the American Medical Association should be a wake up call to all of us.   We know that salt is important for the taste of our foods but taking too much can be harmful.  As physicians weve been harping on lowering salt intake to our patients when they prepare their foods not recognizing that the culprit may actually be food in the restaurant and the processed foods we buy in the groceries!

We know from studies that populations with an average sodium ingestion of less than 1400 mg/day have virtually no hypertension BUT the average intake of salt in the world is around 4000 mg per day while Filipinos usually take in more.  This is way above the recommended daily allowance of 2000 to 2300 mg per day.   

The recently published advisory in the Archives of Internal Medicine, July issue urged the Food and Drug Administration to take a look at the standards set for salt and to limit sodium in processed and restaurant foods. It is recommneded that a minimum 50% reduction in sodium in processed foods, fast-food products, and restaurant meals should be sought in the next decade it we have to decrease the risks associated with high blood pressure. More so to address the labelling of products known to contain High Salt levels.

The AMA paper has this to say: 

“Across populations, the level of blood pressure, the incremental rise in blood pressure with age, and the prevalence of hypertension are directly related to sodium intake. Observational studies and randomized controlled trials document a consistent effect of sodium consumption on blood pressure. The majority of sodium consumption in the United States is derived from amounts added during food processing and preparation. Leading scientific organizations and governmental agencies advise limiting sodium intake to 2400 mg or less daily (approximately 6000 mg of salt). Substantial public health benefits accrue from small reductions in the population blood pressure distribution. A 1.3-g/d lower lifetime sodium intake translates into an approximately 5-mm Hg smaller rise in systolic blood pressure as individuals advance from 25 to 55 years of age, a reduction estimated to save 150 000 lives annually.

With an appropriate food industry response, combined with consumer education and knowledgeable use of food labels, the average consumer should be able to choose a lower-sodium diet without inconvenience or loss of food enjoyment. In the continued absence of voluntary measures adopted by the food industry, new regulations will be required to achieve lower sodium concentrations in processed and prepared foods.”

A Pinch Of Salt For A Healthy You!

 

Four Short Walks is Better for High Blood Pressure

October 13, 2006

135780823.jpgDay to day, we take the same route in our lives… from the time we wake up , go to work then come home to spend time with our family.  Sometimes… we even complain that we have no time to spend an evening dinner with our kids…how much more to exercise.  However, whatever we do in life… personal health is a matter of committment rather than choice!

Prehypertension is defined as a blood pressure of 120/80 to 130/89 mmHg.  This level is no longer considered normal.  This level is a red flag that if one does not care enough to be healthy… then you’re doomed to suffer later on in life as this can lead to heart attack and strokes.  But just like prediabetes or high cholesterol… we can do something about it as long as we care.

So here’s an exciting study to prove that we definitely have time to do something in our lives that will matter most to our health.  This study published in the Journal of Hypertension this September showed that taking four short walks a day to lower your blood pressure may be more effective than one long walk.

The effect of four 10-minute walks was compared to one 40-minute walk in reducing blood pressure in 20 people with prehypertension.  The result was rather interesting because those that did the short walks decreased their blood pressure by the same amount, the effect of which lasted for 11 hours, compared to only seven hours after the long walk.

This result maybe true to the effect of short bouts of activity in the whole spectrum of other diseases like diabetes and cholesterol problems.  Now you cant say..” I dont exercise because I dont have time to go to a gym”.

My Tip is for one to do your morning ritual of any activity for 10 minutes then do it again by lunch and by the time you take your afternoon snacks and then do the 10 minute walk to home. Once you’ve made this routine…it’s now part of your lifestyle.

Four Short Walks Can Mean A Lot To You and Your Health!

Read My Other Related Posts:

Working Overtime Again?… Better Check Your Blood Pressure

September 1, 2006

9084256.jpgStress indeed is the number 1 culprit in terms of its bad effects on ones health.  Stress comes in a variety of ways and can result in myriad of symptoms.

Working long hours has now been shown to be one form of stress that can affect ones health. A balance of time at work and time for relaxation is key to preserving ones health.

A new study published in the September Issue of  Hypertension looked at the relationship between working long hours and high blood pressure. The study invloved 55,000 household members in a 2001 survey done in California.

The study revealed interesting facts:

Working 40 hours a week resulted in a 14% higher risk to develop high BP than working less than 20 hours

Working more than 40 hours increased that risk to 17%

Working more than 50 hours increased the risk to 29%

Clerical workers were 23% and unskilled workers 50% more likely to suffer from high BP than professionals

Challenging and Mentally stimulating jobs however tend to protect subjects from developing hypertension.

The above findings should have practical implications on the way we work. Long hours now counts as one risk factor for hypertension aside from common lifestyle bad behaviours like smoking and improper diet. If hypertension is not corrected, this will lead to strokes and heart attacks which can result in disability. If we can reduce that risk of developing hypertension and subsequently heart disease and stroke thru lifestyle changes including the way we work… the better!

With this in mind… Some Practical Lessons to Learn:

  1. If you are an employer… take care of your business by making sure your workers are healthy… teach them to be efficient so they can avoid working overtime.
  2. If you are a workaholic…think again… remember health is wealth! Working too late may not be productive after all! Take time to relax and instead work overtime in preserving your health.

Remember… What’s the use of earning extra bucks if you’ll spend them all to buy medications to treat your high blood pressure…and later for your heart disease due to uncontrolled stress and BP….

Better Think Twice Before You Work Overtime AGAIN….

Related Posts:

Diet Tips to Lower Blood Pressure

August 2, 2006

2567559947.jpg DASH or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension was developed by the National Institutes of Health to help lower blood pressure.  This diet has been proven to lower ones BP by as much as 14 mm Hg in as short as 2 weeks …not bad for a dietary intervention data.

So whats a DASH Diet Plan? Let’s review its components based on a 2000 calorie diet:

1. Grains: 7-8 servings. Whole grains are preferred because they contain more fiber. Wheat bread over regular bread; pasta made of wheat and brown rice are preferred choices. 

2.Fruits and Vegetables: 8-10 servings. These foods are packed with potassium and magnesium. while low in fat.  Magnesium deficiency is linked to high BP while high potassium can blunt the effect of sodium in raising BP thus intake of foods rich in both can have an impact in controlling ones BP.

3. Dairy: 2-3 servings.  The sources have to be low fat….and are rich sources of calcium. Calcium is important in BP regulation because any deficiency has been linked to high BP.

4. Meat: 2 servings or less. This can be a problem to meat lovers because this diet takes away the main focus of every meal and that is MEAT! For meat choices… avoid red meat and instead focus on chicken breast or fish…not fried but steamed, broiled or grilled.

5. Nuts and Beans: 4-5 servings. Almonds, kidney beans and lentils are excellent sources of potassium and magnesium. Soy beans as tofu are good sources of protein like meat and contains isoflavones shown to have health benefits.

Recently though a study showed that replacing some servings of carbohydartes with low fat protein and unsaturated fats like nuts, olive oil, fish and poultry lowered ones BP even more.

Lastly and very important is to cut back on sodium. Check my other post on practical tips to lower sodium in the diet. Likewise, to boosts the effect of DASH on BP is to incorporate physical activity.

The DASH diet may work not only for BP but also reduce ones risk for diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer. Thus in all likelihood…it’s a package deal worth trying…A Diet Focus on Grains Fruits and Vegetables!

Just Remember… in any lifestyle change…everyone slips…SO

Forgive Yourself in Moments You

Slip.. and Try Again!

What You Need To Know About High Blood Pressure

August 1, 2006

Imagesfgfg There are lots of misconceptions regarding hypertension or high blood pressure that I always hear from my patients… Let me share with you some of these and the truths about them…

1.      I should not get a high blood pressure since I am anemic.

A very common belief but totally wrong! Anemia is a state where your red blood cells are low and can be due to chronic medical conditions like diabetes or acute blood loss from menstrual periods or bleeding. On the other hand… Blood Pressure is the pressure in the vessels or arteries at which the heart is pumping blood into. So high blood pressure is not synonymous to being NOT ANEMIC because you can well be very anemic but with a BP of 160/100 mm Hg.

2.      My BP is normal between 120/80 to 140/90 mmHg so I don’t need to worry.

Based on the new definition of high blood pressure…120/80 mmHg is no longer normal but a prehypertension stage. This level of BP has been shown in one study to increase ones risk to suffer from heart disease by more than 30%.  Aim therefore for a BP of 110/70 mmHg and below.

3.      I am happy with a BP of 140/90 mmHg… I feel good and does not feel anything. Do I need treatment?

Definitely …and this misconception is the big problem. Not feeling anything is the common reason for avoiding medical advise…and likewise the most common reason for developing complications early.  High BP is a risk factor for developing other diseases like diabetes and high cholesterol. Once you have the triad of diabetes, high BP and high Cholesterol… ones risk to suffer from heart attack and stroke increases >20 fold!!!!

In short…having high BP should not be taken for granted.  Feeling good does not necessarily equate to being healthy. Age is a risk factor for developing chronic illnesses therefore I recommend having an executive checkup yearly after the age of 40.

Remember… The Earlier a disease is discovered…the Better the prognosis of recovery.

It is estimated that approximately 1/3 of patients with high BP do not know they have it…therefore…

Check Your BP! You May Be in for a Surprise!

How Much Salt is SAFE?

August 1, 2006

1237458937_1 When I see diabetic patient, almost always he’s also hypertensive. So not only will I counsel him on carbohydrates and diet to lower blood sugar… but also tips on how to lower salt intake.  Remember… a high blood pressure puts a strain to your heart since its pumping blood against a high pressure!  Controlling your diet of salt can therefore go a long way to a healthier heart!

Let me share with you some facts about salt and Tips To Lower Blood Pressure:

1.  One teaspoon of salt is equivalent to 2400 mg of sodium. Our average meal is estimated to contain 4000 to 6000 mg of sodium.  It is recommended that if you have high blood pressure, intake should be less than 2000 mg of sodium per day.  In practical terms… allow yourself at most 1/2 to 3/4 of a teaspoon of salt per day.

2. Once on a low salt diet…it may take at least 4 to 6 weeks before your taste adjusts to it!  So cutting back on salt…make sure you do it gradually!

3. Limit salt for flavoring and use lemon, herbs or spices instead …to a healthier and a better tasting meal.

4. Eat more fruits and vegetables because they contain less salt than any other food on the table.

5. Common sense advise : no chips and processed foods!  Look at the food labels of processed canned goods..they’re loaded with sodium!!! Rinsing the Canned Tuna for example can do the trick in removing excess sodium!

Last Practical Tip:

    If the Food Tastes GOOD… then it’s HIGH in salt!… 

    … A little sacrifice on a little bland taste can go a long way to …

Healthier Meal and A Helathier Heart!

   

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