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Causes, Risks, Treatment of High Blood Pressure

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Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps out blood into the arteries. The blood pressure is highest when the heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When the heart is at rest, between beats, the blood pressure falls.This is the diastolic pressure. It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). High blood pressure (or hypertension) is defined in an adult as a blood pressure greater than or equal to 140 mm Hg systolic pressure or greater than or equal to 90 mm Hg diastolic pressure. 120/80 mm Hg or lower is normal blood pressure and 120 and 139 mm Hg systolic or between 80 and 89 mm Hg diastolic is pre-hypertension.

High blood pressure directly increases the risk of coronary heart disease (which leads to heart attack) and stroke, especially when it’s present with other risk factors. One can control high blood pressure through healthy lifestyle habits and taking medicines, if needed. We bring to you all that you need to know about high blood pressure this World Hypertension day 2017.

What are the symptoms?

 

Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels. Although a few people with early-stage high blood pressure may have dull headaches, dizzy spells or a few more nosebleeds than normal, these signs and symptoms typically don’t occur until high blood pressure has reached an advanced – possibly life-threatening – stage.

What is the cause?

In 90 to 95 percent of high blood pressure cases, there’s no identifiable cause. This type of high blood pressure, called essential hypertension or primary hypertension, tends to develop gradually over many years. The other 5 percent to 10 percent of high blood pressure cases are caused by an underlying condition. This type of high blood pressure, called secondary hypertension, tends to appear suddenly and cause higher blood pressure than does primary hypertension. Various conditions can lead to secondary hypertension, including kidney abnormalities, tumours of the adrenal gland or certain congenital heart defects. Certain medications including birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription drugs may cause secondary hypertension. Various illicit drugs, including cocaine and amphetamines can also increase blood pressure.

What are the risk factors?

The risk factors for high blood pressure include: Heredity Obesity Heredity Smoking Age Stress Excessive alcohol Secondary causes include disease conditions that can result in high blood pressure. These are kidney diseases and hormonal diseases such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s syndrome.

How can high BP be controlled? Follow these steps: Stop smoking Maintain a normal body weight – reduce if over-weight. Eating too much salt makes high blood pressure worse. Low-sodium diets are prescribed to help control high blood pressure. These limit the amount of sodium in the diet to less than 2 grams per day (about half the amount of sodium in the average diet). Eat a healthy diet containing soluble fibre, such as fruit and vegetables. Avoid high fat foods. Avoid coffee and colas Do not drink excessive alcohol. Exercise regularly to keep fit. Reduce stress and relax after work. Follow-up regularly with the doctor.

Lifestyle changes can help control and prevent high blood pressure, even if one is on blood pressure medication: Eat healthy foods – try a diet, which emphasises fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods. Get plenty of potassium, which can help prevent and control high blood pressure. Eat less saturated fat and total fat. Limit the amount of sodium in the diet. Avoid coffee and colas. Maintain a healthy weight – if overweight, losing even 5 pounds can lower blood pressure.

Increase physical activity – regular physical activity can help lower blood pressure and keep weight under control. Strive for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Limit alcohol – even if you’re healthy, alcohol can raise your blood pressure. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Don’t smoke – tobacco injures blood vessel walls and speeds up the process of hardening of the arteries. So quit smoking. Manage stress – reduce stress as much as possible. Practice healthy coping techniques, such as muscle relaxation and deep breathing. Getting plenty of sleep can help, too.

Changing your lifestyle can go a long way toward controlling high blood pressure. But sometimes lifestyle changes aren’t enough. In addition to diet and exercise, the doctor may recommend medication to lower blood pressure. Which category of medication the doctor prescribes depends on the stage of high blood pressure and whether or not you also have other medical conditions. To reduce the number of doses you need a day, which can reduce side effects, the doctor may prescribe a combination of low-dose medications rather than larger doses of one single drug. In fact, two or more blood pressure drugs often work better than one. Sometimes finding the most effective medication – or combination of drugs – is a matter of trial and error.

How can the sodium in the diet be reduced?

How can the sodium in the diet be reduced? This is how: Use little or no salt to food. Develop a taste for low salt in food. Do not use table salt. Avoid fast foods and restaurant foods as they use very high salt. Avoid ketchup, pickles, olives, all sauces, commercially prepared or cured meats or fish, canned foods (eat fresh foods), salted nuts, peanut butter, chips, popcorn and snacks. Diet suggestions: Use herbs and spices instead of salt for seasoning. Use onions, garlic, lemon and lime juice and rind, dill weed, basil, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, black pepper, or vinegar to enhance the flavour and aroma of foods. Mushrooms, dhania, red chillies, green chillies, and dried fruits also enhance specific dishes. Add a pinch of sugar or a squeeze of lemon juice to bring out the flavour in fresh vegetables. Rinse canned vegetables with tap water before cooking. Substitute unsalted, polyunsaturated cooking medium for butter or ghee.


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Health

Reasons Why You Should Start Your Day With Ginger

The Kashmir Monitor

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Ginger is often used to add extra flavour to your tea. Ayurveda advises using ginger for various medicinal purposes. It has a strong taste and aroma which makes it can an appropriate element for your cup of tea. But you can add a change to your morning by adding ginger to it. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and something like ginger which is loaded with health benefits can make your breakfast healthier. Adding it your tea is the easiest way to consume ginger but you can also try other methods to consume ginger as well. Here are 5 reasons why you should add ginger to your morning routine.

Health benefits of ginger

  1. Aids in weight loss

Ginger can help you control your appetite. If you consume ginger every morning you will experience reduced urge to eat. The best way to consume ginger for weight loss is ginger water. To male ginger water, you need to boil cups of water first. Then add at least two slices of ginger to it. Boil it for some time and later strain the mixture. You can drink it both hot and cold according to your preference. Consumption of ginger water every morning will regulate blood sugar levels as well.

 
  1. Better hair and skin health

Regular consumption of ginger water every morning can help you achieve flawless hair and skin. Ditch all the chemical loaded products for skin and hair and switch to ginger. The antioxidants and the vitamins present in ginger are beneficial for both hair and skin. It will also ensure better protection against skin infections and diseases.

  1. Improves gut health

You can say goodbye to all your digestive disorders with ginger. Adding ginger to your breakfast will give you a strong digestive system. It will give you relief from indigestion, nausea and heartburn. You can prepare ginger water for better digestion as well. To enhance its taste and benefits simply add mint, lemon juice and one teaspoon honey to it.

  1. Reduces inflammation

Ginger is popularly known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Staring your day with ginger regularly will result in reduces inflammation for long term. Arthritis patients can add ginger to their breakfast without giving a second thought. You will also notice relief from other body pains and swelling.

  1. Better cholesterol levels

Ginger can manage your cholesterol levels as well. Increase in bad cholesterol can trigger the risk of various chronic diseases. It is extremely bad for your heart health. You can reduce your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels with ginger.

You can experiment various methods to use ginger in the morning. You can prepare ginger tea, ginger jam, ginger smoothie or can simply add it to your soup.

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Health

Testosterone replacement therapy can rise stroke risk in men

The Kashmir Monitor

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Aging men with low testosterone levels who take testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) are at a greater risk of experiencing an ischemic stroke or a cardiac arrest, especially during the first two years of use, warn researchers.

Published in The American Journal of Medicine, the findings confirm concerns voiced by many health agencies about the potential risks associated with the treatment.

“Our findings show that the use of TRT was associated with an increased risk of stroke, transient ischemic attack or cardiac arrest during the first two years of use,” said Christel Renoux of McGill University in Canada.

 

According to researchers, there is a limited evidence on the long-term clinical benefits of TRT to effectively treat the modestly declining levels of endogenous testosterone levels of aging but healthy men.

“We strongly recommend that clinicians proceed with caution when considering prescribing TRT and first discuss both the potential benefits and risks with patients,” Renoux said.

The study analysed a large database of electronic medical records of patients enrolled in primary care practices in the UK and formed a cohort of 15,401 men, aged 45 years or older, with low testosterone levels (hypogonadism).

Users of TRT had a 21% greater risk of cardiovascular events compared with non-users, corresponding to an additional 128 events.

The increased risk appears to be transient, declining after two years of TRT use, which the investigators attribute to a phenomenon called “depletion of susceptible.”

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Health

High intensity interval training can improve health

The Kashmir Monitor

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An international research team has now found that bringing the science of high intensity interval training (HIIT) into everyday life could be the key to helping unfit, overweight people get more of the exercise they need to improve their health.

According to experts, from washing the car to climbing stairs or carrying groceries, each of these activities is an opportunity for short sharp bursts of ‘High Intensity Incidental Physical Activity’, HIIPA for short.

Speaking about it, study author Emmanuel Stamatakis said, “Regular incidental activity that gets you huffing and puffing even for a few seconds has great promise for health.”

 

In a study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Stamatakis and colleagues argue that when considering differences in physical capabilities by age, sex and weight, many daily tasks can be classified as ‘high intensity’ physical activity. That is, the kind of activity that gets you out of breath enough to boost your fitness.

According to them, including these kinds of activities into routines a few times a day will see significant health benefits for the majority of adults.

Professor Stamatakis added, “There is a lot of research telling us that any type of HIIT, irrespective of the duration and number of repetitions is one of the most effective ways to rapidly improve fitness and cardiovascular health and HIIPA works on the same idea.”

According to study authors the time commitment for HIIPA is close to zero minutes per day, and people could save even more time if their HIIPA involves brief walking sprints, or taking the stairs instead of waiting for the lift. Furthermore, other practical advantages are nil costs, no need for equipment and no concerns about a lack of skill or fitness.

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