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How to control high BP through diet and exercise, 5 tips to bring it down naturally

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Are you overweight, eat a diet loaded with salt and rarely go for any physical activity? Then, you may be at major risk of developing high diastolic blood pressure.
Blood pressure is marked by two measurements: the systolic and diastolic measurements, represented by the top and bottom number received when measuring blood pressure.
The diastolic blood pressure is recorded when the heart is at rest and relaxed. High diastolic blood pressure is a sign that your blood vessels have become less elastic, and have hardened.
“Raised blood pressure is the biggest single contributing risk factor for death and the burden of disease worldwide. However, data suggests that fewer than half of those with hypertension are aware of their condition,” says Dr Manoj Kutteri, wellness director at Atmantan Wellness Centre.
Dr Nihar Mehta, consultant cardiologist at Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, says that diastolic BP more common among younger people, as it is often associated with an unhealthy lifestyle.
Some of the symptoms of high diastolic blood pressure include dizziness, nose bleeding, excessive sweating, nausea, difficulty sleeping, and lethargy. But worryingly, in some people, there are often no signs of diastolic blood pressure. “The best way to detect it is to regularly check one’s blood pressure. Some signs to look out for are headaches, palpitations on exertion, visual disturbances and chest discomfort,” says Dr Mehta.
Dr Kutteri adds that in most people, high diastolic pressure is due to a sympathetic and parasympathetic malfunction which results in poor stress adaptation. “When the sympathetic system is constantly in tension, it results in a constantly high blood pressure even when the heart is at rest,” he says.
If high diastolic blood pressure is not treated, it can result in life-threatening complications such as stroke and heart failure, or aneurysms within the abdomen and contribute to cognitive decline.
Here are some of the ways to control high diastolic blood pressure without medication:
Exercise regularly
Regular physical activity can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg), says Dr Kutteri. Dr Mehta suggests you opt for walking, cycling, swimming or jogging for 30-45 minutes per day, 5-6 day a week to stay fit. Be consistent, though, because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again.
Watch your waistline
Blood pressure often increases with weight gain. “Being overweight also can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea), which further raises your diastolic blood pressure,” says Dr Kutteri.
Eat a healthy diet
Opt for the DASH or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet. It basically translates to eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and avoiding saturated fat and cholesterol. Similarly, reduce the intake of sodium, which can reduce your blood pressure from 2 to 8 mm Hg. “To reduce sodium intake, choose low-sodium alternatives of foods and beverages and eat fewer processed foods. Don’t add salt to food as just 1 teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium. Instead use herbs or spices to add flavour to food,” says Dr Kutteri.
Avoid salty and processed foods like pickles, chutney, papad, ketchup, soya sauce, fried food, sodas, foods with MSG, as well as biscuits, butter, cheese, says Dr Mehta.
Your diet should include tomatoes, poached/ boiled eggs, green tea, chia seeds, olive oil, flax seeds, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, papayas, bananas, watermelon, coconut water, and cinnamon, suggests Dr Kutteri.
Limit intake of alcohol, and smoking
Alcohol raises blood pressure by several points and can reduce effectiveness of blood pressure medications. Smoking also increases your blood pressure for several minutes after you finish. “Quitting smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal. Smoking can also cause reduced elasticity of the blood vessels and make them narrow down,” says Dr Kutteri.
Cut down on stress
Stress can also contribute to raised diastolic blood pressure. “The chemicals released during stress can temporarily narrow blood vessels and make the heart beat faster,” says Dr Kutteri. You can also opt for yoga or meditation/pranayam as good antidotes to high blood pressure, says Dr Mehta.


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Health

Hepatitis A Causes and Symptoms

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Generally speaking, hepatitis A is more common in parts of the planet that are developing. It’s for the fact that sanitation and food handling practices are by and large poor. However, medical experts say that living in developed countries can also put you at risk of having hepatitis A, but it’s really a rare occurrence.

Just like what’s mentioned earlier, hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus or HAV. It can be spread around by someone who has hepatitis A because he or she is a carrier of the virus behind it. It is said that a person with hepatitis A is most infectious about 2 weeks before he or she begins to experience signs and symptoms.

Here are some of the ways that hepatitis A is spread around:

 

Consumption of food that is prepared by a person who has hepatitis A. This is most especially true if he or she has not properly washed his or her hands.

Drinking of water that is contaminated with the hepatitis A virus.

Intake of raw or undercooked seafood obtained from contaminated water.

Close contact with someone who has hepatitis A. This includes having sexual intercourse with an infected person, especially when the rectal or anal area has been touched with the fingers, mouth or tongue.

Using illegal drugs, especially when paraphernalia contaminated with the hepatitis A virus are used.

Symptoms

Medical experts say that it may take a while before the various signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A show up. They say that someone may experience them about 4 weeks after getting infected. It’s even possible for someone with hepatitis A to not experience any sign and symptom at all.

Some of the initial signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include:

Tiredness and malaise
Achy muscles and joints
Pain in the upper right section of the abdomen
Loss of appetite
Mild fever
Headaches
Sore throat
Diarrhea or constipation
Hives or raised rash that’s itchy

These initial signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A can last anywhere from a few days only to a couple of weeks. Afterwards, as the infection of the liver progresses, the following may be experienced by the individual:

Jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin as well as the whites of the eyes (sclera)

Pale colored stools
Dark colored urine
Skin itching

Tenderness and swelling of the upper right section of the abdomen

Although it rarely happens, hepatitis A can cause liver failure. When such develops, the person who is infected may experience severe vomiting, frequent bruising, bleeding of the nose and gums, drowsiness and confusion.

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Health

Busting myths around blood donation

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As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

Contrary to the myth about blood donations making a person weak or anaemic, the body replenishes the lost blood in a matter of a few days, say experts.

“A healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets, so there is no question of becoming weak, much less anaemic. It is a myth and should not deter people from donating blood,” says Dr RK Singal, chairman, internal medicine department, BLK super-speciality Hospital.

 

The donors can give either whole blood or specific blood components, as there is sophisticated equipment available these days that extract relevant components from blood and the rest of the blood can be transfused back to the donor.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

About 65% of India’s population is young and if this section donates blood regularly, chances of the country facing blood shortage will be remote. Hence, there is all the more reason for people, especially youngsters, to come forward and be regular blood donors.

How to prepare

Have enough fruit juice and water in the night and morning before you donate

Have a full meal 3 hours before donation; never on an empty stomach

Have some rest for about 10-15 minutes after donation

Have some snacks or a juice with high sugar content after donation

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Erectile dysfunction’s connection with lifestyle

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By Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal

healthy-lifestyle-can-reverse-effects-of-hypertensionAll over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED).

All over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED). From my research, I have found a strong link between ED and stress. Other major causes include smoking, drinking, diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. My advice to these patients is — do not get even more stressed over this situation. Instead, focus on taking the right medication and making some changes to your lifestyle, so you can once again enjoy a satisfactory sexual life.

 

DIAGNOSIS OF ED

We normally diagnose ED and its underlying causes by asking the patient a few questions about his medical and sexual history. This is sometimes done by sharing a questionnaire with the patient. The questions that we ask are designed to help us understand the cause of ED in the particular patient.

We also do a physical exam, ask for certain blood tests to rule out other medical conditions responsible for erectile dysfunction, and recommend imaging tests (if required) to determine whether the person is physically able to have an erection or not.

SHORT-TERM SOLUTION, LONG-TERM CURE

Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol levels) can cause ED. In these cases, ED can be reversed once the patient starts treatment.

In my experience, many men suffer from ED because of work stress, family pressure and anxiety. So, changes in lifestyle with regular exercise, yoga, abstaining from alcohol and smoking, and proper counselling help in treating ED. Along with this, medicines for ED are usually prescribed for about 3 to 6 months by which time lifestyle changes start to take effect and the patient is physically and mentally healthier, which helps resolve the problem.

An estimated 16% to 25% of men experience ED at some point in their lives. I would urge them not to be embarrassed about it. Seek medical help from a urologist or andrologist; get the necessary advice/medication; and go on to enjoy a healthy, fulfilling sexual life.

The author of this article is Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal, head, andrology, department of urology sciences, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket

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