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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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Unable To Get Pregnant? Could Be Because Of Diabetes

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Diabetes, commonly described as a “lifestyle disease”, can contribute to infertility in both women and men, warn health experts.

“Diabetes can cause infertility in both men and women. Both sexes are at equal risk of infertility,” S.K. Wangnoo, endocrinologist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, said.

Infertility affects up to 15 per cent of reproductive-aged couples worldwide. According to an estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO), the overall prevalence of primary infertility in India is between 3.9 per cent to 16.8 per cent.

 

“Diabetes in men damages DNA of the sperm and leads to reduced number of sperms and reduced motility of sperms which leads to infertility. Although having diabetes does not necessarily make men infertile, it could make them less fertile,” added Roopak Wadhwa, Consultant at Fortis Hospital, New Delhi.

On the other hand, diabetes in women is associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and other autoimmune diseases that can lead to infertility.

“Diabetes causes a lack of glucose control in the body which, in turn, can make the implantation of the fertile egg in the uterus difficult. Therefore, the chances of miscarriage in diabetic women increase between 30-60 per cent,” Wadhwa explained.

Another WHO report had stated that India had 69.2 million people living with diabetes in 2015.

By 2030, nearly 98 million people in India may have Type-2 diabetes, according to a study published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal last year.

While diabetic patients can always try parenthood, the risk of passing on the sugar disease to the child is approximately 50 per cent high, Wangnoo stated.

“It can also cause intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR) and congenital anomalies. IUGR is a condition where an unborn baby is smaller than it should be because it is not growing at a normal rate inside the womb,” Wadhwa added.

Furthermore, he noted that diabetic mothers are at high risk of premature deliveries, abortions and perinatal (during birth) complications.

High diabetes can be risky for both mother and child. The experts suggest that maintaining a good lifestyle, an ideal body weight, keeping sugars within target range, avoiding smoking and alcohol and excessive work related stress are some of the preventive measures.

Besides infertility, diabetes can also raise the risk of cardiovascular and lung disease, arthritis, osteoporosis. An estimated 3.4 million deaths are caused due to high blood sugar, according to the WHO.

The global health body also estimates that 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries and projects that such deaths will double between 2016 and 2030.

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Here Are 5 Sources Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids You Must Include In Your Diet

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Omega 3 fatty acids are important for heart health. It is well known that fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel etc are all good sources of fatty fish. However, there are many other vegetarian food items that are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids. It is important to include omega 3 fatty acids in your diet as it can help in reducing inflammation, risk of dementia and prevent heart diseases. And while it may be slightly challenging for vegans and vegetarians to include omega 3 in diet, following is a list of few plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

Sources of omega 3 fatty acids for vegetarians

1. Walnuts:

 

Walnuts are a storehouse of healthy fats including omega 3 fatty acids. Healthline informs that 65% of walnuts comprise fat by weight. Walnuts are one of the healthiest varieties of nuts and can help in weight loss, improving heart health and brain health. Studies have shown that including walnuts in your diet can improve your memory.

2. Chia seeds:

Benefits of chia seeds are many. But the best part about them is that they are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, fibre and even protein. Including chia seeds in your diet can help you lose weight and improve cholesterol levels in the body. You can add chia seeds to smoothies, salads, nuts, yogurt, etc.

3. Hemp seeds:

Hemp seeds contain a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, iron, zinc and magnesium. Hemp seeds have been found to help in prevention of blood clot formation and also help in recovering from heart attack. You can also take a dose of hemp seed oil by pressing hemp seeds. This will provide you a more concentrated version omega 3 fatty acids.

4. Flaxseeds:

Fibre rich flaxseeds are a good source of fibre, manganese, protein, magnesium and omega 3 fatty acids. Including flaxseeds in your diet can help in bringing an improvement in your blood pressure levels. You can eat flaxseeds with nuts, add them to soups, salads, etc.

5. Brussels sprouts:

Yes, Brussel sprouts too are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. They are also rich in Vitamin C, fibre and Vitamin K. Cruciferous vegetables like Brussel sprouts can help in lowering risk of heart disease.

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Obesity-causing genes identified

The Kashmir Monitor

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Researchers have identified genetic variants associated with obesity that is central to developing targeted interventions to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses like hypertension, Type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

The team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found genetic sites that affect human body’s size and shape, including height and obesity. The findings will help understand how genes can predispose certain individuals to obesity.

In the study, published in the journal Nature Genetics, researchers found 24 coding loci (or positions) — 15 common and nine rare — along chromosomes of individuals that predispose to higher waist-to-hip ratio.

 

Higher values of waist-to-hip ratio are associated with more incidence of diseases associated with obesity.

“For the first time, we were able to examine, on a large scale, how low-frequency and rare variants influence body fat distribution,” said North.

“A better understanding of the genetic underpinnings of body fat distribution may lead to better treatments for obesity and other downstream diseases obesity also impacts, for example Type-2 diabetes and heart disease,” suggested North.

Further analysis revealed pathways and gene sets that influenced not only metabolism but also regulation of body fat tissue, bone growth and adiponectin, a hormone that controls glucose levels and breaks down fat.

Performing functional studies across other organisms, the team also identified two genes that were associated with significant increase in triglyceride and body fat across species.

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