Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Hypertension and Blood Pressure’ Category

Blood pressure measuring studio shot

Normal blood pressure is 120/80. The upper number is called the systolic blood pressure and measures the pressure in your blood vessels when the heart beats. The lower number is called diastolic and measures the pressure in your blood vessels between beats when the heart relaxes.

The higher the number, the greater the pressure your heart needs to pump the blood. High blood pressure for most adults is defined as 140/90 or higher, and as new guidelines have suggested for those over 60 years of age, 150/90 or higher.

The most common type of high blood pressure is called primary hypertension and has no known cause. The less common type is called secondary hypertension — which is usually caused by something such as kidney abnormalities, congenital heart defects, certain medications, and recreational drugs.

Blood pressure should be checked in children during their well child exams, beginning at age three, and every one to two years thereafter. If one has a family history of hypertension and especially as one gets older, blood pressure should be checked more often.

Many local pharmacies offer on-site blood pressure machines for your convenience; however, it is preferable for the sake of accuracy and consistency to have your healthcare provider check your blood pressure.

Some people suffer from “white coat hypertension,” which is a falsely elevated blood pressure in the doctor’s office brought on by anxiety. These people — and others who so desire — can measure their blood pressure at home with the use of a blood pressure monitor, which can be purchased from most pharmacies.

When checking your blood pressure at home, remain seated with legs uncrossed for several minutes and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and exercise for at least 30 minutes prior to taking your blood pressure.

Some people with high blood pressure have no symptoms while others may have headaches, dizziness, or nosebleeds.

Risk factors for high blood pressure include increasing age, family history, and race. Women are more likely to develop hypertension after menopause.

Complications of high blood pressure include heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and kidney and eye disease. When treated timely and properly, these complications occur much less frequently.

Life style changes can help to control and prevent high blood pressure — here’s what you can do:

– Eat healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and less saturated fat.

– Lose weight if you are overweight.

– Limit salt intake.

– Limit alcohol. If you drink, do so in moderation.

– Don’t smoke.

– Participate in regular physical activity.

– Manage stress.

Controlling your blood pressure will go a long way to insure a longer and healthier life.

Read Full Post »

Stress, Anxiety

We live in anxious times. Media reports bring us news of a poor economy, joblessness, people losing homes, international problems, high crime rates and more.

In addition, there are our own personal issues to deal with, such as poor health, relationship difficulties, financial problems and high-pressure jobs.

Even everyday annoyances stress us out, such as being stuck in traffic, computer problems and too many appointments and obligations.

More than 40 million people suffer from anxiety. Anxiety can begin in childhood, but it most commonly affects the middle-aged and even the elderly. Twice as many women as men have anxiety. Other similar disorders include social phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Some of the more common manifestations of anxiety are:

– Constant worrying and obsessing over big or small problems.

– Feelings of impending doom or worthlessness.

– Fatigue or trouble sleeping.

– Restlessness and feeling uptight.

– Difficulty concentrating and irritability.

– Sweating, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath and rapid heart rate.

When a patient is evaluated by a doctor for anxiety, physical causes — thyroid problems, heart or lung disease, even dietary problems — need to be ruled out. Once that is done, there are several options for treatment.

Psychotherapy

By working with a trained therapist, patients can focus on working out underlying life stresses and concerns and making behavior changes.

This may be done through cognitive behavioral therapy, which is one of the more common types of psychotherapy. It involves learning to identify unhealthy negative beliefs and behaviors that contribute to anxiety and then teaches how to replace them with positive, healthy beliefs.

These treatments can give a person the tools necessary to deal with responses to life’s many problems and can help one gain control, especially by changing the way one responds to situations.

Medications

For the short term, anxiety can be treated with benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Ativan. These can work quickly and effectively, but they can be habit forming. For the longer term, antidepressants, such as Zoloft or Celexa, can be used.

Close medical supervision is important for drug therapy.

Lifestyle remedies

People who feel anxious can also treat themselves with exercise; healthy diet; avoidance of alcohol; relaxation techniques, such as yoga and meditation; and adequate sleep.

If you think you suffer from anxiety, see your doctor. With evaluation and a personalized treatment plan, your anxiety can be brought under control.

Read Full Post »

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, occurs when blood moves through the body’s arteries at a greater-than normal pressure. High blood pressure usually takes many years to develop and eventually affects just about everyone. It is easily detected and, usually, easily treated.

Normal blood pressure is a reading of 120-over-80.

The “upper” number is called systolic blood pressure and measures the pressure in the body’s arteries when the heart beats. The lower number is called diastolic blood pressure, and measures the pressure in the arteries between beats, when the heart relaxes.

The higher the number, the greater the pressure your heart needs to pump the blood for it to move through the body.

High blood pressure is defined as 140-over-90 or higher. The most common type of high blood pressure is called primary hypertension and has no known cause. The less common type is called secondary hypertension, because it is usually caused by something such as kidney problems, congenital heart defects, medications and illicit drugs.

Blood pressure should be checked in children during their normal exams beginning at age 3 and every one to two years thereafter. If there is a family history of hypertension — especially as one gets older — blood pressure should be checked more often.

Many local pharmacies offer on-site blood pressure machines for your convenience. However, it is preferable for the sake of accuracy and consistency to have your health care provider check your blood pressure.
Some people suffer from “white coat hypertension,” which is a falsely elevated blood pressure in the doctor’s office brought on by anxiety. These people, and others who so desire, can measure their blood pressure at home with the use of a blood pressure monitor that can be purchased from most pharmacies. Consumer Reports magazine gives high ratings to the following monitors:

Omron HEM-711AC $90

CVS by Microlife Deluxe Advanced 344534 $100

Omron Women’s Advanced Elite 7300W $100

Some people with high blood pressure have no symptoms, while others may have headaches, dizziness or nosebleeds.

Risk factors for high blood pressure include increasing age, family history and race. Women are more likely to develop hypertension after menopause.

Complications from high blood pressure include heart attacks, heart failure, stroke and kidney and eye disease. When treated timely and properly, these complications occur much less frequently.

Lifestyle changes can help control and prevent high blood pressure without the need for pricey medication. Here’s what you can do:

Eat healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and less saturated fat.

Lose weight if you are overweight.

Limit salt intake.

Limit alcohol. If you drink, do so in moderation.

Don’t smoke.

Participate in regular physical activity.

Manage stress.

If the above measures do not control your blood pressure, you need to see your health care provider for evaluation and treatment. Doing so will help you live longer and healthier.

Read Full Post »