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There is a reason for your dizziness

15 Nov

Do you sometimes feel dizzy when you stand up? I do and I often wondered why. I just read an article where it says there could be several reasons why this happens:

You may have gotten up too quickly on your feet and this may cause a severe drop in blood pressure it causes dizziness or even fainting.

Normally when you go from sitting to standing, your nervous system temporarily compensate by narrowing your blood vessels and increasing your heart rate.  This is supposed to prevent this sudden drop in blood pressures says Mayo Clinic doctors.

Other possible causes could be:

     Too high dosage of blood pressure-lowering medications

      irregular heart beat or arrhythmia

      severe dehydrations.

The best thing for you is to check with your doctor and get things checked out.

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Energy Drinks Might Spike your Blood Pressure

7 Nov

Energy drinks boost blood pressure in even the young and healthy people and may leave hypertensive adults more charged up than they bargained for, researchers said here.

Consumption of two energy drinks a day increased systolic blood pressure by 10 mm Hg and heart rate by five to seven beats per minute, according to a small study reported at the American Heart Association meeting.

Nevertheless, the main compounds implicated in the cardiovascular alterations — caffeine and taurine — are consistent ingredients across brands. This suggests the findings are likely generalizable across energy drinks, though not to sports drinks, which typically do not have caffeine, Researchers conclude.

Buckwheat, the little grain that is now a fruit

19 Sep

Despite its name, buckwheat is not really wheat, nor is it any other grain; it’s actually the fruit of a plant related to sorrel and rhubarb. Nevertheless, because of its grain-like characteristics, this fiber-rich food is categorized as a whole grain. Buckwheat is a source of quality protein since it contains eight essential amino acids — proteins that your body needs to help repair tissue and build cells. It’s also a powerful source of certain minerals, especially magnesium, which helps regulate blood-sugar levels and promotes a healthy blood pressure.

 

Use buckwheat flour in combination with whole-wheat flour to make tasty pancakes. Or cook kasha or whole buckwheat and serve as an alternative to brown rice or other whole-grain side dishes.

How Hypertension Damages Your Health

9 Aug

Hypertension operates with great stealth. Although it seldom produces symptoms, the intense pounding of blood gradually damages the artery walls. Small arteries are especially vulnerable. The walls respond by thickening and losing their elasticity and strength. As a result, less blood can pass through them, depriving surrounding tissues of oxygen and nutrients. The vessel walls are also more prone to rupture. Eventually, hypertension damages not just the blood vessels themselves, but also the heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes. These are the “target organs” of hypertension (see Danger Zones ).

The longer you have hypertension, the greater your chances of developing target-organ damage and, consequently, major diseases such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and eye damage.

Stroke

Untreated hypertension is the leading cause of stroke, which is the third leading killer in the United States. Two-thirds of people having a first stroke have blood pressures that are higher than 160/95 mm Hg.

An analysis of nine studies, involving a total of more than 420,000 participants, found that the people with the highest diastolic blood pressure (105 mm Hg) were 10 times more likely to have a stroke than those with the lowest diastolic pressure (76 mm Hg). If you have a blood pressure of 160/95 mm Hg, you’re about four times more likely to have a stroke than someone with normal blood pressure.

Hypertension can lead to either of the two types of stroke: ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blockage of a brain artery, and hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a vessel in or near the brain ruptures.

Scars Blood Vessels

About 88% of strokes are ischemic in origin, and atherosclerosis plays an important role in most of these cases. Atherosclerosis is the thickening of the inner layer of artery walls from the buildup of debris — such as fats, cholesterol, and dead cells — from the bloodstream. This buildup narrows the passageway, diminishing or obstructing blood flow (see How Plaque Buildup Narrows Arteries ). A stroke occurs when blood supply to part of the brain becomes cut off by either a clot that has developed on the walls of a brain artery (thrombosis) or a clot that has been swept into the brain artery from somewhere else in the body (embolism).

Hypertension is one cause of the initial damage that leads to atherosclerosis. Increased blood pressure damages the vessel walls, causing inflammation. This inflammation, in turn, encourages plaque buildup and narrowing of the arteries. In addition, Framingham Heart Study researchers found an association between high blood pressure and substances that make blood “sticky” and more apt to form stroke-causing clots.

Weakens Vessel Walls

In hemorrhagic stroke, the walls of small arteries become weakened and eventually burst, causing blood to leak into a portion of the brain, ultimately damaging or destroying it. Because hypertension is the most frequent cause of weakened vessel walls, hemorrhagic stroke is most likely to occur in people with high blood pressure. Although every stroke is dangerous, hemorrhagic events are often the most devastating.

A stroke’s severity depends on which part of the brain is affected and how large the damaged area is. A mild stroke may cause few or no lasting problems. But approximately one-third of major strokes are fatal, and another third cause permanent damage, such as weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, vision disturbances, impaired speech, and diminished intellect.

Does a Hefty Morning Spike in Blood Pressure Raise Your Risk of Stroke?

If you’re like most people, your blood pressure is highest in the morning, then sinks down to its lowest point during the wee hours when you’re sleeping. While some gap between daytime and nighttime blood pressure is expected, a considerable gap may be cause for concern.

Research suggests that the bigger the difference between your sleeping and waking blood pressures, the greater your chances of having a stroke. An international team of researchers monitored the blood pressure of men and women with hypertension for 24 hours. Over the next four years, those who had high morning surges were three times as likely to have had a stroke compared with those who had lower surges. In their 2003 report in the journal Circulation, the researchers defined a high morning surge as at least a 55-point difference in systolic pressure between the lowest value at night and the highest one during the two hours after getting out of bed.

You can calculate the difference in your daytime and nighttime blood pressure by using a device that checks your blood pressure around-the-clock. If your morning surge registers in the neighborhood of 50 points, talk to your doctor about whether you would benefit from readjusting your blood pressure medication. If you don’t have access to an around-the-clock monitor, use a home monitoring device to take your blood pressure within an hour or so of getting up in the morning. A pressure above 140/90 this early in the day should also ring a warning bell.

Cardiovascular Disease

By making your blood vessel walls more susceptible to atherosclerosis, hypertension increases not only your likelihood of having a stroke, but also your risk of heart attack. When coronary arteries become completely blocked by debris such as fats, cholesterol, and dead cells or a clump of platelets, a heart attack results. Fragments from these deposits in the aorta, called emboli, can also break away, travel through the bloodstream, and eventually block other vessels, such as those supplying the legs (causing circulatory problems) or the brain (causing stroke).

Having high cholesterol in addition to hypertension only exacerbates this process and increases your risk of cardiovascular complications.

In addition to making atherosclerosis more likely, hypertension also forces the heart to work increasingly harder to drive blood through the body. As a result, the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber, becomes thicker and more muscular in order to contract with greater force. This compensation — known as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) — eventually becomes counterproductive. As the heart muscle enlarges, it needs progressively more oxygen, but the arteries, which are also thickened and narrowed as a result of hypertension, become less able to deliver it. The lack of oxygen can cause angina (chest pain) and, if severe enough, a heart attack.

The combination of LVH and diseased coronary arteries — spurred on by hypertension — may also lead to congestive heart failure (the inability of your heart to pump blood efficiently throughout your body). In fact, if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, you’re twice as likely to develop heart failure as someone without hypertension.

Unlike your biceps, the thickness of your heart muscle doesn’t translate into strength. With LVH, your heart muscle thickens, but your blood supply usually can’t swell to the same degree, especially if your arteries are damaged. Without an adequate supply of blood, your heart weakens, and this in turn can lead to either of the two primary kinds of congestive heart failure — systolic or diastolic. Systolic heart failure arises when your heart cannot pump forcefully enough to push a sufficient amount of blood into circulation. Diastolic heart failure occurs when your heart can’t properly fill with blood because it’s stiff and has trouble relaxing.

Symptoms of heart failure include weakness and fatigue (because your muscles aren’t getting enough blood), shortness of breath, and the accumulation of fluid in your lungs, feet, ankles, and legs (known as edema).

Dementia

By encouraging atherosclerosis, hypertension can contribute to dementia. Atherosclerosis interferes with circulation, and a lack of blood supply can produce areas of dead tissue in the brain called small infarcts. Multi-infarct dementia, a well-recognized cause of memory loss in older people, is caused by a series of these tiny strokes. Each one affects such a small area of the brain that symptoms may not be apparent until a substantial amount of tissue has been destroyed.

The link between multi-infarct dementia and hypertension escaped attention for many years because people suffering from dementia often have normal or low blood pressure. But long-term studies now show that blood pressure in midlife may predict brain function years later. One example is the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study, which began in the mid-1960s and evaluated the health of Japanese American men over nearly three decades. The participants’ average age was 53 at the beginning of the study and 78 at final evaluation. When the researchers compared performance on cognitive function tests and midlife blood pressure, they found a link between poor mental function late in life and high systolic pressure 25 years earlier. There was no link between mental function and diastolic pressure, a finding that underscores the importance of treating isolated systolic hypertension.

Hypertension and Diabetes: A Dangerous Duo

It’s not uncommon for people who have diabetes to also have hypertension. According to a report from the American Heart Association, hypertension is twice as common among diabetics as it is among people without diabetes. Although the two conditions seem to be linked, the mechanism by which they interact is unclear. Some experts theorize that the common denominator may be problems stemming from the body’s production and use of insulin. Like hypertension, diabetes increases your chances of developing heart disease and stroke, as well as kidney disease and eye damage. Having both diabetes and hypertension raises these risks even more.

Over time, most people with diabetes develop cardiovascular problems. Although these are more common among type 1 diabetics, they also frequently occur among type 2 diabetics who develop the disease after age 40. For instance, arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries — which can elevate systolic pressure (see Isolated Systolic Hypertension) — is almost 2.5 times more common in diabetics than in the general population. Untreated diabetics are also more likely to have hyperlipidemia (high blood fats).

According to a 2001 report in a journal of the American Heart Association, as many as 75% of the cases of cardiovascular disease in diabetics are the result of hypertension. Thus, keeping blood pressure in check may be a vital factor in preventing heart disease and strokes among diabetics.

Making matters more complicated, diabetes can contribute to high blood pressure. People with both type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease frequently have hyperinsulinemia, an excessive amount of circulating insulin. Excess insulin is thought to raise blood pressure in two different ways: by causing the kidneys to retain sodium and by prompting the sympathetic nervous system to release neurotransmitters that constrict blood vessels.

Not only are diabetes and hypertension linked to cardiovascular disease, but they can also lead to kidney disease and eye damage. That makes careful control of these conditions even more crucial. By keeping your blood pressure and blood sugar levels within healthy ranges, you can go a long way toward preventing these complications.

Kidney Disease

The kidneys play a critical role in the body’s natural control of blood pressure by regulating the amount of water and sodium in circulation. When blood pressure rises, the kidneys excrete water and sodium. This action helps bring pressure back down by stimulating the loss of body fluids (through urination, for example), thereby reducing the volume of circulating blood. When blood pressure falls, the kidneys retain water and sodium to conserve blood volume and raise pressure.

Sustained high blood pressure damages the structures in the kidneys, called glomeruli, which filter waste products, sodium, and water from the bloodstream. Glomerular destruction due to hypertension is one of the most common causes of renal failure (loss of kidney function). People with renal failure become bloated with excessive fluid and weakened by the accumulation of toxic chemicals normally excreted by the kidneys. Uncontrolled hypertension is second only to diabetes as a cause of renal failure, accounting for about 26% of new cases.

Eye Damage

The eye works by focusing visual images onto the retina, a sheet of nerve tissue at the back of the eyeball. Immediately behind the retina lies a network of tiny blood vessels that keeps this tissue richly supplied with oxygen and nutrients. Hypertension can cause these arteries to narrow or break and bleed into the retina. It can also lead to swelling of the optic nerve, which carries images to the brain. In patients with longstanding, untreated hypertension, the result can be impaired vision and even blindness.

       

       
High blood pressure can lead to inflammation of the walls of your arteries, which in turn encourages fat to accumulate. This accumulation of fat is known as plaque. As this debris is deposited on artery walls, your arteries become narrower and blood flow is reduced. This thickening of artery walls is known as atherosclerosis.

From the Harvard Health Publications Special Health Report, Hypertension:

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