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Effective Ways to Help Lower Hypertension

lower hypertension

According to the American Heart Association, one in three Americans has hypertension, with a third of those not knowing they have it. High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder than needed and hardens the arterial walls. Hypertension can increase the risk for heart attack and stroke, which are the number one and three primary causes of death in the United States respectively. It can also lead to heart failure, kidney failure and blindness. High blood pressure can lack symptoms so many don’t know that they have it. The only way to find out is to have one’s blood pressure checked regularly. Luckily there are simple lifestyle changes that can help prevent or control hypertension.

Diet

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s DASH diet, is a good model to follow. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The diet basically is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat, emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Fruits and vegetables provide fiber, magnesium and potassium, which are all important for arterial health. Specific fruits and vegetables such as canteloupes, prunes, raisins, bananas and potatoes are especially high in potassium. Potassium helps regulate the body’s fluid and salt levels. This, in conjunction with decreasing salt intake to no more than 1500mg a day, can effectively lower blood pressure readings by 10 points. Other foods that help lower hypertension include oatmeal, soy, and dark chocolate. Some Vitamins and supplements that may aid in lowering blood pressure include magnesium, fish-oil supplements, garlic and hawthorn. Dosages and efficacy may vary from individual to individual. Checking with one’s physician prior to taking these supplements is a must.

Lifestyle changes

There are several life-style changes that can help reduce hypertension. These include limiting alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, exercise and decreasing stress.

In some, alcohol raises blood pressure and heavy drinkers tend to have hypertension. Alcohol consumption should be limited to a drink a day. Smoking should be eliminated completely. Tobacco can include elements and compounds that contribute to the hardening of the arteries and the nicotine in cigarettes can cause blood vessels to contract, increasing the risks associated with high blood pressure.

Brisk exercise, consisting of thirty minutes a day, several times a week can help lower overall blood pressure. Although exercise can temporarily increase blood pressure during the activity, it does help lower overall resting blood pressure greatly. In addition, exercise promotes weight loss, reducing the amount of work that the heart has to perform. Checking with one’s physician prior to implementation of an exercise program is advised.

Stress can increase heart rate, which can lead to hypertension. Relaxation techniques and biofeedback methods are helpful to combat stress. These may include meditation, mind-body exercises, stress reduction training and things as simple as becoming involved with a hobby or getting a pet.

The numbers

Blood pressure consists of two numbers. The top number, systolic pressure measures blood flow at its highest pressure when the heart beats, while the lower number, diastolic pressure, measures blood flow when the heart is at rest. Although both numbers are important, the diastolic pressure reading is the one that concerns the most, because high pressure at rest can only go up when exertion is applied. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute maintains that a blood pressure of 120/80mg or lower is normal. Readings of 140/90mg or higher can indicate hypertension. It’s important to get checked regularly, not only by a physician, but also occasionally at home, by taking one’s own blood pressure.

High blood pressure is a silent killer. Regular checkups and home monitoring can diagnose this problem. Changes in lifestyle and diet can help control or lower hypertension. Consultation with one’s physician is necessary prior to exercise programs, vitamin supplement ingestion and the prescription of medications, if indicated.

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High Blood Pressure Causes Death

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) is often called the “silent killer.” That’s because there are rarely any symptoms. Then a person may die as the result of the damage done over time by the presence of high blood pressure. For this reason, people need to have their blood pressure monitored routinely.

Doctors prefer blood pressures to be 120/80 or lower. The top number, 120, is called the systolic number. That top number is obtained when the heart is working to pump blood. The bottom number, 80, is called the diastolic number. It is obtained while the heart is at rest. Both numbers are important.

Diagnosing High Blood Pressure

The diagnosis of hypertension is given to a person who has repeated readings of 140/90 or greater. A diagnosis of hypertension is not based on a single reading. Blood pressures vary over the course of the day. It’s usually lower during sleep and higher in the morning. Pain and stress may elevate a blood pressure reading.

Primary or Secondary High Blood Pressure

The doctor may label the hypertension as primary or secondary. Primary has unknown causes. Secondary means it is a result of something else, a tumor for example. No matter what the cause, high blood pressure requires treatment. Treating hypertension properly can prevent many problems. Some of these problems are: heart attacks, strokes, kidney damage, and vision loss.

Hypertension Increases the Risk of a Heart Attack

People with HBP have heart attacks much more often than those who don’t. A heart attack is caused by a blockage of the blood supply to the heart. HBP can cause the arteries to become narrow. That narrowing increases the possibility of a blockage. Blockages cause heart attacks. Hypertension also causes the heart to work harder.

Blood Clots Cause Death to Organs ond People

Anything that prevents the flow of oxygen-carrying blood can cause death to an organ or a person. Since high blood pressure damages the blood vessels, it increases the risk of getting a blood clot. A trapped blood clot cuts off the flow of blood and oxygen. That’s what kills organs and people.

Strokes Cause Brain Damage

When a person has a stroke, the brain function is impaired because of a problem in the blood supply. As a result, the brain is damaged. Prolonged high blood pressure can cause blood vessels to become narrow. That makes the blood vessels more likely to trap a clot or burst (hemorrhage). Blood clots and hemorrhages are the leading two causes of strokes.

High Blood Pressure Causes Kidney Damage

The same abnormal high blood pressure that damages the heart and brain can also damage the kidneys. When the flow of blood to the kidneys is impaired a person can become very sick, very fast. The kidneys are the filtering system for the body, so any damage to this organ can turn fatal.

High Blood Pressure Causes Vision Loss

The blood vessels in the eye are already very small. And over time, the HBP can cause those passages to become narrower. Hemorrhages occur when the blood can’t pass through the vessels properly. High blood pressure can also cause swelling of the nerves in the eye. All these things can lead to vision loss

Ways to Reduce Blood Pressure

Some factors that affect hypertension cannot be controlled. These factors are age, race, heredity, and gender. Other risk factors can be eliminated. The same things that are bad for general health also influence the blood pressure.
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Inactivity

Too much salt is also a controllable factor.

So prevention is the key to avoiding these (and other) serious problems. Have blood pressures monitored routinely. If high blood pressure is a problem, follow the doctor’s recommended treatment plan to the letter. Take medicines as prescribed, even if you feel fine. Remember, they don’t call it the “silent Killer” for nothing.

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Effects of Environmental Noise Pollution

Noise is an environmental contaminant along with radiation, and organic and inorganic chemicals such as heavy metals and pesticides. Defined as a source that emits noise high enough to impact a significant number of people, environment noise (or sound) is a non-ionized form of acousitcal radiation.

Ionized radiation is emitted by radioactive substances, while non-ionized radiation comes from radio waves, microwaves, and low frequency electromagnetic waves (Health Canada, p. 75).

noise pollution

Sources of Environmental Noise Pollution

The main sources of environmental noise pollution are air conditioners and industrial equipment; noise from industry, construction, and demolition; noise generated by human activity such as lawn mowers or leaf blowers, loud music, barking dogs, children playing, and outdoor events such as concerts or festivals.

Another significant source of environmental noise pollution is transportation related: buses, trains, cars, motorcycles, trucks, and emergency vehicle sirens being the most significant cause of noise in urban areas. Airplanes, too, can affect a smaller, local community and emit significant noise on a regular basis.

Most communities have federal and local regulations determining when certain noise producing activities can occur, but many noise sources are uncontrolled and unregulated and may occur at any time, day or night.

Health Effects of Environmental Noise Pollution

The occupational hazard of noise has long been recognized by employers, and workers are now protected from the impact of noise with specialized noise reduction equipment. However, the general public remains largely unprotected and left to endure a cacophony of sounds, often for prolonged periods. One of the obvious and measurable effects of noise pollution is hearing loss. While each individual is different in their tolerance to noise, length of exposure and decibel level, temporary or permanent hearing loss can occur.

However, a more difficult to measure, but increasingly significant health hazard, is the stress and agitation that may occur from exposure to loud noise. Persistent noise can increase stress levels, which in turn, can result in high blood pressure, an important health concern. Known as the "silent killer" because there are few obvious symptoms, it can result in serious health problems requiring medical assessment and intervention.

Sleep disruption is another common effect of loud and/or persistent noise. Lack of sleep or a disruption of the natural sleep cycle can result in poor concentration and performance, weight changes, and a general decrease in health and overall well being. The combination of stress and lack of sleep can also lead to frustration and aggravasion. The social consequences include becoming short-tempered or potentially aggressive resulting in more accidents, poor familial and social relationships, and poor work performance.

Prevention and Protection against Environmental Noise Pollution


The most effective prevention against the health effects of environmental noise pollution is to reduce noise at the source. This is the responsibility of the engineers and designers of buildings. While individuals often feel they have no say over this stage of the process, they can lobby the industry or local planning departments to ensure noise reduction construction practices are in place. These may include noise reduction materials used in the actual structure and that noise reducing barriers are erected during the build to combat the impact on the receiver of the noise.

Sound reducing barriers such as walls and fences may help reduce exposure to noise in urban areas. According to Health Canada's report on environmental contaminants, "for a barrier to be effective, it should be high enough to intercept the line of sight from the source to the receiver" (p. 77). While high fences do not make great neighbours, if noise pollution is affecting an individual's health, they may offer a viable solution.

Devices to protect individual hearing are also available in the form of ear plugs, muffs, or head phones. Unfortunately, people who use personal listening devices, such as ipods, as a barrier to environmental noise, often place themselves at high risk for hearing loss through persistent exposure to loud music.

Ultimately, it is everyone's responsibility to help reduce noise pollution by purchasing quieter household appliances, yard equipment, and vehicles; and to become aware of the affects of noise pollution on the health and well being of individuals and community members.

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Healing Properties of Fruits: Peach

Peaches
Peaches have cooling thermal nature, sweet-and-sour flavor. These fruits build body fluids; moisten the lungs and intestines. Peaches are used for dry cough and other dry conditions of the lungs, they relieves high blood pressure. The slightly sour quality of the peach is astringent and tends to bound perspiration while tightening tissues. For a "peaches and cream" complexion apply a poultice of blended fresh peach on the face, let dry, rinse, and pat dry. The kernel inside the peach pit strengthens blood circulation and is used to clear congealed blood, it appears in tumor formulas including those for uterine fibroids. Peach leaf taken as a tea destroys worms. The very soft nature of peach flesh makes it ideal for those with acute gastrointestinal inflammations and in this case it should be cooked and pureed.
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