Friday, February 28, 2014

Treatment for high blood pressure

Once a person knows he has high blood pressure, he should work with his doctor to treat it.  Healthy lifestyle behaviors such as exercising and losing weight (if you need to) may improve your blood pressure. Many prescription blood pressure medicines are available for treating high blood pressure.  A person should never stop taking his prescribed blood pressure medicine without his doctor’s approval.  More information about high blood pressure (hypertension) can be found at WebMd


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Can we prevent high blood pressure?

Can we prevent high blood pressure? When we talk preventing high blood pressure, we talk about risk factors.  Some risk factors we cannot change (our inherited genes and family history of high blood pressure).  We cannot change our age.  The things we can modify involves lifestyle behaviors.  These include

·        Exercising
·        Keeping our weight within a normal level. If we are overweight, we can work to improve our weight.
·        Not Smoking—smoking is believed to harm our cardiovascular system
·        Decreasing salt in our diet –limiting salt helps lower our blood pressure because salt holds extra fluids in our body
·        Managing our Stress
·        Drinking too much alcohol (recommended maximum one drink/day per women, two drinks/day for men

Monday, February 24, 2014

What are symptoms of high blood pressure?

You may not experience any symptoms of high blood pressure.  This condition can be sneaky and quiet, harming your body while you don’t recognize it.  But testing for blood pressure is easy and quick.  A person’s blood pressure can be checked easily by a manual or battery powered blood pressure cuff machine.  If your family members deal with high blood pressure issues, you may have inherited this tendency; you should have your blood pressure checked periodically to make sure your blood pressure is normal. 

If a person’s blood pressure is extremely high, he may feel symptoms such as severe headache, fatigue, vision problems, pounding pressure in chest, neck or ears, confusion, chest pain, being short of breath, irregular heartbeat or passing blood in urine.  Anyone experiencing these symptoms (of stroke and/or heart attack) needs to get medical care immediately by calling 911.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

So I have high blood pressure... so what???

What happens when a person’s blood pressure is high? When a person has high blood pressure, his heart must work harder to pump blood to all parts of the body.  Many people who have high blood pressure do not feel any symptoms.  Uncontrolled high blood pressure can quietly damage major organs such as your heart, brain and kidneys.  High blood pressure increases a person’s risk of stroke, kidney failure, eye problems and heart disease.  What are symptoms of high blood pressure?  More next time


Thursday, February 20, 2014

High blood pressure (hypertension)

The next time you are in a group of people, look around. Pick out three of those individuals and statistically, one of those three people has high blood pressure.  That means 67 million (one third) Americans have high blood pressure.  Of that 67 million people, only half of them (36 million) are being treated for their high blood pressure.  These numbers make high blood pressure the “number two public health enemy” by officials at the Centers for Disease Control. 

 What is high blood pressure (hypertension)? Blood pressure numbers involve the pressure inside your arteries when your heart has contracted and squeezed the blood into the artery (that’s the top number) and when your heart is at rest (that’s the bottom number).  The top number (let’s use 120/80 as an example of a blood pressure) 120 is the systolic pressure and this number reflects the pressure inside your blood vessels when you heart pumps blood out to the body.  The bottom number (80) is called diastolic blood pressure.  It shows the pressure inside your blood vessels when your heart is resting. In the past a “normal” blood pressure was 120/80. There has been talk about lowering that ideal blood pressure number to 110/70. I noticed at my annual wellness meeting, the ideal blood pressure number is listed as 110/70. Doctors talk about high blood pressure (called hypertension) when your blood pressure numbers are higher than 120/80.
More about high blood pressure next time.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Heart Disease and Women

Do you know that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women?  Every 90 seconds a woman in America suffers a heart attack.  Every 90 seconds… And here’s another disturbing fact, only 56% of women know that heart disease ranks top of the killer list (above cancer). 

What are symptoms of heart attack in women?  Aren’t they the same symptoms that men feel?  Maybe but not always.  Men often have the pressure/discomfort in chest—“feel like an elephant sitting on my chest” They may have radiating pain up into neck/jaw/throat.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), women’s symptoms may vary from no symptoms to dull and heavy, sharp chest pain or discomfort.  The pain may radiate to abdomen or back and may also radiate to neck, jaw, throat.  These symptoms may happen when resting or being active.  Mental stress can also trigger these symptoms. 

Women may deal with subtle symptoms such as indigestion and fatigue.  Do you find yourself exhausted quickly and become short of breath, without good reason?  Check into those symptoms, ladies.  The quicker you get help for heart attack symptoms, the better your results will be. Remember your heart is a muscle and it needs a good blood supply to function.  When the blood supply to your heart is diminished or shut-off, you will be at risk of a heart attack.  Seek help. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

In the news--Energy drinks may affect our hearts

One evening last week, I drank my favorite soda.  When I was still wide awake at 2am, I was kicking myself.  I usually go caffeine free during my evenings and do not experience that frustrating sleepless night.  Lesson learned—again.  I recently saw an interesting article about energy drinks. 

German researchers are speculating that energy drinks with caffeine, sugar and taurine, an amino acid believed to enhance athletic performance. may affect our hearts.  These researchers took 18 healthy individuals and tested their heart function by getting MRI imaging.  An hour after the test subjects had drank an energy drink, their heart rate was up 6%.  As a comparison, the researchers had the same 18 test subjects drink a caffeinated drink (not the sugar and taurine) and their heart rates did not increase. This article can be found at
Now what does that mean to me (and you)?  For healthy people with no heart disease, this study may not mean anything.  It’s interesting to know that energy drinks may cause rapid heart rates.  Some people (like my husband) seem to be sensitive to caffeine.  A few years ago, Hubby noticed he was having rapid heartbeats and feeling bad.  He had tests done such as EKG and stress tests and passed all.  Our family doctor suggested he get off caffeine; he decreased and gradually stopped the caffeine.  Guess what, his rapid heart rate returned to normal and he started to feel better.  I suspect we will hear more about energy drinks and their effect on our health. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day--the Day of Love

When we were young, we thought of LOVE in emotional terms. Yes, love does bring emotions.  Good emotions happen when I hug and am hugged by someone I love and who cares about me.  Bad emotions happen when we lose significant people in our lives to death or divorce.  But when you get past the emotions, Love brings on actions. 

Love put into action might be called kindness.  The Positivity Blog writer, Henrik Edberg, recently posted a blog post called “One Simple Thing You can Do to Feel Better about Yourself” and his “simple thing” involves being kind to the people in our lives.  I printed this post to keep because he is so right. Many of his suggestions for showing kindness cost no money.  They are things such as giving a genuine compliment, holding the door open for the next person, encouraging family and friends when they are discouraged, listening to someone who needs to vent, and allowing another car to enter your lane.  He lists more and you can find this post at

But back to the blog title:  one simple thing you can do to feel better about yourself.  When we reach out in kindness to others, we feel good about ourselves.  We usually get positive feedback.  A thank you and a smile can brighten the day of everyone involved.  Isn’t that what LOVE is all about?     

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Physicians group websites and premier health organizations websites

A second good source of medical information is the different doctor groups’ websites.  For example,
The American Medical Association website has a “patient” section at

The American Academy of Pediatrics has a “healthy child” section at

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers information for patients at Family

Orthopaedic surgeons provide patient education on their website at

Premier health organizations have websites.  I am including a few of the many professional organizations that provide valuable information to consumers.  
American Heart Association,
National Kidney Foundation,
American Stroke Association,
American Diabetes Association,
American Lung Association,
Arthritis Foundation,


Monday, February 10, 2014

Trusted, reputable websites

What are trusted, reputable medical information websites? from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from the National Cancer Institute gives information about clinical trials around the world and in the USA from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine website  from the Mayo Clinic
This information can be found at the University of Texas Health Leader article at


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Partnering with your doctor: reputable web sites

Where can you find reliable medical information after you go home from your doctor appointment?  Do you often go searching for medical information on the internet?  Many of us do.  How can you know if the information you are reading is accurate and up-to-date?  Good question.  According to an article posted on the University of Texas Health Leader website, the experts recommend using a trusted website. 
A word of caution about going on the internet (even reputable sites) to gain information:  You can learn a lot about diagnoses, symptoms and treatments from reputable web sites.  But when sifting through all that information, you can misdiagnose yourself and cause yourself much anxiety. (Yes, we have all probably done that.) It’s the application of that knowledge (which part applies to you and what should be done about it) that your doctor needs to direct.  Not even reputable web sites can be as valuable as your own doctor who knows you and your health status.  You will gain more by partnering with your doctor to get the best care for you and your family.  Next time I share reputable websites. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Another resource--your pharmacist

Another valuable resource for your health care involves your pharmacist.

After your doctor’s appointment, you have questions about the new medication.  Who can help provide this information?  The pharmacist is another excellent resource about medicines.  Find a pharmacy you consider convenient and like dealing with.  By using the same pharmacy for all your medications, you get help from the pharmacist who has a listing of all your medications that were filled there.  If there are questions about drug duplication or interactions, the pharmacist can help spot potential problems.  Ask the pharmacist any questions that occurred to you after you left the doctor’s office.  The pharmacy may provide a drug information printout paper. Keep this paper and refer to it if questions arise.   The pharmacist can help with issues of insurance company coverage for new medicines and if there’s a problem, call the doctor’s office for you.  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Partnering with our doctor--during your doctor appt #2

Today I continue talking about partnering with our doctor to get the best results.  During your appointment:

1.      Do you see the doctor and staff members wash their hands?  Do they wear gloves during the exam?  If not, ask that they wear gloves before giving shots, touching wounds, or examining your mouth or private areas. 

2.       If the doctor says you have such-and-such (a new diagnosis) or need new medicine, get information before you leave.  Ask your doctor about the diagnosis and if you don’t understand, tell him and ask questions until you understand.  Also many doctors have brochures which you can take home, read and gain understanding  about a new diagnosis. 

3.      If your doctor prescribes a new medicine, there’s information you will need: what does the medicine treat, what are the directions for taking the medicine (for example, three times a day or daily and also is it a liquid or a pill to be swallowed?) Will the new medicine cause a problem with other medicines you are taking?  What are the side effects you should report to him? There are financial considerations:  Is the new medicine available in generic and is the generic form as good?  One time my doctor told me he didn’t think the generic worked as well so he preferred that I take the brand name medicine.  Usually generic medicines are considered equal to brand name medicines.   
Next time we will consider another valuable resource that you can use to get reliable, reputable medical information.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

During your doctors appointment

How can we partner with our doctor to get the best results?  During your doctor’s appointment:

1.      Tell your doctor about any changes in your health status since your last visit.  For example, if you have lost or gained weight (without changing your eating habits), tell your doctor. If you can no longer climb stairs without having to stop and catch your breath, tell your doctor.   If you are unsure of the best way to talk to your doctor, practice at home before you go to the appointment. 

2.      Tell your doctor the truth.  Don’t let your embarrassment about your life style interfere with your health.  Tell your doctor about drug usage, whether you smoke and other lifestyle behaviors that affect your health.

3.      Does the doctor need to examine you?  If you are uncomfortable about the exam, ask that the nurse be present.  If having your trusted family member with you during the exam makes you feel more comfortable, ask if that person can stay with you.  More next time about partnering with our doctor.
4.  Be patient if you have to wait.  If we could follow our doctors around, we would find that they are very busy people.  Often they grab a bite of lunch on the drive from office to hospital.  They have many demands on their time.  I know it's not easy to wait (I'm not especially patient at waiting either) but you will get more help and satisfaction from your dr. appointment if you are patient and pleasant when you see your doctor.