All You need to Know about Hypertension(High Blood Pressure) and How To Avoid It. 0

HOW TO PREVENT AND TREAT HYPERTENSION (HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE).
Our blood pressures tend to rise, as we age. How do we avoid this observation?

Blood flows to the various parts of the body under pressure from the regular pumping activity of the heart, through the blood vessels.

The very muscular heart contracts to push blood and relaxes to receive blood, to and from the various parts of the body, through the arteries and veins.

The pressure in the arteries, when the heart is pushing blood, is known as Systolic Blood Pressure. The pressure in the arteries, when the heart relaxes to receive blood, is known as Diastolic Blood Pressure.

MEASURING BLOOD PRESSURE
Blood Pressure measurements are usually taken on the upper arm (the upper arms are at the same level as the position of the heart, in the body) everybody needs to know their numbers.

PLEASE NOTE:
If you have just drunk coffee, smoked or finished exercising, you must wait for a minimum of 30 minutes before taking the BP measurement. Once again, I must emphasize: everyone needs to know their numbers

BLOOD PRESSURE Classification:
Normal blood pressure is 120/80, or lower. (Ideal blood pressure is 110/70 or lower)

Elevated blood pressure is 120-129/80
Stage1 Hypertension, the pressure is between 130-139, systolic, and 80-90, diastolic

Stage 2 Hypertension, the pressure is 140 or more, for systolic and 90 or more, for diastolic

WHAT ARE THE DANGERS ASSOCIATED WITH HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?

If you want to enjoy a healthy life, the first thing to do is: maintain a healthy blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure damages the smaller blood vessels and other body organs including the Eyes, Kidneys, Heart, and Brain

The following conditions have been associated with the uncontrolled High blood pressure

EYES: Visual impairment and blindness
KIDNEY: persistent kidney injury leads to eventual Kidney failure. High blood pressure is a major cause of kidney injury and kidney failure.

BRAIN: Hypertension is the number one cause of stroke. If you want to avoid stroke, control your blood pressure.

Some Dementias are associated with high blood pressure

HEART: As the heart works hard to push blood to the various parts of the body under sustained high pressure, the heart muscles, initially get bulkier, and then weakens, leading to Heart dysfunction, and eventual Heart failure. The symptoms of heart failure include getting tired easily, leg swelling and puffiness, cough and not being able to lay flat in bed.

CAUSES OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE.
For the average person, no definite cause of high blood pressure is found. In the elderly, narrowing of the kidney arteries and other blood flow abnormalities could lead to high blood pressure( Hypertension).

There are certain risk factors that could raise one’s blood pressure.

  1. Dietary salt intake, Maggi cubes, salted fish do have so much sodium in them, and eating these regularly could lead to an elevation in blood pressure. We should not forget, that most blacks are genetically salt sensitive and increasing their salt intake could lead to blood pressure elevation. (Salt sensitivity is found in 73% of black patients with high blood pressure, and 36% of blacks who have normal blood pressure).
  2. Excess body weight. Increase in Blood pressure is directly proportional to one’s body mass.
  3. Inactivity leads to weight gain and stiffening of blood vessels
  4. Diabetes and high blood pressure do share common risk factors

MANAGING HYPERTENSION.
There are 3 proven ways to lower high blood pressures.

  1.  DIET: A diet low in sodium, and high in calcium, potassium, magnesium and Flavonoids.
  2. ACTIVE LIFESTYLE: Regular exercises prevent the development of high blood pressure.
  3. MEDICATIONS. Several and different classes of medications have been used to control blood pressure.

WHAT HAPPENS?
The pressure in the blood vessels drops when the vessels are dilated. The dilatation is due to relaxation of the elastic fibres and muscles in the vessel walls. The pressure gets high when the vessels are constricted.

DIETARY CONTROL OF BLOOD PRESSURE
Blood Pressure lowering dietary changes can bring blood pressure numbers to a healthy level

DIETARY SODIUM:
Let us begin with dietary sodium. Eating a lot of sodium (especially in blacks) is linked with high blood pressure and problems in the heart, kidneys and blood vessels. Reducing sodium in the diet, can prevent high blood pressure in those at risk for the disease, and can help control blood pressure.

DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.

This is a lifelong approach to healthy eating that is designed to help treat or prevent hypertension.

The DASH diet encourages people to decrease the sodium in the diet, and eat a variety of foods rich in minerals that help lower blood pressure, such as Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium.

The DASH diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, a low-fat dairy moderate amount of Whole grain, Fish, Poultry and Nuts

For Sodium, not more than 1500mg of sodium should be taken in our diet, daily.

Stop using Maggi cube, Maggi cube has so much sodium and hydrogenated oils. Salted fish might also contain a hidden amount of high sodium in it. Some Kenkey is prepared with too much salt, for good taste.

Canned and most processed food has hidden amount of high sodium, so avoid them, and eat fresh, naturally prepared food, if possible. Always read the labelling, to find the amount of Na/sodium in the canned food.

  • DIETARY POTASSIUM:
    Potassium relaxes walls of blood vessels to reduce blood pressure and protects against cramping. Dietary Sources of potassium: Coconut water, Plantain, Banana, Potato, Tomato Green vegetable.                         Caution: For those with kidney diseases, potassium must be consumed with caution., their kidneys might not be able to handle potassium, well, in the body.
  • DIETARY MAGNESIUM:
    Magnesium is found in whole grains, beans, nuts, and green leafy vegetables. Magnesium improves blood flow, another factor associated with lowered blood pressure.
  • DIETARY CALCIUM:
    Calcium helps blood vessels to tighten and relax when they need to Calcium is found in Fishbones, green leafy vegetables
  • DIETARY NITRATES
    Dietary nitrates are found in abundance in vegetables. Inorganic dietary nitrates, after digestion, are converted to the vasodilator NITRIC OXIDE. Nitrates lower blood pressure in both healthy individuals and those with high blood pressure.

THEOBROMA CACAO.
Theobroma means “food of the gods”
The KUNA INDIANS, who live along the coast of Panama, have a very low incidence of high blood pressure and no increase in blood pressure as they age. They live longer than other Panamanians. They drink cocoa, a lot.

Cocoa has minerals: magnesium, potassium, calcium and copper. The bitterness of cocoa comes from their Flavonoids. Raw cocoa beans have a bitter taste, but edible. Apart from benefits to brain and nerve functions Flavonoids promote vasodilation by increasing Nitric Oxide synthesis in the blood vessels. You can drink raw cocoa 2-3 times a day. You can also add a handful of cocoa nibs, to your meals, daily. You should have a healthy blood pressure if you live in Ghana. No excuses for the average person.

Flavonoids are found in other fruits and vegetables, (but not as high as in cocoa). Flavonoids are susceptible to damage by heat, so it is better to eat them raw. Banana, berries, Citrus, watermelon, onion, sweet potato; they all have flavonoids

Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables decrease Systolic BP 3-6mmHg and diastolic BP 1-3mmHg

WHAT FOODSTUFF DO WE NEED TO CONSUME REGULARLY?
1.) WHOLE GRAINS
Grains include Bread, Cereal, Rice Pasta., Sorghum, Millet, Corn

Whole grains have more fibre and nutrients than refined grain. Example, Use brown rice instead of white rice; Whole wheat instead of regular pasta, Whole grain Bread instead of white bread.

Grains are naturally low in fat. Keep them that way by avoiding Butter, Cream and Cheese sauce.

2.) VEGETABLES
Tomato, Carrots, Broccoli, Sweet potato, green and other vegetables are filled with fibre, Vitamins and such minerals like Potassium, Magnesium

3.) FRUITS
Fruits are packed with fibre potassium, magnesium, and low in fat. Citrus, Coconut water, Bananas, Mangoes, Pawpaw, Plantain (A slice of plantain(148grams) has 739mg of potassium, 55mg of magnesium)

DRINKS TO AVOID: ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
ALCOHOL INTAKE
Drinking too much alcohol can raise the blood pressure. Example drinking 3 units of Alcohol daily for 3 months raises the blood pressure.

A unit of Alcohol is 10 ml or 8gm of pure alcohol, (the amount an adult can process in an hour) In general 1 drink is the equivalent of 12oz beer, 4oz wine, 1oz hard Liquor (100%proof) (Akpeteshie comes to mind).

To avoid raising the blood pressure, Males should limit alcohol intake to no more than 2 drinks per day, Female, not more than 1 drink per day.

Heavy and regular use of alcohol can increase blood pressure dramatically.

It can also cause Heart failure, lead to Stroke, and produce irregular heartbeats.

Too much alcohol contributes to Cancer, Obesity, Alcoholism, Suicides and Accidents.

ACTIVE LIFESTYLE
An active lifestyle is key in both primary and secondary prevention of high blood pressure.

A recent study of people living in Jackson, Mississippi, USA, indicates that African-Americans are less likely to develop high blood pressure if they are physically active throughout the week. (People of African descent, have a higher incidence of hypertension, in western countries, than their cousins on the African mainland).

The lead author, Dr Diaz, Columbus university medical centre in New York, stated: “If you’re worried about high blood pressure, one of the things you can do to prevent it is physical activity and exercise”

The most beneficial type of exercise was physical activity from sports and exercise-not from home- or work-related tasks like housekeeping or physical labour.

A minimum of 150 minutes per week (30 minutes most days of the week) of doing something like brisk walking is required. Running, Jogging, skipping rope, aerobic steps are better. Do what you like best for a minimum of 30 minutes each day.

For the overweight, active weight loss helps to improve blood pressure.

ANTIHYPERTENSIVE MEDICATIONS
Active lifestyle works well for those with elevated blood pressure and some of those in stage1

Medications help reduce blood pressure through several mechanisms.

1.) Eliminating Sodium from the body. The water pills do this.

2.) Dilating blood vessels: the calcium channel blockers, Hydralazine

3.) Blocking hormones production and nerves important in regulating blood pressure

4.) Slowing the heart rate and decreasing heart muscle contraction.

Most of these medications are used in combination to reduce blood pressure, effectively

For stage 1 high blood pressure, the Thiazide medication is usually adequate. The thiazides do not lower blood pressure in those with normal blood pressure

For BLACK PERSONS WITH HYPERTENSION, the dihydropyridine class of Calcium channel blockers, like AMLODIPINE, NIFEDIPINE work better

PREGNANCY and Blood pressure medications:
1.) Labetalol.
2.) Hydralazine. These 2 medications work great in pregnant women.

Other medications could be used.
However, avoid medications that act on the renin-angiotensin systems (RAS) including the ACE inhibitors, ARBs.

These medications can cause kidney damage to unborn babies.

Examples of such medications include those medications with their generic names ending with -pril: (captopril, enalapril, and –sartan: (losartan, candesartan)

ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION and Blood Pressure medications.

Most men with hypertension, worry about erectile dysfunction when they take blood pressure medicines.

Diuretics: “Water Pills” decrease blood flow to the penis, making it difficult to get an erection.

Also, by decreasing Zinc levels and therefore, testosterone levels, diuretics lower the sex drive.

Beta-blockers affect some of the nerves responsible for causing an erection.

Apart from these, there have been complaints with almost all the blood pressure lowering medications. The ARBs like Losartan, candesartan, do have the least complaints, and they are better for patients who complain of ED while on certain BP medications.

It may take several days to several weeks after discontinuing a blood pressure medication for an erection to return.

ASTHMA, CHRONIC BRONCHITIS
Avoid the Beta blockers like metoprolol, propranolol in the setting of Asthma and severe COPD.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
QUESTION: How can I avoid hypertension, since hypertension runs in my family?

ANSWER: True hypertension can run in your family. However, dietary and lifestyle choices, have allowed many people with a family history of high blood pressure, to avoid it themselves.

QUESTION: Since I feel fine, I do not need to worry about high blood pressure, right?

ANSWER: Hypertension, has been described as “silent killer”. Many people have high blood pressure, without knowing it. You may not be aware that it is damaging your arteries, heart, kidneys, brain and other organs. You must know your numbers (for both systolic and diastolic blood pressures). Do not make the mistake of assuming any specific symptoms will let you know there is a problem.

QUESTION: I check my blood pressure at my Doctor’s office, do I need to check my blood pressure at home?

ANSWER: Because blood pressure fluctuates, home monitoring and recording blood pressure readings can provide valuable information to your Doctor, to either maintain or “adjust” your medications.

QUESTION: I was diagnosed with hypertension, but I have been maintaining lower readings. Can I stop taking my medications?

ANSWER: Hypertension is a lifelong disease. Partner with your Doctor to reach agreement goals and enjoy the benefits of better health. It may take, up to 2 weeks after stopping medications, to observe a rise in blood pressure.

QUESTION: I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. Can I use herbal treatment?

ANSWER: Most plants contain products that relax blood vessels. You need to monitor your blood pressure at home, to see if such therapy is effective. Most herbal treatment, are considered, blood pressure supplements.

Source: Dr Alex K Sarkodie

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Risk Factors of Cervical Cancer 0

Today, we are going to discuss some of the risk factors of cervical cancer. They are many that it will not be possible for us to exhaust all of them, but let us see how far we can go today.

1) HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS INFECTION (HPV): This is the most important of all the risk factors associated with the cancer of the cervix. Doctors believe that before a woman can develop cervical cancer, she must have been infected by HPV. Some types of this HPV are classified as “high risk” because they are the main causes of cervical cancer. These types include HPV 6, HPV 18, HPV 31, HPV 35, and HPV 45 and many other. About two-thirds of all cervical cancers are caused by HPV 16-18.

2) Smoking: Women who smoke are more likely to get cervical cancer than women who don’t smoke. Smoking exposes the body to many cancer-causing chemicals that affect not only the lungs but other parts of the body. The lungs will, first of all, absorb these harmful substances, and later transfer it into the bloodstream throughout the body. The by-products of tobacco have been found in the cervical mucus of women who smoke. These substances damage the DNA of the cervix cells and may equally lead to the development of cervical cancer.

3) IMMUNOSUPPRESSION: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS. This virus damages the immune system of the body completely and makes women be more at risk for HPV infection. This is one of the causes of an increased risk of cervical cancer in women with AIDS. The immune system is very important in destroying cancer cells, and slowing down their growth and spread. A cervical pre-cancer is likely to develop into invasive cancer faster in women with HIV.

4) CHLAMYDIA INFECTION: This is a very common bacterium that can infect the reproductive system. The spread is mainly through sexual contact. Women whose blood tests show past or present Chlamydia infection are at a higher risk of cervical cancer, as against women with normal test results. This type of infection often shows no symptoms in women. Unless a woman goes for the examination of her pelvic region, she may not know that she is infected with Chlamydia. When this stays long in the body, it leads to pelvic inflammation, which also leads to infertility.

5) DIETS: Diets low in fruits and vegetables can increase the risk of cervical cancer. Also, overweight can equally lead to cervical cancer.

6) BIRTH CONTROL PILLS: The usage of birth control pills for a long time increases the risk of cervical cancer in women. The longer these pills are used, the risk goes up and goes down after it is stopped.

7) MULTIPLE PREGNANCIES: Women with many full-time pregnancies have an increased risk of the cancer of the cervix. This may be because some of these women may have been exposed to unprotected sexual acts which have therefore exposed them to HPV infection. This is because the immune system of the pregnant woman is weak, which allows for HPV infection/ cancer growth.

8) LOW SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS: Many women with low income don’t have access to adequate health care services, including pap tests, and the implication of this is that they will not be screened or treated for pre-cancerous cervical diseases.

9) FAMILY HISTORY: Cervical cancer runs in some families. If your mother or sister has cervical cancer, your risk of developing this disease is higher. Women from the same family as a patient already diagnosed of cervical cancer may be more likely to have one or more of the other non-genetic risk factors previously described in this section.

I will love to hear what are your own views or opinions on this post

 

30 Things You Need to Know About Herpes 0

1. Genital herpes is caused by two forms of the herpes simplex viruses: HSV-1 or HSV-2.
2. Most oral herpes is caused by HSV-1, and most genital herpes is caused by HSV-2.
3. Most people do not show signs or symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection.
4. At least 45 million people ages 12 and older, or 20% of U. S. adolescents and adults, have had genital herpes.
5. Genital HSV-2 infection is more common in women (approximately one out of four women) than in men (almost one out of eight).
6. Both herpes Type 1 and 2 can be transmitted by contact with the sores that the herpes viruses cause, but also between outbreaks (sometimes called OBs) via “shedding” from skin that does not have a sore on it. 
7. Herpes transmission frequently occurs from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore, and may not even know that he or she is infected with the virus.
8. Genital OBs of HSV-1 recur less frequently than genital outbreaks caused by HSV-2.
9. First symptoms of genital herpes, they can be quite intense. Subsequent OBs are milder. Symptoms can include:
10. A small area of redness, sometimes with raised bumps or fluid-filled blisters;
11. Itching, burning or tingling in the genital area;
12. Flu-like symptoms (a headache, swollen glands, fever);
13. Painful urination and/or discharge.
14. Initial herpes outbreak usually occurs within two weeks after the virus is transmitted, and the sores usually heal within two to four weeks.
15. Sometimes, a person does not become aware of the infection until years after it is acquired.
16. Do not squeeze OB blisters because that may cause infection to spread.
17. Genital herpes infection can be more severe in people with immune systems depressed due to other causes.

  1. Genital herpes can cause psychological distress in people who know they are infected, due particularly to the attached social stigma.

    19. Any area in the groin can be affected by genital herpes.

    20. Herpes is not the only infection that causes genital sores. Bacterial infections have also been known to cause sores that resemble herpes sores. So, it’s best to get tested.
    21. Genital herpes can lead to potentially fatal infections in babies.
    22. Genital herpes can sometimes be diagnosed by visual inspection of the outbreak, or by taking an actual sample from a sore.
    23. The only sure way to avoid getting herpes and other STDs is abstinence, or a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with someone who is not infected.
    24. If you inform your partner of your herpes, you can discuss it instead of making excuses as to why you don’t want to have sex.
    25. Genital herpes caused by HSV-2 carries an 80-90% chance of OBs.
    26. Genital herpes caused by HSV-1 carries a 50% chance of OBs.
    27. OB sores can occur in areas that are not covered by a latex condom, so condoms are not fool-proof in protecting from contracting genital herpes.
    28. Even if a person does not have any symptoms he or she can still infect sex partners.
    29. You can’t get herpes from swimming pools, towels or toilet seats.
    30. Frequency and severity of herpes OBs vary between individuals.

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