Blood pressure measurement may detect proneness to heart attack

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The ankle-brachial index (ABI), a simple, noninvasive 10-minute test that should be incorporated into a routine physical exam for diagnosing peripheral arterial disease in the middle aged and elderly especially those with heart attack risk factors like smokers, diabetics and the ones with high BP or cholesterol levels.

With the patient in a supine position, the doctor takes blood pressure readings from both arms; he then takes blood pressure readings from both ankles with a sphygmomanometer and Doppler device. ABI value is calculated by dividing the higher systolic pressure in each leg by the higher systolic brachial pressure.

ABI scores should be interpreted as follows:

• Greater than 0.90: Normal
• 0.71 – 0.90: Mild obstruction
• 0.41 – 0.70: Moderate obstruction
• Less than 0.40: Severe obstruction
• More than 1.30: Calcification of the vessels

Presence of peripheral arterial disease may indicate associated blockages in the heart and vulnerability to heart attack or paralysis.

Sugar should be regulated like alcohol, tobacco

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Like alcohol and tobacco, sugar is a toxic, addictive substance that should be highly regulated with taxes, laws on where and to whom it can be advertised, and even age-restricted sales, says a team of UCSF scientists in Nature.

For both alcohol and tobacco, there is robust evidence that gentle ’supply side’ control strategies which stop far short of all-out prohibition – taxation, distribution controls, age limits – lower both consumption of the product and the accompanying health harms. The experts have proposed adding taxes to processed foods that contain any form of added sugars.

Over the past 50 years, sugar consumption has tripled worldwide. That’s also helped contribute to the obesity epidemic – so much so that there are 30 percent more obese people in this world than there are malnourished people.

Sugar is ‘toxic,’ particularly in excessive amounts, noting that it poses dangers similar to those of alcohol. Fructose, specifically, can harm the liver and overconsumption has been linked with all the diseases involved with metabolic syndrome: hypertension, high triglycerides, insulin resistance, and diabetes. (Source AMA News)