Hypertension likely to affect one-third of the population by 2020

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Hypertension likely to affect one-third of the population by 2020

Inactivity and unhealthy food patterns can complicate the situation

New Delhi, 21st December 2018: Exercise might be as effective as blood pressure medications in lowering systolic blood pressure below 140 mm Hg, indicates a recent study. An exercise regimen could reduce the need for blood pressure lowering medications in the future. he systolic blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the heart while pumping blood out of the heart by contraction of the heart muscles. It represents the top value in a blood pressure reading.

Hypertension is defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140/90 mmHg. It is emerging as one of the major lifestyle disorders today. As per estimates, about one-third of the Indian population will suffer from the condition by 2020. Current studies put the prevalence of hypertension at 20% to 40% in urban areas and 12% to 17% in rural areas.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The prevalence of hypertension in Indian adults has shown a drastic increase in the past three decades in urban as well as rural areas. It is important to get an annual checkup done after the age of 30 even if you have no family history of hypertension, are not diabetic or don’t have any other lifestyle-related disorder. For those in the high-risk category, a checkup is advised every month. Hypertension can be prevented provided a person makes necessary lifestyle changes right at the outset. It is also imperative to spread the message of prevention and encourage people across various age groups to check their blood pressure at regular intervals.”

Some signs and symptoms of hypertension include dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, and sometimes chest pain, palpitations, and nosebleeds.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “High blood pressure imposes an up-front burden in people who know they have it and who are working to control it. It adds to worries about health. It alters what you eat and how active you are, since a low-sodium diet and exercise are important ways to help keep blood pressure in check. Some people need medication and may need to take one or more pills a day, which can be a costly hassle.”

Some tips from HCFI.

• Achieve and maintain a healthy weight for your height

• Exercise regularly

• Eat a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains

• Limit sodium intake to under 2,300 milligrams a day (one teaspoon of salt) and get plenty of potassium (at least 4,700 mg per day) from fruits and vegetables

• Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all

• Reduce stress

• Monitor your blood pressure regularly, and work with your doctor to keep it in a healthy range

Is sex an exercise and is it hard on the heart?

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This is a piece taken from HealthBeat to share with our readers. At some time in his life, nearly every man gets exercised about sex. And as many men get older, they wonder if sex is a good form of exercise or if it’s too strenuous for the heart.

Treadmill vs. mattress

To evaluate the cardiovascular effects of sexual activity, researchers monitored volunteers while they walked on a treadmill in the lab and during private sexual activity at home. In addition to 13 women, the volunteers included 19 men with an average age of 55. About three-quarters of the men were married, and nearly 70% had some form of cardiovascular disease; 53% were taking beta blockers. Despite their cardiac histories, the men reported exercising about four times a week, and they reported having sexual activity about six times a month on average.

Researchers monitored heart rate and blood pressure during standard treadmill exercise tests and during “usual” sexual activity with a familiar partner at home. All the sex acts concluded with vaginal intercourse and male orgasm. Disappointingly perhaps, the treadmill proved more strenuous. On an intensity scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest, men evaluated treadmill exercise as 4.6 and sex as 2.7. Sex was even less strenuous for women in terms of heart rate, blood pressure, and perceived intensity of exertion.

Sex as exercise

Men seem to spend more energy thinking and talking about sex than on the act itself. During sexual intercourse, a man’s heart rate rarely gets above 130 beats a minute, and his systolic blood pressure nearly always stays under 170. All in all, average sexual activity ranks as mild to moderate in terms of exercise intensity. As for oxygen consumption, it comes in at about 3.5 METS (metabolic equivalents), which is about the same as doing the foxtrot, raking leaves, or playing ping pong. Sex burns about five calories a minute; that’s four more than a man uses watching TV but it’s about the same as walking the course to play golf. If a man can walk up two or three flights of stairs without difficulty, he should be in shape for sex.

Sex as sex

Raking leaves may increase a man’s oxygen consumption, but it probably won’t get his motor running. Sex, of course, is different, and the excitement and stress might well pump out extra adrenaline. Both mental excitement and physical exercise increase adrenaline levels and can trigger heart attacks and arrhythmias, abnormalities of the heart’s pumping rhythm. Can sex do the same? In theory, it can. But in practice, it’s really very uncommon, at least during conventional sex with a familiar partner.

Careful studies show that fewer than one of every 100 heart attacks is related to sexual activity, and for fatal arrhythmias the rate is just one in 200. Put another way, for a healthy 50-year-old man, the risk of having a heart attack in any given hour is about one in a million; sex doubles the risk, but it’s still just two in a million. For men with heart disease, the risk is 10 times higher — but even for them, the chance of suffering a heart attack during sex is just 20 in a million. Those are pretty good odds.

How about Viagra?

Until recently, human biology has provided unintentional (and perhaps unwanted) protection for men with heart disease. That’s because many of the things that cause heart disease, such as smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol levels, also cause erectile dysfunction. The common link is atherosclerosis, which can damage arteries in the penis as well as in the heart.

Sildenafil, vardenafil, and tadalafil  have changed that. About 70% of men with erectile dysfunction (ED) respond to the ED pills well enough to enable sexual intercourse. Sex may be safe for most men with heart disease, but are ED pills a safe way to have sex?

For men with stable coronary artery disease and well-controlled hypertension, the answer is yes — with one very, very important qualification. Men who are taking nitrate medications in any form cannot use ED pills. This restriction covers all preparations of nitroglycerin, including long-acting nitrates; nitroglycerin sprays, patches, and pastes; and amyl nitrate. Fortunately, other treatments for erectile function are safe for men with heart disease, even if they are using nitrates.

Safe sex

Sex is a normal part of human life. For all men, whether they have heart disease or not, the best way to keep sex safe is to stay in shape by avoiding tobacco, exercising regularly, eating a good diet, staying lean, and avoiding too much (or too little) alcohol. Needless to say, men should not initiate sexual activity if they are not feeling well, and men who experience possible cardiac symptoms during sex should interrupt the sexual activity at once.

With these simple guidelines and precautions, sex is safe for the heart — but it should be safe for the rest of the body, too. Sexually transmitted diseases pose a greater threat than sexually induced heart problems. When it comes to sex, men should use their brains as well as their hearts.

[Source HealthBeat: Harvard]

Insulin nasal spray may slow Alzheimers disease

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Intranasal insulin therapy may have beneficial effects on cognition and function among patients with Alzheimer’s disease, a pilot study suggested. Patients who received 20 IU of intranasal insulin daily for four months had improvements on delayed story recall tests (P=0.02, Cohen f effect size=0.36), according to Suzanne Craft, PhD, of the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, and colleagues.

Study suggests that intranasal administration of insulin over a four-month period to patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment or mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease improved delayed memory and preserved general cognition compared with placebo.

Insulin is critical for normal brain function, and dysregulation of its metabolism has been shown to contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Because patients with Alzheimer’s disease also exhibit decreased levels of insulin in the central nervous system, it has been hypothesized that raising these levels to normal might help maintain cognitive ability. (MedPage)

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