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Senior Health Week: Hypertension
Health News You Can Use •

Latest Hypertension News:

High Blood Pressure, Smoking, Coffee Linked to Strokes: Researchers say people with these risk factors are more likely to suffer a type of stroke known as an aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).

Recent Hypertension News:

Home Blood Pressure Readings a Key to Treatment Decisions: Researchers say doctors should not make hypertension treatment decisions based solely on the blood pressure readings taken in their offices.

Fatty Acid Found in Vegetable Oil and Soybeans May Deter Stroke: Japanese researchers believe that linoleic acid may lower blood pressure and improve circulation in small blood vessels.

Lowering Body Temperature Increases Prospects for Stroke Victims: Researchers say lowering the body temperature of stroke victims may improve both near-term and long-term survival.

FDA Approves Sale of Go-Anywhere Device to Lower Blood Pressure: Battery-operated device that looks like a Walkman helps people perform therapeutic breathing exercises.

High Blood Sugar Raises Risk of Stroke Death: Researchers say those who have high blood sugar at the time a stroke hits are more likely to die than those with normal blood sugar levels.

Upcoming Study Seeks Answers on Best Treatment for Stroke Patients: Researchers will try to determine whether medical management or surgery is the most effective way to treat patients who recently have had either a stroke or a transient ischemic (TIA) attack.

Blood Pressure Drug Helps Stop Irregular Heartbeat: Researchers say the drug irbesartan not only helps control high blood pressure and heart failure, but can also help stop the irregular beating of the heart known as atrial fibrillation.

Older Hypertensive Patients Helped by More Pounds: Researchers say they found that overweight people with hypertension seem to do better than their leaner counterparts.

Baby Aspirin Doesn't Hinder Hypertension Drugs: Researchers say hypertensive patients who use low-dose aspirin for its well-known heart protective effects can do so knowing that it won't hinder their blood pressure medications.

Vitamin C Deficiency May Significantly Increase Risk of a Stroke: Researchers say those with blood vitamin C levels of less than 28.4 micromoles per liter (roughly the amount of vitamin C you get from a half glass of orange juice a day) had a 2.1 times greater risk of a stroke.

Eating More Fruits and Vegetables Can Lower Blood Pressure: Participants in a University of Oxford study reduced their blood pressure by an average of 4 mm Hg systolic and 1.5 mm Hg diastolic when they collectively increased their daily fruit and vegetable intake.

CDC Report Highlights Need for Increased Stroke Awareness: With almost half of all stroke deaths occurring before the victims could be transported to the hospital, the CDC says more people need to know the signs and symptoms so that they or those around them can get prompt treatment.

Aspirin Best at Bedtime for Mild Hypertension: Bedtime is the best time to take aspirin for people using the drug to help control high blood pressure, researchers reported at the American Society of Hypertension annual meeting.

Acetaminophen May Offer Safer Pain Relief for Hypertensives Than Ibuprofen: Researchers say those who either have or are at risk of developing heart or circulatory problems may want to consider taking acetaminophen.

New Clot Retrieval Device Reverses Stroke Damage in 93-Year-Old Woman: Neurologists used the new device, which uses a corkscrew-like micro wire to snare and remove blood clots in the brain artery, to help reverse the damage caused by a stroke.

New Evidence Moderate Alcohol Consumption Decreases Stroke Risk: Findings from two groups of researchers add to the growing evidence that consumption of up to two drinks daily can decrease the risk of stroke in older people.

Waistline May Forecast Risk of Stroke Better Than Body Mass Index: The girth of a person's waist and hips may be a better predictor of the risk of strokes than the more traditional body mass index (BMI) formula that takes into account height and weight, according to researchers.

Alzheimer Drug Reminyl May Help Some Stroke Victims: Researchers found that Reminyl helped improve memory, language, reasoning skills, and ability to perform activities of daily living in patients with dementia symptoms caused by cerebrovascular disease.

Viagra Aids in Treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension: A drug already used by millions of men for erectile dysfunction has also been found effective in enhancing the power of an existing therapy for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension.

No Significant Link Between Coffee Drinking and Hypertension: Drinking one cup of coffee a day may slightly raise your blood pressure, but long-term drinking of larger amounts of coffee does not appear to significantly increase the risk of hypertension, according to Johns Hopkins University Researchers.

New Generation Drug Losartan Seen More Effective Than Beta-Blocker: Two new studies reported in this week's Lancet have found that the new generation angiotensin II receptor blocking drug losartan is more effective than one of the highly utilized beta-blockers in reducing the incidence of stroke and death that can occur in people with high blood pressure.

Systolic Reading More Important for Determining Risk: The top number in a blood pressure reading is the more important of the two in determining a person's risk of heart attack and stroke, and doctors should attach more importance to a high reading, according to a new French study.

Hypertension Primer:

Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries. Blood pressure rises and falls during the day. When blood pressure stays elevated over time, it is called high blood pressure, or hypertension.

Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers — the systolic pressure (as the heart beats) over the diastolic pressure (as the heart relaxes between beats). A consistent blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher is considered high blood pressure, another term for hypertension.

High blood pressure is common. More than 50 million American adults — 1 in 4 — have high blood pressure. It is very common in African Americans, who may get it earlier in life and more often than whites. Many Americans tend to develop high blood pressure as they get older, but this is not a part of healthy aging. About 60% of all Americans age 60 and older have high blood pressure. Others at risk for developing high blood pressure are the overweight, those with a family history of high blood pressure, and those with high-normal blood pressure (130–139/85–89 mm Hg).

Any form of high blood pressure is dangerous if not properly treated. Both numbers in a blood pressure test are important, but, for some, the systolic is especially meaningful. That's because, for those persons middle aged and older, systolic pressure gives a better diagnosis of high blood pressure.

Diastolic pressure does not need to be high for you to have high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is 140 and higher for systolic pressure. When that happens, the condition is called "isolated systolic hypertension," or ISH.

Isolated systolic high blood is the most common form of high blood pressure for older Americans. For most Americans, systolic blood pressure increases with age, while diastolic increases until about age 55 and then declines. About 65 percent of hypertensives over age 60 have ISH. You may have ISH and feel fine. As with other types of high blood pressure, ISH often causes no symptoms.

If left uncontrolled, high systolic pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, kidney damage, blindness, or other conditions. While it cannot be cured once it has developed, ISH can be controlled.

Clinical studies have proven that treating a high systolic pressure saves lives, greatly reduces illness, and improves the quality of life. Yet, most Americans do not have their high systolic pressure under control.

Treatment options for ISH are the same as for other types of high blood pressure, in which both systolic and diastolic pressures are high. ISH is treated with lifestyle changes and/or medications. The key for any high blood pressure treatment is to bring the condition under proper control. Blood pressure should be controlled to less than 140/90 mm Hg. If yours is not, then ask your doctor why. You may just need a lifestyle or drug change, such as reducing salt in your diet or adding a second medication.

High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard. It also makes the walls of the arteries hard. High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, the first- and third-leading causes of death for Americans. High blood pressure can also cause other problems, such as heart failure, kidney disease, and blindness.

The causes of high blood pressure vary. Causes may include narrowing of the arteries, a greater than normal volume of blood, or the heart beating faster or more forcefully than it should. Any of these conditions will cause increased pressure against the artery walls. High blood pressure might also be caused by another medical problem. Most of the time, the cause is not known. Although high blood pressure usually cannot be cured, in most cases it can be prevented and controlled.

You can find out if you have high blood pressure by having your blood pressure checked regularly. Most doctors will diagnose a person with high blood pressure on the basis of two or more readings, taken on several occasions.

Some people experience high blood pressure only when they visit the doctor's office. This condition is called "white-coat hypertension." If your doctor suspects this, you may be asked to monitor your blood pressure at home or asked to wear a device called an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. This device is usually worn for 24 hours and can take blood pressure every 30 minutes.

You can take steps to prevent high blood pressure by adopting a healthy lifestyle. These steps include maintaining a healthy weight; being physically active; following a healthy eating plan, that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods; choosing and preparing foods with less salt and sodium; and, if you drink alcoholic beverages, drinking in moderation.

It is important to take steps to keep your blood pressure under control. The treatment goal is blood pressure below 140/90 and lower for people with other conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits is an effective first step in both preventing and controlling high blood pressure. If lifestyle changes alone are not effective in keeping your pressure controlled, it may be necessary to add blood pressure medications.

Background information provided by: The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892






















































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