Women More Vulnerable to Stress

stressed-womenA study of nearly 700 individuals with coronary artery disease has revealed that hearts in men and women react differently to a temporary reduction in blood flow to heart muscles, a common symptom caused by stress. While some men may experience an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, making their heart work harder, about 1 in 5 women experienced constriction in their smaller blood vessels, which can cause more serious heart complications. American Heart Association representatives recommend physical exercise as a way to manage mental stress. Exercise will make blood vessels dilate, counteracting the constriction seen by some of the women who participated in the study. Regular exercise, like a daily walk or run, can go a long way in helping us cope with mental stress.

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Redefining High Blood Pressure

HealthAccording to new guidelines being published by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC), high blood pressure is now defined as readings of 130 mm Hg and higher for systolic blood pressure or 80 and higher for the diastolic measurement. As the first update to the U.S. guidelines for blood pressure detection and treatment since 2003, these new measurements are intended to encourage earlier detection, prevention and management of high blood pressure.

While estimates are that high blood pressure diagnoses will rise by 14%, the hope is that the vast majority will be counseled about lifestyle changes rather than receiving prescribed medication. Often referred to as the “silent killer” because there are no symptoms, high blood pressure accounts for the second largest number of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths, second only to smoking.

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Less salt, lower blood pressure

Herbs and spices make great salt substitutes

Using less table salt and salt in cooking may help lower blood pressure and reduce your risk for heart disease. To avoid salt without sacrificing flavor, experiment by making your own seasoning blends.

Chinese five-spice blend for chicken, fish, or pork
Combine ¼ cup ground ginger, 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground cloves, and 1 tablespoon each ground allspice and anise seed. Continue reading

Men's Health Week

Health experts recommend that men over 40 talk to their doctor about taking aspirin to prevent heart disease. Aspirin therapy may be prescribed earlier for smokers or men who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.

A checklist for men’s health screenings:

Blood pressure — at least every two years. Aim for a BP under 120/80.

Cholesterol — every five years starting at age 35. If heart disease runs in your family, talk to your doctor about earlier screening. Normal total cholesterol is under 200. Continue reading

No Frills, No Pills

5 Everyday things you can do to lower your blood pressure

  1. Take a brisk walk or do some other physical activity for a total of at least 30 minutes.
  2. Plan your meals and snacks to include eight to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables and two servings of low-fat milk. These foods are packed with the minerals that help control blood pressure.
  3. Avoid adding salt to your food at the table, use herbs and spices for seasoning, and limit processed foods. Continue reading