Archive for November, 2006

Home Blood Pressure Machines Compared

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on November 30th, 2006

If you’re one of the 65 million Americans with high blood pressure, you’re probably on medication and a modified diet aimed at reducing your hypertension and getting your blood pressure back down to a healthy level. To keep tabs on your progress, you’ll need to check your blood pressure regularly, and many patients find it helpful to get a blood pressure monitor to use at home.

Why test at home? For one thing, doctor’s visits are expensive and relatively infrequent. You can check your blood pressure yourself every day if you want to, from the comfort of your own home.

And “comfort” is important. Because seeing a doctor can be a stressful experience, it sometimes creates false readings in your blood pressure. By testing it at home, you can get a more accurate reading of what your day-to-day blood pressure is like.

The basic, old-fashioned type of blood pressure machine — where you put the strap around your arm and squeeze the bulb to inflate it — is called an aneroid monitor. They’re usually around $20 or $30, so they’re affordable, and they’re easy to use once you learn how. There are also digital monitors that measure your blood pressure automatically, making them faster and easier to use. Naturally, you pay a little more for this convenience; these devices range in price from $30-$100.

Both kinds have advantages and disadvantages. The aneroid version is cheaper, but the digital monitor is easier to use. The digital monitor can have its accuracy thrown off more easily, though, simply by moving your body during testing; the aneroid monitor is usually much more stable than that. Also, many digital models are designed to be used on the left arm only, which makes them impractical for some people.

Overall, however, the digital monitor is easier and more accurate. It deflates automatically, its numbers are easy to read, and some models even print out your results for you. It is also far less easily damaged than the aneroid monitor, which is a rather complex device with several parts.

There are some monitors on the market that take your blood pressure not on the upper arm but on the wrist or finger. So far, most of these are to be avoided. Not only do they cost more — usually upwards of $100 — but they tend to be inaccurate, too! The patient’s body position and temperature affect wrist and finger devices much more than the upper-arm devices, resulting in bad readings. Stick with the upper arm.

After buying a blood pressure monitor for your own use, you should take it with you to your next doctor’s appointment and have him or her (or the nurse) check it for accuracy against the device they have in the office. Take the monitor in for a “check up” every 12 months or so, to make sure it’s still accurate. Store it in a safe place, away from heat, and check it occasionally for leaks or cracks in the tubing.

By monitoring your blood pressure yourself, you can report your findings to your doctor and keep tabs on your progress as you try to reduce hypertension. It’s a way of staying involved in your own health, rather than letting your doctor do everything for you — and by staying involved, you’ll improve your health much faster.

If you want to keep a close eye on your blood pressure with a home monitor please Click Here for more information.

 

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Hypertension- Learning to Breathe Again

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on November 24th, 2006

For people with high blood pressure, eating healthy foods that are low in sodium and getting plenty of moderate exercise are the best ways to reduce it naturally. Medication is usually necessary, too, as prescribed by a doctor. But there’s something else you can do, too, that will decrease your hypertension and help your overall health. It’s something you do constantly, but that you’re probably not doing properly. What is it? Breathing.

New research shows that breathing deeply and slowly every day for a few minutes can lower your blood pressure by several points. For people with hypertension, medication and lifestyle changes are still necessary; the deep breathing should be in addition to that, not instead of it. For people with normal blood pressure, deep breathing can help keep it normal.

Why does it work? Doctors are still figuring that part out. Deep, slow breathing does make the blood vessels relax momentarily, but that doesn’t account for the long-lasting drop in blood pressure.

But when you’re stressed and taking short, shallow breaths, that decreases the kidneys’ ability to get rid of sodium, which results in higher blood pressure. So one theory is that deep, slow breathing helps the kidneys do their job better, bringing hypertension down.

Regardless of why it works, it does work in most people. The general idea is to breathe deeply and slowly for about 15 minutes a day, decreasing your breathing from the normal 16-19 breaths a minute to less than 10.

To help hypertension patients accomplish this, a company called InterCure has marketed Resperate, a device that regulates your breathing in the described manner. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration and costs about $300. So far, it’s only available on the Internet, where it’s been for sale since 2002.

The device is simple. It looks like a portable CD player, including headphones and soft music. The device measures your heart rate and breathing patterns, and tones in the music prompt you when to inhale and exhale. It’s helped lower blood pressure in clinical trails, and many patients have reported success with it, too. Some people have even been able to lower their blood pressure so much with Resperate that they were able to go off their medication altogether — with their doctor’s permission, of course.

The question is, is it necessary? Resperate doesn’t actually do anything to you from a medical standpoint; all it does is tell you when to breathe. With the right self-discipline, you can do that yourself. Just sit in a relaxed position with your eyes closed, take a slow, deep breath, then exhale just as slowly. Repeat this for 15 minutes.

Still, Resperate is a helpful reminder. Just as a treadmill is more convenient than running around the block a few times, Resperate is handy for helping you breathe properly for a few minutes a day, which you might forget to do on your own if there weren’t a device sitting there, reminding you. It’s no substitution for diet, exercise, and medication, but it’s a nice supplement to those things. The best part: Assuming you’re breathing clean air, deep breathing has no possible side effects!

If you’re interested in trying out Resperate then please click here for more information.


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Lifestyle Changes for High Blood Pressure- Are They Safe?

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on November 16th, 2006

High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects about one in three Americans, with the percentage higher among certain groups. People over 40 are increasingly likely to develop hypertension, as are people who are overweight. As the number of overweight Americans increases every year, so does the number of Americans with high blood pressure.

High blood pressure can be treated with medication, but lifestyle changes may be necessary, too, with modifications in a person’s diet and exercise. Yet paradoxically, sometimes these lifestyle changes can make hypertension WORSE.

So, what’s safe for people with high blood pressure to do? What should you avoid?

First of all, generally speaking, getting a reasonable amount of daily exercise is almost always a good idea, especially for people with high blood pressure. In fact, not getting enough exercise is often a CAUSE of hypertension.

But the exception is that if your blood pressure is particularly high — above 180/110 mmHg — you shouldn’t do any intensive exercise until you’ve lowered it with medication. In addition, if you have heart disease or diabetes in addition to hypertension, your doctor may need to prescribe a different sort of exercise program for you.

For everyone else, including people with common hypertension, exercise can help you reduce your blood pressure. The basic program is 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week. “Moderate” means you want to work up a light sweat and be somewhat out of breath, but not gasping or unable to talk. Extremely vigorous sports like racquetball or basketball may be risky for people with hypertension, so talk to your doctor first.

It might take several weeks for this regimen to lower your blood pressure, so be patient. And if you haven’t exercised regularly in a while (or ever), you may have to work up to the 30 minutes a day. Try taking three brisk 10-minute walks for several days, then two 15-minute walks, then one 30-minute walk. Be sure to warm up before any exercise and cool down afterward.

Exercise will also help you lose weight, and losing weight is good for your blood pressure, too. So it’s doubly useful.

Remember, aerobic exercise is what will help your heart and your blood pressure. Weight training has health benefits too, of course, but it won’t be as helpful for hypertension. It can sometimes make the problem worse, particularly if you’re holding your breath when you contract your muscles.

From a dietary standpoint, it is always smart to eat healthy foods that are low in sodium, whether you have high blood pressure or not. Your doctor can tell you if the hypertension medication you’re on will react badly with any particular foods, but those cases are rare. Assuming you have no food allergies, a diet rich in grains, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy and modest amounts of meat and fish is healthy and will lower your blood pressure over time. Avoiding sodium and boosting your potassium intake is also helpful.

(The suggestions in this article are well-researched and represent the general consensus in the medical community, but you should always consult with your doctor before undertaking any lifestyle changes.)

For lots more information about treating high blood pressure naturally please Click Here.


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