Archive for January, 2007

High Blood Pressure in Children- Why it is on the rise and how you can protect your child

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on January 25th, 2007

Although you may find it surprising that Cold and flu medication can increase blood pressure, you may be even more surprised to learn that high blood pressure is becoming more and more common among children.  In fact, it is estimated that nearly 5% of American children suffer from hypertension.

Why do so many children suffer from high blood pressure?  There are different reasons such as:

• Birth complications – babies who have high blood pressure are often born premature or have problems with their heart or kidneys
• Heredity – There is a history of high blood pressure in the family
• Unhealthy lifestyle – Many children live a sedentary lifestyle and eat poor diets, causing them to become overweight and experience unnatural stress.

An unhealthy lifestyle is the leading cause of high blood pressure in children.  Many children have become obese from eating a diet rich in high fatty processed foods, and consuming high sugar and caffeinated beverages such as soda.  Furthermore, children of today are much more content sitting in front of a TV or computer for hours on end. 

Due to the fact that they are consuming too much fat and are failing to burn it off, this creates many health problems including high blood pressure, which can lead to heart failure, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in children.

Like adults, children should have their blood pressure checked on a regular basis, starting at the age of 3.  Regular blood pressure checks will be different depending on the health of the child in question.  If you discover that your child’s blood pressure is higher than normal, they should have their blood pressure checked again in 6 months.

It is imperative that you have your child’s blood pressure monitored regularly, because if it is not checked and he or she has hypertension, you will be oblivious to the condition until your child begins to exhibit the signs and symptoms including visual problems, dizziness, headaches, fatigue and shortness of breath.  Usually by the time these sings become present, the child is suffering from a sever case of high blood pressure.

How can hypertension be prevented in children?
Aside from taking your child for regular blood pressure checkups, you can help them maintain a healthy blood pressure level and prevent hypertension, even if the condition is hereditary, by –

• Providing a healthy diet – Limit processed and high fat foods, as well as sugar and caffeinated beverages.  Make sure your child is receiving plenty of water and the necessary portions of foods that contain the essential nutrients they need to help them grow and stay healthy. 
• Encouraging exercise – Make sure your child exercises every day by bicycling, running, swimming, dancing, engaging in sports, etc. 
• Reducing their exposure to secondhand smoke – If you or anyone in your home smokes, it’s time to quit.  Frequently exposing your child to the nicotine in second hand smoke increases their blood pressure.

Essentially, ensuring that your child lives a healthy lifestyle also means adopting a healthy lifestyle yourself.  You can’t expect your child to make healthy choices without your guidance.  You are their role model.

Finally, remember that even if your child is overweight but doesn’t have high blood pressure, it is still imperative that you do everything you can to help them attain their ideal weight by ensuring better eating habits and exercise.  The reason is because children who are overweight have a dramatically higher risk of developing high blood pressure and dangerous health complications such as heart disease, heart attack and stroke when they become overweight adults.

For more information about reducing blood pressure please visit The Blood Pressure Reduction Guide, where you can sign up for a free newsletter on lowering blood pressure naturally.

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Choosing the Right Cold or Flu Medication for Those with High Blood Pressure

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on January 18th, 2007

High blood pressure is an increasingly common affliction, and with it comes the increasing danger of unknowingly putting yourself at risk of new or increased blood pressure issues as a result of the use of over the counter medications as common as cold and flu medicines that are readily available.  How is it that medicines so commonly sold and easily acquired at the local pharmacy can have such dangerous potential? 

The answer is in the decongestants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that these drugs use in order to control some of the symptoms of the cold and the flu, such as a runny nose and sneezing.  Decongestants and NSAIDs unfortunately, commonly cause an increase in blood pressure as a side effect.

In fact, not only do you risk increasing your blood pressure when using regular medications that include decongestants and NSAIDs, but you may also cause a conflict with any blood pressure medications that you may be taking at the same time.

Examples of common decongestant ingredients that can cause blood pressure issues are:

• Phenylephrine
• Oxymetazoline
• Pseudoephedrine

Examples of common NSAIDs that can cause blood pressure issues are:

• Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
• Naproxen (Naprosyn)
• Meloxicam (Mobic)
• Naproxen sodium (Aleve)

If you have a family history or personal history of high blood pressure, and especially if you are already taking blood pressure medication to control high blood pressure, it is very important that you be selective about the cold and flu medications that you choose.  Fortunately, some cold and flu medicine companies have recognized this issue, and have created products that have been specially formulated for people who already have high blood pressure.  By opting for these medications, you are making sure that your cold, cough, and flu relief is safe for the rest of your health.  The secret is that these products are free from decongestants, and therefore will not raise your blood pressure.

The following products are decongestant free, and are therefore safe for treating the symptoms of coughs, colds, and the flu, even when you already suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension:

• Coricidin HBP® Cold and Flu Tablets – a medication that uses antihistamines, pain relievers, and fever reducers to temporarily relieve symptoms such as aches and pains (including headaches), while reducing the fever commonly associated with colds and the flu.  These tablets also provide temporary relief of runny nose and sneezing caused by the common cold.

• Coricidin HBP® Cough and Cold Tablets – medication that uses antihistamines and cough suppressants to temporarily relieve the symptoms of coughing and minor throat discomfort that are frequently associated with the common cold.  This medication also temporarily relieves runny nose and sneezing from colds.

• Coricidin HBP® Maximum Strength Flu Tablets – medicine that uses antihistamines, pain relievers, fever reducers, and cough suppressants in order to achieve the temporary relief of cold and flu symptoms which include: coughing, runny nose, sneezing, aches and pains caused by the common cold or the flu.

Even with these medications available to you, it is important that you consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications.  Be certain to keep yourself informed regarding any blood pressure issues you have, and have your doctor and pharmacist help you in understanding the labels on your over-the-counter medicines so that you don’t inadvertently cause or worsen your high blood pressure.

For more information about treating blood pressure please visit The Blood Pressure Reduction Guide, where you can sign up for a free newsletter on lowering blood pressure naturally.

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High Blood Pressure and Pregnancy- What you should know

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on January 11th, 2007

A positive lifestyle change is a great way for the average person to control their blood pressure.  However, what about pregnant women with high blood pressure?  Can having high blood pressure during pregnancy harm the unborn child? 

Yes.  High blood pressure can result in complications during pregnancy that can be dangerous to both the mother and fetus if left untreated.  There are different ways pregnant women with high blood pressure can help control their condition and reduce the health risks to the fetus.  That being said, not all pregnant women with hypertension put their baby and themselves in danger.  Many have healthy pregnancies without complications. 

How common is hypertension in pregnancy?  In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that problems with high blood pressure occur in 6 – 8% of pregnancy, over 65% of which are in women experiencing pregnancy for the first time.

What are the negative effects of hypertension?  The effects high blood pressure can have on a pregnancy may be mild or severe and could include:

• Damage to the kidneys and other organs in the mother

• Cause early delivery and low birth weight

• In serious cases, the mother can develop preeclampsia (toxaemia of pregnancy), a dangerous condition that can be fatal for both the mother and fetus.

What is preeclampsia?  This is a condition that usually develops in the 6th month of pregnancy and occurs from a combination of high blood pressure and kidney problems that cause protein in the urine of the mother.  Preeclampsia affects the placenta and can affect the kidney, liver and even the brain of the mother.

When it affects the brain, preeclampsia can cause seizures, a dangerous condition called eclampsica which is the second leading cause of maternal death in America.  Preeclampsia can also cause complications with the fetus including premature birth, low birth weight and stillbirth.

Preeclamspsia can be treated, but cannot be cured until the mother delivers the baby.  There is no known way to prevent the condition, but those who show signs can be effectively treated to reduce risks.

Who is at the most risk for developing preeclampsia? 

• Women with a pre-existing condition of high blood pressure prior to pregnancy

• Women who had preeclampsia or hypertension during another pregnancy

• Women who are obese

• Women who are carrying more than one child

• Women who become pregnant before the age of 20 and after the age of 40.

• Women with kidney disease, lupus, diabetes, scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis.

Tips for controlling high blood pressure before becoming pregnant and while you are pregnant:

• Healthy Lifestyle - Make sure your blood pressure is checked regularly, you are an ideal weight, and live a healthy active lifestyle.

• Educate yourself – Talk to your doctor about your hypertension and find out what you can do to help prevent and reduce complications during pregnancy.

• Medications – If you are taking medication to control your blood pressure, find out if they are safe to take during pregnancy.  Don’t assume that they are safe, or will be dangerous and stop taking them without first consulting your doctor.

• Engage in regular medical care – when you are pregnant make sure you attend all regular checkups.

• Avoid alcohol and tobacco – this can increase blood pressure and harm the fetus.

• Discuss all medications with your doctor – Do not take any over-the-counter medications (even if you have a cold) without first consulting your doctor.  Cold and flu medication often contains decongestants that can increase blood pressure.

Remember, although hypertension can cause complications in pregnancy, many pregnant women with high blood pressure, and even those who develop preeclampsia, often have healthy happy pregnancies and give birth to healthy, happy babies.

For more information about blood pressure symptoms please visit The Blood Pressure Reduction Guide, where you can sign up for a free newsletter on lowering blood pressure naturally.

 

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10 Ways to Avoid the Serious Complications of High Blood Pressure

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on January 4th, 2007

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can have many negative affects on your health, leading to a number of dangerous illnesses including:

• Heart disease
• Stroke
• Heart Attack
• Kidney problems
• Blindness
• Dementia
• Death

High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer”, because many who have it are oblivious to their condition until they experience a heart attack or stroke.  Regularly monitoring your blood pressure and making effective lifestyle changes to control hypertension, greatly reduces your risk of developing dangerous health complications, and can even help you avoid, prolong or reduce your need for medication.

The following are 10 ways you can effectively reduce your chances of developing serious complications related to high blood pressure:

1. Loose the extra weight – Did you know blood pressure usually increases with weight gain, and decreasing your weight by 10 pounds can help you lower blood pressure?  Thus, the more pounds you lose, and the closer you are to your ideal body weight, the better chance you have of keeping your blood pressure in check.  In addition, a healthy weight loss plan also improves the overall effectiveness of blood pressure medication

2. Regular exercise – Staying active is a great way to keep in shape and control blood pressure.  Engaging in regular exercise (a minimum of 30 – 60 minutes everyday or every other day) will help you decrease your risk of developing hypertension.

3. Improve your diet – Eating healthy by lowering your intake of foods that are high in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol and adopting a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grain and low-fat dairy products, can do wonders for improving your blood pressure. 

4. Lower your salt intake – A diet rich in sodium can increase your blood pressure.  Salt is naturally found in many of the foods and beverages we consume.  Therefore, refrain from adding salt to food, limit your intake of processed foods, read the labels of the foods you buy, and eat more fresh foods so you can enjoy the natural flavor.

5. Drink alcohol in moderation – Drinking alcohol in moderation (a single drink – IE a glass of wine or beer per day) has its health benefits.  However, regularly drinking beyond moderation is detrimental to your health and blood pressure.

6. Steer clear of tobacco and secondhand smoke – The nicotine in tobacco raises blood pressure by at least 10 mm Hg.  Although this is only a temporary increase (lasting up to an hour), if a person is repeatedly exposed to nicotine, blood pressure can remain high constantly. 

7. Limit caffeine – Studies have found that regular caffeine drinkers have higher blood pressure compared to non-caffeine drinkers.  Therefore, if you can live without it, try cutting caffeine completely out of your diet.  If not, dramatically reduce your intake by drinking only one caffeinated beverage daily.

8. Reduce stress – People who suffer from chronic stress are at a high risk of developing hypertension.  If you lead a hectic lifestyle you need to take time out of your busy schedule to relax.  You can achieve this through breathing exercises, massage, getting proper sleep, venting emotions, thinking positively and having a sense of humor.

9. Visit your doctor regularly – Have a full physical and get your blood pressure checked regularly.  If you have hypertension you will probably need to learn how to self-monitor your condition.  This will help both you and your doctor find the best treatments for you.

10. Find support – There are many people who suffer from hypertension.  Befriending others with the same condition or joining a support group can be excellent treatment. Knowing you are not alone, and realizing that others care about your heath and well being, can help you find the encouragement you need to take better care of yourself. 

 

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