Blood Pressure

Blood pressure has gotten a bad rap. Some pressure is essential for circulation. Without it, blood couldn't move from the heart to the brain and the toes and back again. The heart provides the driving force — each contraction of the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber, creates a wave of pressure that passes through all the arteries in the body. Relaxed and flexible arteries offer a healthy amount of resistance to each pulse of blood.

But too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Arteries that are tensed, constricted, or rigid offer more resistance. This shows up as higher blood pressure, and it makes the heart work harder. This extra work can weaken the heart muscle over time. It can damage other organs, like the kidneys and the eyes. And the relentless pounding of blood against the walls of arteries causes them to become hard and narrow, potentially setting the stage for a heart attack or stroke.

Most people with high blood pressure (known medically as hypertension) don't know they have it. Hypertension has no symptoms or warning signs. Yet it can be so dangerous to your health and well-being that it has earned the nickname "the silent killer." When high blood pressure is accompanied by high cholesterol and blood sugar levels, the damage to the arteries, kidneys, and heart accelerates exponentially.

High blood pressure is preventable. Daily exercise, following a healthy diet, limiting your intake of alcohol and salt, reducing stress, and not smoking are keys to keeping blood pressure under control. When it creeps into the unhealthy range, lifestyle changes and medications can bring it down.

Blood Pressure Articles

Blood pressure medications may affect your mood

Contrary to what doctors have long assumed, blood pressure drugs may not raise the risk of depression. Some have even been linked to a lower risk of depression, including enalapril (Vasotec), ramipril (Altace), verapamil (Verelan), verapamil combination drugs, propranolol (Inderal), atenolol (Tenormin), bisoprolol (Zebeta), and carvedilol (Coreg). But because people have very diverse reactions to medications, large-scale trends of side effects don’t necessarily apply to an individual’s experience. People who notice mood changes or other side effects after starting a new medication should tell their physicians. More »

BPA now linked to premature death

High levels of bisphenol A (BPA) exposure are linked to an increased risk for premature death from any cause, according to a study published online Aug. 17, 2020, by JAMA Network Open. More »

Cooking from — and for — the heart this holiday season

Preparing lighter or alternative versions of foods and drinks traditionally served during the December holidays may help curb year-end weight gain. Examples include baked latkes made with added vegetables (such as zucchini, cauliflower, or beets) and nonalcoholic cocktails make with sparkling water, a splash or fruit juice, and fresh fruit. (Locked) More »

Medication and your skin

Medication side effects sometimes involve the skin. There are a number of medications that can cause pigment changes, including turning the skin blue. In addition, some medications may make the skin more prone to sunburns or skin cancer. A person who notices skin changes after starting a new medication should bring it to the attention of a doctor. More »

Take a soak for your health

Taking baths may bring numerous health benefits, among them helping ease chronic pain, improving skin health, and protecting the heart. When baths are used for health reasons, they are sometimes referred to as balneotherapy. While baths may help with certain health conditions, people should use care when in the tub to avoid slipping and also know that the hot water may lower blood pressure, which can lead to feeling dizzy or lightheaded. (Locked) More »

Feel woozy? Do this first

People who’ve never experienced wooziness should call 911 if the symptom comes on suddenly or severely, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms. However, a person who has experienced wooziness before or been unwell recently should sit down, have a drink of water or juice, and rest for 10 to 15 minutes. If the feeling of wooziness persists, if other symptoms develop, or if it’s hard to get up without feeling faint, one should call 911. More »

Seed of the month: Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are one of the best natural sources of magnesium, a mineral that’s important for keeping blood pressure in check. They’re also a good source of several other minerals, unsaturated fats, and fiber. More »

What could cause low blood pressure?

People who suffer from dizziness and weakness caused by low pressure should check their medication, especially for high blood pressure or heart disease. They should also monitor their water intake, as dehydration also can cause these problems. (Locked) More »