January 13, 2010

Salt Banned in NYC

The city that never sleeps is implementing a new bylaw to save lives, although not in the way that you would expect. The New York City Health Department is taking the initiative to promote healthy living – by organizing the National Salt Reduction Initiative, a plan to reduce the average use of sodium within packaged and restaurant food by twenty percent within the next five years. The average American today consumes about twice the recommended quotient of salt per day, which explains the unnatural increase in heart attacks and strokes within the last decade.

Too much salt raises the risk of many cardiovascular conditions, including hypertension (or high blood pressure), strokes and heart attacks, causing approximately 800,000 deaths in the United States alone every year. Most of the salt consumed in an average person’s diet comes not from their saltshaker, but is added to food before it reaches the local supermarket. The New York City Health Department predicts that by reducing the salt content in consumer products and restaurant food, within five years the sodium intake of all Americans will be reduced by twenty percent.

Although salt is proven to contribute to high blood pressure, which amounts to billions of dollars in healthcare expenses, food scientists are concerned that people may actually suffer from the implements of the National Salt Reduction Initiative, as people can suffer from having too little salt. For example, iodized salt, which contains iodine, is an important factor that your body needs to produce the thyroid hormone, which is crucial in fetal and infant brain development. The lack of thyroid hormone development is extremely consequential, causing cretinism in many cases of iodine deficiency. Food scientists have also noted that other consumers in Europe actually intake about forty percent more salt than the average American, but because of their balanced diet containing many vegetables, they have excellent cardiovascular health. It is possible that the medical crisis surrounding the effects of high blood pressure may have little to do with salt, and more to do with having a balanced diet and plenty of vegetables.

It is unclear whether this new initiative will significantly impact the severity of the medical issues surrounding high blood pressure; however the National Salt Reduction Initiative marks an important step towards healthy living and better regulation of the quality of processed food.

January 4, 2010

Lack of Sleep in Teens Could Lead to Depression

Dark and Lonely Teenager
There’s no denying that each and every one of us need proper amounts of sleep to function properly every day, but not all of us get the necessary amount of sleep every night and this is particularly true among teenagers.

Teenagers experience a change in their internal clocks and this tends to cause them to go to bed at later hours and wake up later as well. However because of school in the morning most students find that they do not get enough sleep and often feel tired throughout the day. Some high schools have adjusted to this and set their start times later to allow students to sleep longer in the mornings. However, those students that must wake up early need to be aware that getting little sleep can result in more than just a cranky attitude.

Along with a nasty attitude throughout the day, inadequate sleep can result in many harmful effects. Some things caused by lack of sleep are impaired memory and physical performance, increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, problems with insomnia, impairment to the ability to stay alert, inability to stay focused, troubles solving problems, difficulty retaining information, and a lack of ability to deal with stress. Additionally, teenagers who find they’re lacking sleep on a consistent basis are more at risk for fall-asleep car accident, tobacco and alcohol use, poor impulse control and violence, and lower performance in academics and athletics. Now, a new study has found that teens that lack sleep are much more likely to suffer from depression and have thoughts of suicide.

Generally, teens require about 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep every night, but most are getting less than 7 hours. These teens need to try to go to bed a little earlier to give their bodies some much needed rest. The lower the amount of sleep a teen gets results in a higher risk of depression and other very harmful effects. If you are a parent try anything you can to get your child to bed at an appropriate time. This doesn’t have to mean sending them to bed before 8 at night, but try getting them to sleep at maybe 10 or 11 at the latest. Teens really need the extra sleep and without it they will definitely know something is wrong, even if they never admit it.

October 8, 2009

How to Lower High Blood Pressure

Many people don’t realize how bad high blood pressure can be for your body, and even more don’t know how to lower high blood pressure even after they know they have it. High blood pressure can lead to early damage of the blood vessels and heart. This can cause strokes, kidney problems, and heart disease.

Because high blood pressure does not normally present any sort of symptoms it is important to get you blood pressure tested regularly. There are ways though that you can help keep your blood pressure down and decrease the risk of any potential outcomes of high blood pressure.

  • Don’t smoke cigarettes or use any tobacco product.
  • Try to lose weight if you’re overweight
  • Moderate intensity exercise 30 to 60 minutes, 4 to 7 days per week
  • Limit how much sodium you eat.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
  • Eat foods containing enough potassium, calcium and magnesium.
  • Avoid fat and cholesterol.
  • Try relaxation techniques

There are also medications that can be taken to help lower your blood pressure. Medications are important and you may need to take them, but switching your lifestyle habits will make you healthier and if you don’t have high blood pressure may save you from developing it in the first place.

August 17, 2009

5 Benefits of Red Wine

It’s been said for centuries; “A glass of red wine each day is good for you” – and it’s true. Here are a few reasons why red wine is good for your health.

1. Heart Disease – The most studied benefit of red wine is its ability to protect against various types of heart disease. Scientists believe that regular consumption of red wine is a sure defence against coronary heart disease because of its ability to reduce the production of cholesterol.

2. Clots – Moderate wine drinkers have been found to have lower levels of protein fibrinogen (fibrinogen promotes blood clot formation)

3. Kidney Stones – Red wine has the ability to prevent the formation of kidney stones.

4. High Blood Pressure – Too much alcohol can increase blood pressure; however a study found that the blood pressure of wine drinkers after two glasses and a meal was lower than its initial state.

5. Reverse Smoking Effects – smoking impairs the body’s natural ability to relax it’s vessels. Red wine decreases this harmful effect on the cells in the vessels.

December 9, 2008

Can Lozide Help Treat My High Blood Pressure or Swelling?

Lozide is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). It is also used for the treatment of swelling associated with heart failure. It should not be used for any swelling related to pregnancy.

Lozide can also be used to reduce the amount of water in the body by increasing the flow of urine. It works by making the body lose excess water and salt and prevents the kidney from reabsorbing salt and water that is destined to be eliminated in the urine. This results in increased urine output.

Lozide also reduces the salt in the smooth muscle of the walls of blood vessels that help the muscle to relax. In turn, the relaxation of the vessels results in reduced blood pressure.

As blood pressure increases, so do the stress levels for the arteries and heart. If high blood pressure goes unchecked for too long, the arteries and hearts may not function correctly. This may cause severe damage to the blood vessels of the heart, brain, and kidneys which may lead to a heart attacks and strokes. If blood pressure is controlled, than these issues are less likely to occur.

Before using this medicine, tell your health care provider about any of the following: if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine if you have any other medical condition, if you are allergic to any ingredient in this medicine or similar medications.

What Important Information Should I Know Before Taking Lozide?

  • This medicine may cause a loss of potassium from your body.
  • Use of Digitalis glycosides (heart medication) or Lithium with Lozide may increase the chance of side effects of these drugs.
  • Use caution while driving or operating machinery as it may cause drowsiness or dizziness.

What Should I Tell My Doctor Before Taking Lozide?

Inform your doctor about following medical history

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Gout
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

What Are the Side Effects of Lozide?

Most severe: Electrolyte imbalance resulting in dryness of the mouth, thirst, weakness, lethargy, drowsiness, restlessness, muscle pains or cramps, muscle fatigue, hypotension, oliguria, gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea and vomiting, tachycardia and ECG changes.

Most common: Headache; infection; pain; back pain; dizziness; loss of energy; weakness; flu-like symptoms; stomach pain; chest pain; constipation; diarrhea; indigestion; swelling; nervousness; muscle soreness or stiffness; cough; sore throat; sinus inflammation; numbness of extremities; tension; anxiousness; irritability.

Other: Orthostatic hypotension, skin rash, tinnitus, malaise, fainting and sweating.

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