• High Blood Pressure – Symptoms and Treatment Options High Blood Pressure – Symptoms and Treatment Options

    Hypertension or high blood pressure is the condition where the amount of force exerted against the artery walls when the blood flows through them is higher than usual. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), one in every three persons in the country over the age of 20 has high blood pressure. Without the right treatment, blood pressure may lead to many health problems including heart failure, stroke, vision loss, and kidney disease.

    Common symptoms of high blood pressure
    Hypertension is known as the silent killer as it does not exhibit any symptoms. When the blood pressure reaches 180/110 mmHg, it is considered a medical emergency. Some of the common symptoms of high blood pressure are as follows:

    • Headaches
      It is one of the most common symptoms of high blood pressure. It may get worse because of factors like stress, migraines or sinusitis. High blood pressure can affect the blood-brain barrier, exert excess pressure on the brain, and lead to blood leaks from the blood vessels. The leaked blood causes swelling, which exerts more pressure on the brain and leads to headaches.
    • Dizzy spells
      It is another symptom of high blood pressure, but its cause may also be anxiety, the side effect of some medicines, low blood pressure, or pregnancy. High blood pressure can cause the blood vessels in the brain to rupture, narrow or leak, sometimes blocking blood flow too. Due to this blockage, a patient may feel dizzy, and in the worst case, it may lead to a stroke as well.
    • Facial flushing
      People who consume alcohol, eat hot and spicy food or are prone to food allergies show this symptom. Sometimes, hot flushes are associated with menopause as well. But high blood pressure can cause facial flushing due to the excess flow of blood when the patient is angry or anxious.
    • Nosebleeds
      This symptom of high blood pressure is caused due to a weakness in the blood vessels of the nose’s inner lining. When the blood exerts high pressure on these vessels, they tend to rupture and leak.
    • Vision problems
      Vision problems like seeing floaters or spots is a common symptom of high blood pressure. It happens when the high blood pressure destroys the vessels which supply blood to the retina. It can lead to bleeding from the eye, blurry vision or even a loss of vision. Hence, one should get eye checks from time to time, especially if they are facing a vision problem.
    • Nausea
      High blood pressure can cause irregular blood flow. It can also rupture the vessels of the esophagus and gastrointestinal tract, leading to vomiting. However, nausea could be a symptom of other conditions like pregnancy, alcohol consumption, gastroenteritis, anxiety or side effects of some medications as well.
    • Feeling blood rush in your ears
      High blood pressure can increase the flow of blood to your ears and neck, or cause irregular flow, creating a rushing feeling. Your ears might feel warmer suddenly or appear red too. Anxiety, stress, and anger are some factors which can aggravate the condition.
    • Palpitations
      Palpitations usually occur when the heart’s rhythm is disturbed by high blood pressure, which narrows or ruptures blood vessels. It can hamper normal blood flow and affect the heartbeat.

    Treatment for high blood pressure
    According to the severity and the risk of developing stroke or cardiovascular diseases, a doctor will decide upon the right treatment. They may suggest lifestyle changes if the blood pressure is only slightly elevated and if the patient has a low risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. If the person is diagnosed with moderately high blood pressure, there is a chance that they may develop cardiovascular disease in the next ten years. Therefore, the doctor may suggest some medicines along with lifestyle changes. If an individual has severe hypertension, that is, if it is above 180/110 mmHg, he or she needs to visit a specialist.

    Some of the treatment options for high blood pressure are as follows:

    • Regular exercise
      Exercising daily for 30 to 60 minutes helps reduce a person’s blood pressure by 4 to 9 mmHg. However, it is essential to consult a doctor before starting any physical activity as the exercise program must meet the individual’s health condition.
    • Diet
      Studies suggest that even losing 10 pounds has a significant impact on reducing high blood pressure. Reducing the body weight makes the medications more effective. A healthy diet regime, a good exercise plan, and at least 7 hours of sleep helps in reducing one’s weight. People who are exhibiting the symptoms of high blood pressure should reduce their intake of table salt and alcohol. Smokers with high blood pressure should try and get rid of the habit as well.
    • Relaxation techniques
      Following methods to manage stress and relax helps to control high blood pressure, especially in adults. Harvard Women’s Health Watch suggests that tai chi helps in lowering blood pressure.
    • Getting adequate sleep
      People who don’t get enough sleep are prone to developing high blood pressure. Studies suggest that adults get at least 7 hours but not more than 8 hours of sleep in a day. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reported that people who sleep less or more than 7 to 8 hours a night face higher risk of hypertension.

    If you get diagnosed with high blood pressure, you need to make some changes to your lifestyle. Along with that, to maintain the ideal blood pressure, you need to take medication as well. By including some smart steps in the daily routine, you can manage this condition well.

  • 6 FDA-approved medications for high cholesterol 6 FDA-approved medications for high cholesterol

    6 FDA-approved medications for high cholesterol

    High cholesterol leads to fatty deposits in the blood vessels. Over time, these deposits grow, causing difficulties for the blood to flow through the arteries. In some cases, the deposits may break off and form clots. These can cause a stroke or heart attack. There can be multiple causes of high cholesterol; the causes can be genetic or a result of unhealthy lifestyle habits. This makes high cholesterol a preventable and treatable health disorder.

    High cholesterol can be easily managed by following a balanced and healthy diet along with regular exercise. In case the cholesterol levels are extremely high, medications may be required to control and manage the condition. There are a few medications for high cholesterol that are approved by the FDA. All these medications must be taken only when prescribed by a doctor.

    • Kynamro
      A cholesterol-lowering medication, Kynamro works by lowering bad cholesterol in the blood, such as non-high-density lipoprotein (non-HDL), apolipoprotein-B (apo-B), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). It is effective when used along with a low-fat diet and other prescribed treatments. Kynamro is usually recommended to those with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, an inherited type of high cholesterol. It is, however, not suitable for those with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia. Although Kynamro lowers high cholesterol levels, it is uncertain if the medication can lower the risk of heart diseases.
    • Altoprev
      Altoprev, when used with a diet, helps lower blood levels of bad cholesterol such as low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Altoprev works by increasing the levels of good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL). The medication also lowers the levels of triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood. A high level of triglycerides increases the risk of cardiovascular disorders. The use of Altoprev has been known to lower the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and other heart complications resulting from diabetes.
    • Repatha®
      This medication is used for the treatment of high LDL cholesterol; this type of cholesterol is also known as bad cholesterol. Repatha® is a type of human monoclonal antibody. It aids the liver in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol. It is prescribed to those with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH). Additionally, medical experts also recommend Repatha® to those who are at risk of other complications due to cholesterol, such as heart attacks and strokes. This medication is effective only when used along with a balanced low-fat diet and other high cholesterol medications.
      A type of monoclonal antibody, PRALUENT works by assisting the liver to reduce bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol in the body. It is usually prescribed to two groups of patients: those with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia and those who have experienced complications such as strokes or heart attacks due to high cholesterol levels.
    • Colestid Flavored
      This cholesterol-lowering medication is also known as a bile acid-binding resin. Colestid Flavored lowers LDL cholesterol levels by removing bile acid from the body. This leads to more bile acid production by the liver using cholesterol. As a result, it lowers high cholesterol to a great extent. With a combination of a low-fat diet and other medications, Colestid can help manage high cholesterol effectively.
    • Antara
      Also known as Fenofibrate, Antara lowers LDL and triglycerides and increases the level of HDL in the blood. The medication increases the levels of natural enzymes that break down fats in the blood. Antara is most effective when combined with a proper diet and exercises. Habits like smoking should be avoided.
  • Effective Tips to Reduce Cholesterol Levels Effective Tips to Reduce Cholesterol Levels

    Have you been battling with high cholesterol problems and are wondering how to lower LDL cholesterol levels? High cholesterol increases the risks of heart attacks and diseases. Although treatment may help improve your cholesterol levels, you still need to make essential lifestyle changes to boost the cholesterol-lowering power of the treatment. To help you make healthy lifestyle changes, some effective tips have been listed below on how to lower LDL cholesterol levels.

    Making some changes in the diet can help reduce the level of fat in the body and help enhance your heart’s health. The following changes can help you be on your way to having a healthy heart:

    • Eliminate trans fats – Often labeled as partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fats are used in store-bought crackers, cookies, cakes, as well as in margarine. They raise the levels of cholesterol in your body and that’s why most hydrogenated vegetable oils are not recommended for use when the LDL levels in the body are high.
    • Reduce saturated fats – Primarily found in full-fat dairy products and red meat, saturated fats can raise your cholesterol levels. By decreasing consumption of saturated fats, you will be able to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in your body.
    • Increase the intake of soluble fiber – Foods that are rich in soluble fiber are great at lowering cholesterol levels naturally. The soluble fiber reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. Therefore, consider eating more fiber-rich foods such as barley, yams, oats, sweet potatoes, oat bran, and other types of potatoes. Beans or legumes like black beans, peas, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, and kidney beans are also excellent sources of soluble fiber. Vegetables are also rich in soluble fiber so consider including beets, eggplant, carrots, okra, and Brussels sprouts in your diet. Some good fiber-rich fruits are oranges, passion fruit, berries, apricots, apples, pears, and nectarines.
    • Take foods that have omega-3 fatty acids – Although omega-3 fatty acids do not affect LDL cholesterol levels, they offer essential heart benefits that can’t be ignored, like reducing blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods include flaxseeds, walnuts, mackerel, salmon, and herring.
    • Eat whey protein – Found in dairy products, whey protein accounts for various health benefits that are attributed to dairy. According to research, when whey protein is administered as a supplement, it lowers both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol including blood pressure.
    • Eat protein-rich plant foods – Consider substituting meat with protein-rich foods including legumes such as peas, beans (red beans, pinto beans, soybeans, white beans), and lentils. These foods contain nutritional riches and are a healthy protein alternative to meat. Legumes also help lower blood sugar, non-HDL cholesterol, reduce LDL cholesterol, and insulin levels, and also reduce the risk of cancer.
    • Nuts and seeds – These foods have also been proven to lower LDL cholesterol levels modestly. To ensure you avoid blood pressure, choose to consume the dry roasted or raw unsalted varieties. Make sure you don’t eat over 1 ounce a day since nuts and seeds contain about 175 calories per ounce. Excessive intake can lead to weight gain.

    Workout and increase your daily physical activity
    Exercise helps improve cholesterol by raising HDL cholesterol levels. Make sure you get your doctor’s approval before you start any workout especially if you want to undertake a vigorous aerobic workout activity. However, as long as you are healthy, you can exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week. Additionally, physical activities in short intervals every day can also help you lose weight. So, consider playing your favorite sport, riding a bike to work, and taking a brisk walk whenever you are free. In case you feel bored with exercising at some point, consider finding an exercise partner or joining a group to stay motivated.

    Quit smoking
    Smoking increases LDL cholesterol levels. You can improve your HDL cholesterol levels when you stop smoking, and the benefits occur very quickly. Once you quit smoking, your blood pressure and heart rate will recover from the spike induced by cigarettes in around 20 minutes. Within three months of quitting, lung function and blood circulation will start to improve. In a year’s time, your risk of having heart diseases will reduce by half compared to that of a smoker.

    Lose weight
    Another way you can lower LDL cholesterol level is by losing extra weight. Make sure you avoid taking sugary beverages and snacks like popcorn or pretzels to control your weight. When you crave for something sweet, try alternatives such as candies or sherbet with little or no fat, like jelly beans.

    Take alcohol in moderation
    Reduced alcohol intake is linked with high HDL cholesterol levels even though the benefits are not strong enough as compared to a person who doesn’t take alcohol. If you take alcohol, consider doing so in moderation or stopping altogether. Excessive intake of alcohol leads to severe problems such as heart failure, blood pressure, and stroke.

    Now that you know how to lower LDL cholesterol, ensure to make such necessary lifestyle changes. These will help steer clear of many lifestyle diseases.

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  • The biggest confidence booster of 2023? Invisalign® aligners The biggest confidence booster of 2023? Invisalign® aligners

    This is how to make 2023 the year you get the smile of your dreams.

    A stunning set of pearly whites can help you make a great first impression, sell an important pitch, impress old friends—the list goes on and on. But most importantly, having confidence in your smile and knowing your oral health is in tip-top shape is a pretty incredible feeling for you.

    But let’s be real: Braces are just not the move these days, for several reasons. So what is?

    Invisalign treatment improves your smile’s look and health

    It’s 2023, and that calls for a modern orthodontic solution: Invisalign aligners, a.k.a. the #1 doctor-recommended clear aligner brand.1

    Most people want to straighten their teeth for cosmetic reasons (totally valid), but what many people don’t know is that having straight teeth also comes with a lot of health benefits.

    Without hard-to-reach nooks and crannies between crowded teeth, straight teeth are easier to clean. Regularly removing food particles, plaque, and bacteria from your teeth and gums lowers the risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease, and it leaves you with fresher breath and less gum and tooth pain.

    Straight, aligned teeth also lower the risk of jaw pain. Misaligned teeth affect your bite, which can strain your jaw joints, and jaw pain can radiate out to your ears, eyes, and head. In short, straight teeth = happy jaw.

    Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible

    The process of straightening your smile shouldn’t make you more insecure about your teeth. That’s why Invisalign aligners are the perfect solution: As the name suggests, Invisalign clear aligners are virtually invisible, so you can see your new smile develop as you go, and you can start smiling wide with confidence right away.

    Invisalign aligners let you eat and drink anything you want

    Unlike braces, Invisalign aligners are clear aligners that go over your teeth, which means you can remove them whenever you need to. Just stash your aligners in a sleek, portable Invisalign aligner case (there are a ton of colors and designs to choose from), and you’re good to go.

    So no need to search, “Can I eat [insert favorite don’t-eat-with-braces food here] with Invisalign?” The answer is almost always a resounding yes!

    Invisalign aligners are faster than braces2

    If you’re considering straightening your teeth, it probably means that you’ve been dreaming about a new smile for a while. Well, with Invisalign treatment, you’re in luck: In many cases, Invisalign treatment works faster than braces, so you can start smiling with confidence before you know it.

    Invisalign aligners are comfortable and convenient

    Another way Invisalign aligners beat out braces? The metal wires and brackets that make up braces can scrape the inside of your mouth, and even pop out of place if you bite down on the wrong piece of food. Without those fragile appliances that can unexpectedly send you to the dentist’s office in the middle of your day, Invisalign aligners are less painful3 and require fewer emergency doctor visits4 than braces. It’s a win-win!

    Why should I get Invisalign in 2023?

    Honestly, it’s been a tough few years for pretty much everyone, but starting a new year with an investment in your health and your confidence can do a whole lot of good. When you invest in yourself with Invisalign treatment, you’re making a commitment to focus on self-care this year, and over time, that can make a huge difference in your self-esteem. Essentially, every day when you put in your aligners, you’re saying, “I am worth the effort.” And you are.

    But in case you want a summary, we’ve got the run-down:

    • Aligns teeth
    • Virtually invisible
    • Removeable
    • Portable (with cute cases!)
    • Faster than braces2
    • Less painful than braces3
    • Fewer emergency doctor visits than braces4
    • Uses advanced technology to create personalized aligners to treat simple to complex cases
    • Can improve oral health and self-esteem

    Ready to make 2023 a happy YOU year? Let’s get started.

    Since 1997, Align Technology has been a pioneer in orthodontic med-tech, providing more than 14 million people with beautiful, healthy smiles. This article was paid for and written by Align Technology, the maker of Invisalign clear aligners.

    1 Based on a global survey of 1,786 doctors (dentists and orthodontists who use clear aligners) by IQVIA in NA, EMEA, LATAM, and APAC. Data on File at Align Technology, as of June 30, 2022.
    2 Gu, J et al. Evaluation of Invisalign treatment effectiveness and efficiency compared with conventional fixed appliances using the Peer Assessment Rating index. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop February 2017;151:259-66
    Buschang, P et al. Comparative time efficiency of aligner therapy and conventional edgewise braces. Angle Orthodontist, Vol 84, No 3, 2014
    3 In a pain score of 1-9, 1 being extremely painful and 9 not at all painful, Invisalign U.S. teenager patients (Qty:73) rated pain score of 6.1 vs U.S. traditional metal braces teenager patients (Qty: 76) rated pain score of 5.1.
    In a study by Miller et al, with adults measuring pain in the first week of treatment. Kevin Miller et al. “A comparison of treatment impacts between Invisalign aligner and fixed appliance therapy during the first week of treatment.” American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. Volume 131, Issue 3, pp. 302. e1-302.e9, March 2007.
    4 Data on File at Align Technology, as of July 12 2017: *Based on a global claims survey by Actionable Research of Invisalign providers, respondents were asked the following question: In what percent of cases do patients require an emergency visit? (Global respondents N= 898)

  • Simple Tips for Lowering Blood Pressure Simple Tips for Lowering Blood Pressure

    According to research, it is estimated that around 103 million people in the country live with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. They also say that high blood pressure incidences rose by 38% between 2005 and 2015, killing around 79,000 people in this period. The AHA redefined high blood pressure as a reading of 130/80, from an earlier definition of a reading of 140/90. The first number is the systolic pressure (when your heart beats), and the second number is the diastolic pressure (between heartbeats). If you are living with this condition and looking for how to lower high blood pressure, it would be best to start by looking at the causes.

    What causes high blood pressure?
    Although the exact causes of high blood pressure have never been pinpointed, health experts agree that there are a number of indicators that lead to it.

    • Lack of physical exercise and the attendant weight problems
    • Kidney problems
    • Disorders of the thyroid and adrenal glands
    • Excessive alcohol consumption (more than 2 drinks per day)
    • Excessive salt intake
    • Sleep disorders
    • Diabetes
    • Smoking
    • People over 65 years are more likely to have high blood pressure
    • A history of high blood pressure in the family

    What are the risks of high blood pressure?
    High blood pressure increases the load on your cardiovascular system. The heart is forced to pump harder. Blood vessels get hardened and develop tears. Some of the serious health conditions that develop include:

    • Stroke
    • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
    • Heart attack
    • Loss of vision
    • Kidney disorders/failure

    How to lower high blood pressure?
    A majority of people living with high blood pressure depend on medication, with more serious conditions requiring a daily dose. However, health experts recommend lifestyle adjustments to lower the risks of developing high blood pressure. Here are some tips on how to lower high blood pressure without necessarily depending on medications.

    • Physical exercise
      Being physically active has been shown to be helpful in lowering blood pressure. It has been observed that that at least 150 minutes of physical exercise per week can lower blood pressure by about 5-8 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury). Cardio workouts like jogging, cycling, dancing, and aerobics are very effective in keeping your heart, lungs, and blood vessels in good condition.
    • Weight loss
      Men with waists larger than 40 inches (102 cm) and women with waists larger than 35 inches (89 cm) are at a higher risk of developing blood pressure. It has been observed that a weight loss of 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) results in a lowering of blood pressure by 1 mm Hg. Weight loss by physical exercise is highly recommended for its overall health benefits and is the best answer for how to lower high blood pressure. 
    • Healthy dieting
      Health experts recommend the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH). This diet features lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Foods rich in potassium e.g. bananas are also beneficial in countering sodium levels in the blood. The DASH diet has been proved to help high blood pressure sufferers to lower blood pressure by about 11 mm Hg.
    • Reduced sodium intake
      Processed and fast foods often carry high salt content. One teaspoon of table salt contains about 2,300 mg of sodium. The recommended daily sodium intake is 1500 mg. Reduced salt intake can help lower blood pressure by 5-6 mm Hg. It helps to cut the intake of processed and fast foods. Read labels when buying food items. You can also switch to herbs and spices instead of using salt for flavor.
    • Lower alcohol and caffeine intake
      Health experts recommend limiting alcohol intake to one drink a day for women and two drinks for men. One drink is defined as 1.5 ounces of 40% v/v (80 proof) alcohol, 12 ounces of beer, or 5 ounces of wine.

    Cutting back on caffeine is very helpful if you are caffeine sensitive. You are caffeine sensitive if your blood pressure rises by 5-10 mm Hg after taking coffee.

    • Quit smoking
      Smoking has been associated with heart disease, in addition to lung damage. It is strongly advised to quit smoking, generally for a host of benefits, but take it as a priority if you have high blood pressure.
    • Stress management
      High-pressure careers and lifestyles come with elevated stress levels. Stress management is highly recommended in keeping blood pressure under check. Simple stress reduction techniques include taking regular breaks at work, exercising, meditation, and yoga.

    If you are wondering how to lower high blood pressure, these lifestyle adjustments can help you manage your condition and even reverse its effects. High blood pressure can be effectively managed, thereby allowing for a healthier and happier life.

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