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March 23, 2007

Smoking Isn't Good For Blood Pressure Either

Quit Smoking in Order to Lower Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure affects millions of Americans, some of whom are smokers. With so much information available about how cigarette smoking is so unhealthy, you would be surprised that anyone is still smoking. There is no doubt that smoking has many serious effects on an individual’s health, and increased blood pressure can be one result of smoking.

Smoking Is a Killer

Blood pressure is certainly affected by smoking. Nicotine increases blood pressure unhealthily. Nicotine causes blood vessel constriction, which can in turn increase blood pressure.

How much damage can high blood pressure cause? The answer is a lot. High blood pressure increases an individual’s risk of stroke, and smokers are already at an increased risk for stroke and other cardiovascular complications.

High blood pressure also causes excessive kidney damage. The reasoning is quite simple. Your kidneys must work harder if you have high blood pressure. If the kidneys are damaged and overworked, extra fluid will remain in them. Moreover, this causes your kidneys to work even harder and cause your blood pressure to raise more.

Sometimes Quitting IS The Answer

If you suffer from high blood pressure and you are also a smoker, you should give some serious consideration to quitting. It’s possible that after you quit smoking you might no longer need the blood pressure medication that you depend on.

Talk to your doctor about possible medications he or she can prescribe to assist you with your efforts of quitting smoking. Using medication to quit smoking will only be temporary and will be well worth it if you end up with lower blood pressure as a result.

Get Help

If you are still having difficulties giving up smoking, then you should look for a support group. Several states sponsor a toll free number to help smokers give up the habit. Or, you should look on the internet for bulletin boards and web blogs that discuss how to quit smoking.

It may sound a little unnecessary, but it will give you more focus and motivation in trying to quit one of the toughest habits to break. Hopefully, your efforts will be well rewarded with lower blood pressure.

March 18, 2007

Is a Vitamin Deficiency Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

What You Need to Know About High Blood Pressure and Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a role in the development of many illnesses, and unfortunately high blood pressure is no exception. It’s estimated that as many as 40% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. If you suffer from high blood pressure, the following information will be very valuable.

Why Are We Lacking?

Part of the reason we are deficient in vitamin D is the result of our sedentary lifestyles, which causes us to spend a lot of time indoors. When we are outdoors we usually wear protective clothing and hats to further shield us from the sun. Many of us wear sunscreen with really high SPF, which limits the amount of vitamin D we can produce from sun exposure. The reason this is so important is because of the role that vitamin D is believed to play in the development of high blood pressure.

The Science Behind It

It’s not always possible to get enough vitamin D from the foods we eat especially during the winter months. Many people assume that vitamin D supplementation is never a good idea because vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamins, and we know that fat soluble vitamins can potentially build up to toxic levels in our bodies.

If you suffer from high blood pressure, it might be a good idea to find out what your vitamin D levels are and it is so simple to get your vitamin D levels tested. All you have to do is get a simple blood test that measures your levels of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 tested.

If you suffer from high blood pressure and are frustrated that nothing seems to be working, then you might want to ask your doctor about getting your vitamin D levels tested.

The next time you have blood drawn for any reason, you can also have your vitamin D levels tested at that time. The cost is nominal, so it’s really worth looking into. Then if your levels come back low, your doctor can recommend supplementation.

High blood pressure is a very serious medical condition, so it makes sense to investigate every possible cause especially when the cause is so easy to evaluate.

March 14, 2007

Can Potassium Successfully Lower Blood Pressure?

Blood Pressure and Potassium

Most of us are well aware that we should avoid excessive consumption of certain nutrients (such as sodium) if we want to keep our blood pressure in check. However, many of us aren’t aware of the nutrients that can actually lower our blood pressure. Potassium is one example of a nutrient that can have a beneficial effect on blood pressure. To find out more about potassium and its affects on blood pressure, read on...

Nature's Miracle

Potassium is important for regulating your body’s fluid balance. Luckily, it's not hard to get as it is found in many foods. Bananas are a great source of potassium. One banana has about 450 mg of potassium. Have sliced banana with your morning oatmeal. Potatoes are another source of potassium. Try substituting potatoes one night a week in place of rice. Potatoes actually have more potassium than bananas, with one potato containing about 750 mg.

Check Your Levels

Not many individuals are deficient in potassium, but check with your doctor if you are worried about your potassium levels. Certain medications like diuretics can lower your potassium levels. Do home blood pressure checks if possible after adding more potassium to your diet so you can determine if the extra potassium has resulted in improved blood pressure. Let your doctor know of any dietary changes you have initiated yourself, so he or she can better advise you.

Do It Naturally

It’s great if you can control your blood pressure through dietary changes. Eating potassium-rich foods might not resolve your blood pressure completely, but it might reduce the amount of medication you need to take. If you need more help incorporating potassium into your diet, ask your doctor for help.

Supplements May Help

Some medical studies have actually shown that oral potassium supplements can successfully lower blood pressure. The effect that potassium supplementation will have on your blood pressure will depend on how severe your blood pressure is and how long you’ve had high blood pressure.

March 10, 2007

Does Stress Cause High Blood Pressure?

The Effects Stress Has On High Blood Pressure

Nearly every medical expert you ask will tell you that stress contributes to high blood pressure and high-risk patients are always advised to reduce their stress levels. But what is stress and how does it relate to high blood pressure? If you want to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, you'd better read on...

What is Stress?

Ask ten individuals and you will likely get ten replies about what stress is. Stress is defined differently by different people. Stress is also thought to be out of our control, but is it? What if you could get your “stress” levels in check so that they no longer elevate your blood pressure?

Controlling the "Reaction"

There are certainly events in our lives that are beyond our control such as the illness of a close family member or a car accident. During those times we can feel overwhelmed and fatigued. This is largely due to the way we react to the situation.

If you alter your reaction to stressful situations, you can reduce stress levels. If you could change your stress levels, you could also potentially lower your blood pressure.

How Do You Do It?

Many psychologists actually believe that when we say the word stress what we are really referring to are the external stressors in our environment. A stressor can be something as significant as a recent job loss to something as seemingly trivial as failing a quiz at school.

How we respond to stressors can be translated into “eustress” which is good stress and “distress” which is bad stress. With the "eustress" approach, “stress” is actually a good thing because it can compel us to make positive changes.

If we constantly view every life event as a negative occurrence, we will experience more distress which can have negative health effects such as high blood pressure.

So remember, you can't avoid stress. However, you can change the way you react to it. If you want to make sure that stress doesn't lead to high blood pressure and heart disease, make sure you practice the "eustress" approach and don't let the "distress" of life control your outlook.

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