Friday, September 28, 2012

Would Chocolate Male Lovers Have Lower Stroke Risk?

Chocolate is something that almost everybody likes it. Most chocolate bars or chips are sweet. Eating too many foods that are rich in sugar can put on weight. As we know, overweight always bring along many unwanted medical orders including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke.
Yet, many past studies have suggested that chocolate fans have lower risk of heart disease and stroke and high blood pressure.
Recently, researchers from Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden and National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland suggested that regularly indulging in chocolate snack might actually help men decrease their risk of having a stroke.
They reported on September 18, 2012 in the journal ‘Neurology’ that men who ate the most chocolate (typically the equivalent of one-third of a cup of chocolate chips) had a 17 percent lower risk of stroke than men who avoided chocolate.
37,103 men in the Cohort of Swedish Men, who aged between 49 and 75, were followed. These men reported on their usual intake of chocolate and other foods. Over the next 10 years, 1,995 men suffered a first-time stroke, which were ascertained from the Swedish Hospital Discharge Registry.
Among men in the top 25 percent for chocolate intake, the stroke rate was 73 per 100,000 men per year, comparing to a rate of 85 per 100,000 among men who ate the least chocolate. Even after taking into account of other factors like the men's weight and other diet habits, whether they smoked and whether they had high blood pressure, men who ate the most chocolate had a 17 percent lower stroke risk.
According to researchers, the beneficial effect of chocolate consumption on stroke may be related to the flavonoids in chocolate. Past studies have found that flavonoids are compounds that act as antioxidants and may have positive effects on blood pressure, cholesterol and blood vessel function.
Nevertheless, people are not advised to eat chocolate just based on the findings. Bearing in mind that negative effects such as obesity and Type-2 diabetes could result for people indulging in chocolate.

Friday, September 21, 2012

What Is The Link Between Salt And Hypertension?

Excessive intake of salt has always been blamed for causing hypertension (high blood pressure). For years, health experts have thought that high consumption of salt can cause fluid retention in the arterial circulatory system, thus raising pressure on the arterial walls and causing hypertension.

The medical term used by the experts is "volume-expanded hypertension". It implies that excess salt leads to retention of extra fluid within the arterial circulatory system, causing an increase in blood volume and added pressure on the arterial walls.
However, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) had found otherwise in their study that was published in April 12’s issue of ‘Journal of Hypertension’. They claimed that their findings simply corrected an erroneous concept that has prevailed for many years.
They showed that conditions characterized by the expansion of blood volume from other causes, like the secretion of antidiuretic hormone or the excessive elevation of blood sugar, do not raise blood pressure because the extra fluid is accommodated by the distention of capillaries and veins. The body's circulatory system is a highly flexible vascular system with the capacity to open up new capillaries and distend veins so as to accommodate the hike in fluid volume.
Through a review of numerous studies, the researchers demonstrated that the mechanism of hypertension resulting from the excessive intake and retention of salt stimulates the sympathetic nervous system in the brain to raise adrenaline production. The increased adrenaline being circulated throughout the body can cause the arteries to constrict, resulting in resistance to blood flow and a decrease in circulatory volume.
The over-activation of the sympathetic nervous system has been recognized clinically as a characteristic of hypertension that is associated with renal failure. The latter is a typical example of elevated blood pressure from excessive salt retention.
Based on the new findings, physicians are advised to use drugs that will block the central sympathetic nervous system, in addition to diuretics that are widely utilized to treat this type of hypertension by removing excess salt.
Being a silent killer, hypertension can lead to many medical conditions including heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. People with elevated blood pressure consistently should not take it lightly and should seek help from their doctors immediately.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

What To Do If Your Blood Pressure Refuses To Decline?

If a person’s blood pressure is too high, his or her heart has to work harder to pump. This can cause organ damage and lead to diseases including heart disease, stroke, aneurysm and renal failure. Hence, keeping one’s blood pressure below the normal range, which is 120/80 mmHg, is important.

Patients with high blood pressure (hypertension or sometimes called arterial hypertension) are usually prescribed with hypertensive medication. However, there are patients who are not responding to the medical treatments. These patients are said to have resistant hypertension, which is defined as hypertension that remains above target blood pressure in spite of concurrent use of at least 3 antihypertensive agents belonging to different antihypertensive drug classes.

In Germany, only 5 to 17 percent of patients treated for hypertension can achieve lasting control of their blood pressure. On the other hand, about 5 to 15 percent of all hypertensive patients have resistant hypertension.

A group of German researchers presented a set of treatment strategies for resistant hypertension in the July 25, 2011’s issue of ‘Deutsches Arzteblatt International’. They stressed that a multimodal interdisciplinary strategy involving systematic identification of secondary causes of hypertension and exclusion of pseudoresistance (inadequate treatment) is needed to successfully treat resistant hypertension.

Drug treatment must be tailored to individual patient and reversible or secondary causes of hypertension must be systematically sought and treated. This should be complemented by non-pharmacological conservative treatment measures including optimization of weight, a low-salt diet, physical exercise, and abstinence from alcohol.

Out of the 2 new partially still experimental therapy options, namely renal denervation and baroreceptor stimulation, researchers reviewed and suggested that renal sympathetic denervation can be used as an added treatment option for patients whose high blood pressure is inadequately controlled with medication.

Renal denervation, which is an interventional procedure with a low rate of complication, can help patients achieve significant and enduring reduction in blood pressure. The nerves in the vascular wall (adventitia layer) can be denervated by applying radiofrequency pulses to the renal arteries. This will reduce renal sympathetic afferent and efferent activity and blood pressure can hence be decreased.

Patients in German have to be enrolled in clinical registries and monitored at regular intervals following treatment for conclusive evaluation of the long-term effects and safety of this new approach. The German Renal Denervation (GREAT) Registry has been set up for this purpose.