blood pressure

All too frequently, the things we do daily become routine.  This is likely true of many tasks in a multitude of professions.  It’s just that in certain fields, like medicine, seemingly mundane and tedious duties can—all too often— provide the most valuable knowledge of a patient’s well-being and genuine health status.

Vital signs matter.  They matter most when done correctly and provide accurate data.  Hence, why they are likely called “vital” signs.

Dismiss them or do them incorrectly and the bad information obtained will guide medical decisions on your behalf-- potentially toward a negative trajectory.  Now, with electronic medical records, especially, this erroneous information will follow you and your future care may be directed based on these false results.   

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Doctor checking BP

When we check our blood pressure, we usually do it in one arm or the other. But there is a good reason to check our blood pressure in both arms. A large difference in systolic blood pressure between arms – defined as ≥ 10 mm Hg - may be a sign of increased cardiovascular disease – and even the threat of death.

That is because when blood pressure is higher in one arm, it may be because of  narrowing in a blood vessel, called “artery”, in that arm.  The most common cause of blood vessel narrowing in the body is atherosclerosis (buildup of cholesterol); and, since atherosclerosis tends to affect blood vessels throughout the body, it can impede blood flow to vital organs like the heart and the brain, causing a heart attack or stroke. 

Mild Inter-arm systolic blood pressure...

There is an ever-growing body of evidence that reinforces the health benefits of animals.  The cardiovascular and mental health ones are known and well-documented.  

A new study published in BMC Psychiatry sought to explore the role pets had in support, self-management and personal networks of those suffering from long-term significant mental illness (e.g. bipolar disorder, schizophrenia).  It concluded “pets should be considered a main rather than a marginal source of support in the management of long-term mental health problems, and this has implications for the planning and delivery of mental health services.”

The qualitative research involved interviews of 54 individuals...

bariatric-surgery-patientsA new study published via a special posting on the New England Journal of Medicine's website entitled "Weight Loss and Health Status 3 Years after Bariatric Surgery in Adolescents," shows the dramatic benefits for younger, obese patients after weight-loss surgery.

Researchers from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and four other academic centers, led by Thomas H. Inge, M.D...

salt

US health officials have long warned that too much salt intake as a child can raise lifelong risk of high blood pressure. However, a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics suggests it s actually potassium intake that parents should be aware of.

The study, led by Dr. Lynn L. Moore, an associate professor of medicine at Boston University, tracked the eating habits and blood pressure of over 2,000 nine and ten year old girls for up to ten years. The researchers assessed the effect of dietary sodium and potassium on systolic (the top...

78655686High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for premature death in the world. Currently, 1 billion people have clinically abnormal blood pressure (hypertension), and most cases are grade 1 (mild) hypertension (defined as systolic blood pressure of 140 to 159 mm Hg and/or a diastolic blood pressure of 90 to 99 mm Hg). Most trials of blood pressure-lowering treatments have been conducted in persons with grade 2 or 3 hypertension with established cardiovascular disease, while the benefit of treatment in grade 1 hypertension has been left largely unstudied.

However, a new...

bpaYesterday in Dispatch we wrote about a study asserting a causal relationship between drinking soy milk from a can lined with a BPA-containing polymer, and a 4.5 mm rise in systolic blood pressure (SBP). Of course, we pointed out the fact that study was rife with confounding and confusing fudge factors. Furthermore, no one commenting on this study in the public arena seems to recall that every scientific body in the world, including our FDA and even the EPA, has deemed BPA safe in consumer products,...

bpaResearchers from South Korea s Seoul University College of Medicine and its Department of Environmental Health did a double-blind, crossover study of 60 older people to detect an effect of bisphenol-A (BPA) on blood pressure. Their results gave them a basis for asserting a causal relationship between drinking soy milk from a can lined with a BPA-containing polymer, and a 4.5 mm rise in systolic blood pressure (SBP).

The changes in SBP were compared with controls the same subjects who were given soy milk from glass bottles. The several-week-long study was conducted among seniors (over-60) at a community center, and the...

328397_8199During his stint as Mayor of New York City, Bloomberg and his Health Commissars devoted much time trying to convince food companies that salt was poison, and that they should, as a public service, reduce the amount of salt in consumer products. And his efforts did result in having various food companies lower the salt content in their products. According to Dr. Thomas A. Farley, former commissioner of health for New York City and current fellow in public policy at Hunter College, this reduction in sodium...

909106_39531462African-American women in the U.S. are much more likely to have high blood pressure than black men or white men and women combined, a new study finds. Worse yet, researchers also found that high blood pressure in blacks is twice as likely to go unknown and untreated.

The study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, recorded findings from 70,000 people. A total of 65 percent of black women had high blood pressure, compared to 52 percent in white women...