Sleepless Nights Linked To High Blood Pressure

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Submitted by the University of Arizona News Service…..

mansleepingatdeskA bad night’s sleep may result in a spike in blood pressure that night and the following day, according to new research led by the University of Arizona.

The study, to be published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, offers one possible explanation for why sleep problems have been shown to increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and even death from cardiovascular disease.

The link between poor sleep and cardiovascular health problems is increasingly well-established in scientific literature, but the reason for the relationship is less understood.

Researchers set out to learn more about the connection in a study of 300 men and women, ages 21 to 70, with no history of heart problems. Participants wore portable blood pressure cuffs for two consecutive days. The cuffs randomly took participants’ blood pressure during 45-minute intervals throughout each day and also overnight.

At night, participants wore actigraphy monitors – wristwatch-like devices that measure movement – to help determine their “sleep efficiency,” or the amount of time in bed spent sleeping soundly.

Overall, those who had lower sleep efficiency showed an increase in blood pressure during that restless night. They also had higher systolic blood pressure – the top number in a patient’s blood pressure reading – the next day.

More research is needed to understand why poor sleep raises blood pressure and what it could mean long-term for people with chronic sleep issues. Yet, these latest findings may be an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding the pathway through which sleep impacts overall cardiovascular health.

“Blood pressure is one of the best predictors of cardiovascular health,” said lead study author Caroline Doyle, a graduate student in the UA Department of Psychology. “There is a lot of literature out there that shows sleep has some kind of impact on mortality and on cardiovascular disease, which is the No. 1 killer of people in the country. We wanted to see if we could try to get a piece of that story – how sleep might be impacting disease through blood pressure.”

The study reinforces just how important a good night’s sleep can be. It’s not just the amount of time you spend in bed, but the quality of sleep you’re getting, said study co-author John Ruiz, UA associate professor of psychology.

Improving sleep quality can start with making simple changes and being proactive, Ruiz said.

“Keep the phone in a different room,” he suggested. “If your bedroom window faces the east, pull the shades. For anything that’s going to cause you to waken, think ahead about what you can do to mitigate those effects.”

For those with chronic sleep troubles, Doyle advocates cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBTI, which focuses on making behavioral changes to improve sleep health. CBTI is slowly gaining traction in the medical field and is recommended by both the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as the first line of treatment for insomnia.

Doyle and Ruiz say they hope their findings – showing the impact even one fitful night’s rest can have on the body – will help illuminate just how critical sleep is for heart health.

“This study stands on the shoulders of a broad literature looking at sleep and cardiovascular health,” Doyle said. “This is one more study that shows something is going on with sleep and our heart health. Sleep is important, so whatever you can do to improve your sleep, it’s worth prioritizing.”

Correlation Between Blood Pressure Stress Response And Underwater Treadmill Training

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informationredDuring their scientific investigation of blood pressure as it relates to stress during exercise on an underwater treadmill, authors Lambert, et al, tracked the responses of 60 adults who worked out on either land-based treadmills or in a HydroWorx therapy pool on an underwater treadmill during very specific sessions each week.

For the estimated 67 million Americans who suffer from high blood pressure, finding natural ways to improve their condition can be challenging, especially for those who are generally sedentary. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe that only 47 percent of people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure have it under control. Unless this figure changes considerably, the cost of health care associated with high blood pressure treatment will only continue to skyrocket as Baby Boomers follow the natural aging processes. Thankfully, a recent study released by researchers at Texas A&M University may hold the key to helping those with higher than normal blood pressure keep their numbers at a lower rate through regular activity on an underwater treadmill in a HydroWorx therapy pool.

The study, Aquatic Treadmill Training Reduces Blood Pressure Reactivity to Physical Stress, has been published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®. During their scientific investigation of blood pressure as it relates to stress during exercise on an underwater treadmill, Authors Lambert, et al, tracked the responses of 60 adults who worked out on either land-based treadmills or in a HydroWorx therapy pool on an underwater treadmill during very specific sessions each week. The results of the testing showed that while all endurance exercise reduces blood pressure and the body’s related stress responses, the aquatic treadmill training significantly reduced the participants’ resting diastolic blood pressure more than the land-based treadmill training did. The researchers concluded that high blood pressure brought on by stress levels could be organically reduced through regular endurance intervals on an underwater treadmill.

Says Anson Flake, Co-Founder and CEO, HydroWorx, “We have heard anecdotal evidence of people using our therapy pools as a way to lower their blood pressure for years. Now, Texas A&M has put solid numbers to those claims. The science proves what we have always thought: Our products provide a low-impact, high-results alternative to lowering responses to everyday stressors.”

The outcome of the Texas A&M study provides a great deal of encouragement for those with high blood pressure who wish to become healthier through the use of a more natural remedy than medication. Even more reassuring is the fact that the participants were not highly active in their everyday lives, revealing the potential for any person to reap the benefits of aquatic treadmill exercise regimens.

About HydroWorx

Since the late 1990s, HydroWorx—based in Middletown, PA—has manufactured aquatic therapy pools with built-in underwater treadmills to enable physical therapists to more effectively offer their patients the opportunity to increase range of motion, decrease risk of falls and joint stress, and remain motivated through the rehab process. Every day, more than 23,000 athletes and patients use HydroWorx technology to recover from injuries and health conditions. For more information, please visit

– Courtesy of PRWeb

Researcher: Chowing Down On Watermelon Could Lower Blood Pressure

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watermelonBe sure to pick up a watermelon — or two — at your neighborhood farmers’ market.

It could save your life.

A new study by Florida State University Associate Professor Arturo Figueroa, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, found that watermelon could significantly reduce blood pressure in overweight individuals both at rest and while under stress.

“The pressure on the aorta and on the heart decreased after consuming watermelon extract,” Figueroa said.

The study started with a simple concept. More people die of heart attacks in cold weather because the stress of the cold temperatures causes blood pressure to increase and the heart has to work harder to pump blood into the aorta. That often leads to less blood flow to the heart.

Thus, people with obesity and high blood pressure face a higher risk for stroke or heart attack when exposed to the cold either during the winter or in rooms with low temperatures.

So, what might help their hearts?

It turned out that watermelon may be part of the answer.

Figueroa’s 12-week study focused on 13 middle-aged, obese men and women who also suffered from high blood pressure. To simulate cold weather conditions, one hand of the subject was dipped into 39 degree water (or 4 degrees Celsius) while Figueroa’s team took their blood pressure and other vital measurements.

Meanwhile, the group was divided into two. For the first six weeks, one group was given four grams of the amino acid L-citrulline and two grams of L-arginine per day, both from watermelon extract. The other group was given a placebo for 6 weeks.

Then, they switched for the second six weeks.

Participants also had to refrain from taking any medication for blood pressure or making any significant changes in their lifestyle, particularly related to diet and exercise, during the study.

The results showed that consuming watermelon had a positive impact on aortic blood pressure and other vascular parameters.

Notably, study participants showed improvements in blood pressure and cardiac stress while both at rest and while they were exposed to the cold water.

“That means less overload to the heart, so the heart is going to work easily during a stressful situation such as cold exposure,” Figueroa said.

Figueroa has conducted multiple studies on the benefits of watermelon. In the past, he examined how it impacts post-menopausal women’s arterial function and the blood pressure readings of adults with pre-hypertension.

– Submitted by Florida State University News

Blood Pressure Lowering Medicine Chest: Your Local Farmer’s Market!

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By Janet Bond Brill, PhD, RD, LDN

saladheartsmallSpring is in the air, the flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, and the grass is getting green, green, green… all signs that summer is right around the corner. The warm weather is also a signal that the cornucopia of locally grown fruits and vegetables is also just around the corner at the nearest farmer’s market. Why favor farmers’ markets over the grocery store? There are several main reasons: the food is fresher (healthier), the food is seasonal, the food is locally grown (you support local farmers) and you get a better variety of foods. Make sure you frequent your local farmer’s market often, the ultimate health food store!

Farmers’ markets are also a veritable drugstore for blood pressure lowering superfoods. When shopping for these superfoods, here are the three blood pressure lowering mineral superstars you need to keep in mind: potassium, magnesium and calcium. How do you choose the food highest in these minerals? Simple–I have included my “Mining for Minerals Charts” from my new book, Blood Pressure Down. Cut them out and carry them to the Farmer’s Market and when you see these foods, buy them, eat them and watch your blood pressure drop!
Mining for Minerals:

See it, Eat it Pocket Charts©

For Potassium
Super-High* Foods
Casaba Melon
Honeydew Melon
Beet greens
Cooked Spinach
Swiss Chard
White Beans
Low Sodium V8
* Each food contains over 400 mg potassium per 1/2 cup serving

Very High** Foods
Dried Fruits
Brussels Sprouts
Cooked Mushrooms
Chocolate (dark)
** Each food contains over 250 mg potassium per 1/2 cup serving

For Magnesium
Super-High* Foods
Cooked Spinach
White Beans
Swiss Chard
Dry-roasted unsalted almonds
Brown Rice
*Each food contains 100 mg magnesium per typical serving size

Very High** Foods
Brewed Espresso
Brewed Coffee
Peanut Butter (low sodium)
Fat Free Yogurt
Kidney and Pinto Beans
Dry Roasted unsalted peanuts
Baked Potato (with skin)
** Each food contains 50 mg magnesium per typical serving size

For Calcium
Super-High* Foods
Non-fat Yogurt
Soy Milk
Fortified Fat Free Milk
Collard Greens
Cheeses: low sodium
Parmesan Cheese
Swiss Cheese
Light Mozzarella
Low Fat Cottage Cheese
Part Skim Ricotta 1/2 cup
*Each food contains over 300 mg calcium per typical serving size

Very High** Foods
Canned Salmon
Bok Choy
Blackstrap Molasses
** Each food contains over 150 mg calcium per typical serving size

– Excerpted from Blood Pressure Down by Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN

– Article submitted by Kate Bandos, KSB Promotions

8 Foods You Can Eat to Help Lower Your Blood Pressure

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By Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH

bloodpressureEver felt like you wanted to eat healthier but didn’t quite know where to start or you keep putting it off for another time? Stop right there. You don’t have to delay another day. Start eating these eight food and you’ll be on your way to a healthier heart and lower blood pressure.

1) Enjoy an orange a day. Oranges, tangerines, tangelos and grapefruit can give you a healthy, fat-free, salt-free boost anytime during the day.

2) Bake a potato or a sweet potato for potassium, which helps balance sodium. (Skip the butter and use a small amount of butter substitute or top with non-fat yogurt and herbs.)

3) Bananas provide potassium and fiber and also fill you up, fast.

4) Salmon. You receive great benefits of omega-3 fatty acids when you have this fish 3 times a week.

5) Drink skim milk. You add the multiple benefits of protein, carbohydrates, calcium and potassium.

6) Use herbs and spices like pepper, garlic, oregano, parsley, cilantro, cumin, turmeric, to flavor your meals instead of salt and butter.

greenpeas7) Add spinach, beans, broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes to your meals for added vitamins, minerals and fiber.

8) Dark chocolate! (Just when you were thinking ,”What about dessert?”) Choose a chocolate that is 45-80% cacao and eat one square a day for the benefits of antioxidants and blood vessel relaxation. Choose one with nuts and maybe you bump your quota to two squares!

Nothing has to get in the way of your heart health. Don’t postpone lowering your blood pressure. Follow these 8 tips and let your best health begin today.

– Kac Young , a former television director and producer, has earned a PhD in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author 10 books. Heart Easy™ is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. Traditional recipes are turned into heart healthy meals that anyone can make. The health results are outstanding. While earning her PhD in Natural Health and a Doctorate in Naturopathy, she completed 36 courses in nutrition from Baylor University. Learn more about your heart health at:

Taking Care of Your Blood Pressure

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By Nisha Sharma

healthyheartbpBlood Pressure Monitoring

Monitoring blood pressure is important to keep the heart and veins of the body in optimal condition. First, an individual must schedule an appointment with a medical professional to determine if blood pressure is normal. A chronic abnormal blood pressure reading will determine what actions a patient must follow. When a patient visits a physician, several important vital signs assist in determining blood pressure health. Individuals might need to change to a low-sodium diet, increase exercise, lose weight or take daily prescription medication when blood pressure is abnormal.

Routine Physician Visits

Blood pressure is measured on adults with a specialized medical armband device called a sphygmomanometer. The device has mercury that rises to show diastolic and systolic rates. At the same time, a stethoscope is used to listen to heartbeats and respiration rates. Each individual has a variation of blood pressure readings throughout a day due to physical activity, health conditions, medication, diet and emotional stress. Blood pressure readings in combination with the temperature of the body, heartbeats per minute and pulse rates are important tests to determine physical conditions.

Abnormal Blood Pressure Readings

An abnormal blood pressure reading is the result of a chronic, temporary or emergency health condition. Many patients have higher readings due to nervousness while at a medical facility. Additional factors that show temporary abnormal readings are having a full bladder, recent exercise, smoking and consuming caffeine. Individuals with abnormal readings in a medical office setting can purchase a blood pressure monitoring device to check readings throughout a normal day. This is a great way for an individual to care for blood pressure health.


Low blood pressure is a dangerous medical condition that causes fainting or dizziness. Emergency hypotension is a result of massive blood loss, hormonal imbalances, infection, toxins or thrombosis. Eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa change the chemical balance inside the body while often causing hypotension. A patient in a trauma situation resulting in blood loss can develop a shock condition rapidly. Low blood pressure more commonly occurs as a medical crisis than a chronic health condition.


Hypertension is a chronic condition of high blood pressure that causes the heart muscles to work harder to move blood through the veins and arteries. If an individual routinely has a high blood pressure reading, then arterial hypertension is present. Chronic hypertension damages veins, arteries and heart muscles. Hypertensive patients are more likely to have aneurysms, renal failure, heart attacks or strokes. Individuals with this condition must modify daily lifestyle to reduce blood pressure readings.

Lifestyle Modifications

A nutritious food plan with natural foods low in sodium such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein from poultry and whole grains assists in lowering blood pressure. Individuals should consume foods high in calcium, magnesium and potassium. Reducing emotional stress is imperative for hypertensive patients. Individuals can engage in physical activities to improve cardiovascular health and muscle strength. A physician will typically prescribe antihypertensive medication to assist in lowering blood pressure.

– Nisha represents a site called She enjoys writing about elderly healthcare and dementia care.

High Blood Pressure Risk

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From Your Health Journal…..”As I have said before, Everyday Health is one of my favorite web sites on the net for quality health articles. I have been honored to be mentioned in a few of their articles, and always try to send my visitors to their site – like I am today with a great article about high blood pressure. When it comes to high blood pressure, blame may lie beyond stress and the salt shaker: Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have found that those earning the lowest wages have a higher risk of hypertension than workers earning the highest wages. For years, we have always learned to reduce stress and the salt, but you cannot reduce your job – so those earning less money have to stay with their jobs, as there is no place else for them to go! Please visit the Everyday Health web site (link provided below) to read the complete story.”

From the article…..

When it comes to high blood pressure, blame may lie beyond stress and the salt shaker: Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have found that those earning the lowest wages have a higher risk of hypertension than workers earning the highest wages.

The correlation between low wages and hypertension was especially strong for women, and for men and women between the ages of 25 to 44, according to a press release.

The researchers were surprised that low wages were such a strong risk factor for these two populations, especially since hypertension is more typically linked with being older and male.

“Our outcome shows that women and younger employees working at the lowest pay scales should be screened regularly for hypertension as well,” said J. Paul Leigh, PhD, lead author of the study.

The research team used data from 5,651 households with working adults between 25 and 65 years of age that included information on wages, employment, and health, including hypertension. The team looked at heads of household and their spouses for three time periods: 1999 to 2001, 2001 to 2003, and 2003 to 2005.

Wages were calculated as annual income from all sources divided by work hours, and ranged from about $2.38 to $77 per hour in 1999. Hypertension was self-reported by respondents.

According to the data analysis, doubling the wage level was associated with a 16 percent decrease in the risk of a hypertension diagnosis. Doubling the wage level also reduced the risk of hypertension by 1.2 percent over two years and 0.6 percent for one year.

But the risk decrease was most apparent in women and younger workers. Doubling the wages of workers between 25 and 44 years old was associated with a 25 percent to 30 percent decrease in the risk of hypertension. Doubling the wages of women was associated with a 30 percent to 35 percent decrease in hypertension risk.

To read the full article…..Click here