13 Ways To Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

Natural ways to lower blood pressureAlthough it causes no symptoms, high blood pressure boosts the risks of leading killers such as heart attack and stroke, as well as aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure. 28% of Americans have high blood pressure and don’t know it, according to the American Heart Association. If you haven’t had yours checked in 2 years, see a doctor.

While medication can lower blood pressure, it may cause side effects such as leg cramps, dizziness, and insomnia. Fortunately, most people can bring down their blood pressure naturally without medication. First, get to a healthy weight. Then try these strategies to reduce the risk of heart disease.


1. Go for power walks

Hypertensive patients who went for fitness walks at a brisk pace lowered pressure by almost 8 mmhg over 6 mmhg. Exercise helps the heart use oxygen more efficiently, so it doesn’t work as hard to pump blood. Get a vigorous cardio workout of at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Try increasing speed or distance so you keep challenging your ticker.

2. Breathe deeply
Slow breathing and meditative practices such as qigong, yoga, and tai chi decrease stress hormones, which elevate renin, a kidney enzyme that raises blood pressure. Try 5 minutes in the morning and at night. Inhale deeply and expand your belly. Exhale and release all of your tension.

3. Pick potatoes

Loading up on potassium-rich fruits and vegetables is an important part of any blood pressure-lowering program, says Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medical. Aim for potassium levels of 2,000 to 4,000 mg a day, she says. Top sources of potassium-rich produce include sweet potatoes, tomatoes, orange juice, potatoes, bananas, kidney beans, peas, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and dried fruits such as prunes and raisins.

4. Be salt smart
Certain groups of people—the elderly, African Americans, and those with a family history of high blood pressure—are more likely than others to have blood pressure that’s particularly salt (or sodium) sensitive. But because there’s no way to tell whether any one individual is sodium sensitive, everyone should lower his sodium intake, says Eva Obarzanek, PhD, a research nutritionist at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. How far? To 1,500 mg daily, about half the average American intake, she says. (Half a teaspoon of salt contains about 1,200 mg of sodium.) Cutting sodium means more than going easy on the saltshaker, which contributes just 15% of the sodium in the typical American diet. Watch for sodium in processed foods, Obarzanek warns. That’s where most of the sodium in your diet comes from, she says. Season foods with spices, herbs, lemon, and salt-free seasoning blends.

5. Indulge in dark chocolate
Dark chocolate varieties contain flavanols that make blood vessels more elastic. In one study, 18% of patients who ate it every day saw blood pressure decrease. Have ½ ounce daily (make sure it contains at least 70% cocoa.

6. Take a supplement
In a review of 12 studies, researchers found that coenzyme Q10 reduced blood pressure by up to 17 mmhg over 10 mmhg. The antioxidant, required for energy production, dilates blood vessels. Ask your doctor about taking a 60 to 100 mg supplement up to 3 times a day.

7. Drink (a little) alcohol

According to a review of 15 studies, the less you drink, the lower your blood pressure will drop—to a point. A study of women at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, for example, found that light drinking (defined as one-quarter to one-half a drink per day for a woman) may actually reduce blood pressure more than no drinks per day. One “drink” is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits. Other studies have also found that moderate drinking—up to one drink a day for a woman, two for a man—can lower risks of heart disease. “High levels of alcohol are clearly detrimental,” says Obarzanek. “But moderate alcohol is protective of the heart. If you are going to drink, drink moderately.”

8. Switch to decaf coffee
Scientists have long debated the effects of caffeine on blood pressure. Some studies have shown no effect, but one from Duke University Medical Center found that caffeine consumption of 500 mg—roughly three 8-ounce cups of coffee—increased blood pressure by 4 mmhg, and that effect lasted until bedtime. For reference, 8 ounces of drip coffeecontain 100 to 125 mg; the same amount of tea, 50 mg; an equal quantity of cola, about 40 mg. Caffeine can raise blood pressure by tightening blood vessels and by magnifying the effects of stress, says Jim Lane, PhD, associate research professor at Duke and the lead author of the study. “When you’re under stress, your heart starts pumping a lot more blood, boosting blood pressure,” he says. “And caffeine exaggerates that effect.” If you drink a lot of joe, pour more decaf to protect your ticker.

9. Take up tea
Lowering high blood pressure is as easy as one, two, tea: Study participants who sipped 3 cups of a hibiscus tea daily lowered systolic blood pressure by 7 points in 6 weeks on average, say researchers from Tufts University—results on par with many prescription medications. Those who received a placebo drink improved their reading by only 1 point. The phytochemicals in hibiscus are probably responsible for the large reduction in high blood pressure, say the study authors. Many herbal teas contain hibiscus; look for blends that list it near the top of the chart of ingredients—this often indicates a higher concentration per serving.

10. Work (a bit) less
Putting in more than 41 hours per week at the office raises your risk of hypertension by 15%, according to a University of California, Irvine, study of 24,205 California residents. Overtime makes it hard to exercise and eat healthy, says Haiou Yang, PhD, the lead researcher. It may be difficult to clock out super early in today’s tough economic times, but try to leave at a decent hour—so you can go to the gym or cook a healthy meal—as often as possible. Set an end-of-day message on your computer as a reminder to turn it off and go home.

11. Relax with music

Need to bring down your blood pressure a bit more than medication or lifestyle changes can do alone? The right tunes can help, according to researchers at the University of Florence in Italy. They asked 28 adults who were already taking hypertension pills to listen to soothing classical, Celtic, or Indian music for 30 minutes daily while breathing slowly. After a week, the listeners had lowered their average systolic reading by 3.2 points; a month later, readings were down 4.4 points.

12. Seek help for snoring
It’s time to heed your partner’s complaints and get that snoring checked out. Loud, incessant snores are one of the main symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). University of Alabama researchers found that many sleep apnea sufferers also had high levels of aldosterone, a hormone that can boost blood pressure. In fact, it’s estimated that half of all people with sleep apnea have high blood pressure. If you have sleep apnea, you may experience many brief yet potentially life-threatening interruptions in your breathing while you sleep. In addition to loud snoring, excessive daytime tiredness and early morning headaches are also good clues. If you have high blood pressure, ask your doctor if OSA could be behind it; treating sleep apnea may lower aldosterone levels and improve BP.

13. Jump for soy
A study from Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Associationfound for the first time that replacing some of the refined carbohydrates in your diet with foods high in soy or milk protein, such as low-fat dairy, can bring down systolic blood pressure if you have hypertension or prehypertension.

THE EDITORS OF PREVENTION

Archie Manning on Postural Fitness

ALIGNMED®
AND POSTURAL FITNESS™

“My sons recommended it to me
…it changed my life!”

– Football Legend, Archie Manning

Watch video to receive Manning Discount

THE FUTURE OF SPORTS: THE YOUNG ATHLETE

By Dev Mishra, M.D., President, Sideline Sports Doc, Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Stanford University

Key Points:

  • A recent report called The Future of Sports sheds light on opinions from a group of futurists touching on many areas in the world of sports. While aimed principally at adults, the report also has several aspects that will affect the young athlete. It is worth a read.
  • Genetic screening and enhancement is likely on the horizon for the next decade, extending to the youngest athletes.
  • Genetic screening has a considerable downside as the youngest athletes could be excluded from sport participation based upon their genetic profile
  • Crowdfunding is a positive development that can improve the financial position of youth teams and organizations
  • Adventure sports and extreme sports are attracting many more young athletes and could siphon some of those athletes from mainstream sports

By now I’m sure many of you have seen the fascinating report The Future of Sports, produced by Delaware North, owned by Jeremy Jacobs, owner of the Boston Bruins. The authors assembled several groups of futurists to look at the sports universe through 11 broad categories. One key theme: technological advances have dramatically accelerated the pace of change, what used to take decades now likely takes 1-5 years.

I wanted to give you some of my personal insights on this report as viewed through the lens of the young athlete. Much of what was written is not applicable to the young athlete but there were several key components that are worth looking at.

Let’s start with the Preface. One area mentioned in the preface but not specifically studied in the report is the influence of performance pay for collegiate athletes. This will only intensify the competitiveness for young athletes, as the carrot at the end of the stick is a chance to actually be paid to play college sports. Aside from the technical points raised in the report, it’s my opinion that the professionalization of collegiate sports will have a profound effect on the high school and middle school aged athlete.

The Athlete

Genetic manipulation will become commonplace within 10 years and is predicted to rapidly spread to young athletes. At least 8 genes are linked to super athleticism, and selectively identifying CRISPR creates the opportunity for unprecedented accuracy in gene editing. This would in theory allow parents of young athletes to manipulate their children’s genomes

  • in the near future, genetic screening for traits will become much more prevalent e.g. two copies of ACTN3 gene= likely sprinter, mutations in EpoR= endurance athlete
  • the ugly flip side of genetic trait testing: young athletes could be denied hope of ever competing from an exceptionally young age, told there is no chance for them to progress to the highest levels
  • use of stem cell based treatments will accelerate, allowing for faster recovery from injury, followed by life extension, and finally for performance enhancement
  • will genetic screening and enhancements lead to separate leagues for “enhanced” vs “natural” athletes?

Sponsorship and Advertising

For owners of brands, getting their brand message out has become complicated as traditional TV, radio, and print advertising has suffered. Social media and crowdsourcing are becoming increasingly popular

  • For youth teams and leagues, raising funding through crowd funding has become easier and much more popular
  • Selling ownership interest in athletes (e.g. Fantex) is becoming popular and may ultimately extend to the youngest athletes

eSports and Fantasy Sports

eSports tournaments are very big business now, many of the major tournaments command $10M+ prize money. Celebrity gamers are rising in popularity and it’s plausible that sometime soon the celebrity gamer will rival the physical sports athlete for popularity

  • the young generation raised on gaming is a natural fit for competitive gaming
  • Robert Morris University actually offers scholarships for League of Legends gamers
  • competitive gaming leagues offer some of the same viewership benefits of physical sports
  • For young people and their parents: the challenge is to keep kids physically active as the immersive experience of gaming continues to advance
  • Fantasy leagues such as FIFA Pro Clubs from EA Sports will reach college and high school levels, likely reaching into younger and younger participants
  • Opportunity: can body movement sensors e.g. Wii and Kinect actually put some physical activity behind gaming?

Extreme and Adventure Sports

Participation in extreme and adventure sports is exploding, even amongst the youngest participants

  • for the young athlete these sports offer possibilities of free expression and a counterculture atmosphere compared to traditional sports
  • but how long can that atmosphere last as money moves in rapidly?
  • current environmental limitations exist too, as resources such as prime surf spots or the best snow covered mountains become fought over and possibly scarce
  • advancement in to the youngest age athletes will also require improvements in safety technology as injury rates are currently high

Overall I found this report to be a fun and interesting read. Sometimes provocative and scary, sometimes optimistic. One thing is for sure: we’re going to be in for some major changes very soon!

SideLineSportsDoc

What’s the bump on my foot?

By Dorothy Cohee for Athletico

Have you ever noticed a bump on the top of your foot or along the side of your big toe? What is it?

The bump along the side of your great toe is known as a bunion. This is a condition also known as hallux abducto valgus, which means the big toe (hallux) moves toward the second toe resulting in the bony bump called a bunion. They are present in about 23% of adults aged 18 to 65 years. Bunions may also be present at the base of the fifth toe and are known as Tailor’s bunion or bunionette. Due to its development over time, the side of the big toe may become sore, red and painful. There may also be tingling, less mobility in the big toe and thickened skin at the base of the toe.

Causes:

  1. High heels or extremely tight fitting shoesfoot2
  2. Inherited foot type (pronation-flat feet)
  3. Stress caused by occupational related hazard
  4. Foot injuries and trauma
  5. Congenital deformities present at birth
  6. Over pronation with walk and weight bearing activities

Treatment:

  1. Wear supportive, comfortable shoes
    1. Try a shoe with a wider toe box
    2. A less flexible shoe may be beneficial
  2. Padding or strapping/taping of foot
  3. Big toe splinting
  4. Orthotics
  5. Surgery

The bump on the top of your foot is known as dorsal exostosis. This bump is often prominent, can be painful and is the result of bony growth that occurs on top of the arch. The pain occurs from compression from shoe wear and with additional growth and/or compression to the region achiness, tingling and pins and needles sensation may be felt on the top of the foot and toes when the nerves are irritated.foot1

Causes:

  1. This most often occurs with individuals who pronate (foot rolls in).
    1. The big toe tends to have too much mobility causing irritation and the body to lay down extra bone for protection.
  2. It may also occur in a supinated (high arched) foot.
    1. The first metatarsal (big toe) points down toward the ground at a higher angle causing the proximal base to be more prominent at the top of the foot and creating irritation and bony growth on top of the foot.
  3. Tight footwear due to long term irritation of the area

Treatment

  1. Shoe wear:
    1. Decrease compression across the top of your foot
      1. When lacing your shoes, skip the holes in which the lace would cross the top of your foot.
    2. Avoid tight running, walking, and working shoe wear
    3. Try wearing a less flexible running shoe to decrease mobility of metatarsals
    4. Orthotics
    5. Surgery
      1. If conservative measures do not work, this is another option to excise the extra bone.

If you have either of these bumps, it is just as important that you run in the correct footwear as it is you are walking around and working in the right footwear. Come in to see one of our endurance specialists who can help give you some tips and visit local running stores for additional tips on shoe wear.

Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction

The Rush Experience – This Research Article was published in The Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, 2016

Investigation performed at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, USA; Brandon J. Erickson, MD, Bernard R. Bach Jr, MD, Mark S. Cohen, MDCharles A. Bush-Joseph, MD, Brian J. Cole, MD, Nikhil N. Verma, MDGregory P. Nicholson, MD, and Anthony A. Romeo, MD

Ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (UCLR), commonly known as Tommy John surgery, was first described by Dr Frank Jobe in the 1980’s. The goal of the surgery is to restore the function of a damaged ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in a patient with a symptomatic, deficient UCL. Since Dr Jobe’s initial description of the procedure, several modifications have been made to the surgical technique, including different ways to expose the UCL, different graft types, and different fixation methods of the graft to the medial epicondyle and sublime tubercle of the ulna. Clinical outcome data are not available for every technique modification, although the results of several techniques have been encouraging.

Background: Ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (UCLR) is a common surgery performed in professional, collegiate, and high school athletes.

Purpose: To report patient demographics, surgical techniques, and outcomes of all UCLRs performed at a single institution from 2004 to 2014.

Conclusion: UCLR was performedmost commonly on collegiate athletes using an ipsilateral palmaris longus graft. Overall, 94.1%of patients who underwent UCLR were able to return to sport with a mean KJOC score of 90.4 and Andrews-Timmerman Score of 92.5.

Click Here to Read the entire Article

How Medicine Is Evolving and Adapting to Recent Technological Changes

Bioprinting

In the last 100 years technology has evolved so rapidly, for most everyday people it’s hard to keep up with what is the stuff of science fiction from the movies we watched in the 80’s, to what actually exists in today’s world as a functioning and accessible reality.

Technology has never been so advanced and important than in the field of medicine.  Billions of dollars are invested into the industry pushing scientists and researchers to invent new technology at a rate never imagined, to find cures and solutions for life-threatening diseases and physical impairments; and it has also entered the realm of plastic and cosmetic surgery.  From the birth of X-rays in 1895, we have come such a long way in such a short time that sometimes it’s almost impossible to know where dreams stop and reality begins.

One of the more exciting things to have been perfected over the last ten years or so is 3D Printing.  Used for hearing aids, teeth (95% of Invisalign braces are 3D printed!) and back braces; it also produces prosthetic (robotic) limbs such as fingers, hands, legs, noses and ears – all of which are connected to our own brains in order for us to be able to control these limbs that are not actually our own flesh.

Bioprinting

Not only this, 3D Printing is moving towards being able to “print” actual bodily organs originating from our stem cells.  This is known as Bioprinting and although it is still in its early stages of development, this is completely revolutionary in that it will enable patients who require life-saving organs or body parts to receive one specifically designed and created just for them.

Bioprinting has already been proven possible for a few patients who have received parts such as a windpipe or bladder, and it is expected that at some point in the not too distant future it will be utilised on a more regular basis for plastic and cosmetic surgery procedures such as creating a new nose in a Rhinoplasty, or for a breast augmentation instead of using foreign material implants that always have a chance of rejection or leakage.

With all of these new procedures and advances in techniques, it is increasingly difficult for medical professionals to keep up with these breakthroughs and implement real life application of them into surgery.  However, tech companies and the medical industry are finding ways to have technology work for this purpose too.

We are seeing the emergence of apps such as Touch Surgery, which is a revolutionary new model for training and updating of knowledge for not just trainee medical professionals, but experienced surgeons looking to research, learn or simulate the latest technique or surgery before making any actual cuts on a patient.  No longer do we have to wait years for surgeons to have access to these new techniques… they are becoming increasingly accessible through these apps.  For example, check out the simulations for breast surgeries.  Remarkable to think we have surgeons fine-tuning their knowledge via an app.

One thing is for sure; we are moving into the future at a rate where technology is revolutionising the way we look at our bodies and the medical world, and what is, and is not, possible.  Hardly anything is seen as impossible in the future… it’s just a matter of time before our scientists, researchers and tech gurus make it possible.

By Trish Hammond for TouchSurgery.com

Touch Surgery Surgical Simulator