The Amount Of Alcohol That Raises Your Blood Pressure

This popular beverage causes high blood pressure and cardiovascular risks.

This popular beverage causes high blood pressure and cardiovascular risks.

Having more than one alcoholic drink a day increases the risk of hypertension by nearly 80 percent, a study reveals.

Moderate drinking — which is defined as 8 to 14 alcoholic drinks weekly — results in severe high blood pressure.

Researchers looked into the connection between the amount of drinking and blood pressure among more than 10,000 people with type 2 diabetes in the USA and Canada.

Subjects were divided into different groups based on alcohol consumption levels:

  • those who consumed none,
  • those who had 1 to 7 drinks a week (light),
  • those who drank 8 to 14 a week (moderate),
  • and those who drank 15 or more a week (heavy).

The unit for one alcoholic drink was 1.5 oz (45 ml) of hard liquor, 5 oz (148 ml) glass of wine, or 12 oz (355 ml) of beer.

A normal blood pressure in the study was classified as below 120/80 mm Hg, elevated was higher than 120/80 mm Hg, stage 1 hypertension ranging from 130 to 139 mm Hg/80 to 89 mm Hg, and stage 2 hypertension as 140 mm Hg/90 mm Hg or higher.

Dr Matthew Singleton, the senior study author, said:

“This is the first large study to specifically investigate the association of alcohol intake and hypertension among adults with Type 2 diabetes.

Previous studies have suggested that heavy alcohol consumption was associated with high blood pressure, however, the association of moderate alcohol consumption with high blood pressure was unclear.”

Here is a summary of their findings:

  • Light drinking didn’t cause high blood pressure.
  • The odds for high blood pressure were raised by 79 percent, stage 1 and stage 2 hypertension by 66 percent and 62 percent respectively with moderate drinking.
  • The odds for high blood pressure increased by 91 percent, stage 1 and stage 2 hypertension by 149 percent and 204 percent respectively with heavy drinking.
  • Finally, the likelihood of having severe hypertension got higher and higher with increases in alcohol consumption.

Dr Singleton said:

“Though light to moderate alcohol consumption may have positive effects on cardiovascular health in the general adult population, both moderate and heavy alcohol consumption appear to be independently associated with higher odds of high blood pressure among those with Type 2 diabetes.

Lifestyle modification, including tempering alcohol consumption, may be considered in patients with Type 2 diabetes, particularly if they are having trouble controlling their blood pressure.

People with Type 2 diabetes are at higher cardiovascular risk, and our findings indicate that alcohol consumption is associated with hypertension, so limited drinking is recommended.”

The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (Mayl et al., 2020).

The Best Way To Lower Your Blood Pressure

Symptoms of high blood pressure include a pounding in the chest, blood in the urine, and severe headaches.

Symptoms of high blood pressure include a pounding in the chest, blood in the urine, and severe headaches.

Exercise is highly effective in lowering blood pressure but scientists say there is one condition.

Antibacterial mouthwash will ruin the effect of exercise on lowering blood pressure by killing oral bacteria, a study has found.

Rinsing the mouth with antibacterial mouthwash rather than water destroys oral bacteria that are vital for cardiovascular health.

Exercise increases the production of nitric oxide, which relaxes the muscles of the blood vessels and so this enhances blood flow circulation in the body.

A compound called nitrate is produced by the salivary glands, then converted into nitrite by bacteria in the mouth.

This molecule is the main source of nitric oxide, therefore if oral bacteria are destroyed, there won’t be any production of these molecules.

As a result, exercise will be ineffective in lowering blood since the blood vessels remain narrow.

Dr Raul Bescos, the study’s lead author, said:

“It’s all to do with nitric oxide degrading into a compound called nitrate.

Nitrate can be absorbed in the salivary glands and excreted with saliva in the mouth.

Some species of bacteria in the mouth can use nitrate and convert into nitrite — a very important molecule that can enhance the production of nitric oxide in the body.

And when nitrite in saliva is swallowed, part of this molecule is rapidly absorbed into the circulation and reduced back to nitric oxide.

This helps to maintain a widening of blood vessels which leads to a sustained lowering of blood pressure after exercise.”

In this study, a group of healthy adults were told to run on a treadmill for 30 minutes on two separate occasion.

After exercise, they were asked to rinse their mouth with antibacterial mouthwash or a placebo (mint-flavoured water) without knowing which one was real.

Their results showed that after rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash, the effect of exercise on lowering blood pressure was shrunk by 60 percent within 1 hour after exercise.

The blood pressure lowering effect was completely destroyed after only two hours of exercise.

The blood nitrite levels in participants didn’t increase after exercise once they used antibacterial mouthwash.

But, when participants used the placebo, their nitrite levels were increased, suggesting the importance of oral bacteria.

Mr Craig Cutler, the study’s first author, said:

“These findings show that nitrite synthesis by oral bacteria is hugely important in kick-starting how our bodies react to exercise over the first period of recovery, promoting lower blood pressure and greater muscle oxygenation.

In effect, it’s like oral bacteria are the ‘key’ to opening up the blood vessels.

If they are removed, nitrite can’t be produced and the vessels remain in their current state.”

The study was published in the journal of Free Radical Biology and Medicine (Cutler et al., 2019).

A Relaxing Way To Lower Blood Pressure

A thoroughly pleasant method for lowering your blood pressure.

A thoroughly pleasant method for lowering your blood pressure.

Taking a short nap in the afternoons lowers blood pressure, new research finds.

An afternoon nap is as powerful as reducing alcohol and salt and almost as good as taking medication.

Taking naps could reduce heart attack risk by 10 percent — possibly more if the naps are longer.

Around half of all Americans have high blood pressure (the figure is around 30 percent in the UK).

Many, however, are unaware since it typically has no symptoms.

The condition raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Dr Manolis Kallistratos, the study’s first author, said:

“Midday sleep appears to lower blood pressure levels at the same magnitude as other lifestyle changes.

For example, salt and alcohol reduction can bring blood pressure levels down by 3 to 5 mm Hg.”

The study included 212 people whose average age was 62.

People took an afternoon nap for an average of 49 minutes.

The results showed that taking a nap each day was linked to lowering blood pressure by an average of 5 mm/Hg.

Dr Kallistratos said:

“These findings are important because a drop in blood pressure as small as 2 mm Hg can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack by up to 10 percent.

Based on our findings, if someone has the luxury to take a nap during the day, it may also have benefits for high blood pressure.”

In addition, the results showed that for each hour of napping blood pressure was reduced by 3 mm/Hg.

Dr Kallistratos said:

“We obviously don’t want to encourage people to sleep for hours on end during the day, but on the other hand, they shouldn’t feel guilty if they can take a short nap, given the potential health benefits.

Even though both groups were receiving the same number of medications and blood pressure was well controlled, there was still a significant decrease in blood pressure among those who slept during midday.”

The study was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 68th Annual Scientific Session (Poulimenos et al., 2019).

This Common Vegetable Lowers Blood Pressure

The vegetable lowered the blood pressure of those already taking medication.

The vegetable lowered the blood pressure of those already taking medication.

Eating potatoes reduces blood pressure without causing weight gain, a study has found.

Two servings of spuds per day, with skins, are almost as effective at lowering blood pressure as eating oatmeal.

Most of the people in the study were already taking blood pressure medication, but the potatoes had an additional effect.

However, the potatoes need to be cooked without oil, and preferably in a microwave oven, to preserve their nutrients.

Unfortunately, for those who like French fries, the frying process appears to destroy the healthy substances in the potatoes.

The potatoes used in the study were purple skinned, because they contain beneficial phytochemicals.

Red and white skinned potatoes probably contain these as well.

Dr Joe Vinson, the study’s first author, said:

“The potato, more than perhaps any other vegetable, has an undeserved bad reputation that has led many health-conscious people to ban them from their diet.

Mention ‘potato’ and people think ‘fattening, high-carbs, empty calories’.

In reality, when prepared without frying and served without butter, margarine or sour cream, one potato has only 110 calories and dozens of healthful phytochemicals and vitamins.

We hope our research helps to remake the potato’s popular nutritional image.”

The study included 18 people with high blood pressure who were mostly overweight.

Half the participants ate 6-8 small microwaved purple potatoes twice a day for four weeks.

The other half ate no potatoes four weeks, then each group switched to the other diet.

The results showed that diastolic blood pressure dropped 4.3 percent when people ate the potatoes.

Systolic blood pressure dropped 3.5 percent while eating potatoes.

Most were already taking blood pressure medication, but still saw a further drop.

The study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (Vinson et al., 2012).

The Best Blood Pressure Medication

The most popular medication to treat high blood pressure is not as effective as this drug.

The most popular medication to treat high blood pressure is not as effective as this drug.

ACE inhibitors such as Benazepril (Lotensin) and Captopril are commonly prescribed to treat blood pressure.

These work by relaxing and widening the blood vessels.

However, a study suggests that these popular drugs are less effective than thiazide or thiazide-like diuretics.

Thiazides are diuretic drugs that are often prescribed to lower blood pressure as they help the kidneys to remove extra salt and water through urine.

Researchers analyzed the health records of 5 million patients who were on antihypertensive drugs.

They found that those who were on thiazides had 15 percent fewer hospitalizations for heart failure, heart attacks, and strokes than those on ACE inhibitors.

According to this study, if patients were started on thiazides instead of ACE inhibitors, about 3,100 major cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, could have been avoided.

What is more, patients on ACE inhibitors experienced more side-effects than those who began with thiazide diuretics.

Researches also noticed that non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers treatment was the least effective of all five first-line drug classes.

The other two first-line drugs for treating hypertension are dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs).

First-line drugs are the first medication that doctors use to treat a disease or illness based on clinical effectiveness and fewer side-effects.

Surprisingly, 48% of hypertensive patients are treated with ACE inhibitors, whereas 17% of patients are prescribed a thiazide diuretic.

Current clinical guidelines consider all these five different drugs effective and safe but there is not enough evidence to help doctors choose which one to start with.

Dr George Hripcsak, study co-author, said:

“Randomized clinical trials demonstrate a drug’s effectiveness and safety in a highly defined patient population.

But they’re not good at making comparisons among multiple drug classes in a diverse group of patients that you would encounter in the real world.”

Unintentionally or not, journals and authors tend to publish studies that have exciting results, and researchers may even select analytical methods that are best suited to getting the results that fit their hypotheses.

It comes down to a cherry-picking exercise, which makes the results less reliable.”

The study was published in The Lancet (Suchard et al., 2019).

The Best Treatment For High Blood Pressure

A simple “prescription” for those with high blood pressure and cholesterol.

A simple “prescription” for those with high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Moving more and sitting less is the best “prescription” and should be the first treatment option for lowering blood cholesterol or hypertension, according to an American Heart Association (AHA) statement.

Physical activity (referring to all movement) should be the first-line of therapy for people with mild to moderately elevated blood pressure or cholesterol.

Healthy adults should incorporate movement — including during leisure time — in their daily lifestyle to reduce heart disease risk.

High blood pressure is a common health condition, nearly 1 in 2 of American adults has hypertension and only 1 in 4 keep the condition under control.

According to the study, increasing physical activity is an excellent treatment option for the 37 percent of US adults with slightly to moderate raised cholesterol levels and 21 percent with mild to moderately raised blood pressure.

Dr Bethany Barone Gibbs, the study’s first author, said:

“The current American Heart Association guidelines for diagnosing high blood pressure and cholesterol recognize that otherwise healthy individuals with mildly or moderately elevated levels of these cardiovascular risk factors should actively attempt to reduce these risks.

The first treatment strategy for many of these patients should be healthy lifestyle changes beginning with increasing physical activity.”

Individuals at low risk of heart disease or stroke, but having a systolic (top number) blood pressure between 120-139 mm Hg and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure between 80-89 mm Hg, or those with an LDL cholesterol level of above 70 mg/dL would meet the AHA statement on lifestyle-only treatment for high blood pressure.

Dr Gibbs said:

“Increasing physical activity can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, along with many other health benefits.”

Increasing physical activity reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressure at least 4 mm Hg and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol level by 6 mg/dL.

According to the physical activity guidelines, people should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity plus two or more sessions of muscle strengthening exercises per week.

Although, as Dr Gibbs says :

“Every little bit of activity is better than none.

Even small initial increases of 5 to 10 minutes a day can yield health benefits.”

According to the statement ‘Exercise is Medicine’, so clinicians should provide training “prescriptions” including:

  • Patients to report their physical activity by answering specific questions or using a wearable device.
  • Provide patients with exercise plans and link them to health coaches or local resources to improve their physical activity.
  • Encourage patients to enjoy activities and increase exercises like climbing stairs and brisk walking.

Dr Gibbs concluded:

“In our world where physical activity is increasingly engineered out of our lives and the overwhelming default is to sit — and even more so now as the nation and the world is practicing quarantine and isolation to reduce the spread of coronavirus — the message that we must be relentless in our pursuit to ‘sit less and move more’ throughout the day is more important than ever.”

The study was published in the journal Hypertension (Gibbs et al., 2021).

5 Foods That Lower Blood Pressure

Around one-in-three people in the US suffer from high blood pressure.

Around one-in-three people in the US suffer from high blood pressure.

Spinach, beans, bananas, avocados and even coffee are among the foods that could lower blood pressure, research finds.

All contain potassium which, along with lower sodium, can help to reduce hypertension.

Around 5 grams of potassium per day is required to lower blood pressure.

Three-quarters of a cup of black beans would provide half this amount.

Around one-in-three people in the US suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure).

Around half of all deaths from heart disease and stroke are caused by hypertension.

Professor Alicia McDonough, the study’s first author, said:

“Decreasing sodium intake is a well-established way to lower blood pressure, but evidence suggests that increasing dietary potassium may have an equally important effect on hypertension.”

The conclusions come from a scientific review of the link between sodium and potassium intake and blood pressure.

The results showed that people who consumed more potassium had lower blood pressure, regardless of the amount of sodium they had in their diet.

The body automatically balances sodium and potassium levels.

Professor McDonough said:

“When dietary potassium is high, kidneys excrete more salt and water, which increases potassium excretion.

Eating a high potassium diet is like taking a diuretic.”

Salt tastes so good because our ancient ancestors got little in their diet.

On other hand, they got plenty of potassium since their diet was high in fruits, roots, vegetables and beans.

Modern processed foods, though, contain high levels of salt to satisfy our inbuilt cravings.

Professor McDonough said:

“If you eat a typical Western diet, your sodium intake is high and your potassium intake is low.

This significantly increases your chances of developing high blood pressure.

The study was published in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology And Metabolism (McDonough et al., 2017).

2 Activities Combined That Double Weight Loss

A combination of these two activities reduces blood pressure and body weight by twice as much.

A combination of these two activities reduces blood pressure and body weight by twice as much.

Aerobic exercise and yoga together lead to double the weight loss, a study reveals.

The combination also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels by twice as much as doing aerobic exercise or yoga only.

Physical activity and diet interventions have been shown to help heart disease patients and even lower the risk of death when used alongside medical treatments.

The study examined the effect of Indian yoga when combined with aerobics in obese people with type 2 diabetes who also suffered from heart disease.

Yoga is a physical workout and mental practice, while aerobic training is a physical exercise with higher intensity which improves blood flow and cardiovascular fitness.

They divided the coronary heart disease patients into three groups;  one doing Indian yoga, another aerobic exercise, and the third doing both.

All participants had to do three sessions a week for 6 months.

During this period the research team checked the effect of each exercise on coronary risk factors.

Both yoga and aerobic exercise when practiced alone lowered patients’ weight, waist circumference, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure in equal amounts.

But all these risk factors were reduced twice more in patients who combined aerobic exercise and yoga.

In addition, their exercise capacity, diastolic and systolic functions were improved significantly.

Diastolic function refers to when the heart relaxes fast enough after each beat and systolic function is associated with the left ventricle (one of the chambers of the heart) that pumps the blood to the cells.

Dr Sonal Tanwar, presenting the study, said:

“Combined Indian yoga and aerobic exercise reduce mental, physical and vascular stress and can lead to decreased cardiovascular mortality and morbidity.”

A study on hot yoga which is a more rigorous workout than traditional yoga, has shown that it can reduce high blood pressure effectively without medication.

The study was presented at the 8th Emirates Cardiac Society Congress in collaboration with the American College of Cardiology Middle East Conference, 2017.

The Tasty Food That Lowers Blood Pressure

The food that can reverse the damage done to blood vessels caused by a high-sodium diet.

The food that can reverse the damage done to blood vessels caused by a high-sodium diet.

Eating dairy products like cheese can cancel out the damage caused by salt to the body, a study has found.

Eating cheese helps protect blood vessels from injury caused by salty foods due to the high amount of antioxidants it contains.

However, a diet high in salt increases oxidative stress, which is an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals in the body.

This will result in vascular dysfunction which causes high blood pressure and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study examined a group of healthy adults without salt sensitivity who were non-smokers and taking no medications.

Salt sensitivity in blood pressure terms means sudden or immediate increase of blood pressure after eating a food high in salt.

These subjects, when given a diet containing 5.5 gram (g) of sodium per day, experienced stiffness, narrowing of the arteries and dysfunction of blood vessels.

But, the negative effect of a high sodium diet was removed when they ate four servings of cheese — equivalent to 170 g of cheese a day.

Past studies have shown a link between dairy products such as cheeses high in sodium and an improvement in heart health.

Professor Lacy Alexander, study co-author, explained:

“Studies have shown that people who consume the recommended number of dairy servings each day typically have lower blood pressure and better cardiovascular health in general.

We wanted to look at those connections more closely as well as explore some of the precise mechanisms by which cheese, a dairy product, may affect heart health.

Sodium is a mineral essential to the human body, but high sodium intake can cause high blood pressure which increases the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

According to the American Heart Association, the ideal amount of daily sodium consumption is 1.5 g (or 3.75 g salt) with a limit of no more than 2.3 g of sodium (or 5.75 g salt) intake per day.

Dr Billie Alba, the study’s first author, said:

“While there’s a big push to reduce dietary sodium, for a lot of people it’s difficult.

Possibly being able to incorporate more dairy products, like cheese, could be an alternative strategy to reduce cardiovascular risk and improve vessel health without necessarily reducing total sodium.”

Choosing cheese over non dairy sources of sodium might help people to have a balanced and tastier diet as well as accruing the health benefits from dairy foods.

The study was published in The Journal of Nutrition (Alba et al., 2019).

The Simple Technique That Lowers Blood Pressure

By following this simple but effective step, you can keep high blood pressure at bay.

By following this simple but effective step, you can keep high blood pressure at bay.

Simple self-monitoring of blood pressure can help motivate people to keep the level down, research finds.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a dangerous condition that causes damage to the blood vessels and leads to life-threatening diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.

The study suggests that self-monitoring blood pressure encourages people with hypertension to stick with an exercise training program.

Dr Amanda Zaleski, the study’s first author, said:

“We know that hypertension is the most common and costly, but modifiable, chronic condition in the U.S. and world.

We know that regular aerobic exercise lowers blood pressure on average to the order of five to seven points, and these reductions are even greater for those with higher baseline blood pressure.”

The problem is that high blood pressure doesn’t show any obvious symptoms.

Besides that, not knowing or understanding blood pressure levels can cause frustration in patients.

For the study, subjects with hypertension were engaged in a aerobic exercise training program for 12 weeks.

The researchers trained half of them to self-administer a blood pressure test before and after exercising, while the other half did not do so.

All had to do a moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for 40-50 minutes three times a week.

Dr Zaleski said:

“This is really powerful for someone with hypertension because it enables them to demonstrate to themselves that their blood pressure is lower on days they exercise than on days that they do not.

There are very few chronic conditions that respond this way to exercise.

Imagine if an individual with overweight/obesity lost five to seven pounds after a single bout of exercise?”

By the end of the 12 weeks, the self-monitoring group had a 10 point reduction in blood pressure, whereas the other group lowered their pressure by only five points.

Four weeks after the study ended, the self-monitoring group were still engaged with exercise at about 70 percent of the level of their previous training.

The other group, though, were only exercising at 30 percent of their previous level.

Continuing to self-monitor blood pressure also encouraged this group to get involved in more physical activity and exercise for at least 45 minutes, around 3 times a week.

In comparison, the other group’s physical activity was down to only 19 minutes one day a week.

Dr Zaleski said:

“That was really promising to us, demonstrating that if they’re out on their own in the free living world, with all of the other confounders that can come into play — like stress, family, vacations — that even without our team holding them accountable, the favorable effects of blood pressure self-monitoring still held true.”

The study was published in the Journal of Hypertension (Zaleski et al., 2019).

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