Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Reblog] The unidentified cause of one man’s hypertension: Racism

The unidentified cause of one man’s hypertension: Racism.

From the 20 January 2014 Kevin MD post

Meet Damien, my Facebook friend, photographer, and IT guy.

This morning, he messages me: “I would like to make an appointment.”

I reply: “For?”

“High blood pressure.”

 

I offer to see him, but he never comes in. Weeks later, he writes, “I got busy Pam. How are you? High blood pressure pills keep making me sick. I am doing the best I can. On bad days it is like 208/118.”

Friends don’t let Facebook friends die. And 208/118 is incompatible with life. I’m a family doc–a-sleuth. It’s my job to spy on people. On Damien’s page, I find a dozen photos of lynchings — his reaction to today’s Trayvon Martin verdict. A black boy murdered in a land where killers roam free. Trayvon died a senseless death, but Damien shouldn’t have to. I suspect today is a bad day for Damien’s arteries. So I call him up. “I’m worried about you, man. I’m coming over to check on you tonight.” An hour later, I’m in his living room.

…..

July 20, 2014 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] The Lancet: Reducing just 6 risk factors could prevent 37 million deaths from chronic diseases over 15 years

From the 2 May 2014 press release

Reducing or curbing just six modifiable risk factors—tobacco use, harmful alcohol use, salt intake, high blood pressure and blood sugar, and obesity—to globally-agreed target levels could prevent more than 37 million premature deaths over 15 years, from the four main non-communicable diseases (NCDs; cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory disease, cancers, and diabetes) according to new research published in The Lancet.

Worryingly, the findings indicate that not reaching these targets would result in 38.8 million deaths in 2025 from the four main NCDs, 10.5 million deaths more than the 28.3 million who died in 2010.

This is the first study to analyse the impact that reducing globally targeted risk factors will have on the UN’s 25×25 target to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by 25% relative to 2010 levels by 2025.

Using country-level data on deaths and risk factors and epidemiological models, Professor Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London, UK, and colleagues estimate the number of deaths that could be prevented between 2010 and 2025 by reducing the burden of each of the six risk factors to globally-agreed target levels—tobacco use (30% reduction and a more ambitious 50% reduction), alcohol use (10% reduction), salt intake (30% reduction), high blood pressure (25% reduction), and halting the rise in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes.

Overall, the findings suggest that meeting the targets for all six risk factors would reduce the risk of dying prematurely from the four main NCDs by 22% in men and 19% for women in 2025 compared to what they were in 2010. Worldwide, this improvement is equivalent to delaying or preventing at least 16 million deaths in people aged 30󈞲 years and 21 million in those aged 70 years or older over 15 years.

The authors predict that the largest benefits will come from reducing high blood pressure and tobacco use. They calculate that a more ambitious 50% reduction in prevalence of smoking by 2025, rather than the current target of 30%, would reduce the risk of dying prematurely by more than 24% in men and by 20% in women.

…….

 

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May 3, 2014 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] All work and no play… Could too much sitting at work be affecting your health?

From the 11 October 2013 post at Cardiac Exercise Research Group  – The K.G. Jebsen Center for Exercise in Medicine’s blog about exercise and cardiac health

There remains little doubt that lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle represent key health problems in today’s modern society. A quick search on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) website and you’ll find that physical inactivity ranks 4th in the global leading risk factors for mortality, with many countries around the world demonstrating a trend for women to be less active than men. While health organisations around the world are making a concerted effort to encourage the general public to incorporate exercise into their leisure and free time, this may not be the only period of our day that is dominated by sedentary behavior. Work forms one of the largest segments of sedentary time for employed individuals, and current trends have shifted parts of the working population into less active, ‘sitting’ jobs.

But what does this mean for our long-term health? One study, published last month in PLoS ONE, aimed to answer this question by assessing the impact of occupational sitting on the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality from a large number of British men and women. Stamatakis and colleagues gathered data from identical health surveys conducted in England and Scotland between 1994 and 2004. Subjects (5380 women, 5788 men) were classified based on whether the majority of time in their job was spent walking, standing or sitting. Subjects were further categorized on levels of physical activity during free time, alcohol intake, smoking, socioeconomic status, and whether they had cardiovascular disease or cancer at the time of the survey. The mortality rate (number of deaths) was then monitored over a 13 year follow-up period.

Tired businessman sleeping on chair in office with his legs on tThe major findings reported by this study were that standing/walking occupations carried a lower risk of mortality from either all-causes or cancer, in women but not men. When the researchers further compared groups based on free-time physical activity levels, they found that in both men and women, high levels of free-time physical activity coupled with a standing/walking occupation was associated with a lower risk of cancer and all-cause mortality versus low free-time activity coupled with sitting occupation. At first glance, it could be easy to take the results at face value, but there are limitations to the study design which the authors themselves highlight: Much of the data is self-reported, which may introduce bias, especially when it comes to levels of physical activity during free-time. In addition, there was no information available on how long individuals had been in their current jobs, nor was there any data for people switching jobs during the 13 year follow-up, which may have eventually placed them into a different category. The findings are also surprising given that a similar study published earlier in the year, found that even moderate free-time exercise was enough to reduce the risk of both cardiovascular and all-cause mortality, regardless of levels of physical activity in work.

The issue still seems unresolved, and it has also been discussed here on the blog earlier. Current exercise recommendations from the Norwegian Directorate of Health suggest daily physical activity levels should be at least 30 min, a total 3.5 hours per week, which has been shown in a number of studies to confer significant benefits to health and an overall decrease in mortality rates. However, a busy lifestyle, coupled with raising a family may make this target difficult to reach during our leisure time, making activity levels at work a significant factor in overall health. Everything is better than nothing, and maintaining a physically active lifestyle outside of work hours will contribute significantly to achieve the health benefits of exercise. However, if you’re still worried and have been sat at your desk for the last few hours, when you reach the end of this sentence, why not stand up and take a walk?

Allen Kelly, post doc at CERG.

 

 

Read the entire article here

 

October 11, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Why is your waist circumference an important indicator of your health?

From the 30 September 2013 post at Nutrition and Beyone – It’s all about a healthy lifestyle!

How can one simple measurement reveal so much about your health? Let’s start by examining what is behind the waist circumference. This measurement is an easy and non-invasive tool that can estimate visceral fat, aka abdominal fat.

Excessive fat accumulated in the abdomen is characterized as visceral obesity. So, what is visceral obesity? Why is it not desired? Well, starting with the term “obesity”, it is a form of malnutrition which is characterized by an excess of body fat and “visceral” refers to the abdominal area. Increased abdominal fat is associated with increased risk for insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus type 2, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancers, sleep apnea, and the metabolic syndrome. As we can see, abdominal obesity is associated with higher risks of non-communicable diseases and other conditions. So, since abdominal obesity poses a significant number of risks on your health, why not act upon it? Why not be in charge and try to reduce your waist circumference?

Further, the waist circumference has not only been shown to be strongly correlated with risk of diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases, but it has also been integrated in the diagnostic criteria of the metabolic syndrome. Here is a quick definition of the metabolic syndrome; it’s a cluster of risk factors that increase the risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), for a person to have the metabolic syndrome, they must have central obesity, which is defined as a waist circumference equal or higher than 94 cm for males and 80 cm for females, coupled with any two of the following four factors: raised triglycerides, reduced HDL-cholesterol, raised blood pressure, and/or raised fasting plasma glucose.

You can measure your waist circumference after you exhale by using a measuring tape and by placing it horizontally above your hip bone.

waist circumference

In order to decrease your waist circumference to below the values mentioned above, it is recommended to lose weight, to improve the quality and watch the quantity of food you consume, and to be more physically active.

In other words, it is best to adopt a healthy lifestyle!

It is important to note that a precise measurement of visceral fat is challenging in clinical practice and that the waist circumference, which has different ethnicity specific values, is not the only measurement that should be taken into consideration. Other measurements and factors combined with the waist circumference are needed to have a complete description of your cardiometabolic risk.

Joana Abou-Rizk

 

 

 

Read the entire article here

 

October 11, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WHO Issues New Guidance on Dietary Salt and Potassium

An image of a grain of table salt taken using ...

An image of a grain of table salt taken using a scanning electron microscope. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 31 January 2013 press release

 

 

 

Adults should consume less than 2,000 mg of sodium, or 5 grams of salt, and at least 3,510 mg of potassium per day, according to new guidelines issued by the WHO.

 

 

 

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , | Leave a comment

UC Davis study links low wages with hypertension, especially for women and younger workers

This study rightly talks about an association between low wages and hypertension, not a cause/effect.
A public health issue that I hope is pursued at national and local levels.

From the 1 January 2013 EurkAlert article

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — Workers earning the lowest wages have a higher risk of hypertension than workers with the highest wages, according to new research from UC Davis.

The correlation between wages and hypertension was especially strong among women and persons between the ages of 25 to 44.

“We were surprised that low wages were such a strong risk factor for two populations not typically associated with hypertension, which is more often linked with being older and male,” said J. Paul Leigh, senior author of the study and professor of public health sciences at UC Davis. “Our outcome shows that women and younger employees working at the lowest pay scales should be screened regularly for hypertension as well.”

The study, published in the December issue of the European Journal of Public Health, is believed to be the first to isolate the role of wages in hypertension, which occurs when the force of circulating blood against artery walls is too high. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hypertension affects approximately 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. and costs more than $90 billion each year in health-care services, medications and missed work days. It also is a major contributor to heart disease and stroke, both of which are leading causes of death and disability.

While there is a known association between lower socioeconomic status (SES) and hypertension, determining the specific reason for that association has been difficult, according to Leigh. Other researchers have focused on factors such as occupation, job strain, education and insurance coverage, with unclear results. Leigh’s study was the first to focus on wages and hypertension….

f there were 110 million persons employed in the U.S. between the ages of 25 and 65 per year during the entire timeframe of the study — from 1999 until 2005 — then a 10 percent increase in everyone’s wages would have resulted in 132,000 fewer cases of hypertension each year,” said Leigh.

Read the entire article here

 

January 4, 2013 Posted by | Workplace Health | , | Leave a comment

Dentists Could Screen 20 Million Americans For Chronic Physical Illnesses

NYU Study Concludes That Dentists Could Screen 20 Million Americans for Chronic Physical Illnesses

 

From a December 2011 press release of New York University

An Opportunity to Identify Diabetes, Hypertension, and Other Chronic Diseases

Nearly 20 million Americans annually visit a dentist but not a general healthcare provider, according to an NYU study published today in the American Journal of Public Health.

The study, conducted by a nursing-dental research team at NYU, is the first of its kind to determine the proportion of Americans who are seen annually by a dentist but not by a general healthcare provider.

This finding suggests dentists can play a crucial role as health care practitioners in the front-line defense of identifying systemic disease which would otherwise go undetected in a significant portion of the population, say the researchers.

“For these and other individuals, dental professionals are in a key position to assess and detect oral signs and symptoms of systemic health disorders that may otherwise go unnoticed, and to refer patients for follow-up care,” said Dr. Shiela Strauss, an associate professor of nursing at the NYU College of Nursing and co-director of the statistics and data management core for NYU’s Colleges of Nursing and Dentistry.

During the course of a routine dental examination, dentists and dental hygienists, as trained healthcare providers, can take a patient’s health history, check blood pressure, and use direct clinical observation and X-rays to detect risk for systemic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. ……

Read the entire news article

December 27, 2011 Posted by | health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heart disease prevention: A good investment for individuals, communities

From the 25 July 2011 Science Daily article

ScienceDaily (July 25, 2011) — Preventing heart disease before it starts is a good long-term investment in the nation’s health, according to a new policy statement from the American Heart Association.
The policy statement, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, summarizes years of research on the value of investing in prevention, particularly through community-based changes to make it easier to live a healthy lifestyle:

  • Every dollar spent on building trails for walking or biking saves $3 in medical costs.
  • Companies that invest in workers’ health with comprehensive worksite wellness programs and health work environments have less absenteeism, greater productivity and lower healthcare costs.
  • Initiating a nationwide plan to drastically cut the amount of salt in the food supply to support an average intake of 1500 mg per day may reduce high blood pressure in the country by 25 percent, saving $26 billion in healthcare costs annually.

As a call to action, the statement puts an equal amount of responsibility on individuals and on society — specifically federal, state and local policy-makers.
“People often don’t realize the power to stay healthy is in their own hands,” said William S. Weintraub, M.D., lead author of the statement and the John H. Ammon chair of cardiology and cardiology section chief at Christiana Care Health System in Newark, Del. “But it’s not something many individuals or families can do alone. It takes fundamental changes from society as a whole.”
It’s more difficult to make healthy choices in some neighborhoods because it’s hard to find a safe place to bike or a nearby store with fresh vegetables at an affordable price, he said.

Read the rest of this article

July 26, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Pediatrics Professor Calls Sugar Toxic in a Heavily Viewed 2009 YouTube Lecture

Excerpts from a 13 April 2011 New York Times article

On May 26, 2009, Robert Lustig gave a lecture called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth,” which was posted on YouTube the following July. Since then, it has been viewed well over 800,000 times, gaining new viewers at a rate of about 50,000 per month, fairly remarkable numbers for a 90-minute discussion of the nuances of fructose biochemistry and human physiology….

..by “sugar,” Lustig means not only the white granulated stuff that we put in coffee and sprinkle on cereal — technically known as sucrose — but also high-fructose corn syrup, which has already become without Lustig’s help what he calls “the most demonized additive known to man.”….

…The fructose component of sugar and H.F.C.S. is metabolized primarily by the liver, while the glucose from sugar and starches is metabolized by every cell in the body. Consuming sugar (fructose and glucose) means more work for the liver than if you consumed the same number of calories of starch (glucose). And if you take that sugar in liquid form — soda or fruit juices — the fructose and glucose will hit the liver more quickly than if you consume them, say, in an apple (or several apples, to get what researchers would call the equivalent dose of sugar). The speed with which the liver has to do its work will also affect how it metabolizes the fructose and glucose….

..If Lustig is right, then our excessive consumption of sugar is the primary reason that the numbers of obese and diabetic Americans have skyrocketed in the past 30 years. But his argument implies more than that. If Lustig is right, it would mean that sugar is also the likely dietary cause of several other chronic ailments widely considered to be diseases of Western lifestyles — heart disease, hypertension and many common cancers among them….

This  long article goes on to explain how it is believed that an excessive sugar intake leads to fatty livers and accompanying metabolic syndrome. The body, in its inability to use naturally produced insulin, sets the stage for diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer.

May 17, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Dietary Salt Restriction May Be Detrimental to One’s Health (and a rebuttal in the journal Lancet)

For years the conventional medical wisdom has been to reduce salt intake for improved cardiovascular health and reduced hypertension risks.

Now it seems that limiting dietary salt may not only not work as advocated, but also be detrimental to one’s health.

From the 3 May  News@JAMA site (Journal of the American Medical Association)

May 3, 2011
Author Insights: Questioning the Benefits of Salt Restriction
Filed under: Cardiovascular Disease/Myocardial Infarction,Diet,Hypertension,Stroke — Mike Mitka @ 4:09 pm


Research by Jan A. Staessen, MD, PhD, of the University of Leuven in Belgium and colleagues, raises questions regarding whether population-wide sodium restriction will actually lower cardiovascular risks. (Image: University of Leuven)

Research by Jan A. Staessen, MD, PhD, of the University of Leuven in Belgium and colleagues, raises questions regarding whether population-wide sodium restriction will actually lower cardiovascular risks. (Image: University of Leuven)
National policies that advise restricting sodium (salt) intake to reduce the risk of hypertension might not provide the anticipated cardiovascular benefits and may even be detrimental to health, report researchers in an article in today’s JAMA.
In the study, the researchers categorized the 3681 study participants according to sodium intake, using a procedure that measures sodium in the urine over a 24-hour period, considered the gold standard for such assessment. At a median of nearly 8 years later, participants in the group with the lowest sodium intake at the beginning of the trial were significantly more likely than the other 2 groups to die of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers also found that these 3 groups had the same risk of developing hypertension, regardless of initial sodium intake. They did find in a subgroup of 1499 study participants who had sodium intake measured at the beginning and at the end of the study that an increase in sodium intake was associated with an increase in systolic (but not diastolic) blood pressure. However, this relationship did not result in a higher risk of complications from hypertension or cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack or stroke.

Jan A. Staessen, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of Leuven in Belgium and one of the study’s authors, discusses his team’s findings:

news@JAMA: Are you surprised by your results?

Dr Staessen: Not so much. We started this research more than 25 years ago, and in all our studies, it was almost impossible to find an association between blood pressure and 24-hour sodium excretion. We were a bit surprised to see an inverse relationship between sodium intake and cardiovascular death.

news@JAMA: Why would lowering sodium intake possibly increase cardiovascular risk?

Dr Staessen: Ours is an epidemiological study so we cannot be sure of the underlying mechanism. But if you decrease sodium intake a lot, you activate some of the systems that conserve sodium and they are known to have a negative influence on cardiovascular outcomes. This may be an underlying mechanism.

news@JAMA: Where does your study fit into the discussion of mandating sodium restriction in foods to improve health, as advocated by some public health officials and government agencies?

Dr Staessen: One should be very careful when one wants to implement [sodium restriction], as it is based on short-term studies mainly in hypertensive populations. Whether one can extrapolate these short-term results over the long term remains to be seen, especially as our study and 2 previous studies have shown an inverse association between sodium intake and mortality.

news@JAMA: What is needed to provide a clearer picture of the benefits and risks of controlling sodium consumption?

Dr Staessen: What one needs is a long-term interventional study to look at cardiovascular complications. Reducing blood pressure is not what one is in this for. You want to show that it actually changes cardiovascular outcomes.

        “A new eight year long European study concludes that salt consumption is not dangerous and may in fact be beneficial. This is certainly contrary to advice from American Medical Association, American Heart Association and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which says higher sodium consumption can increase the risk of heart disease. It’s not unusual to see differing opinions, but what are we ordinary folks to make of the controversy? The study followed 3,681 middle-aged Europeans who did not have high blood pressure or heart disease at the start of the study…”

May 7, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

Blood pressure: 100 million Americans may be unnecessarily labeled abnormal

Blood pressure: 100 million Americans may be unnecessarily labeled abnormal

From a March 9 2011 Science Daily news item

ScienceDaily (Mar. 9, 2011) — As many as 100 million Americans may currently be misclassified as having abnormal blood pressure, according to Dr. Brent Taylor from the Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota and his colleagues. Their findings show that these people are not actually more likely to die prematurely than those with ‘normal’ blood pressure, i.e. below 120/80. Taylor and colleagues’ article in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, published by Springer, also shows that in those under 50, diastolic blood pressure* is the more important predictor of mortality, whereas in those over 50, systolic blood pressure* is the stronger predictor. The authors argue it is time to consider a new definition of ‘normal’ blood pressure.

March 10, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol (CDC Vital Signs Feature Issue)

CDC Vital Signs™ – Learn about the latest public health data. Read CDC Vital Signs™…

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vital Signs offers recent data and calls to action for important public health issues.

CDC launched a new program called CDC Vital Signs, which includes an MMWR Early Release, a fact sheet and website, a media release, and a series of announcements via social media tools.

Vital Signs will be released the first Tuesday of every month. Issues include colorectal and breast cancer screening, obesity, alcohol and tobacco use, access to health care, HIV testing, seat belt use, cardiovascular disease, teen pregnancy and infant mortality, healthcare-associated infections, asthma, and foodborne disease.

EKG representation showing that 68 million US adults have high blood pressure (37 million are uncontrolled and 20 million are untreated) and 71 million US adults have high LDL cholesterol (48 million are uncontrolled and 37 million are untreated).Graphic: Body

The feature issue High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol includes and overview, latest findings, outline of what can be done, and links to related social media (as Facebook and Twitter)

Related news items


February 12, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CDC Reports Most Americans with High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol are Not Being Treated Effectively

Main complications of persistent high blood pr...

Image via Wikipedia

CDC Reports Most Americans with High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol are Not Being Treated Effectively
http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2011/p0201_vitalsigns.html?s_cid=2011_p0201_vitalsigns
Two out of three U.S. adults with high cholesterol and half of U.S. adults with high blood pressure are not being treated effectively, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Among the findings in the Vital Signs Report:

  • By the Numbers – High Blood Pressure
    • 1 in 3 Adults has high blood pressure
    • 1 in 3 Adults with high blood pressure does not get treatment
    • 1 in 2 Adults with high blood pressure does not have it under control
  • By the Numbers – High Cholesterol
    • 1 in 3 Adults has high cholesterol
    • 1 in 2 Adults with high cholesterol does not get treatment
    • 2 in 3 Adults with high cholesterol do not have it under control
  • Is Your Medication Raising Your Cholesterol? (everydayhealth.com)
  • Study Suggests That ‘Bad’ Cholesterol Is Not As Bad As People Think (6 May 2011, Medical News Today)

    “The so-called “badcholesterol” – low-density lipoprotein, commonly called LDL – may not be so bad after all, shows a Texas A&M University study that casts new light on the cholesterol debate, particularly among adults who exercise. “

    “Riechman and colleagues examined 52 adults from ages to 60 to 69 who were in generally good health but not physically active, and none of them were participating in a training program. The study showed that after fairly vigorous workouts, participants who had gained the most muscle mass also had the highest levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, “a very unexpected result and one that surprised us.

    “It shows that you do need a certain amount of LDL to gain more muscle mass. There’s no doubt you need both – the LDL and the HDL – and the truth is, it (cholesterol) is all good. You simply can’t remove all the ‘bad’ cholesterol from your body without serious problems occurring. “

    “”Our tissues need cholesterol, and LDL delivers it,” he notes. “HDL, the good cholesterol, cleans up after the repair is done. And the more LDL you have in your blood, the better you are able to build muscle during resistance training.”

    Riechman says the study could be helpful in looking at a condition called sarcopenia, which is muscle loss due to aging. Previous studies show muscle is usually lost at a rate of 5 percent per decade after the age of 40, a huge concern since muscle mass is the major determinant of physical strength. After the age of 60, the prevalence of moderate to severe sarcopenia is found in about 65 percent of all men and about 30 percent of all women, and it accounts for more than $18 billion of health care costs in the United States.

    “The bottom line is that LDL – the bad cholesterol – serves as a reminder that something is wrong and we need to find out what it is,” Riechman says.

    “It gives us warning signs. Is smoking the problem, is it diet, is it lack of exercise that a person’s cholesterol is too high? It plays a very useful role, does the job it was intended to do, and we need to back off by always calling it ‘bad’ cholesterol because it is not totally bad.”

  • Diagnosing High Cholesterol (everydayhealth.com)
  • Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet for High Cholesterol (everydayhealth.com)

February 7, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Solar-powered device affordable, reliable tool to measure blood pressure

From a November 8, 2010 American Heart Association news release

DALLAS, Nov. 8, 2010 — A new solar-powered device to measure blood pressure may help slow the worldwide increase in cardiovascular disease by providing affordable and reliable blood pressure testing in low income countries, according to research published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.***

 

The solar powered device — 94 percent in agreement with the standard blood pressure testing method for systolic blood pressure — is in field testing in Uganda and Zambia, Africa.

 

“The incidence of hypertension is rising dramatically in these countries,” said Eoin O’Brien, M.D., lead author of the study and professor in Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research at the University College Dublin in Belfield, Dublin, Ireland. “Hypertension leads to stroke and heart attack as the major cause of death around the world. It is greater than malnutrition, cancer and AIDS.”

 

Many low-income countries have a short supply of trained medical personnel, he said. “We have been able to provide an accurate, robust and inexpensive device to diagnose high blood pressure. It’s a start. If we can’t measure blood pressure, we certainly can’t begin to treat hypertension.”

 

Study Highlights:***

 

  • A new solar powered, automated blood pressure monitoring device was equally accurate as the standard device that measures systolic blood pressure.
  • The device was favored by health professionals and patients when tested in Africa.
  • The new device eliminates the need for batteries, which are expensive and scarce in low economic settings.

 

*** Click here for tips on how to obtain this article for free or at low cost

    November 11, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , , | Leave a comment

    Barbers: Cut, Shave, Lower Your Blood Pressure

    [Editor Flahiff comment : this press release  reminds me of an article I read about 20 years ago. Beauticians were trained to refer clients to social service/health agencies when hearing their clients talk about issues touching on abuse and other safety and health issues]

     

    From an October 25 Reuters Health press release

    By Alison McCook

    EW YORK (Reuters Health) – Black men with hypertension appear to benefit from regular blood pressure checks and advice from a somewhat unlikely source – their barbers.

    A new study finds that training barbers to check their patrons’ blood pressure, offer advice and anecdotes, and even help refer the clients to a doctor if they don’t have one, appears to help men get their blood pressure under control.

    Nationwide, barbershops are increasingly becoming a source of health information and a locus for health outreach, according to the authors led by Dr. Ronald G. Victor, associate director of Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in California, and this study shows it is a type of intervention that can work.

    “It’s a proof-of-concept study,” Victor told Reuters Health.

    Millions of African-American men have high blood pressure, and most do not have it under control – putting them at risk of serious illness and death. Barbershops are community gathering spots for black men, some of whom have been clients for years, visiting once every three to four weeks. As a result, some researchers have asked: Why not work health information into the cut and shave?

    In the current study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Victor and his team asked patrons of 17 black-owned barbershops in Dallas County, Texas, to be screened for hypertension. They found that 45 percent of the shops’ clientele had hypertension, but only 38 percent of the men had brought their blood pressure down to a safe level….

    [Editor Flahiff's note: This article is only available online through paid subscription. Check with a local medical, academic, or public library for availability. The library may charge a fee for access or for a copy. It would be wise to call ahead and ask a reference librarian for details]

    October 27, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , | 1 Comment

       

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