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High-Blood-Pressure

Recognize the dangers of high blood pressure

What causes high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. The heart pumps blood into the arteries (blood vessels), which carry the blood throughout the body. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood out to the body and contributes to hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, to stroke, kidney disease, and to the development of heart failure.

What Is “Normal” Blood Pressure?

A blood pressure reading has a top number (systolic) and bottom number (diastolic). The ranges are:
Normal: Less than 120 over 80 (120/80)
Prehypertension: 120-139 over 80-89
Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159 over 90-99
Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above over 100 and above
High blood pressure in people over age 60: 150 and above over 90 and above

People whose blood pressure is above the normal range should consult their doctor about steps to take to lower it.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

The exact causes of high blood pressure are not known, but several factors and conditions may play a role in its development, including:

Smoking
Being overweight or obese
Lack of physical activity
Too much salt in the diet
Too much alcohol consumption (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day)
Stress
Older age
Genetics
Family history of high blood pressure
Chronic kidney disease
Adrenal and thyroid disorders
Sleep apnea
Essential Hypertension

In as many as 95% of reported high blood pressure cases in the U.S., the underlying cause cannot be determined. This type of high blood pressure is called “essential hypertension.”

 

Though essential hypertension remains somewhat mysterious, it has been linked to certain risk factors. High blood pressure tends to run in families and is more likely to affect men than women. Age and race also play a role. In the United States, blacks are twice as likely as whites to have high blood pressure, although the gap begins to narrow around age 44. After age 65, black women have the highest incidence of high blood pressure.

What Causes High Blood Pressure? continued…

Essential hypertension is also greatly influenced by diet and lifestyle. The link between salt and high blood pressure is especially compelling. People living on the northern islands of Japan eat more salt per capita than anyone else in the world and have the highest incidence of essential hypertension. By contrast, people who add no salt to their food show virtually no traces of essential hypertension.

The majority of all people with high blood pressure are “salt sensitive,” meaning that anything more than the minimal bodily need for salt is too much for them and increases their blood pressure. Other factors that can raise the risk of having essential hypertension include obesity; diabetes; stress; insufficient intake of potassium, calcium, and magnesium; lack of physical activity; and chronic alcohol consumption.

Secondary Hypertension

When a direct cause for high blood pressure can be identified, the condition is described as secondary hypertension. Among the known causes of secondary hypertension, kidney disease ranks highest. Hypertension can also be triggered by tumors or other abnormalities that cause the adrenal glands (small glands that sit atop the kidneys) to secrete excess amounts of the hormones that elevate blood pressure. Birth control pills — specifically those containing estrogen — and pregnancy can boost blood pressure, as can medications that constrict blood vessels.

Who Is More Likely to Develop High Blood Pressure?

People with family members who have high blood pressure
Smokers
African-Americans
Pregnant women
Women who take birth control pills
People over the age of 35
People who are overweight or obese
People who are not active
People who drink alcohol excessively
People who eat too many fatty foods or foods with too much salt
People who have sleep apnea

source : http://www.webmd.com/

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smokes

Smoking is dangerous to your health

Are you a heavy smoker? stop so that you avoid serious diseases.

You probably know about  the relationship between smoking and lung cancer, but did you know smoking is also linked to heart disease, stroke and other chronic lung diseases?  Smoking can also increase your risk for cancer of the bladder, throat and mouth, kidneys, cervix and pancreas.  Thinking about quitting? Look at the facts!

Why you should quit?

  • Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the United States.
  • Almost one third of deaths from coronary heart disease are attributable to smoking and secondhand smoke.
  • Smoking is linked to about 90% of lung cancer cases in the United States.
  • About 20 percent of adult men and about 16 percent of adult women smoke.
  • The highest percentage of people who smoke are between the ages of 21 and 34.
  • About 54 percent of American children ages 3-11 are exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • On average, smokers die more than 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.
  • You can be one of the millions of people who successfully quit every year.

What makes cigarettes so toxic and dangerous?

There are more than 5,000 chemical components found in cigarette smoke and hundreds of them are harmful to human health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here are a few examples:

  • 1,3-Butadiene is a chemical used to manufacture rubber. It is considered to be a carcinogenic chemical that can cause certain blood cancers.
  • Arsenic is used to preserve wood. Some arsenic compounds have been linked to cancer of the lung, skin, liver, and bladder.
  • Benzene is used to manufacture other chemicals. It can cause cancer, particularly leukemia, in humans.
  • Cadmium is a metal used to make batteries. Cadmium and cadmium compounds can cause lung cancer and have been associated with kidney and prostate cancer.
  • Chromium VI is used to make alloy metals, paint and dyes. Chromium VI compounds cause lung cancer and have been associated with cancer of the nose and nasal sinuses.
  • Formaldehyde is used to make other chemicals and resins. It is also used as a preservative. Formaldehyde causes leukemia and cancer in respiratory tissues.
  • Polonium-210 is a radioactive element that has been shown to cause cancer in animals.
  • Tar is not one single chemical, instead it describes several chemicals that are in tobacco smoke. It leaves a sticky, brown residue on your lungs, teeth and fingernails.

Carbon monoxide & nicotine: A dangerous duo

Carbon monoxide is a harmful gas you inhale when you smoke.  Once in your lungs, it’s transferred to your bloodstream.  Carbon monoxide decreases the amount of oxygen that is carried in the red blood cells.  It also increases the amount of cholesterol that is deposited into the inner lining of the arteries which, over time, can cause the arteries to harden.  This leads to heart disease, artery disease and possibly heart attack.

Nicotine is a dangerous and highly addictive chemical. It can cause an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, flow of blood to the heart and a narrowing of the arteries (vessels that carry blood). Nicotine may also contribute to the hardening of the arterial walls, which in turn, may lead to a heart attack. This chemical can stay in your body for six to eight hours depending on how often you smoke.  Also, as with most addictive substances, there are some side effects of withdrawal.

Second-Hand Smoke

Smokers aren’t the only ones affected by tobacco smoke. Secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard for nonsmokers, especially children. Nonsmokers who have high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol have an even greater risk of developing heart diseases when they’re exposed to secondhand smoke.

Secondhand tobacco smoke contributes to about 34,000 premature heart disease deaths and 7,300 lung cancer deaths. Studies show that the risk of developing heart disease is about 25-30 percent higher among people exposed to environmental tobacco smoke at home or work. Secondhand smoke promotes illness, too. Children of smokers have many more respiratory infections than do children of nonsmokers. Excerpted and adapted from “When Risk Factors Unite,” appearing in the Stroke Connection Magazine January/February 2005 (Science update May 2008)

These are just a few of the dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes; there are many more.  But you do not have to spend the rest of your life giving in to your addiction! Thousands of people kick the habit every year, and you can be one of them.  It may not be easy, but you can do it!

SOURCE : http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/QuitSmoking/QuittingSmoking/Smoking-Do-you-really-know-the-risks_UCM_322718_Article.jsp#.V6NLrvlTLIU

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