Blood Pressure

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Do You Take Omega 3 Fish Oils? Are You Taking Enough?

After reading this post see this link for an UPDATE: Should I Take Fish Oils - or Not

The American Heart Association recommends that patients with elevated triglycerides take 2 to 4 grams (that’s 2000 to 4000 mgs) of omega 3 fish oils a day. In my practice, I recommend 4 grams per day for almost everyone – particularly those people with abnormal cholesterol profiles, Metabolic Syndrome, diabetes, and/or cardiovascular disease.

That’s the dose I take myself - for prevention - even though my cholesterol profile is normal. But when I ask my patients how much they take, most of the time they say “one a day” – and that is not enough. Read here why more omega 3s are better than not enough.

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Smart Women Missing Stroke Risks and Warning Signs

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in both men and women (right behind heart disease and cancer). It occurs equally in men and women until age 75. After age 75 women are at much greater risk for stroke than men. Stroke incidence has been increasing in women of all ages. In recent years strokes have surged in the age 45 to 54 age groups – groups usually at low risk for stroke. Why? Experts believe it’s because of an increase in risk factors that lead to stroke.

In a recent study published in the February 2009 issue of the medical journal Stroke researchers reported that 215 women, all having at least one risk factor for stroke, were unable to identify their risks. Furthermore they did not consider themselves to be at risk and were doing nothing to reduce their risk. The researchers concluded “Educational strategies must advocate for and target high-risk women.”

Read this post to learn the risks and warning signs of stroke these women missed.

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Your Lifestyle Choices: Are You Preventing Disease – or Inviting It?

Maverick Health and my book, A Nurse Practitioner’s Guide to Smart Health Choices, are all about using your lifestyle behaviors to prevent or control chronic diseases. I’ve been at this for over a decade now and every day I read studies and hear news-bites that only validate what I write about on this blog and talk about in my book.

But until you know what I know and, more importantly, act on what you know all this information is useless. Read this post about a study in Europe that looked at how well people controlled their risk factors after they’d already had a heart attack or serious cardiac event. Hint: reviewers that read the study found its results “ominous”.

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Synch to Your Body’s Own Clock and to Mother Earth for Better Health

In March 2009, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published research done at the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Researchers studied 10 subjects – 5 men and 5 women – to see what happened to their cardiovascular and metabolic systems if their behavioral and circadian rhythms were disrupted.

If you want to know what effect being out of synch with your body’s own clock and the rhythms of the Earth has on your health, read this post.

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High Blood Pressure Rx – Keeping It Simple

Successful treatment of high blood pressure is difficult to achieve for a couple of reasons. First, health practitioners have many drugs and multiple guidelines from which to choose when making a treatment plan for individual patients. Second, patients do not like taking medications, so often they don’t take them as they should - if they take them at all.

Researchers in Canada looked at this problem to see if they could come up with a simpler and more effective approach that would make it easier for prescribers and easier for patients. They published their findings in the April 2009 issue of Hypertension.

Read this post to see which drugs helped 20% more people reach their BP goals.

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Do You Think You Are Following a Low Salt Diet? You Probably Aren’t

This week Time Magazine ran a really good article online by Tiffany Sharples about the pitfalls and difficulties of following a low salt diet. Here’s a link to it. If you are African American, a woman, have CHF (congestive heart failure) or high blood pressure, this would be a good link to follow.

First read my post about the story of a patient of mine who had to dramatically cut his sodium intake after a stroke.

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Unleashing Your Inner Olympian

I was talking to a diabetic patient of mine one day who was was worried about the an upcoming trip to Disney with his grand-daughter where he would have to do more walking than he was accustomed to. I asked him if he exercised. He held up his hand in a “stop right there” gesture and said, “Do not speak to me about exercise, I follow the religion of comfort and exercise is uncomfortable.” His statement left me completely speechless (and if you knew me you would appreciate how uncharacteristic that is).

This post is for all of you who have lost touch with your inner Olympian.

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Should You Be Checking Your Own BP? Yes.

I am a big believer in people checking their own blood pressures from time to time. In fact, I carry little cards around in my lab coat pocket and give them to my patients to carry in their wallets so they can write down the BPs they measure.

I don’t care where people check their BPs. Some of my patients have home BP monitors and others check theirs at the grocery or drug store.

Read this post to learn why checking your own blood pressure is a good idea.

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Jumping JUPITER – Do You Know Your CRP?

One of the biggest splashes in medicine this year came when, in November 2008, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a study called JUPITER.

It has the whole medical world talking. This study was done to see if taking a cholesterol-lowering statin drug for primary prevention would help healthy people prevent heart attacks, strokes, heart bypass surgery, hospitalization for chest pain, and death from cardiovascular events. It did.

Read on to see why this study may change national treatment guidelines and what your health provider recommends to reduce your health risks.

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Alcohol and Medications – Are You Making Smart Choices?

The holidays are here and many of us will be attending celebrations where alcohol is served. If you take medications and drink occasionally (or even regularly), you face a dilemma. Should you take your medications when you drink?

What’s the smart choice? You may be surprised at the answer.

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