Sunday, September 11, 2011

Does Your Blood Pressure Rise Despite Your Best Efforts?

High blood pressure is known as the silent killer because it creeps up on you without warning and leads to heart disease, stroke, kidney malfunction, blood sugar imbalances and a host of other problems. Millions of people struggle to get their blood pressure under control despite sticking to a healthy diet and regular exercise while taking multiple medications.
Why does this happen?
Your blood pressure could be spiraling out of control because of three often overlooked culprits…

Calcium buildup in your arteries

Your blood pressure may rise because ‘calcium plaque’ is deposited in your blood vessels. The diameter of your veins and arteries affects your blood pressure. A larger opening requires less pressure. But calcium deposits force your blood to squeeze through narrowed pathways—and your blood pressure rises.

Inadequate amounts of nitric oxide (NO)

Unbalanced levels of nitric oxide (naturally produced in your body from the amino acid L-arginine and oxygen) may also cause your blood pressure to rise. This gaseous molecule signals your blood vessels to relax and open up to allow blood to pass through easily. The widening of the blood vessels—called vasodilation—increases your blood flow, decreases your blood pressure and helps keep your blood platelets from sticking together.

Presence of the enzyme Angiotensin II

Unstable blood pressure may also result from blood vessel constriction and water retention caused by the Angiotensin II enzyme. When the blood vessels constrict, your blood must try to squeeze through. This can damage the lining and make your arteries hard and stiff. This enzyme can also raise your sodium levels, resulting in water retention and elevated blood pressure.

Actions to take

While following your doctor’s advice, it is also helpful to keep in mind that natural vitamins and nutrients can help combat these serious threats to your blood pressure such as Vitamin K2, Magnesium, and Argnine. These can be taken as nutritional supplements as well as through their natural sources: Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and raw nuts such as almonds and walnuts are rich in vitamin K2 and magnesium. Chickpeas and seafood are good sources of arginine. These natural foods and supplements can effectively manage your blood pressure and help protect your cardiovascular system.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Can Sitting Be Dangerous To Your Health?

Most people think that if you exercise regularly, it’s okay to remain sedentary for the rest of the day. However, research shows that even if you exercise for an hour a day for 5 days per week, if you spend 40 hours or more per week sitting (at work and at home watching TV), you are at risk for various major diseases.
Current research shows that even exercise can’t protect you from the ill effects of sitting too much. The amount of time you exercise and the amount of time you spend sitting are com­pletely separate factors in risk for heart disease.
In a 14-year study of over 120,000 people with no history of lung disease, heart attack, stroke or can­cer, researchers found that those who spent the most time sitting – regardless of exercise – had the highest death rate. Sitting had negative effects on fat and cho­lesterol metabolism.
Prolonged sitting has effects on health that even exercise cannot combat. These include:
• Deep Vein Thrombosis – When you sit for long periods, your calf muscles don’t contract and circulate blood causing blood clots that get painful and swollen. Worse still, these clots can break off and cause a stroke.
• Diabetes – The less you move, the less blood sugar your body uses. For every two hours you spend sitting each day, your risk of diabetes in­creases by 7%.
• Heart Disease – Without blood circula­tion, enzymes that break down fat in the blood (triglycerides) switch off, increasing blood pres­sure and fat buildup in the arteries.
Technology has made it possible to sit through life. Nowadays, you can shop, pay bills and visit with friends on the computer – all without ever standing up! Just a few generations ago, our ancestors were more active in a day than we are in a month!
Here are some ways to stay active apart from ex­ercising:
• Set an alarm to get up from your chair ev­ery half hour or hour. Get up and walk around.
• Limit the amount of time you sit and watch TV or, watch TV while jogging in place or riding an exercise bike.
• Instead of sitting while folding laundry, paying bills or talking on the phone… stand or move around.
• Take the stairs instead of the lift. Park farther from your destina­tion and walk.
So don’t just plan to exercise, plan to move as well!