Monday, February 20, 2023

Alternative treatments for high blood pressure


Alternative treatments for high blood pressure

The ideal blood pressure for good health is at or below 120/80 mmHg. Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition wherein the systolic pressure (numerator) is higher than 160, and the diastolic pressure (denominator) is 100 or above. The rise in blood pressure may be due to hereditary or acquired from several reasons like stress, addiction to alcohol, obesity, and unhealthy eating habits. Medication helps to normalize blood pressure; nevertheless, there are various alternative treatments to check further rise. 

Lowing High BP through Supplements 

Supplements for hypertension are available in the form of capsules and pills, and you can have them as recommended by your physician. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) occurs in soybean, flaxseeds, walnuts, and green leafy vegetables. 

Omega-3 fatty acid supplements (EPA-eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA- docosahexaenoic acid) can moderately reduce blood pressure and are derived mostly from sardines, cod liver oil salmon, tofu, and walnut. 

Another excellent supplement for an antihypertensive drug is Co-enzyme Q10, found in whole grains, fish, organ meats viz. liver, kidney, and heart. 

High blood pressure can also be controlled by taking amino acid supplements, like L-arginine and L-taurine. However, their efficiency is still a question, and studies show that they can manage only for a short duration. 

Several herbal supplements are also available for controlling high blood pressure. In Indian Ayurveda, high blood pressure is attributed to a person’s “dosha” or body type. At the same time, traditional Chinese medicines consider problems in the “circulation of vital energy” of the body for a rise in blood pressure. However, both these traditional treatments make use of herbs to heal the body. Rauwolfia serpentine (snakeroot) and Crataegus monogyna (Hawthorn) are sometimes used as alternatives to medicines. While hawthorn is effective in controlling anxiety, Rauwolfia contains alkaloids that bring about a positive impact on nerve impulses and blood flow. 

Nevertheless, there are several restrictions on using these drugs, so we recommend taking the doctor’s advice before initiating anything. 

Garlic supplements must be consumed only after consulting with a doctor, despite having incredible anti-cholesterol properties. This is because garlic interacts with many prescription drugs and leads to blood thinning. Cocoa is a natural source of polyphenols that exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The phenols have a positive impact on heart health, and therefore doctors say that a certain amount of cocoa supplements is beneficial for the body. 

Modulation in Diet to Control Rise in BP

The highly popular DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is quite successful in checking the rise in blood pressure beyond normal. It lists down low-fat dairy foods, complex carbs, fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts, and other healthy foods that improve heart health and lower blood pressure. It restricts the intake of saturated fats, cholesterol-rich foods (red meat and sweets), and simple carbohydrates. An important aspect of this diet is limiting sodium to 2400 mg per day.

The need to supplement minerals in the daily diet must also be taken into consideration. Doctors recommend the inclusion of foods rich in calcium, potassium, and magnesium to maintain the ratio of systolic and diastolic pressure. Apart from these, one should also stop drinking alcohol, which dramatically spikes up blood pressure.

Physical Activities to Maintain Blood Pressure 

This is one of the best alternatives for medicines. People who always have problems with ups and downs in blood pressure must be physically active. This implies a complete improvement of health and mind through exercise and meditation. Therapeutic yoga dealing with various postures and breathing techniques brings about a holistic improvement in the body. At the same time, mild aerobic activities like light jogging and walking are effective in bringing down high blood pressure. 

Since the most notorious causes behind the rise in blood pressure are stress and tension, one should join stress management and meditation classes to heal the body—this way; people learn how to control emotions and stabilize the mind. Worth to note, acupuncture also works wonders on enhancing heart health. All these non-pharmacological methods are excellent techniques to control hypertension and high blood pressure.

All in all, these alternative treatments have considerable help in fighting high blood pressure and different types of health complications associated with it.

Check with your doctor if you can safely consume them and then strive to give yourself a healthy life.

Ten lifestyle changes that prevent heartburn

Ten lifestyle changes that prevent heartburn 

Are you suffering from too much acidity, indigestion, and heartburn inside your stomach? If these problems are taking a toll on your health, then you need to make specific changes in your lifestyle to get relief eventually. We explain them over here.

1.Avoid Acid Generating foods 

you must avoid foods that generate Acid and cause heartburn at any cost. Citrus fruits (lemon, cranberry, orange, etc.), spicy food items, meat, processed foods are a big NO for you. You should also control your sweet cravings for brownies, doughnuts, chocolates, etc.

2.Don’t Sleep Immediately After Eating

Your food needs time to move down your digestive tract and, therefore, do not lie down or sleep immediately after eating. Walk around your room or indulge in any kind of mild activity for at least half an hour. This will aid the digestion process.

3.Stop Sleeping on Stomach

What happens when you sleep on your stomach? Your body weight puts pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). As a result, the contents of the stomach get pushed up to the esophagus, which increases the chances of heartburn and acidity. Therefore, sleep on your back and place your head on a pillow.

4.Avoid Smoking and Drinking

Smoking tobacco deteriorates your health. The nicotine content relaxes the sphincter muscle of the esophagus as a result, you become more prone to acidity, indigestion, and heartburn. Drinking alcohol and carbonated drinks have a similar effect on your health.

5.Avoid too many Beverages

Hot tea and coffee do no good to acidity because caffeine simply stimulates it. If you have heartburn problems, then you must cut down your tea and coffee cuppas. Substitute with ginger root tea, green tea, lemongrass tea, etc.

6.Control Weight Gain 

When your abdominal fat increases, it automatically exerts pressure on your esophagus. The fat doesn’t do it directly; instead, it pushes up the gastric juices to the esophagus, due to which you become prone to frequent heartburn.  

7.Wear Light and Comfortable Clothes

Wearing tight clothes for a long time increases your body’s internal as well as external heat. Avoid wearing nylon clothing and tight clothes, belts if you regularly suffer from heartburn. Instead, wear loose cotton clothing as much as possible.

8.Change your Eating Habits 

If you are having a large portion of meals in one go, then stop doing that. Your stomach secretes more Acid to digest the food, which in turn gives rise to acidity problems. So we insist you eat a small portion of food every 2-3 hours. However, make sure you eat healthily.

9.Have Cold Water

Coldwater gives you immediate relief. People who suffer from indigestion and acidity problems are advised to drink cold water frequently. Make sure you have at least 5-6 glasses of cold water in a day. Or else stick to normal temperature water.

10.Check Your Medicines 

You may not be aware that the medicines you are taking regularly are interfering with your digestion process and causing the heartburn. If you are taking NSAIDs, blood pressure medicines, calcium, iron and potassium tablets, painkillers, etc., you should consult with your doctor to find the best remedy.

Incorporate these lifestyle modifications for a month or more to notice a substantial improvement in your health. Heartburn and other digestion problems will disappear for sure.


TMT or stress test

 What is a stress test?

The stress test is a test that determines the capacity of your heart to tolerate maximum stress before it shows any abnormality.

There are four types of stress tests, and they are as follows:

1.Treadmill Test: TMT test stands for the Treadmill test. It is also connoted as an exercise stress test and exercise tolerance test. TMT is a medical diagnostic procedure that is done to ensure if your heart is receiving enough oxygen and blood flow during highly strenuous physical activities. 

We will explain to you the details of TMT in this article.

1.Adenosine Stress Test: This test is specially meant for people who are incapable of physical activities like walking, running, exercising, etc. because of the problems such as arthritis. The person is given adenosine, which makes the heart respond as if the person is exercising so that he/she can detect how the heart is responding to stress. Sometimes this test is combined with walking on the treadmill at low speed for more accurate results. Adenosine may cause mild breathlessness while conducting the test. 

2.Stress echocardiogram: This technique implies ultrasound imaging and draws a graphic outline (echocardiogram) of the heart's movement. It clearly shows the pumping action of the heart under stress, including the blood flow. You will either be asked to exercise or give a pill like dobutamine to record your heart's activity. 

3.Nuclear stress test: As the name suggests, in this test, a radioactive substance (such as thallium or sestamibi) will be injected into the body. A special camera will scan the heart and depict the movement of the substance inside the body during rest and exercise. Thus the part of the heart that's not functioning properly can be diagnosed.
Now let's get back to TMT.

Why is TMT (Treadmill test) advised? 

The test is mainly performed to know your heart's health or whether you are prone to heart disease. It's advised because of the following reasons. 

  • It can estimate if you are at the risk of developing heart disease, like high cholesterol, even if you don't have symptoms. 
  • To test your ability to tolerate the exercise while suffering from too much fatigue and shortness of breath.
  • It's capable of assessing the effectiveness of undergoing heart disease treatment.
  • To confirm coronary artery disease (CAD), narrowing of arteries, heart valve problems (stenosis), etc. 
  • To detect some irregular heartbeats caused due to exercise.
  • You can freely exercise if you have diabetes or any kind of heart disease or after bypass surgery or angioplasty

How to Prepare for the Treadmill Test? 

You must consult your doctor to ensure that you can continue or stop any kind of medication you are taking on the day of the test. This includes pain killers, steroids, and sexual stimulants, also.

Your doctor will advise you not to smoke or drink before 3 hours of the test. Your stomach should be empty. Secondly, you will also be asked to exclude chocolates, tea, coffee, aerated drinks, and other types of caffeine-rich beverages. 

What is done during the procedure?

  • The doctor or the technician places electrodes like sticky patches on your chest and a gel for conducting electrical impulses. These electrodes are attached to an ECG monitor to record the electrical activity of your heart.
  • Your doctor will conduct several ECGs before you start the exercise to perform a comparative study.
    Once this is done, you will start walking on a treadmill or ride an exercise bicycle. You will be advised to increase the speed gradually. 
  • Your heart rate will be monitored with an electrocardiogram (ECG), and blood pressure readings will also be taken.
  • You will be asked to exercise until you reach the target heart rate.

However, your doctor will stop the test if he observes a drop in blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and coldness in the skin. Also, if you experience dizziness, fainting, tiredness, pain in legs, or chest pain, the test will be stopped.

What to expect after the treadmill test?

You can return to normal activities after a certain period after the test. Your doctor will advise you to rest until your heartbeat returns to normal. The results are subject to vary from person to person and are dependent upon your health condition. Secondly, the abnormalities will also get detected based on how you perform the test. Your doctor may take a few hours to prepare a detailed report.

Risks involved in the treadmill test

  • Low blood pressure might lead to dizziness or fatigue.
  • Since you have exercised, you might experience irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) after the test. Tell your doctor if it doesn't go away despite rest.

There's no harm in undergoing a TMT to rule out any underlying heart implications.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Estrogen Replacement Therapy

Estrogen Replacement Therap

What is estrogen replacement therapy?

Estrogen is the female sex hormone, and it plays a significant role in the menstrual cycle and reproduction. Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) is a medical procedure wherein the hormone is externally administered in women to elevate the estrogen levels inside the body.

Why is estrogen replacement therapy advised?

Estrogen replacement therapy is advised explicitly to post-menopausal women who are devoid of the uterus.

The therapy controls vasomotor symptoms like night sweats, hot flushes, irritability, fatigue, vaginal dryness, stress incontinence, dizziness, etc. usually prominent during perimenopause and menopause.

One of the primary reasons behind doctors advising estrogen replacement therapy is to prevent osteoporosis in menopausal women.

Estrogen replacement therapy is also applicable to women of any age group who have undergone ovary removal and have become naturally prone to bone loss.

How is estrogen replacement therapy done?

Estrogen replacement therapy can be carried out in various ways.

Point to Note: The doctor gives progestin and estrogen together for women with a uterus because estrogen alone, leads to the overgrowth of the uterine lining, making one susceptible to uterine cancer. 

Estrogen Pills: 

The dosage of the pills could be every day or 25 days each month. Women who had undergone hysterectomy can take estrogen alone, while others take a combination of estrogen and progestin pill.

Cyclic Method: 

In this method, estrogen (every day or daily for 25 days of the month) and progestin (10-14 days of the month) are taken separately.

Transdermal patch method:

A patch is applied to the abdomen's skin or buttocks for three and a half days or seven days, which is then discarded, and a new one is applied. The patch can be left at all times but cannot be exposed to direct sunlight. You can wear on while swimming or bathing but avoid while on the hot tub, sauna, or on the tanning bed. In this technique, the estrogen or estrogen-progestin combination is administered through the skin directly into the bloodstream.

Other methods: 

Estrogen cream, vaginal ring, intramuscular injections, subcutaneous implantation, and transdermal gels are used mainly to heal vaginal dryness. These methods also deliver estrogen into the bloodstream without accessing the liver.

Limitations for estrogen replacement therapy

Who should avoid it?

  • Estrogen replacement therapy is strongly not allowed for
    Pregnant women

  • Women with phospholipid antibodies
  • Men/women with a history of heart stroke or high blood pressure
  • Women with abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Men/women with liver problems and diseases
  • Women with ovarian, uterine and breast cancer
  • Men/women with blood clots
  • Smokers
  • Women with deep vein thrombosis

Side Effects of estrogen replacement therapy 

No doubt, there are side effects of the pills and other methods. They include nausea, dizziness, weight gain, fluid retention, bloating, breast tenderness, cramping, indigestion, vaginal discharge, etc. However, the symptoms disappear within a few days and with a change in lifestyle as suggested by doctors.

Risks for estrogen replacement therapy 

Risks and health hazards of undergoing estrogen replacement therapy depend on your age and health problems. Some common risks include an increase in chances of stroke, ovarian cancer, blood clots, gall stones, breast cancer, and dementia.

Advantages of estrogen replacement therapy

The advantages outweigh the risks of estrogen replacement therapy if you choose the appropriate doctor for the treatment.

It has been successful in many women globally, and the results are:

  • Fractures in hips, wrist, and spine decrease by 50–70%, i.e., prevention of osteoporosis.
  • The therapy reduces all the post-menopausal symptoms as explained above.
  • Spinal bone density increases by ~5% within three years of the onset of menopause.
  • Estrogen replacement therapy decreases the risk of heart disease when initiated early in post-menopausal years.

We suggest you consult the right doctor and explain your health conditions to him/her before he/she prescribes the therapy. Your health condition will considerably improve with a year only if you are taking the dose correctly.

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