High blood pressure and cold meds

Decongestants can pose a dangerous risk to those with hypertension

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Cold medicines are not off-limits if you have heart disease, but if you have high blood pressure or hypertension, you should check the label carefully when picking a medicine to fight a cold or flu. Make sure the medication you are taking is free of decongestants — such as pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, phenylephrine, naphazoline and oxymetazoline — which can increase your blood pressure and heart rate.

Decongestants can also prevent your blood pressure medication from working properly. And always read the active and inactive ingredient lists because many medications are high in sodium, which also raises blood pressure.

Ask your doctor for suggestions about other ways to ease your symptoms, including taking Coricidin HBP, which is free of decongestants. Continue reading

What you should know about the SPRINT blood pressure trial

BPNew data, published Monday, from the Sprint blood pressure trial could inspire a second look at the blood pressure treatment guidelines that doctors follow today.

The large study showed lowering systolic blood pressure from the currently recommended 140 to less than 120 could prevent heart attacks and strokes and potentially save lives. While the study is compelling, there are important things to know about it. Continue reading

8 ways to control high blood pressure

Watching fish swim has proved to reduce stress and lower blood pressure

lower BP Blog

A new study has shown that watching fish swim in an aquarium can help lower your blood pressure and reduce your heart rate.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a worldwide problem and the leading risk factor for death. With an estimated one billion people diagnosed with high blood pressure throughout the world, it is truly a global problem, on par with tobacco use as a risk for dying. But, there are techniques to help control high blood pressure.

In fact, the blood pressure control rate has improved over the last decade in the United States. Approximately 50 percent of those diagnosed with hypertension are controlling it, and that number could go as high as 85 percent if people followed steps to control their blood pressure. Here are eight effective methods:

  1. Maintain an active lifestyle and healthy weight.
  2. Limit salt and sodium consumption.
  3. Eat a healthy diet.
  4. Restrict alcohol consumption.
  5. Avoid smoking.
  6. Reduce consumption of caffeine.
  7. Limit stress.
  8. Take medications as directed. Continue reading

Do you know your risk for an aortic aneurysm?

There are often no symptoms associated with an aortic aneurysm, so it's important to know your health history

Abdominal aortic aneurysmAn aortic aneurysm generally doesn’t cause symptoms until a patient has a significant problem. Most aortic aneurysms are detected by chance — for example, through an imaging test that was ordered to rule out other health concerns.

This is why it’s so important to know your health history. Does someone in your family have an aneurysm? Has a family member died from an aneurysm or experienced a catastrophic event due to an aneurysm? If so, these are indications that you and members of your family should be tested. The key is to know your risk(s) for an aortic aneurysm to reduce your chances of stroke or sudden death. Continue reading

Top 5 Takeaways on Stroke

Dr. Eric Adelman's Mini Med School presentation focuses on stroke prevention and treatment

mini_med_school_cardiovascular_graphic stroke BlogLeading U-M Frankel CVC researchers and physicians are advancing knowledge, finding new treatments and applying new technologies. Each week one of them shared his or her expertise in a six-week Mini Med School community education program focused on cardiovascular topics.

Here are the Top 5 Takeaways from Dr. Eric Adelman’s Mini Med School presentation on Stroke Prevention and Treatment:

1. Know the signs of stroke

Brain damage can begin within minutes of experiencing a stroke, so it’s important to know the signs of stroke and to seek immediate treatment by calling 911. Rapid treatment can significantly improve your outcome.

Common stroke symptoms experienced by both men and women include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, particularly on one side of the body.
  • Sudden trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble walking or difficulty with balance or coordination or dizziness.
  • Sudden difficulty seeing or double vision.
  • Sudden severe headache without a clear cause.

FAST (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911) is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of a stroke. When you spot the signs, call 911 for help.

2. Maintain a healthy blood pressure

Half of all strokes are attributed to high blood pressure. If individuals with high blood pressure can drop the top number of their blood pressure reading by 10 points, they can reduce their risk of stroke by 25 to 30 percent. Most people need medication to lower their blood pressure, but lifestyle factors can also play a role. Don’t smoke, get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet (e.g., Mediterranean diet) and try to avoid added salt.

3. Afib is a risk factor

Individuals with atrial fibrillation (Afib) have an increased risk of stroke, so it’s important to take your medication (warfarin or other anti-coagulant) on a regular basis to help reduce your risk of stroke.

4. Prevention is key

It’s much easier to prevent a stroke than to treat one, so be proactive if you have certain risk factors. For example, if you have diabetes, take the necessary steps to control it. Make sure your cholesterol is well-managed. And keep your blood pressure under control.

5. New device to treat stroke

A new type of device known as a stent retriever has shown tremendous promise in treating stroke patients. Stents, similar to the ones used to open clogged heart arteries, are being used to clear a blood clot in the brain, reducing the amount of disability after a stroke. The stent is temporarily inserted via catheter through the groin to flatten the clot and trap it, and is then removed with the clot. The stent retriever procedure is used for patients with severe strokes.

Take the next step:


Adelman_eric150x150Dr. Eric Adelman is assistant professor of neurology at the University of Michigan and co-director of the U-M Comprehensive Stroke Center. He received his medical degree from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

 

 

 

Frankel-informal-vertical-sigThe University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at umcvc.org. The U-M Stroke Program is accredited as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission and participates in the American Stroke Association “Get With The Guidelines®” Quality Initiative.

5 Top Takeaways on Hypertension

Dr. Todd Koelling's Mini Med School presentation focuses on high blood pressure

mini_med_school_cardiovascular_graphic blogLeading U-M Frankel CVC researchers and physicians are advancing knowledge, finding new treatments and applying new technologies. Each week one of them shares his or her expertise in a six-week Mini Med School community education program focused on cardiovascular topics.

Here are the Top 5 Takeaways from Dr. Todd Koelling’s recent presentation on Hypertension:

  1. New Guidelines

New guidelines define new goals for blood pressure measurements in patients. Experts in the field have recently published the JNC-8 (Joint National Committee on high blood pressure in adults) evidence-based guidelines containing the following hypertension targets:

  • Targeted blood pressure for those 60 and older is 150/90 or below.
  • Targeted blood pressure for those under the age of 60 is 140/90 or below.

Continue reading