When Should You Go to The ER For High Blood Pressure?

Complications caused by hypertension (high blood pressure), is one of the most common reasons for emergency room visits.  Elevated blood pressure levels can cause substantial damage to our bodies and lead to conditions that can become life-threatening.

Knowing when to seek immediate emergency care can help you avoid delays in getting medical attention, and decrease your risk of developing severe complications caused by extremely high blood pressure.

According to the American Heart Association, when blood pressure levels increase severely and reach measurements of 180/110 or greater, you should seek immediate medical attention.

There are other warning signs coupled with high blood pressure that indicate you are having a hypertensive crisis and require emergency care. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Severe chest pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe headaches accompanied by blurred vision and confusion
  • Seizures
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe anxiety

The cause of a severe spike in your blood pressure and these symptoms could be the result of missing your blood pressure medications, a stroke, a heart attack, kidney failure or an artery rupture.

A hypertensive crisis can lead to complications or damages to your body such as fluid in the lungs, memory loss, vision damage, and damage to vital organs.  This is why it is important that you go to your nearest hospital emergency room and receive the treatment needed to lower your blood pressure.  Damage to your organs will be assessed and your doctors will immediately address complications.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

According to the Coalition for Headache and Migraine Patients (CHAMP), June is recognized by the federal government as National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month.

More than 38 million people in the United States experience migraines or some type of tension headache with 2 -3 million of them experiencing chronic migraines.

The exact causes of migraines are unknown.  People with migraine or tension headaches may have a tendency to be affected by certain triggers such as fatigue, bright lights, weather changes and hypertension.

Some symptoms of migraine or tension headaches are:

  • Throbbing pain, numbness, weakness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vertigo
  • Mood changes
  • Neck pain
  • Vision changes

Treatment for migraine or tension headaches depends on the how often or how severe the headache is, the level of disability your headache may cause and contributing medical conditions you may have.

Over the counter medications such as anti-nausea or Ibuprofen may help with more minor episodes, but if you are experiencing multiple headaches per month lasting more than 12 hours, over the counter medications aren’t helping and your migraine symptoms include numbness or weakness, it is best to consult your physician.

If you are experiencing painful migraine or tension headaches, the Ambulatory Care Center at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center has convenient hours and days of operation.  To schedule an appointment, call 718-206-7001.

To learn more about migraines and tension headaches visit – https://migraine.com/migraine-statistics/

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is There a Benefit to Wearing a Fitness Tracker?

Generally speaking, if you are inactive your risk of  experiencing obesity, low energy, diabetes and hypertension is higher.  To combat these health issues, you can incorporate a brisk walk or run into your weekly activity.  The addition of this type of movement to your day may prevent or, in some cases, reverse health issues.

One of the ways some are finding it beneficial to keep track of their activity level is by wearing a “fitness tracker.”  Surprisingly, one of the first reports you may receive from your tracker is that you are not as active as you thought you were.

Most fitness trackers are a good way of monitoring your steps, calories, distance travelled, caloric intake, as well as your heart rate and sleep patterns.  They can be viewed as your “conscience” for personal accountability and motivation for a relatively low cost.

Some of the benefits of a fitness tracker include:

  • Encouraging physical activity – If you check your tracker and see that you are behind in your steps for the day, you may “step” up your game a bit and take a walk.
  • Measuring your heart rate – This feature can give you hard data on the effort you exert while doing a particular workout and/or task. It can give you a hint on the condition of your cardiovascular system by allowing you to see just how quickly your heart rate increases.
  • Providing insights on your sleep patterns – Sleep has a definite influence on your overall health. Fitness trackers that log sleep activity can help you address whatever is lacking in your sleep cycles.
  • Encouraging healthy eating – Fitness trackers can come equipped with apps that help you track your food and may help with weight loss.
  • Promoting interaction – Some fitness trackers allow the user to interact with other users, create group challenges and receive rewards for meeting goals.

There really isn’t a downside to tracking your activity, unless you take your fitness tracker off and it remains lost at the bottom of a drawer.

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How To Check Your Blood Pressure at Home

High blood pressure or hypertension is considered “the silent killer.” There are several reasons why it is referred to as such.

Most people with high blood pressure actually feel normal; however, if the disease goes undetected and is left untreated, it can lead to heart attack or stroke. In the United States today, heart attack and stroke are leading causes of death.

It is important to get your family, friends, and even yourself checked. You can visit your doctor or check at home.

It can be easy to measure blood pressure at home- here’s how:

  1. Purchase an automatic, cuff-style, upper-arm monitor. Automatic machines usually cost from $20-$40, and are available at many pharmacies or online.
  2. Get ready to measure! Do not smoke, drink any caffeinated drinks, or exercise 30 minutes prior to measuring.
  3. Sit with your back supported, feet flat on the floor, and legs uncrossed.
  4. Place the cuff onto your arm. This arm should be resting at the level of your heart or just below the chest. The cuff should be above the elbow.
  5. Push the button to begin measurement. Relax, breathe, and do not talk during measurement.
  6. Blood pressures are measured as two numbers: a top number (systolic) and a bottom number (diastolic). Write down both numbers, the time of day you measured, and the date(“141/88, 7:00 PM, 11/13/2017” )
  7. Repeat measurement after 1 minute. Write this number down also. Keep a blood pressure diary with all your measurements.

According to the recently updated high blood pressure guidelines of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), a blood pressure less than 120/80 is normal. Numbers above this measurement are considered elevated and are cause for concern.  The ACC has provided the following categories to further define blood pressure measurements and levels:

  • Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80
  • Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89
  • Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg
  • Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120

If your results are greater than 130 for the top number or greater than 80 for the bottom number, it is highly recommended that you see your doctor to receive a comprehensive medical examination.

If your blood pressure exceeds 180/120, the American College of Cardiology advises that you seek medical attention immediately, as this is critical.

Checking your blood pressure is important for heart health. There are also lifestyle changes that you can apply to your daily life to help you manage blood pressure levels and your health.  Lifestyle changes can include maintaining a healthy weight by eating a well- balanced diet, exercising regularly, reducing sodium intake, limiting the amount of alcohol you consume and quitting smoking.

To schedule an appointment with the Family Medicine Department at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call, 718-206-6942.

Radeeb Akhtar MD. MPH. JHMC Family  Medicine

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Five Steps to Lowering Blood Pressure

If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, here are five lifestyle changes that you can make to help to lower it:
• Losing just ten pounds can have a significant effect on blood pressure.
• Partaking in regular physical exercise such walking, jogging, swimming and dancing are all good choices.
• Eating foods with whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy is important.
• Drinking less coffee and tea will help lower blood pressure
• Quitting smoking will help to lower blood pressure.
High blood pressure can cause significant health problems if left untreated. Consult with your physician about ways that you can keep yours under control. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Can Yoga Naturally Lower your Blood Pressure?

Practicing yoga can give your overall health an added boost.  Studies have found that it is also helpful in fighting hypertension when combined with other methods of management such as a healthy diet, medication and aerobic exercise.  Research indicates that on average patients who incorporated yoga into their care management routine saw a notable reduction in their systolic blood pressure (top number) and diastolic blood pressure (bottom number).

It is believed that yoga is an effective complementary treatment for hypertension because it increases and strengthens the body’s ability to take in oxygen.  Additionally it can help improve resiliency to stress; a trigger in elevating blood pressure levels.

If you decide to include yoga as a part of your care, it is important to know that not all yoga poses are created equal in high blood pressure management. There are some poses that are helpful and there are others that can be harmful.

Yoga poses that can be beneficial are:

  • Bridge pose
  • Posterior stretch pose
  • Savasana pose
  • Child pose

Yoga poses that should be avoided or modified include:

  • Bow pose
  • Camel pose
  • Feathered peacock pose
  • Balasana pose

It is important that you speak with your physician before trying yoga.  Your physician will assess your health and advise if you are physically capable.  If your doctor has given you the green light, inform your yoga instructor about your hypertension.  This information will help in the prevention of injuries or the exacerbation of your medical condition.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Does Caffeine Effect Your Blood Pressure?

Nurse Visiting Senior Male Patient At Home

Are you one of many people who can’t function without having their morning coffee first? If so, there are a few effects that caffeine can have on hypertension. The java jolt of a caffeine fix may cause a jump in blood pressure — a particular problem in people who already have high blood pressure.

Caffeine can cause a short, but dramatic increase in your blood pressure, even if you don’t have high blood pressure. It is not clear what causes this spike in blood pressure. Some researchers believe that caffeine could block a hormone that helps keep your arteries wide enough for steady blood flow.

Some people who constantly drink caffeinated beverages have a higher average blood pressure than those who don’t drink any. Others who regularly drink caffeinated beverages develop a tolerance to caffeine. As a result, caffeine doesn’t have a long–term effect on their blood pressure. Research has shown that caffeine has a stronger blood pressure increasing effect in men who are older than 70 or who are overweight.

To see if caffeine might be raising your blood pressure, check your blood pressure within 30 to 120 minutes of drinking a cup of coffee or another caffeinated beverage. If your blood pressure increases by five to 10 points, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine. If you plan to cut back on caffeine, eliminate it slowly over several days to avoid withdrawal headaches.

If you have high blood pressure, ask your doctor whether you should limit or stop drinking caffeinated beverages. Keep in mind that the amount of caffeine in coffee and other beverages varies by brand. Also, avoid caffeine right before activities that naturally increase your blood pressure, such as exercise, weightlifting or hard physical labor.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The White Coats are Coming!

At the doctor's office

Does the thought of having a physician take your blood pressure make you nervous? Anxiety over going to the doctor’s office can lead to an elevation in your blood pressure; a condition known as “white coat hypertension.”

White coat hypertension is a real condition that occurs when blood pressure readings at your doctor’s office are higher than they are in other settings, such as your home. The term white coat refers to the traditional white lab coat health care professionals wear in clinical settings.

The underlying cause of white coat hypertension is believed to be tension and stress associated with being examined by a physician. Not much attention was given to this condition since the blood pressure of patients returned to normal levels when taken in the home environment, where they feel more relaxed. Recent studies however have proven that people with white coat hypertension are twice as likely to develop true hypertension within a decade, compared to people with normal blood pressure levels.

How do you know if you have white coat hypertension and what should you do if you have it? The first step is for your doctor to have you monitor your blood pressure at home to see if it returns to normal levels. If it does, together, you and your doctor can decide whether to treat it or not. On one hand, if your blood pressure is normal during the rest of the day, taking blood pressure medications can lead to hypotension (low blood pressure). On the other hand, people with white coat hypertension might have elevated blood pressure during other stressful parts of the day. Many factors, such as age, family history, and the existence of other conditions will help the doctor make the right decision for you.

There are things that you can do to reduce your anxiety and stress before having your blood pressure checked by a health care professional. First, avoid drinking excessive amounts of water before checking your blood pressure because water can increase your reading. Also, do not participate in any physical activity before having your blood pressure taken. Excessive physical exertion will raise blood pressure. Lastly, avoid stressful situations and remain calm leading up to and during your visit to the doctor’s office.

If you think you have hypertension, make an appointment with your doctor immediately. If you do not have a primary care physician, call Jamaica Hospital’s Family Care Center at 718-657-7093 to schedule an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What is Pre-Diabetes?

docpicAre you one of the estimated 54 million people in this country who have pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a silent health condition that has no symptoms and is almost always present before you develop type 2 diabetes.

It is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes. If you haven’t visited your doctor, a good way to see if you are at increased risk for pre-diabetes is to take the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Diabetes risk test by visiting www.diabetes.org/risk.

Among those who should be screened for pre-diabetes include overweight adults age 45 and older or those under age 45 who are overweight and who have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Habitually physically inactive
  • Have previously been identified as having impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Are members of certain ethnic groups (including Asian, African-American, Hispanic or Native American)
  • Have had gestational diabetes or have given birth to a child weighing more than 9 pounds
  • Have elevated blood pressure
  • Have elevated cholesterol
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Have a history of vascular disease

That said, if you have pre-diabetes, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced by a sustained modest weight loss and increased moderate-physical activity, such as walking 30 minutes a day.

Through weight loss and increased physical activity, a dietitian may direct you on how to make food choices that cut down on the amount of fat and carbohydrates by:

  • Eating more foods that are broiled and fewer foods that are fried
  • Decrease the amount of butter you use in cooking
  • Eat more fish and chicken
  • Eat more meatless meals
  • Re-Orient your meals to reflect more vegetables and fruit

If you have symptoms such as increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue and blurred vision, you may have crossed from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes.

It’s best to consult a physician if you’re concerned about pre-diabetes or if you notice any type 2 diabetes signs or symptoms. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center is centrally located and has convenient hours.  To make an appointment, call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

10 Tips for Dining Out For Those With High Blood Pressure

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Dining out is a treat we look forward to because we get to try new foods or indulge in our favorite cuisines. However, it is recommended that if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure to be mindful of the foods you pick from the menu.  It is suggested that you stick to a diet that is low in saturated fats, does not contain MSG and has very little sodium or no added salt.

Nutritionists also advise that practicing the following tips when dining out will help in controlling blood pressure levels.

  1. Choose appetizers with fruits or vegetables, instead of salty treats.
  2. Ask for your food to be prepared without added salt or MSG.
  3. Stay away from the saltshaker.
  4. Select foods that are prepared using healthy cooking techniques such as grilling or steaming.
  5. Avoid foods that are pickled, smoked or cured.
  6. Cut away excess and visible fat from meats.
  7. Avoid using butter or foods prepared with butter.
  8. Limit sodium intake from condiments by using them sparingly or by asking that they be served on the side.
  9. Steer clear of items that include cheese.
  10. Limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

If you have high blood pressure you can still enjoy restaurant meals and make healthy food choices by sticking to the preceding tips.  In addition to eating healthy it is also important to remember to incorporate exercise into your daily routine and take medications as prescribed to help control your blood pressure.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.