Blood Pressure

It is no secret that chronic high blood pressure, whatever its particular root cause, can lead to heart disease, which is said to be the leading cause of death in America today. But what remains a secret, at least to many people, is how to deal with this condition naturally apart from pharmaceutical drug interventions, which the establishment often claims is the only effective remedy for lowering blood pressure. Here are four ways to help naturally lower your blood pressure without the need for prescription drugs:

1) Eat lots of garlic and onions, take garlic supplements. Writing for Mother Earth News in a 1997 review, Christopher Nyerges explains how eating lots of garlic and onions, two onion types from the medicinal Allium genus, can help thwart hypertension, lower circulating cholesterol, and prevent influenza and various other health conditions. Citing numerous scientific studies and a cohort of information he gathered from various medical journals and doctors, Nyerges highlights the ability of both garlic and onions to quell the arterial inflammation that often leads to high cholesterol, as well as prevent the sticking together of blood platelets following high-fat meals that may lead to clotting.

"Fresh garlic cells contain the amino acid alliin, considered to be the most active garlic constituent. When those cells are broken, as in crushing or mincing the cloves, alliin is converted to allicin by the enzyme allinase," explains Robert E. Kowalski in his book The Blood Pressure Cure: 8 Weeks to Lower Blood Pressure without Prescription Drugs. "It appears that the allicin is effective in the treatment of hypertension by causing smooth muscle relaxation in arteries, as well as vasodilation, the widening of those arteries, allowing a freer flow of blood upon demand."

2) Supplement with hawthorn herb. A member of the rose family, hawthorn (Crataegus species) has an extensive history of use as a natural medicine for the prevention and treatment of heart disease. Specifically as it relates to blood pressure, both the berries and leaves of the hawthorn plant help not only to protect blood vessels from hardening, but also to dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow. (

"Hawthorn is a heart tonic -- period. First of all, it is a mild coronary vasodilator, increasing the blood supply to the heart muscles and lessening the potential for spasms, angina, and shortness of breath in middle-aged or older individuals," explains herbalist Michael Moore in his comprehensive book Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West.

"I have seen it help the middle-aged mesomorph, with moderate essential hypertension, whose pulse and pressure are slow to return to normal after moderate exertion and whose long, tiring days leave the pulse rapid in the evening. It will gradually help to lower the diastolic pressure and quiet the pulse ... The benefits take weeks or even months to be felt, but are well maintained, not temporary."

3) Replace the grains in your diet with root vegetables. It is a popular misconception that grains play little or no role in the development of hypertension -- some doctors, in fact, actually recommend grains to their patients. But science pretty clearly illustrates that high-grain diets, especially those that are also "low fat," are a direct cause of insulin resistance, which is characteristic of out-of-control blood sugar levels. Cutting out the grains, including even whole grains, and replacing them with root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets could help drastically lower your blood pressure.

Root vegetables are typically rich in potassium, a mineral that has been shown in numerous scientific studies to help normalize blood pressure. In fact, one of the primary causes of high blood pressure is mineral deficiency, which can quite easily be rectified through dietary modifications that incorporate more mineral-rich foods like root vegetables. (

"Both epidemiologic and clinical studies have suggested that an increase in potassium intake may lower blood pressure," wrote the authors of a 1991 study published in theJournal of Hypertension. "[A]n increase in potassium intake should be included in the recommendations for a non-pharmacological approach to the control of blood pressure in uncomplicated essential hypertension." (

4) Cut out the refined sugar and take more magnesium. Refined sugar, and fructose in particular, is a killer when it comes to high blood pressure. Excess sugar consumption can lead to insulin resistance, which is directly linked to high blood pressure. Sugar also prevents magnesium from properly nourishing the cells, a process that is essential for the normal relaxation of blood vessels. Cutting out sugar and supplementing with high-quality, non-GMO magnesium citrate, for instance, can help restore your magnesium reserves and normalize your blood sugar levels, which in turn will help balance your blood pressure. (*Disclaimer-Results for individuals can vary)
Credit: Natural News


Is Coffee Good or Bad for Your Heart?

As you age, your blood vessels often become stiff to increase the risk of high blood pressure. Luckily, a new study done by the University Of Athens by Greek researchers showed the surprising link between drinking coffee and preventing high blood pressure.

Previous research has been inconclusive as to whether or not coffee is bad or good for the heart. This new study was done on 485 men and women within the age group of 65 to 100 who lived on a small island in the Aegean Sea called Ikaria. The natives of this island normally live up to their 90th birthday, and the researchers wanted to find out their secret to long life.

All of the participants in the study had high blood pressure, and they underwent scans to determine the state of the stiffness of their blood vessels. Within the group, 11% drank 3 or more cups of Joe each day, 56% drank 1 to 2 cups of coffee per day, and 33% drank less than one cup or no coffee at all. The participants in the group that consumed 1 to 2 cups of coffee per day also had 25% more elasticity in their blood vessels than those who did not drink any coffee whatsoever.

This study also took into account other factors that can affect aging in the blood vessels, such as gender, smoking, physical activity, age, education, blood pressure, body weight, diet, and diabetes. The study also revealed that those participants that drank 1 to 2 cups of coffee each day were less likely to have cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, or be overweight.

What is the reason for this?

The men and women within the study mostly drank traditional Greek coffee that came in small, espresso-sized servings. This Greek coffee is much stronger and contains more caffeine than espresso, and it also contains important compounds, like magnesium, potassium, flavonoids, vitamin E, and niacin to combat damage to the blood vessels caused by age. These compounds blocked the damaging effects of oxidation that can create inflammation in the blood vessels. This oxidation will also produce free radical damage, which will injure the cells in the body and cause stiffness in the blood vessels, resulting in high blood pressure.

Traditional Greek style coffee has more of these compounds than other coffee methods because it is unfiltered and boiled. The study results showed that hypertensive patients are recommended to drink coffee in moderation at 1 to 2 cups per day to slow down the advances in arterial aging.

One other interesting aspect of the study was that the participants normally drank their coffee at home or in caf├ęs as they relaxed, meaning that there could be psychological benefits to regularly drinking coffee to benefit the heart. This is fantastic news for fans of coffee, so take the time to try different coffee brew methods, like Greek-style coffee, which you can enjoy in moderation to protect your heart health!
About The Author
Mark Ramos is a coffee fanatic and owns The Coffee Bump. For a great selection of all things coffee and espresso machines, check out

Pulse Oximeter

Pulse Oximeter Helps To Lose Weight
 by: Jacob Walters

Weight and obesity is one of the major health issues and problems facing our country today. With the advent of a huge portion of the population that is obese and overweight, it has risen to a state of national emergency to get the health of our nation in control. The obesity rates are even particularly high among children as well. A device now exists that can help with battling this problem of obesity and weight. A pulse oximeter is a health device that is used to measure pulse rate as well as blood oxygen saturation. So how does this device help in losing weight you ask? It is essentially a portable vital sign monitoring device that can give the individual who is exercising an instant glance to their health at any given point. So for example, let's say that you are obese and that you have decided and are determined to lose weight. You come up with an exercise regimen that requires you to jog outdoors three times a week. Well as a part of the exercise regimen you have been told to monitor your pulse rate and oxygen levels in order to see how you are improving and whether your body’s health is improving due to the exercise regiment. Previously there really was no device that offered the portability and capability of being taken everywhere you desired to go. With the advent of the new generation of portable pulse oximeter technology the individual desiring to lose weight can now take their device wherever they want to go and monitor their health at an instant.

The oximeter device in actual size was is only a fraction of the size of a typical cell phone. Thus as you can see it can be taken anywhere the individual wants to go. There are also more advanced models that actually will provide data storage capability that will record your health figures over a period of time and will allow you to judge your improving performance. These devices are known as the wrist pulse oximeters. The wrist pulse oximeter is particularly useful in that they are not only portable but they attach to the wrist via a Velcro attachment and thus you can go jogging or engage in any other physical activity with it without the fear of dropping or damaging the device. Once the device is attached to you then you begin to exercise. As you exercise the device will continuously record your heartbeat, blood oxygen levels, as well as the strength of your heartbeat. All this data is imported and recorded on the memory card of the device. Once you have exercised for a period of time then you may desire to look at your progress. You simply plug in the device into a computer and within seconds you have complete charts and graphs that outline your health figures and show you how you are improving and getting closer to reaching your goal of losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle.

10 things you need to know when purchasing a pulse oximeter
 Purchasing a pulse oximeter is an extremely important health decision that you make in order to better your health and your life. This is a very easy to follow guide that will make it quite clear as to what you should look for when in the market to get such a device. Although there is a myriad number of different reasons why an individual may need this device the most common is that a person would need to monitor their pulse rate as well as oxygen levels. Here is the 10 things that you should know when purchasing a pulse oximeter: 

1. Determine whether you need a pulse oximeter for a child or an adult. The reason why this is important is because these devices come in different sizes that are specifically made either for an adult or a child. The size difference is key to getting accurate readings.

 2. Determine whether you need a color screen monitor or a non-color digital screen. You will find that although the color screen monitors are slightly more expensive they are however much easier to use. 

3. Decide whether you want disposable batteries or rechargeable batteries. The rechargeable batteries are significantly more expensive. 

4. Decide whether you want a hand held pulse oximeter or a regular “pocket” variety. Typically the hand-held devices are meant for professional health care personnel. 

5. Decide whether you need a device that also measures perfusion index. Perfusion index refers to the strength of the heartbeat and is sometimes required by some physicians. So its important to see if your product needs this added option. 

6. Figure out if you need the product to have plethysmograph capabilities. This will actually show the movement of the pulse rate up and down. 

7. See if you need a lanyard to accompany the device. The lanyard may sometimes be helpful if you are a person always on the go. 

8. See if you need a carrying case that provides extra protection against drops and as well as water. 

9. Find an online distributor that provides free shipping in order to get the best value for you money. 

10. Find an online distributor that has a 1800 number where you can call if you have any questions or concerns. By using these 10 steps you can make the process of purchasing your medical equipment much easier and more effective. (*Disclaimer-Results for individuals can vary)
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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD is a disease that makes it hard to breathe. There are two main types of COPD: emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Symptoms Of COPD

Shortness of breath is one of the most common symptoms of COPD. People who have COPD may feel like their chest is so tight that they cannot breathe. They may cough a lot. The coughing may or may not produce sticky, slimy mucus. COPD can also cause wheezing.
These problems develop slowly and get worse over time. For example, at first someone with COPD might only have trouble catching his or her breath when being physically active. But over time, the shortness of breath may occur even when resting. COPD can lead to other problems like creating strain on the heart, which can result in swollen ankles, feet, or legs. In advanced stages of COPD, people can have blue lips because they do not have enough oxygen in their blood.
In older adults, COPD can sometimes be confused with asthma. If you have shortness of breath, wheezing, or other problems breathing, your doctor will be able to tell if you have COPD, asthma, or another condition.

Causes Of COPD

COPD is often caused by smoking. Breathing secondhand smoke (someone else’s smoke), air pollution, chemical fumes, a lot of dust, or other things that bother the lungs and airways over time can also cause COPD. Some people may have a genetic condition that increases their chance of getting COPD.

Tests For COPD

If you have symptoms of COPD, see your doctor right away. Your doctor may test your lungs and how well you breathe, look at your lungs, or do other exams. Your doctor might also send you to a pulmonologist, a doctor who specializes in lung problems.

Treatment For COPD

There is no cure for COPD. But, there are things people with COPD can do to feel better. Most important, do not smoke. Smoking is the leading cause of COPD. If you stop smoking, you may breathe more easily and could add years to your life. It’s never too late to quit smoking!
If you have COPD, your doctor might prescribe an inhaler. This is a device that gets medicine right into your lungs. Your doctor might suggest a special exercise program. Also, you can learn breathing techniques and other tricks to help you stay active. If your COPD gets worse, you might need to receive extra oxygen. In rare cases, surgery may help. People with COPD can protect themselves by getting shots to prevent the flu and pneumonia.

Your Throat

Soothing a Sore Throat
What To Do When Your Throat Hurts

Illustration of a doctor examining the back of a patient’s throat.
We’ve all had sore throats around this time of year. Your throat feels scratchy and may hurt when you swallow. What can you do to soothe a sore throat? And when is it a sign of a more serious infection?
Most sore throats are caused by viral infections such as the common cold or the flu. These throat problems are generally minor and go away on their own.
To soothe your irritated throat, keep it moist. “Ever notice that a sore throat seems worse in the morning? It’s because your throat gets so dry overnight,” says Dr. Valerie Riddle, an infectious disease expert at NIH. “Having lozenges or hard candies—or anything that stimulates saliva production—will keep your throat moist. It’s also important to drink plenty of fluids.”
For young children who might choke on hard candies or lozenges, try cold liquids and popsicles. Throat pain might also be soothed by throat sprays and over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin, but don’t give aspirin to young children.
Contact a doctor if your sore throat is severe, doesn’t feel better after a few days, or is accompanied by a high fever or swollen glands. These symptoms could be signs of a bacterial infection, such as strep throat. Takingantibiotics won’t help at all if your sore throat is caused by viruses, but they’re essential for fighting bacterial infections like strep.
Strep is the most common bacterial throat infection. Although it can occur in adults, strep throat is more common in children between ages 5 and 15. Riddle says strep can be harder to detect in younger children, because it can cause a runny nose and other symptoms that make it seem like a cold. “If your child has severe throat pain, a fever above 100.4 degrees, or swollen glands, you should get medical attention right away,” advises Riddle. Children with strep also may experience nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.
To see whether you have strep throat, the doctor will take a throat swab. If test results confirm strep, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. After 24 hours of taking them, you should no longer be contagious. You’ll likely begin feeling better within a couple of days, but to fully recover it’s important to finish all of the medicine.
Strep is highly contagious. Treat it quickly to prevent it from spreading to others. Riddle says, “Not only can the infection be transmitted, but there are potential complications from untreated strep throat.” These include ear infections, rheumatic fever and kidney problems.
Another fairly common throat infection is tonsillitis, which occurs when you have sore, swollen tonsils. It’s caused by many of the same viruses and bacteria that cause sore throats. If you have frequent bouts of tonsillitis or strep throat, you may need surgery (called a tonsillectomy) to have your tonsils removed. 
The best way to protect yourself from the germs that cause these infections is to wash your hands often. Try to steer clear of people who have colds or other contagious infections. And avoid smoking and inhaling second-hand smoke, which can irritate your throat.

Your Life Span

Can You Lengthen Your Life?
Researchers Explore How To Stay Healthy Longer

Illustrated collage of fruits and vegetables; a doctor and patient; a man lifting weights; a woman sleeping; a scale; and jigsaw puzzle pieces.
Want the secret to living a longer and healthier life? Scientists have found ways to prolong the healthy lifespans of worms, mice, and even monkeys. Their work has revealed exciting new clues about the biology of aging. But solid evidence still shows that the best way to boost the chance of living a long and active life is to follow the advice you likely heard from your parents: eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and stay away from bad habits.
People born in the U.S. today can expect to live to an average age of about 79. A century ago, life expectancy was closer to 54. “We’ve had a significant increase in lifespan over the last century,” says Dr. Marie Bernard, deputy director of NIH’s National Institute on Aging. “Now if you make it to age 65, the likelihood that you’ll make it to 85 is very high. And if you make it to 85, the likelihood that you’ll make it to 92 is very high. So people are living longer, and it’s happening across the globe.”
Older people tend to be healthier nowadays, too. Research has shown that healthful behaviors can help you stay active and healthy into your 60s, 70s, and beyond. In fact, a long-term study of Seventh-day Adventists—a religious group with a generally healthy lifestyle—shows that they tend to remain healthier into old age. Their life expectancy is nearly 10 years longer on average than most Americans. The Adventists’ age-enhancing behaviors include regular exercise, a vegetarian diet, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and maintaining a healthy weight.
“If I had to rank behaviors in terms of priority, I’d say that exercise is the most important thing associated with living longer and healthier,” says Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, an NIH geriatrician who oversees research on aging and health. “Exercise is especially important for lengthening active life expectancy, which is life without disease and without physical and mental/thinking disability.”
Natural changes to the body as we age can lead to a gradual loss of muscle, reduced energy, and achy joints. These changes may make it tempting to move less and sit more. But doing that can raise your risk for disease, disability, and even death. It’s important to work with a doctor to find the types of physical activity that can help you maintain your health and mobility.
Even frail older adults can benefit from regular physical activity. One NIH-funded study included over 600 adults, ages 70 to 89, who were at risk for disability. They were randomly placed in either a moderate exercise program or a comparison group without structured exercise. The exercise group gradually worked up to 150 minutes of weekly activity. This included brisk walking, strength and balance training, and flexibility exercises.
“After more than 2 years, the physical activity group had less disability, and if they became disabled, they were disabled for a shorter time than those in the comparison group,” Bernard explains. “The combination of different types of exercise—aerobic, strength and balance training, and flexibility—is important to healthy aging.” NIH’sGo4Life website has tips to help older adults get and stay active.
Another sure way to improve your chances for a longer, healthier life is to shed excess weight. “Being obese—with a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30—is a risk factor for early death, and it shortens your active life expectancy,” Ferrucci says. BMI is an estimate of your body fat based on your weight and height. Use NIH’sBMI calculator to determine your BMI. Talk with a doctor about reaching a healthy weight.
Studies in animals have found that certain types of dietary changes—such as extremely low-calorie diets—can lead to longer, healthier lives. These studies offer clues to the biological processes that affect healthy aging. But to date, calorie-restricted diets and other dietary changes have had mixed results in extending the healthy lives of people.
“We have indirect evidence that nutritional adjustments can improve active longevity in people, but this is still an area of intense research,” Ferrucci says. “So far, we don’t really have solid evidence about caloric restriction and whether it may have a positive effect on human aging.” Researchers are now studying potential drugs or other approaches that might mimic calorie restriction’s benefits.
Not smoking is another pathway to a longer, healthier life. “There’s no question that smoking is a hard habit to break. But data suggest that from the moment you stop smoking, there are health benefits. So it’s worthwhile making that effort,” Bernard says.
You might think you need good genes to live longer. But genes are only part of the equation for most of us, says Dr. Thomas Perls, an aging expert and director of the New England Centenarian Study at the Boston University School of Medicine. “Research shows that genes account for less than one-third of your chances of surviving to age 85. The vast majority of variation in how old we live to be is due to our health behaviors,” Perls says. “Our genes could get most of us close to the remarkable age of 90 if we lead a healthy lifestyle.”
The influence of genes is stronger, though, for people who live to older ages, such as beyond 95. Perls has been studying people who live to age 100 and up (centenarians) and their families to learn more about the biological, psychological, and social factors that promote healthy aging.
 “It seems there’s not a single gene that imparts a strong effect on the ability to get to these older ages,” Perls says. “Instead, it’s the combined effects of probably hundreds of genes, each with weak effects individually, but having the right combination can lead to a very strong effect, especially for living to the oldest ages we study.”
It’s a good idea to be skeptical of claims for a quick fix to aging-related problems. Perls cautions against marketed “anti-aging” measures such as “hormone replacement therapy,” which has little proven benefit for healthy aging and can have severe side effects. “People used to say, ‘the older you get the sicker you get.’  But with common sense, healthy habits such as regular exercise, a healthy weight, avoiding red meat, not smoking, and managing stress, it can be ‘the older you get, the healthier you’ve been,’” Perls says.
The key to healthy aging is to engage fully in life—mentally, physically, and socially.  “Transitioning to older years isn’t about sitting in a rocking chair and letting the days slip by,” Bernard says. “Older adults have unique experiences, intellectual capital, and emotional involvement that can be shared with younger generations. This engagement is really key to helping our society move forward.”