August 15, 2015

4 Simple Ways To Improve Your Blood Pressure

Healthy lifestyle

Roughly one in every four American adults battle high blood pressure, or hypertension, on a day-to-day basis, and those numbers are steadily on the rise. For some, the disease will stem from genetics, but ultimately its lifestyle choices that will play the most significant role in determining an individual’s chances of being prescribed blood pressure medication, especially if he/she is maintaining a daily blood pressure reading of 140/90 or higher.

With elevated blood pressure, you are risking the likelihood of developing heart disease and kidney disease or suffering from a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure. While medication is probably the most crucial component to managing hypertension, there are also ways you can keep your blood pressure in check simply by changing your lifestyle habits.

Lifestyle Change Strategies

One of the many reasons hypertension is so deadly is because it often comes with no warning signs. This is why purchasing a blood pressure monitor and using it daily is paramount toward your success with hypertension management. The following lifestyle changes will also help:

1.  Lose weight

Undoubtedly, losing weight is one of the most effective ways of reducing blood pressure, since excess weight increases your chances of developing other conditions, like sleep apnea, which has been shown to raise blood pressure. Even by losing just 10% of your weight, you will significantly reduce your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. As you lose the weight, keep tabs on your waistline measurement. Studies have shown repeatedly that the circumference of a person’s waist plays a vital part in maintaining normal blood pressure. Men should strive to keep their waist measurement below 40 inches while women should aim for a number less than 35 inches.

2.  Follow a healthy diet

Not only is eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean meats ideal for lowering blood pressure, but it’s a wise choice for every individual in general. A good way to adopt a healthy eating plan is to record everything you eat in a food diary, which will keep you honest and on track while changing your eating habits. Make a note of the areas where you can improve and seek out healthier food options. Strive for items with lower sodium content. Remove the salt shaker from your dining area. By doing a search on-line, you can find healthier salt substitutes that won’t interfere with your regimen.

3.  Start exercising

Thirty minutes of regular activity on most days of the week will go a long way in helping you lower your blood pressure and maintain it. Some of the best types of activity include jogging, walking, swimming, and cycling, but make it a point to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

4.  Kick the habit

Did you know that each cigarette you smoke greatly increases your blood pressure for several minutes after you finish? Just by quitting smoking you will substantially lengthen your life span.

Although managing blood pressure might seem like a daunting task in the beginning, the longer life expectancy you gain is certainly worth the effort, not only for you but for your loved ones also.

August 1, 2015

Gluten Sensitivity vs Celiac Disease

Indigestion

If you find yourself regularly experiencing pain, bloating, fatigue or other symptoms after consuming gluten, you may automatically suspect celiac disease. But recent research shows that far greater numbers of people are actually suffering from gluten sensitivity, a condition with certain celiac-like symptoms that is only now being understood.

If grains are definitely getting you down but you’re not sure whether celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is to blame, here’s a guide of the differences between the two conditions to clear away the confusion and help you get to the root of your problem.

1. Antibodies

Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten consumption and often resulting in permanent intestinal damage. Gluten sensitivity is considered a non- inherited intolerance to gluten. While both conditions can share symptoms such as fatigue and joint pain, that’s where the similarity ends.

Celiac sufferers show tissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibodies in their blood, evidence of a negative response to the proteins found in gluten, while those with gluten sensitivity show no signs of these antibodies.

2. Differing Diagnoses

Celiac disease is mainly diagnosed through blood tests that screen for antibodies and duodenal biopsies looking for damage in the small intestine.

On the other hand, there are no biomarkers currently available for testing gluten sensitivity. Gluten sensitivity doesn’t show up in blood tests or biopsies and is primarily diagnosed by first eliminating the possibility of celiac disease with a blood test. If the test shows no evidence of celiac disease but the individual is regularly experiencing pain or other symptoms after consuming gluten, doctors will then recommend an elimination diet.

All gluten is removed from the diet for up to a month and the individual monitors their symptoms. If their symptoms improve or disappear on a completely gluten-free diet, doctors will counsel that gluten be reintroduced. The individual is then closely screened.

If an increase in symptoms is seen and no other autoimmune cause can be found for this increase, the individual is given a diagnosis of NCGS or Non-Celiac Glutens Sensitivity (gluten sensitivity, for short).

3. Gut VS Brain

Although abdominal pain is a common symptom of both conditions, celiac sufferers often present with severe intestinal inflammation that leads to destruction of the intestinal villi, while those with gluten sensitivity don’t. Celiac disease tends to predominantly target the small intestine, showing up as abdominal pain, nausea, constipation and diarrhea.

Celiac disease also frequently causes malabsorption, a condition in which the intestines are so badly damaged that they can no longer absorb nutrients from food. This leaves those with celiac disease lacking in nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin D and calcium. Because of these deficiencies, individuals with celiac disease often suffer from unexplained weight loss, damaged tooth enamel and osteoporosis.

In contrast, those with gluten sensitivity don’t generally present with malabsorption and tend to experience fewer abdominal symptoms. Instead, they’re much more likely to complain of symptoms affecting the central and peripheral nervous system, with everything from migraines, “brain fog” and ADD-like concentration problems, to nerve tingling, and even depression being commonly reported by sufferers.

4. Incidence rates

According to available testing, celiac disease is relatively rare, with approximately 1 out of every 100 people affected globally. Gluten sensitivity, on the other hand, may be up to 6 times as prevalent, though it’s believed that both celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are under-diagnosed, so actual numbers may be much higher.

5. Treatment of symptoms

For those with celiac disease, consuming even a tiny amount of gluten is considered a major health risk and celiac sufferers are advised to maintain a completely gluten-free diet for the rest of their lives or risk serious complications including infertility, loss of mobility, intestinal cancer and even death.

Those with gluten sensitivity may experience considerable symptomatic relief from a gluten-free diet but current research does not conclusively point to eliminate gluten permanently. Still, many gluten sensitive individuals do end up deciding that the pain-free payoff of a gluten-free lifestyle is worth the effort.

While both celiac disease and glutens sensitivity are just beginning to be truly understood, many doctors believe celiac disease may be a much more severe and dangerous condition, that if left untreated, may increase the risk of death up to four-fold. For this reason, it’s essential to consult with a doctor and receive proper celiac screening if you suspect you have a problem with gluten, rather than simply trying to self-diagnose.