Top 3 Breathing Exercises for lowering High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the leading health issues that people of different ages suffer across the world. Looking only at the US, 1 in every 3 adults across the country suffers from high blood pressure. What’s troubling is that only less than 50 percent of these people with hypertension have it under control. This means that such patients have more probability of severe cardiac diseases in the future. In this post, I have compiled one of the most effective Breathing Exercises for lowering High Blood Pressure.

According to recent studies and researchers, hypertension is a growing problem and can be caused by various factors including high levels of sodium intake, obesity, lack of physical activity and smoking. One other reason and most common these days, for hypertension is stress. As people are getting busier each day their regard for their own well being is growing thinner; leading them to overstrain their bodies, that as a result can cause various lifestyle diseases like hypertension, Coronary heart disease, and diabetes.

Fortunately, this is one issue can be dealt with the right measures. There are allopathic, homeopathic and various alternative ways to lower high blood pressure. One of these ways is through breathing exercises (Exercises recommended by Yoga Practitioners)!

Since the low supply of oxygen to the brain and body can raise the blood pressure, the quickest way to lower it is to change your breathing patterns. With more oxygen in your bloodstream, the heart has to work less hard which in turn lowers the blood pressure.

What is Normal Blood Pressure?

Before we move on to learning the Breathing Exercises for lowering High Blood Pressure, we all should know the difference between good and bad blood pressure. Since its basic understanding is essential, we will start by explaining what blood pressure is.

Blood pressure is the measure of pressure exerted by the blood against the blood vessels as it travels through them to various parts of the body. This pressure can be affected and increased by various factors such as high blood volume, elevated blood flow coming from the heart due to stress or other reasons; and hardened blood vessels as a result of age and other diseases. Blood pressure also increases if the person has clogged vessels, as blood has to exert extra force in order to pass through narrow passages.

One can measure the blood pressure at home, or go to a physician to get it checked using a sphygmomanometer. The readings for blood pressure are measured using two different points and are communicated as fractions; for example 120/80 mm Hg. The higher number or point is called the systolic pressure and it measures the pressure of the blood surging into your blood vessels when your heart contracts or squeezes. While the lower number in the fraction is called the diastolic pressure that measures the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart is at rest.

According to the American Heart Association, the ranges for blood pressure are as follows :

Blood Pressure Category Systolic (mm HG) (upper number) Diastolic (mm Hg) (lower number)
Normal < 120 mm Hg and < 80 mm HG
Elevated 120 – 129 mm Hg and <80 mm HG
High Blood Pressure

(Hypertension) Stage 1

130-139 mm Hg or 80-89 mm Hg
High Blood Pressure

(Hypertension) Stage 2

140 mm Hg or Higher or 90 mm Hg or Higher
High Blood Pressure

(Hypertensive Crisis)

Consult your Doctor Immediately

>180 mm Hg and/or > 120 mm Hg

The trickiest part is that hypertension or high blood pressure does not exhibit any symptoms until the problem becomes severe causing serious health conditions including heart attack and stroke. That’s why cardiologists recommend that you get your blood pressure checked regularly to catch it in the pre-hypertension phase i.e. when the readings are between 120/80 mm Hg and 139/89 mm Hg, so it can be managed easily.

There are several methods for lowering high blood pressure and stabilizing it. From prescription medications for severe cases to natural remedies for mild cases of hypertension, there is a way of controlling it for every patient. What is important is to take immediate action to lower your blood pressure if your readings are even a little bit outside the normal range.

One of the more natural methods for lowering high blood pressure is through breathing exercises. I am not asking you to stop your blood pressure medicine altogether and to rely on these breathing exercises. But such exercises, if practiced regularly can drastically decrease the dose of antihypertensive medication. In mild to moderate cases, the patients have experienced complete withdrawal of medications by regular practice of breathing or yogic exercises.

Breathing Exercises for lowering High Blood Pressure

Breathing exercises have been studied and approved by many experts and researchers to not only keep the mind calm and body functioning at its best, but also to lower high blood pressure. The regulation of breathing allows the bloodstream to get more oxygen easily, lowering the activity and pressure your heart has to exert.

In order to control the pressure on your heart and blood vessels, all you need to do is to rely on a certain way of breathing. In fact, the FDA has approved a Biofeedback device as a non-pharmacological adjuvant treatment for lowering high blood pressure. This device is used by individuals to regulate their breathing cycles to under 10 per minute and accustom their body to longer exhalations. The studies showed that such device with regular use can lower high blood pressure as much as a low dose pill would have. This study and success of the device became the ultimate proof for the role of breathing exercises of being beneficial and functional for treating high blood pressure.

But, the use of the device is not mandatory to reap the benefits of breathing exercises. There are numerous breathing exercises for various levels of practitioners to help them treat hypertension.

Manipulating your system to modify your breathing patterns in order to reduce hypertension can take a certain amount of time and practice.

Discussed below are exercises for all three levels of difficulty, i.e. beginner, intermediate and difficult, these exercises help people with high blood pressure, and also build their respiratory system to be more efficient.

Breathing Exercises for Beginners:

For people who have never practiced breathing exercises, particularly for lowering blood pressure, practicing the following three exercises will be beneficial.

1. Equal Breathing also called as “Sama Vritti”

Practiced by yogis and meditation enthusiasts to gain stillness and balance of their consciousness through regulation of breathing, Sama Vritti or equal ratio breathing is the easiest breathing exercise for beginners.

How to do it:

The exercise is pretty simple and is the basic level of pranayama for beginners. To start the exercise: you need to inhale through the nose-counting 1 to 4, and then exhale through the nose for a count of four. Breathing in and out through the nose adds natural resistance to the breath, bringing the body back to its normal state. after practicing this exercise for some time, one can do the same exercise for 6 or 8 counts.

The goal of the practice is to make your lungs inhale more oxygen during a cycle in order to calm your nervous system, reduce hypertension and increase focus.

When to do it:

The simple answer is, anytime and anywhere you feel comfortable doing it. But this exercise is most effective when it is practiced right before you go to bed. The systematic breathing pattern relieves your tense nerves, reduces hypertension and helps take your mind off distractions, preparing you for better sleep.

Video Credit – Michelle Brown

2. Progressive Relaxation Technique

This technique Uses the whole body in harmonized collaboration with your breathing, this technique not only reduces your blood pressure but also releases the tension in stiff muscles.

How to do it:

In order to reduce muscle tension and lower blood pressure, start by closing your eyes followed by tensing and relaxing each muscle group, for 2-3 seconds each. Start with your feet and toes, moving up to your calves, knees, thighs, rear, chest, arms, hands, neck, jaw and the eyes. You need to do this all while maintaining deep and slow breathing. Take in a deep slow breath through your nose while tensing your muscle, and count till 5, then slowly exhale through your nose and release the tensed muscle.

When to do it:

Like Sama Vritti, you can do this exercise anytime and anywhere you feel comfortable practicing it.

Video Credit – Mark Connelly

3. Abdominal Breathing Technique

Engaging the core, particularly your diaphragm with your breathing is practiced to expand the capacity of your lungs and get your core stronger.

How to do it:

Find yourself a comfortable spot and your favorite sitting position and start the exercise by placing one hand on the chest and the other on your belly. Take a deep breath in through your nose, making sure to inflate your abdomen (not the chest) with substantial air to stretch your lungs. Slowly exhale through the nose and let your diaphragm deflate. Try to do 6 to 8 slow breaths per minute for 10 to 15 minutes each day to achieve quick results.

When to do it:

Like the other breathing techniques, this one can be practiced anytime and anywhere you feel comfortable doing it. But it is beneficial to practice it right before a big event where you might get stressed.

Video Credit – Be The Change Yoga

Breathing Exercises for Intermediate Practitioners:

The following two breathing techniques are perfect for people who have either become used to the beginner techniques or want to find something more advanced:

1. Alternate Nostril Breathing also called as “Nadi Shodhana”

Alternating the inhalation and exhalation between the two nostrils, Nadi Shodhana is practiced by people to achieve purification through an even flow or channel of breathing.

How to do it:

Start by sitting in a comfortable pose, hold your right nostril with the thumb of your right hand and take a deep breath through the left nostril. When you reach your peak of inhalation, close the left nostril with the ring finger of your right hand, holding your breath for 1-2 seconds; then remove the thumb and exhale through the right nostril. Repeat the pattern, this time inhaling through the right nostril and exhaling through the left one.

When to do it:

Whenever you feel the need to focus or feel more awake and to release some tension from your body, that is the right time to practice this technique. It will clear your airflow and increase the oxygen supply to your lungs.

Video Credit – Yoga With Adriene

2. Guided Visualization Technique

Imagining a happy place and picturing yourself in a space of utmost relaxation, in this way you can use your breathing to guide your brain to let go of anxiety and stress.

How to do it:

Heading straight to your happy place, with the help of a coach or recording as your guide, try to shut your mind off and focus on the pleasant and positive image in front of you. While you transport your thoughts to a more positive environment, take deep and slow breaths through your nose and connect your mind to your body.

When to do it:

You can pretty much do this exercise anywhere and anytime you are comfortable and can safely close your eyes.

Video Credit – Relaxforawhile

Breathing Exercises for Advanced Practitioners:

For the practitioners who have gone through the motions of the first two levels, this technique is the most advanced form of breathing exercise.

Skull Shining Technique, also called as “Kapalbhati”

The word Kapalbhati is a combination of two Sanskrit words which translates to mean lighting or shining the skull. Meaning that this advanced form of yogic breathing is practiced to not only reduce blood pressure but also to invigorate and rejuvenate your mind and body.

How to do it:

The practice of this technique starts with a long, slow and deep inhale through the nose; followed by a quick and powerful exhale through the nose, generated from your lower belly. Start slow and get your body comfortable with the contraction, then increase the pace to 1 exhale-inhale every one to two seconds, for 10 breaths in total.

When to do it:

Frequently compared by veteran yogis to a shot of espresso, the best time to practice this technique is right after you wake up. Or you can practice it when you are feeling tired and tensed. A word of caution for this technique is that you should practice only if you have been practicing the exercises from the preceding levels. Once you are comfortable with the others and have seen some results, you can advance to start practicing the Kapalbhati technique.

Video Credit – Shemaroo

Bonus Advice

In order to lower your blood pressure naturally and achieve quick results by practicing the techniques mentioned above, you need to keep some important points in mind, which include:

  • Don’t try too hard. If you are uncomfortable at any point, take a step back.
  • Choose a place and pose where you feel comfortable. The idea is to let go of stress, not adding more.
  • Make it a routine. You can only see results when you practice the exercises regularly. Try to get 15-20 minutes of practice every day.

While stress, tension, and frustration are a part of life and will always be there. The good news is, so will your ability to control your breath. With these considerations in mind and practicing one of these exercises, you can achieve your goal of lowering your blood pressure naturally.

I would also recommend watching a video by my friend -Christian Goodman, explaining simple blood pressure exercises, proven to help lower your blood pressure below 120/80 – starting today…

Top Foods and Supplements for Reversing High Blood Pressure [Video]

Today I will be sharing with you, supplements and foods for treating high blood pressure. Blood pressure can be easily balanced out if you follow the steps mentioned below. High blood pressure is usually caused by excess consumption of sodium, everyday stress, poor nutrition and lack of exercise.

There are three particular nutrients you want to get in your food if you have high blood pressure:
1. Potassium
2. Antioxidants
3. Omega-3 fatty acids
4. Magnesium
Foods you should avoid :
1. Excess of sodium
2. Processed sugar
The best supplements to naturally treat high blood pressure:
1. Fish oil
2. Coenzyme Q 10
3. Magnesium
4. Garlic
Essential oils to use are:
1. Lavender essential oil
Lastly, a person suffering from high blood pressure should exercise 20-30 minutes, three times per week. By following these suggestions, you will be on the right path to naturally lower your blood pressure. For more information on blood pressure, you can check out the following video by Dr. Josh Axe.

The Grape Truth: Is Red Wine Beneficial For Your Heart?

The talk about red wine being good for your heart has been going about amongst wine enthusiasts for a few years. There is a high possibility that you might hear someone top off their glass with more wine while saying, “don’t worry, it’s good for my heart anyway!”

It is true that red wine may contain antioxidants and other compounds which might do wonders for your mood and lower your stress. There are studies that suggest that red wine, in moderate quantities, may be beneficial for your coronary artery health, but the link is still not understood and confirmed.

So how did the theory that red wine is good for the heart, get its hype? When you ask this question to a supporter of the theory, they will point out the French Paradox to you.

The French Paradox

The French paradox, a term coined during the 1980s, refers to the perception that red wine consumption may explain why the French population has lower rates of heart disease, despite their daily intake of a rich, fatty diet.

The theory gave scientists and researchers a spur to dig deeper and find if this could be true. Multiple studies led to the discovery of polyphenols, which are plant compounds. Found in red and purple grapes, and as well as other vegetables and fruits, these compounds are beneficial for cardiovascular health. More specifically, a polyphenol called Resveratrol was found in red wine, which is advertised as being an anti-aging compound which also prevents heart diseases.

Research in mice showed that Resveratrol might have compelling benefits for the heart, but there is still no evidence of it having the same benefits for humans. In fact, if humans wanted to recreate the beneficial effects of Resveratrol from red wine, they would have to consume around thousand glasses each day. Further, a study in Italy of adults whose diets were already rich in Resveratrol showed no significant link between it and heart disease rates.

So where does this leave the initial theory of red wine being good for health?

Studies and Observations

Well, according to these studies and more, there is no strong evidence that proves the theory and suggests consumption of red wine. Cardiologists and researchers have made the arguments that the studies which show that people, who consume moderate amounts of red wine, have lower rates of heart disease are merely observational. According to them, these studies are only able to explain an association between the two, but no real evidence of cause and effect.

According to an article in the Circulation journal, there are even some studies which do not suggest that wine may be beneficial for your heart health than other type liquors and beer. If this were true, then Japanese people would have higher rates of cardiovascular disease. But the reality is on the contrary; heart disease rates in the Japanese population are even lower than of the French, yet they consume high amounts of beer, sake and other hard spirits.

According to the inclusive results of various studies, the French paradox does not seem to be so paradoxical. Experts now believe that lifestyle habits and healthy dietary routines may explain good heart health better than red wine consumption. Another factor that berates the French paradox is a possible underreporting of cardiovascular diseases by the French doctors.

What is the Grape Truth?

The conclusion of the comparative studies and a long-held discussion among cardiologists turns out to be indecisive. With no cogent evidence supporting the theory of red wine is beneficial for heart diseases, it remains baseless.

Regardless, wine is a milder alcoholic beverage and more suitable than other hard liquors, but that does not mean it should be consumed in large quantities. There is a fine line between drinking wine as a healthy habit and overdoing it. Overindulgence can actually be harmful to your body, affecting your liver, brain, heart and immune system. Cardiologists suggest a measured amount of wine consumption i.e. about 5 ounces per day or less along with a healthy diet.

Vegetarian and Mediterranean Diets: Both Equally Beneficial for Cardiovascular Health

Diet and nutrition have been long proven to be an important factor that changes the condition of cardiovascular health. Different kinds of diets require consumption of various foods that alter the health of your body. For a long time, the Mediterranean diets have been hailed as the healthiest eating style for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. The diet requires regular consumption of fresh produce, nuts, olive oil, whole grains and lean meat. While cutting down on the use of fatty red meat, sugars, and processed foods. The elimination of processed food makes the diet automatically a better way of life for the people suffering from heart conditions.

However, a new study published in the Circulation journal concluded in showing that a vegetarian or more specifically, a Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diet, to be equally as beneficial for maintaining cardiovascular health as a Mediterranean diet.

The study was conducted by four Italian researchers from University of Florence and Careggi University Hospital, to observe how both diets compare to each other in terms of influencing heart health. The researchers recruited 118 clinically healthy adults between the ages of 18-75, with low-to-moderate cardiovascular risk profiles.

Half of the group was directed to follow a traditional Mediterranean diet, while the other half started a Lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, which required the elimination of all kinds of meat and fish, but included dairy and eggs. Each group followed the diet for three months.

The study was a cross-over comparison study, which meant that the participants switched to the other diets for another 3 months after the following the first one. During the study participants were regularly counseled and advised on the diets they were following.

This included detailed meal plans and a list of foods to include and exclude. During both phases of the study, the participants were screened regularly. For both diets, the researchers advised participants to consume 50-55 percent of their calories from carbohydrates, 20-30 percent from fats and 15-20 percent from lean protein.

The findings of the study showed that participants on both diets had lost 4 pounds overall. Also, both the diets were capable of significantly improving the overall cardiovascular health of the participants.

The results of the study are not as shocking because both diets overlapped in many areas, requiring consumption of the same food groups. Both diets allowed the consumption of dairy, eggs, whole grains, produce and nuts; only eliminating meat and fish products.

The vegetarian diet was observed to be significantly more effective in reducing the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) i.e. the bad cholesterol that accelerates plaque buildup in arteries. The Mediterranean diet however reduced triglycerides that increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The researchers concluded the study with a statement from Professor Francesco Sofi (M.D., Ph.D.) who said that “the take-home message from our study is that a low-calorie Lacto-ovo vegetarian diet can help reduce cardiovascular risk about the same as a low-calorie Mediterranean diet.”

The team of the researchers suggests that, even though the study has provided persuasive evidence regarding dietary patterns and cardiovascular health, there is a need for more studies. These studies should study and compare how these two diets affect the cardiovascular risk in patients with a higher heart disease. This would help physicians in the future to better guide their patients about maintaining a healthy lifestyle that benefits their cardiovascular health.

Cardiovascular Diseases in Young Women

Cardiovascular diseases or in the common mans’ language, heart diseases are commonly associated with older people. But according to cardiologists, young people suffer from heart diseases more than people realize. More specifically heart problems were associated with older men more than women. But a study in 1984 determined that women suffered and died because of cardiovascular problems more often than men.

To spread more awareness, on February 3rd women all around America don red apparel to commemorate the National Wear Red Day. The American Heart Association has marked this day to raise awareness for the diseases which claim the lives of 500,000 women each year around the world. Cardiovascular diseases are still to this day, the number one cause of death in women of all ages. Although older women are more likely to develop a heart attack, 15,000 young women under the age of 50 die from them.

Many young women, who believe in the misconception stated above, tend to ignore the right actions which help prevent heart diseases. Although there is much more awareness now because of survivors, like Rosie O’Donnell, speaking up about their experiences many young women still remain unaware. This becomes a problem when this unawareness leads to them ignoring signs of heart diseases.

According to a survey done by cardiologists at the American Heart Association, women tend to be unaware of the symptoms when they are having a heart attack and ignore it thinking it might be indigestion or heartburn. This may be due to the fact that many women experience different symptoms than men. If you are unaware and seem to experience any of the following symptoms then you might need a heart specialist immediately:

· Pain in Shoulder or Neck

Like many others who experience excruciating pain in their chest, young women especially with no prior health conditions experience pain in the neck, left arm and shoulder rather than the chest. Few women who suffered reported that they did not even experience extreme pain, instead they experience only discomfort. In the case of extreme discomfort get immediate attention from a heart specialist.

· Shortness of Breath

While shortness of breath might be associated with being winded, intense shortness of breath might be an indicator of an incoming heart attack. An extreme shortness of breath indicates a heart issue when it is accompanied with chest pains. Get a cardiologist to investigate if you are experiencing this symptom.

· Fatigue

Although a little bit of fatigue after a long day is very normal, extended experiences of fatigue can be a sign of the insufficient amount of oxygen on your blood, which is an indicator of a heart disease.

· Racing Heartbeat

A racing heartbeat is normal after rigorous exercise which eventually subsides in a few minutes. In younger women especially a fast heartbeat without any heavy exercise is abnormal and shouldn’t be ignored.

Indigestion, dizziness, nausea and constant sweating might also be indicators of an underlying heart condition needing urgent attention. And if any of the symptoms go ignored, it may lead to a more complicated problem.

As per the saying, prevention is the cure, taking precaution is a smarter way to save you from any bigger issues later on in life. Especially when routines are more hectic and there is more stress, a yearly checkup with a cardiologist very important. Whether or not you are experiencing one or more symptoms, getting a full work up from a heart expert will rule out any possible heart disease and save you any distress later.

Insufficient Sleep Makes an Unhealthy Heart

Insufficient sleep can leave you feeling grumpy and agitated and will ruin your mood for the rest of the day.

Over a longer period of time, sleep deprivation can lead to serious health issues like obesity, diabetes, slower metabolism and inflammation.

A prolonged lack of sleep acts as a catalyst in disrupting basic health conditions which has detrimental effects on your health.

Shortage of sleep in the long run can shorten life expectancy too. Studies show that people who get a good night’s sleep live longer than those who don’t.

This further strengthens the argument in favor of getting the required amount of sleep every day.

In fact, physicians might even just recommend a good nights’ sleep to resolve and prevent possible health issues.

Optimal Sleep

According to a study by Harvard Med, the optimal sleep required differs for everyone, depending on their age and genetics. But on an average 6-8 hours of sleep in a day are optimal for the body to function at its best. Less than 6 hours of sleep increases the risk of heart disease.

When the body is resting, different enzymes and chemicals are activated, which calm it down from the intense activity that it undertook throughout the day. During this rest, the blood pressure and heart rate drop, and the body start rejuvenating.

Insufficient Sleep and Your Heart

Less than 6 hours of sleep prevents the heart rate from dropping and keeps it elevated for a prolonged period. This lack of variability means the hearts’ work remains the same, causing hypertension.

The further validation comes from studies about sleep apnea. It’s a condition which causes troubled breathing which wakes people frequently and disrupts their sleep cycle, causing sleep deprivation and fatigue.

According to the American Heart Association, sleep apnea is a contributor to increased risk of elevated blood pressure, arrhythmia, stroke and congestive heart failure.

Lack of sleep also disrupts metabolism, creating an imbalance in blood sugar levels, in turn, heightening the risk for diabetes. Shorter sleep cycles hinder the production of hormones which function to decrease appetite, triggering an increased consumption of calories. This increases the chance of high cholesterol and obesity which are known causes of multiple heart diseases.

How Can You Sleep Better?

According to the CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention), 1 in 3 adults suffer from sleep deprivation; leading cause being a more hectic and busy lifestyle.

There are many ways which can help in getting a good night’s sleep, and some of them are;

  1. Exercise This tires out the body, improves the chemical balances and allows for more restful sleep.
  2. Lower the intake of alcohol and caffeine-laden beverages in the evening.
  3. Avoid a heavy, rich meal right before you go to sleep.
  4. And establish a fixed routine right before you sleep to trigger easy sleeping in future.

The most important tip is to get checked by a physician to make sure you have no underlying conditions that are causing the improper sleep cycle.

Not having sufficient sleep and rest in one day can have an adverse impact on not only the heart but overall physical and mental health. Recognizing and solving issues regarding your sleep early can save you distress later.

Heart Stents are not always Beneficial for treating Stable Angina (Chest Pain)

New findings in the field of cardiovascular research can transform patient care, a latest study proposes that the placebo effect of stents in heart disease patients with chest pain may be far more pronounced than thought.
That could mean that drug treatment alone, rather than the expensive, artery-opening cardiac stents, is all that’s required for most of the patients, the researchers said.
“The primary reason for considering a stent placement is to unblock the culprit artery that is causing a life-threatening heart attack. However, stents are also placed into patients who complain of chest pain on physical exertion caused by narrowed arteries of the heart. It’s the second group of patients that we studied,” explained lead author Rasha Al-Lamee, from National Heart and Lung Institute and Imperial College London.”
The researchers recruited 200 patients with stable angina who underwent six weeks of intense drug treatment for their angina. After that, they either received a stent or underwent a simulated procedure where no stent was inserted. The subjects who received stents did not show improvements in chest pain and quality of life compared to those who did not receive a stent.
Angina is the medical term for chest pain. It is typically caused by the build-up of fatty plaques in the coronary vessels. Stents aren’t cheap, either: The stent and its insertion costs from $11,000 to $41,000.
The study was published on the world wide web in The Lancet medical journal, to coincide with a presentation at a cardiology meet in Denver. Al -Lamee stated in a press release that “Surprisingly, even though the stents helped in increasing the blood supply to the affected part of the heart, however, they did not provide any relief of symptoms compared to previous drug treatments, at least in this patient group,”.
“While these conclusions are compelling and deserve more consideration. however, they do not suggest that patients should never undergo the [stent] placement for stable chest pain. There are several patients who opt to have an invasive procedure overtaking long-term medication to control the symptoms of chest pain,” she added.
The physicians plan to analyze their data further, to determine if there is a group of subjects whose chest pain improves after stenting.
“It seems that the connection between opening a blocked coronary artery and improving symptoms is not as simple as everyone had thought,” Al-Lamee said. “This is a unique trial of its kind, and [it] will help us to develop a better perception of stable angina, a symptom that affects so many of our patients every day.”
Writing in a commentary, concluding the report, a cardiologist stated the “landmark” study has implications that “are profound and far-reaching.” “First and foremost, the consequences of [the study] show that there are no benefits” for the use of stents compared to drug therapy for patients who are suffering from stable angina, said Dr. David Brown, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and Dr. Rita Redberg, of the University of California, San Francisco.
In fact, based on the latest findings, Brown and Redberg believe that stents may not be useful in most of the case scenarios even when a patient’s angina fails to get better with medications.
“Based on this data, all cardiology guidelines should be updated to minimize the recommendation for [stents] in patients with stable angina,” whether or not they also received conventional drug therapy, the doctors said.
According to Brown and Redberg, every year over a half-million patients in Europe and united states undergo stent procedure — and a minority of these patients experience potentially serious complications that can include heart attack, stroke, kidney injury and even death. It is irresponsible to Subject these patients to undue risks when no benefit can be achieved.
The editorialists concluded that physicians need to put more emphasis on drug therapy and efforts at improving the lifestyle of many heart patients — things like bad diets, lack of activity and smoking.

5 Greatest Cholesterol Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

In a recent study conducted by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a huge majority of Americans (75 %) stated that they had their cholesterol levels monitored at least once in the last five years.

Despite the popularity of the cholesterol investigations among the patients, many individuals are not aware of the proper interpretation of the results. The saddest part is that most of them aren’t even choosing the right cholesterol tests at all.

A complete cholesterol test, for example, shows you nearly nothing about your health condition. What you actually need to comprehend is how much high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) you have and, beyond that, the size of the LDL particles.

If you are confused, it’s not your mistake. Cholesterol has been widely promoted as a causative agent of ischemic heart diseases for decades, and countless have diligently removed all cholesterol-rich foods (which are usually also nutrient-dense food items) from their nutrition as a result.

Others have decided to go for cholesterol-lowering statin medications at the direction of their physicians. More than one in four Americans over the age of 45 years take them, despite their endless list of side effects and questionable effectiveness.

But the genuine question is this: do you really need to be anxious about your deranged cholesterol levels?

Is cholesterol the real culprit that it’s portrayed to be, silently attacking the coronary arteries and putting you at high risk of heart attack? The answer is no, for most of the individuals. So let’s expose some of the most widely circulated cholesterol myths.

Top Cholesterol Myths Busted!

Myth no 1: Cholesterol Is a Bad Entity

Cholesterol is not essentially bad. If it were, your liver wouldn’t produce it (liver makes about 3/4 or more of your body’s cholesterol—that’s how valuable it is).

Many of the nutrient-dense foods are rich in saturated fats and cholesterol, yet cholesterol has been demonized since the early 1950s following the popularization of Ancel Keys’ flawed research.

In fact, cholesterol has many health benefits. It plays an important role in coordinating protein pathways involved in cell signaling and also regulate other cellular processes, for instance.

It’s already known that cholesterol plays an important role in building cell membranes, latest research also suggests that cholesterol also communicates with proteins inside the cells, adding even more importance. Your body is formed of trillions of cells that need to communicate with each other.

Cholesterol is the molecule that allows for these interactions to take place. For instance, it is the precursor for the formation of bile acids, so without adequate amounts of cholesterol, your digestive system can be negatively affected.

It also plays a crucial role in your brain, which comprises of about 25 percent of the cholesterol in your body. It is also essential for formation synapses. Synapses are the connections between the neurons, that enable you to think, learn new things, and form new memories.

Myth no 2: Cholesterol levels are dependent on your daily diet

This statement is false. The significant factor that influences the level of cholesterol is not the diet but heredity or Genetics. Your liver is meant to eliminate excess cholesterol from the body, but heredity plays a large part to determine your liver’s capacity to manage cholesterol to a normal level.

Take, for example, people with hereditary familial hypercholesterolemia. This is an ailment characterized by abnormally raised cholesterol, which tends to be resistant to lowering with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise.

Furthermore, eating nutrient dense cholesterol-rich foods is not something you should feel guilty about; they’re safe for you and will not derange your cholesterol levels as you may have been told. It’s calculated that only 20% of your blood cholesterol levels come from your diet.

One study of South Carolina adults discovered no association of blood cholesterol levels with the so-called “bad” dietary habits, such as eating red meat, animal fats, butter, egg yolks, whole milk, bacon, and cheese.

If you’re still concerned about the cholesterol in your diet, take a look at the recently released 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines. As recently as 2010, U.S. dietary guidelines outlined cholesterol-rich foods as “foods and food components to reduce.” They urged people to consume less than 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per day, despite enough evidence that dietary cholesterol has very little to do with cholesterol levels in your body.

The modified guidelines have eventually removed this misguided suggestion, and they even added egg yolks to the list of recommended sources of protein.

The long-overdue change came at the advice of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), which acknowledged what the science shows, which is that “cholesterol is not considered as a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”

Myth No. 3: Everyone’s Cholesterol Level Should Be Identical

What is a normal cholesterol level? That depends. Despite what your physician may tell you, no hard and fast rule says everyone’s total cholesterol should be less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) and LDL less than 100 mg/dL.

Furthermore, this will tell you very little about your risk of heart disease. If your physician says that your cholesterol is high based on the conventional lipid profile, obtaining a complete picture is crucial—particularly if you have a family history of heart condition or other risk factors.

For starters, you can request for an NMR LipoProfile, which shows you the particle sizes of LDL cholesterol.

Large LDL particles are not dangerous. Only small dense LDL particles can potentially cause a problem, as they can squeeze through the lining of the heart vessels. If they oxidize, they can cause inflammation and damage.

Reputed organizations, such as the National Lipid Association (NLA), are beginning to shift their focus toward LDL particle number instead of total and LDL cholesterol to better calculate the heart disease risk in an individual. But it still has not hit the mainstream medicine.

Also, the following tests can provide you a far better evaluation of your heart disease risk than your total cholesterol alone:

HDL/Cholesterol ratio: HDL percentage is a very potent heart disease risk factor. Just divide HDL level by your total cholesterol. That percentage you get should ideally be more than 24 percent.

Triglyceride/HDL ratios: You can also do the same calculation with your triglycerides and HDL ratio. That percentage should ideally be less than

Fasting insulin level: Any meal or snack rich in carbohydrates like fructose and refined grains generates a rapid spike in blood glucose level and then insulin to counterbalance the rise in blood sugar.The insulin released by eating too many carbs boosts fat accumulation and makes it more challenging for your body to shed excess weight. Excess fat, especially around your belly, is one of the major contributors to heart disease.

Fasting blood sugar level: Studies have shown that people with a fasting blood sugar level of 100-125 mg/dl have nearly 300% increased the risk of having coronary heart disease than people with a level below 80 mg/dl.

Iron levels in blood: Iron can act as strong oxidative stress, so excess iron levels can damage your blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease. Ideally, you should watch your ferritin levels and make sure they are not much more than 80 ng/ml.The easiest way to reduce iron stores if they are elevated is to donate blood. If that is not possible, you can have a therapeutic phlebotomy, and that will completely eliminate the excess iron from your body.

Myth No 4: Kids Cannot Have High Cholesterol

Children too can have high cholesterol levels, which is typically due to a liver disease that makes the liver inefficient to transport excess cholesterol from the body. Lifestyle changes, including exercise, restricting sugar intake and eating real (non-processed) foods, will often help to restore it to healthy levels.

Myth No 5: Margarine Is Better Than Butter for Cholesterol

Butter, particularly raw organic butter from grass-fed cows, is a wealth of nutrition and healthy fats. Studies point to the fact that butter may have both short-term and long-term benefits for your well-being. Swedish researchers came to a conclusion that fat levels in your blood are lower after eating a meal rich in butter than after eating the one rich in canola oil, olive oil or flaxseed oil.

Furthermore, substituting saturated animal fats with omega-6 polyunsaturated vegetable fats (i.e., margarine) is linked to an enhanced risk of death among patients with heart disease, according to a BMJ study. Exchanging margarine for healthy butter is the reverse of what your body needs for healthy heart, and here’s why.

Saturated fats have been proved to raise HDL cholesterol—a benefit—and may also increase LDL.

The latter isn’t necessarily dangerous either, as a study has proved that consuming saturated fats increases levels of large, fluffy LDL particles—the type that does not contribute to heart disease. Furthermore, eating saturated fats may even transform the small and dense LDL in your body into the healthier and fluffy LDL.

On the other hand, margarine is rich in synthetic trans fat, the worst type of man-made fat that raises small, dense LDL—and your risk of heart disease.

Questionable Effectiveness of Statins

In October 2015, pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly stopped a trial for a cholesterol-lowering drug – evacetrapib. Many believed that this drug, will not only lower LDL cholesterol but will also raise HDL. It was believed that this would be the next blockbuster in the management of deranged cholesterol levels.

But it wasn’t until April 2016, when the results of the research were presented at the American College of Cardiology’s yearly gathering, that health specialists discovered just how dismal the study results were. The drug had practically no influence on heart health. As The New York Times reported”Participants taking the drug saw their LDL levels fall to an average of 55 milligrams per deciliter from 85. Their HDL levels improved to an average of 105 milligrams per deciliter from 46. Yet 256 participants had heart attacks, compared with 255 patients in the group who were getting a placebo.

Ninety-two subjects receiving the drug had a stroke, compared with 95 in the placebo group. And 435 people taking the drug died from heart diseases, such as a stroke or a heart attack, compared with 444 members who were receiving a placebo.”

Dr. Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic told The New York Times, “These kinds of investigations are wake-up calls.” Indeed, it’s not the first time a cholesterol-lowering drug has been found to be ineffective, or worse when it comes to heart health.

Statins May worsen your Heart Health

There is a data showing that statins may make your heart health worse and only appear effective due to statistical deception. One report printed by the Expert.

Review of Clinical Pharmacology concluded that statin advocates used a mathematical tool called relative risk reduction (RRR) to increase statins’ trivial beneficial effects.

If you see at absolute risk, statins help just 1% of the people. This indicates that out of 100 individuals treated with the drugs, one person will have one less heart attack. This doesn’t sound impressive, so statin endorses to use a different statistic method known as relative risk. By using this particular method, statins suddenly become useful for 30-50% of the population.

As STATS at George Mason University described, “An essential feature of relative risk is that it tells you nothing about the actual risk.” Furthermore, statins drain your body of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which is used for energy generation by every cell in your body and is therefore essential for good health, high-energy levels, longevity, and general quality of life.

CoQ10’s reduced form, ubiquinol, is a crucial component of cellular respiration and generation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is a coenzyme utilized as an energy transporter in every cell of the body. We know that heart is the most energy-consuming organ of the human body, you can imagine how devastating it can be to waste the body’s main source of cellular energy.

By taking statins, heart patient is actually enhancing the cardiac disease risk by depleting CoQ10. The deficiency of Coenzyme Q10 caused by the statin drugs is the reason why such drugs can increase the risk of acute heart failure.

If someone is taking a statin drug, he should always supplement it with Coenzyme Q10. If you’re over 40 years of age, I would strongly recommend taking ubiquinol (CoQ10’s reduced form) instead of CoQ10, as it’s far more efficiently absorbed by your body.

Top Suggestions to Preserve Heart Health

Are you looking for a non-pharmaceutical approach to maintain your heart health? Here are some of my top suggestions:

  • Start eliminating grains and sugars from your daily diet. It is also important to remove gluten-containing grains and sugars, especially fructose. Consume a considerable part of your food raw.
  • Make sure you are getting lots of high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. Research proves that as little as 500 mg of krill oil per day can balance your total cholesterol and triglycerides and will likely enhance your HDL levels.
  • Replace unhealthy vegetable oils and synthetic trans fats with good fats, such as olive oil, butter, avocado, and pastured eggs.
  • Include fermented foods in your daily diet. This will not only optimize your intestinal microflora; your overall immunity will increase, it also introduces helpful bacteria into your mouth. Inadequate oral health is another strong indicator of raised heart disease risk.
  • Optimize vitamin D levels, ideally through proper sun exposure as this will enable your body also to create vitamin D sulfate—another factor that may perform a crucial role in preventing the accumulation of arterial plaque.
  • Exercise Regularly. One should always include high-intensity interval exercises in his fitness program, which will also enhance the secretion of human growth hormone.
  • Avoid smoking or consuming alcohol excessively.
  • Be sure to get plenty of high-quality, restorative sleep.
  • Practice regular stress-management techniques.

Here is how you can normalize your sky-high cholesterol in 30 days and cleared out 90% clogged arteries by cutting out just one food type that you don’t even know you were consuming…

Benefits a of Home Blood Pressure Monitor and how to Choose One

tips to buy home blood pressure monitor

Many of the difficulties of cardiac patients including falls can be linked to hypertension and its complications. Home blood pressure monitor can help to log the drops in blood pressure with sudden standing (a frequent condition of dizziness in elders).

Automated monitors also help to follow-up on blood pressure after a change in prescription, which can help the cardiologist and families to decide the best medication dosing for a hypertensive person.

In this post, I’ll give some tips on choosing and using a home BP monitor.

And you do not have to worry: I won’t tell that you have to plan on monitoring your pressures every single day for the rest of your lives. Although there are times when it’s an excellent choice to check regularly — like the week following a change in prescription — the most crucial thing is to have a reliable BP monitor at home and know how to use it occasionally.

Tips for choosing a home blood pressure monitor

Here are some guidelines to consider when buying a BP monitor:

1. Get an automated home blood pressure monitor. Although hand-operated equipment is available in the market, these require training to use properly. A good quality digital monitor will normally be more reliable and easier to work with over time.

2. It is a good idea to choose a monitor with a cuff that measures at the upper arm. If the body position is not correct, wrist and finger cuffs usually give incorrect readings.

3. Select a BP monitor that has excellent reviews from Consumer Reports or another reputable non-profit organization.

4. Customer ratings at Amazon dot com and other prominent online stores can also be of some value.

5. Plan to carry the BP monitor to the doctor’s room, so that staff can relate its reading to their own clinic monitor. This is a good way to check the cuff’s precision.

6. Is the arm cuff properly-sized? It’s absolutely necessary to have a cuff that is the right size of the person’s arm. Cuffs are usually available in three sizes small, standard, and large.

7. A small cuff usually gives readings that are falsely high, while a cuff that is too big will give readings that are lower than normal.

According to the Mayo Clinic USA: “The inflatable part of the blood pressure cuff should cover about 80% of the circumference of the upper arm. The cuff should cover two-thirds of the length from your elbow to your shoulder.”

To buy a cuff, start by measuring the person’s arm around the bicep area, using a cloth measuring tape.

From 7-9 inches –> small cuff

From 9-13 inches –> standard cuff

From 13-17 inches –> large cuff

more than 17 inches –> ask the physician for help locating an extra-large cuff, or even a “thigh cuff”.

Is it simple to log the readings and share with the doctor?

You will get an extra help from a home BP monitor and it’s easy to record the readings and share the information with nurses and physicians when necessary.

Most digital BP monitors store a certain number of readings in the monitor; some can even store readings for two separate patients. However, readings stored within the equipment can be hard to share with the physician, so attendants usually record the blood pressure readings on the paper.

Some BP monitors can even connect to your personal computer so that the readings can be transferred for future use. A few BP monitors can connect via Bluetooth to a smartphone, which is very helpful.

You can Google “Bluetooth blood pressure monitor” and pick a one that has good user reviews. Monitors available in the market can connect to iPhone/ iPad, Android phones, and personal computers.

Can doctor recommend a home BP monitor?

Although many doctors aren’t willing to recommend a specific kind of home BP monitor, some primary care hospitals are starting to recommend self BP monitoring. See if your healthcare team can suggest a specific home device that they are used to working with.

Skipping Breakfast can lead to Heart Diseases

The new study backs up the old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

This particular study appointed more than four thousand middle-aged adults in Spain. The researchers came to the conclusion that participants those who ate breakfast were less prone to developing artery-blocking plaques (atherosclerosis).

On average, participants who consumed over 2,300 calories per day. almost 3% didn’t eat breakfast, while around 27% ate a healthy breakfast and almost 70% took a light breakfast. Researchers used carotid ultrasound to look into their arteries for early evidence of plaque. About 75% of the breakfast skippers had signs of plaque buildup in their arteries, compared with 57% of those who ate a big breakfast and 64% of those who ate a lighter morning meal.

Breakfast Lovers usually eat more healthfully overall and are less prone to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and deranged cholesterol levels. By taking these factors  into account,we can say that skipping breakfast is linked to a higher risk of atherosclerosis.