Tag Archives: JAMA (journal)

Normal Blood pressure: How low should a person can go?

A new study suggests greater health benefits with a lower-than-standard number.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURE : 

Blood pressure has long been one of the best markers of your health. It is a number you can remember and monitor. High blood pressure (hypertension) is linked to a greater risk of heart attacks and strokes.

About one out of three adults has high blood pressure, which is usually defined as a reading of 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or higher.

The first, or upper, number (systolic pressure) represents the pressure inside the arteries when the heart beats, and the second, or lower, number (diastolic pressure) is the pressure between beats when the heart rests.

Blood pressure rises with age because of increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term buildup of plaque, and the effects of other diseases involving the heart and blood vessels. Typically, more attention is given to the diastolic reading as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

“In fact, for a long time, some physicians felt that a systolic (upper) number higher than 140 could be tolerated in older people,” says Dr. Paul Huang, a cardiologist with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. “But both upper and lower numbers are equally important.”

A new number to aim for

While 140/90 continues to be the blood pressure cutoff, a study published in the Nov. 26, 2015 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine shows that lowering pressure to around 120/80 may reap greater benefits.

Researchers examined the initial results from the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial, or SPRINT, which studied 9,361 adults over age 50 who either had hypertension or were at a high risk for cardiovascular disease.

The subjects were divided into two groups. The first received an intensive treatment to lower blood pressure to less than 120/80. The other group followed a standard treatment to lower it to less than 140/90.

After three years, the researchers found that the group with the target of below 120/80 had a 25% lower risk of heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular death compared with those with the standard target of less than 140/90. They also had 27% fewer deaths from any cause. (The study was stopped early because the outcome in the intensive treatment group was so much better than in the standard treatment group.)
Ups and downs of lower numbers

This study supports observational studies that have found that lower blood pressure reduces cardiovascular risk.

But what does it take to get to the lower numbers? “On average, the people in the intensive treatment group took three blood pressure medications, while those in the standard treatment group only took two,” says Dr. Huang.

Moreover, the study found that the benefits in reducing heart attacks, strokes, and death were found equally in those older or younger than age 75. “So we can no longer say that a higher blood pressure is okay just because someone’s older,” he says.

But should older men focus on going lower? Is lower than 140/90 good enough, or should you be more aggressive and get that number down as close as possible to 120/80?

“If you currently are on blood pressure medicine, and your pressure is lower than 140/90, you should discuss with your doctor whether you should aim to go even lower,” says Dr. Huang. “There may be additional benefits to further reducing your stroke and heart attack risk.”

Still, there may be some downsides to going lower. For instance, many people may not want to take any additional medication. They may be concerned about battling common side effects, such as extra urination, erection problems, weakness, dizziness, insomnia, constipation, and fatigue. They also may have enough trouble monitoring their current medication without adding more to the mix.

Another potential problem: pressure that drops too low. “This could lead to dizziness and lightheadedness, especially when suddenly rising from a seated position, and increase your risk of falls,” says Dr. Huang.

Also, because the study was stopped early, other possible downsides of the extra medications, such as effects on cognitive function or kidney function, remain unknown.

Monitor your blood pressure:

If anything, this study reinforces the need for men to be more diligent about maintaining a healthy level, says Dr. Huang. He suggests older men follow these basic guidelines:

*Check your pressure every month and alert your doctor to changes. “If the upper number is repeatedly higher than 140, or the lower number higher than 90, let your doctor know,” he says.

*Continue to take your medications as prescribed. “If you suffer from any side effects, talk with your doctor about changing the dosage or drug.”

*Reduce your salt intake. “You do not have to go sodium-free, but be more aware of how much sodium is in the foods you eat,” he says. In general, try to keep your sodium intake below 2,000 milligrams a day. Foods that include the words “smoked,” “processed,” “instant,” or “cured” in the name or on the label are often quite high in sodium.

*Continue to exercise or adopt some kind of workout routine. “Activity and weight loss can help lower and maintain a healthy blood pressure,” says Dr. Huang.

From : Harvard Health Publications
Harvard Medical School

Inonotus obliquus

Botanical Name :Inonotus obliquus
Family: Hymenochaetaceae
Genus: Inonotus
Species: I. obliquus
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Hymenochaetales

Common Names  : Chaga Mushroom , Cinder conk, Birch mushroom

Habitat : Inonotus obliquus grows in birch forests of Russia, Korea, Eastern and Northern Europe, northern areas of the United States, in the North Carolina mountains and in Canada. The chaga mushroom is considered a medicinal mushroom in Russian and Eastern European folk medicine

Description:
It is parasitic on birch and other trees. The sterile conk is irregularly formed and has the appearance of burnt charcoal. It is not the fruiting body of the fungus, but a mass of mycelium, mostly black due to the presence of massive amounts of melanin. The fertile fruiting body can be found very rarely as a resupinate (crustose) fungus on or near the clinker, usually appearing after the host tree is dead.

click to see the pictures….…(01).....(1)..….…(2)..……..(3).….…(4)….…...(5)..……

Cultivation:
Geographically this fungus is mostly found in very cold habitats. It grows very slowly, suggesting it is not a reliable source of bioactive compounds in the long run. Attempts at cultivating this fungus all resulted in a reduced and markedly different production of bioactive metabolites.[9][10]Secondary metabolites were either absent or present in very different ratios, and in general showed significantly less potency in cultivated Chaga.  Cultivated Chaga furthermore results in a reduced diversity of phytosterols, particularly lanosterol, an intermediate in the synthesis of ergosterol and lanostane-type triterpenes. This effect was partially reversed by the addition of silver ion, an inhibitor of ergosterol biosynthesis.

Additionally, the bioactive triterpene betulinic acid is completely absent in cultivated Chaga. In nature Chaga grows pre-dominantly on birches, and birch bark contains up to 22% of betulin. Betulin is poorly absorbed by humans, even when taken intravenously; its bioavailability is very limited. However, the Chaga mushroom converts betulin into betulinic acid, and many internet sources state Chaga’s betulinic acid is bioavailable, even when taken orally. Unfortunately there is no research that confirms this claims.

Medicinal Uses:
Properties: * Analgesic * Antioxidant * AntiViral * Immunostimulant

Chaga mushrooms, or cinder conks, have been a staple of traditional medicine for centuries among the peoples of the boreal forests in Siberia, Asia and North America. They are used as a tonic and blood purifier. They belong to the Polypores, a group of mushrooms that grow on wood and may be the ancestors of most gilled mushrooms. Chaga and the similar reishi mushroom both have a reputation as tonics for longevity and health which are born out by recent scientific studies. These mushrooms show great promise for their anti-viral activities, immune response stimulation and anti-tumor effects that inhibit the spread of cancer cells.

In China, Japan and South Korea, extracts of chaga and other mushrooms from the family Hymenochaetaceae are being produced, sold and exported as anticancer medicinal supplements. The main bioactive ingredient in these extracts are usually (1>3)(1>6) Beta-D-glucans, a type of water-soluble polysaccharide. The biologic properties of crude preparations of these specific Beta-D-glucans have been subject of research since the 1960s.

Although these macro-molecules exhibit a wide range of biologic functions, including antitumor activity, their ability to prevent a range of infectious diseases (by triggering and supporting the immune function) has been studied in the greatest detail. Recent scientific research in Japan and China has been focused more on the anticancer potential and showed the effects of these specific beta-glucans to be comparable to chemotherapy and radiation, but without the side effects. Further research indicated these polysaccharides have strong anti-inflammatory and immune balancing properties, stimulating the body to produce natural killer (NK) cells to battle infections and tumor growth, instead of showing a direct toxicity against pathogens. This property makes well-prepared medicinal mushroom extracts stand out from standard pharmaceuticals – no side effects will occur or develop; the body is healing itself, triggered into action by the BRM effect of the chaga extract. Herbalist David Winston maintains it is the strongest anticancer medicinal mushroom. Russian literature Nobel Prize laureate Alexandr Solzhenitsyn wrote two pages on the medicinal use and value of chaga in his autobiographical novel, based on his experiences in a hospital in Tashkent, Cancer Ward (1968).

Since the 16th century, chaga mushrooms were recorded as being used in folk medicine and the botanical medicine of the Eastern European countries as a remedy for cancer, gastritis, ulcers, and tuberculosis of the bones. A review from 2010 stated, “As early as in the 16th century, chaga was used as an effective folk medicine in Russia and Northern Europe to treat several human malicious tumors and other diseases in the absence of any unacceptable toxic side effects.”

Chemical analysis shows that I. obliquus produces during its development and growth a range of secondary metabolites, including phenolic compounds such as melanins, and lanostane-type triterpenes, which include a small percentage of betulinic acid. Among these metabolites are biologically active components which have been researched and tested for their potential antioxidant, antitumoral, and antiviral activities. Both betulin and betulinic acid are being studied for use as chemotherapeutic agents and are already used as anti-HIV agents ). In an animal study, researchers found betulin from birch bark lowered cholesterol, obesity and improved insulin resistance.

In 1958, scientific studies in Finland and Russia found chaga provided an epochal effect in breast cancer, liver cancer, uterine cancer, and gastric cancer, as well as in hypertension and diabetes.

Research:
A 1998 study in Poland demonstrated chaga’s inhibiting effects on tumor growth. Noda and colleagues found betulin seems to work highly selectively on tumor cells because the interior pH of tumor tissues is generally lower than that of normal tissues, and betulinic acid is only active at those lower levels. Fulda et al. found, in 1997, once inside the cells, betulinic acid induces apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the tumors.[citation needed] In 2005, I. obliquus was evaluated for its potential for protecting against oxidative damage to DNA in a human keratinocyte cell line. The study found the polyphenolic extract protected these cells against hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress. Another study that year found the endopolysaccharide of chaga produced indirect anticancer effects via immunostimulation. The mycelial endopolysaccharide of I. obliquus was identified as a candidate for use as an immune response modifier and indicated the anticancer effect of endopolysaccharide is not directly tumoricidal, but rather is immunostimulation. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Saitoh Akiko published on the antimutagenic effects of chaga in 1996. Mizuno et al. published on the antitumor and hypoglycemic activities of the polysaccharides from the sclerotia and mycelia of chaga. Due to the serum glucose-lowering activity of polysaccharides, caution should be taken by those with hypoglycemia

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail502.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inonotus_obliquus

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Common Causes of Female Infertility

Trying For a Baby?

CLICK & SEE

What happens when you see your doctor?

See your GP in the first instance, if you have any reason for concern.

Your doctor will want to know about your development as a teenager and your periods. You’ll be asked when they started, how regular they are, whether you’ve ever been pregnant before or whether you’ve ever had a pelvic infection or sexually transmitted infection.

You can use our ovulation calendar to help identify when your most fertile days are.

It’s also important to mention any other illnesses you’ve had and any medication you may be taking.

Your doctor will examine you, including an internal examination, and send you for blood tests to check your blood count and hormone levels.

Your doctor may ask your partner about his development too, check his medical history for problems such as mumps, examine him and give him instructions to collect a semen sample for testing.

You may then be referred to a specialist clinic to a specialist clinic for further tests and advice. This is usually done once you’ve been trying to get pregnant for at least 18 months, but may be sooner if you’re in your mid-30s or older.

What can specialists do?
Once referred to a fertility specialist (a reproductive medicine specialist), the cause of your infertility will be investigated.

The treatment will depend on the cause. It can range from hormone treatments and the use of donor sperm, to assisted conception techniques such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

IVF and ICSI
IVF involves removing eggs from the woman’s ovaries and mixing them with either her partner’s or a donor’s sperm in a laboratory. If the eggs are fertilised successfully, they may then be placed back in the womb……….CLICK & SEE

This is a demanding treatment for the couple and only about one in three women will become pregnant after a single IVF/ICSI cycle. Some of these pregnancies will be lost in the early stages. Many cycles may be required before achieving successful pregnancy, and these treatments are not successful for everyone, no matter how many times they’re attempted.

ICSI is sometimes recommended to couples who’ve had no success with IVF. It involves injecting a single sperm into the egg. If a healthy embryo develops, it’s then placed back in the womb as in IVF………..CLICK & SEE

Access to IVF is limited on the NHS. Guidelines from the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE) say women aged 23 to 39 who have an identified cause of infertility or have had unexplained infertility for at least three years should be entitled to three cycles of IVF.

The Government has suggested that each primary care trust starts by offering couples one cycle, working up to three when possible. Access to NHS treatment varies, however, and it can depend on where you live, and what other local conditions are placed on you, such as your age.

Click For more information of   infertility :

Source
: BBC Health.22nd. July.2010

Enhanced by Zemanta

Vitamin D May Have The Best Results In Preventing Illnesses

Vitamin D, a powerful antioxidant, may have the strongest results when it comes to preventing diseases, according to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
click & see
For example, a study found that men and women who had a high intake of vitamin D were less likely to suffer from high blood pressure, according to The Boston Globe. Another trial showed that high levels of vitamin D could help balance blood sugar levels, and lessen the risk of developing diabetes.

In another study, a total of 1,000 post-menopausal women were asked to take natural supplements that contained vitamin D and calcium. The researchers found that the participants had a much lower risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer, the news source reports.

While researchers across the country have found many benefits from a high intake of vitamin D, investigators conclude that further studies are necessary to rule out potential negative effects of the nutrient.

JoAnn Manson, a professor at Harvard Medical School, stated that “I do think vitamin D is one of the most promising nutrients for prevention of cardiac disease and cancer, and I believe in it strongly.” She added that “[however], the evidence is far from conclusive.”

In addition to being a potent antioxidant, vitamin D can also prevent bone density loss, osteoporosis, altered bone marrow cells and low bone mass.

Vitamin D… America’s Single Deadliest Deficiency…

Nine out of 10 Americans are deficient in vitamin D… the sunshine vitamin. And surprisingly, even people that spend plenty of time in the sun can still lack this vital inflammation fighter.

This is dangerous because inflammation is a major cause of heart and brain attacks… high blood pressure… joint pain… bone loss… digestive problems… blood sugar imbalances and a host of other serious health problems.

But the good news is: You can quickly restore healthy levels of vitamin D with Advanced D3 Plus™ from Health Resources™ and even REVERSE many of your most dangerous health problems.

But you must have the RIGHT kind of natural vitamin D combined with the best quality ingredients for optimum bone, heart and brain health. To find out more, Click Here… :http://www.healthresources.net/p-142-advanced-d3-plus.aspx

Source: BETTER Health Research 15th.JUL.2010

Enhanced by Zemanta

No Baby Blues

It’s difficult to believe but true that despite our 1.2 billion  population in India, many of our young adults have difficulty in producing children. They may be called “sterile, infertile or sub fertile”. But before a couple is labelled “infertile”, they should have had at least 12 months of regular contraception-free intercourse.

Worldwide, infertility affects 7-10 per cent of the population. Although women actually produce the babies, if the reasons for the infertility are investigated the woman is at fault in a third of the cases; in a third it is the man and in the remainder either both are responsible or no real cause can be found.

Before embarking on a planned pregnancy, the woman should have had immunisations for measles, mumps rubella (MMR) and hepatitis B (3 doses). She should also start folic acid supplements (5mg/day). Children born with physical or mental defects because these basic facts were forgotten are a human tragedy. Both partners need to keep their body mass index (BMI, or weight in kilograms divided by height in metre squared) at around 23 and be physically active for around 40 minutes a day. They also need to treat any existing underlying disease like diabetes, high blood pressure or thyroid problems.

Studies show that caffeine (found in tea, coffee and cola drinks) affects fertility. Women who drink alcohol can produce babies with “foetal alcohol syndrome”. It also reduces the sperm count in men. Smoking affects the quality of the sperms and inhaled passive smoke is bad for the growing baby. Sperm counts may be reduced by inhaling hazardous chemicals in the work place or by working in high temperatures.

Women ovulate cyclically and the egg is released 14 days before the next period. For a woman to conceive, intercourse must take place around this time and the sperm count must be optimal. Initially, if a menstrual calendar is maintained, the fertile days can be calculated. A semen analysis for sperm count is a non-invasive simple test. Also, after intercourse lie down, don’t douche, and avoid lubricants and cleansing agents.

If these simple methods fail in a couple where the woman menstruates regularly and the man has a normal sperm count, a visit to a reproductive medical unit is warranted. Further investigations to establish the patency of the tubes and quality of the sperm may be needed. Depending on the problem, medication or surgical correction of a specific defect may be needed.

Conservative medical treatments are usually tried for periods varying from 6 months to a year. If they fail, assisted reproductive technology (ART) techniques are started.

In IUI (intrauterine insemination) the woman is scanned during her most fertile period to determine ovulation. Healthy treated sperms from her partner are then inserted into the uterus. The technique is used when the sperm count is low, the motility unsatisfactory or if donor sperm is being used.

In GIFT (gamete intra-fallopian transfer), eggs and sperms are collected, mixed and then placed in the woman’s fallopian tube. Fertilisation takes place naturally in the body.

In IVF (in vitro fertilisation) the eggs are harvested and fertilised with sperm in the laboratory. The resulting embryos are then placed in the uterus. This is used in cases where the fallopian tubes are blocked, the fertility unexplained or when several attempts with the other forms of ART have failed. It can result in multiple pregnancies. Some clinics offer “natural cycle IVF”. This involves collecting and fertilising the one egg released during the normal monthly cycle. It avoids the side effects of fertility drugs and multiple pregnancies are less likely.

In ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) a single sperm is injected into the centre of an egg. This is used when the male partner has a very low sperm count or if other problems with the sperm have been identified.

Donor eggs from other women can be used if the woman has no eggs of her own, or if she is over 40 and the eggs are of poor quality. Sperm from donors can be used if the husband has a low count (oligospermia) or no sperms (azoospermia). Surrogate mothers can be hired to carry the baby to term.

There is no right time to seek medical help, but if sexual intercourse at least three times a week without contraception for a year has been unsuccessful, it is probably time for proactive action. If, however, the woman has periods at intervals less than 21 days or more than 90 days, the flow is unpredictable (if it starts it does not stop and if it stops it does not start) or if there has been pelvic infection in the past, an evaluation should be done at the earliest. In men, if the testes are not felt in the scrotum, or there is a hydrocoele (swelling) or a past prostate infection, investigation and treatment should be started sooner.

Sources:The Telegraph (Kolkata,India)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]