Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Blood Pressure’

The last couple of weeks have been spent moving from a home with 20 years accumulation of “stuff” to a new home. While it has been exciting, it has also been exhausting.  I realized a few days ago that I was staying up later than usual to unpack and rearrange items and then not falling asleep when I did go to bed. My mind kept racing thinking about everything I needed – or wanted – to do the next day. The result was a tired, somewhat grumpy version of me!

Eating well and being physically active are two basic activities that we think of when we discuss being healthy.  Something that is often overlooked is the importance that a good night’s sleep plays in our overall health. Research has shown that insufficient sleep increases the risk of disorders, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, stroke and depression. It’s also associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Most of us have heard that all adults need 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night. That generally holds true but it is important to remember that the quality of your sleep is just as, if not more, important than the quantity!  You should feel rested when you wake up in the morning. It is important to listen to your body’s biological clock which is set by the hours of daylight where you live. This should make it easier for you to stay awake during the day and sleep at night.

There will be times that you find it more difficult to fall asleep than others. If you are under stress, experiencing pain from an injury or illness, consuming excess caffeine or alcohol, you may find that falling and staying asleep are difficult. In that case, recognizing the reasons and making some adjustments to your daytime activities should help you sleep more soundly.

Some suggestions for improving your sleep:

  • Create a comfortable, calming sleep environment. This could include room darkening window coverings.
  • Avoid electronic devices in your bedroom – computers, tablets, games, etc. should be shut down before bedtime.
  • Establish a routine that you follow each evening to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Have a consistent bed time – even on the weekends.

There are small changes you can make to your daytime activities that may lead to better sleep.

  • Try to spend some time outdoors every day.
  • Exercise earlier in the day instead of later in the evening.
  • If you nap, limit yourself to 20 minutes or less.
  • Avoid both caffeine and alcohol close to your chosen bed time. Do some experimenting to find the cut off time for you – everyone will be a little different!
  • If you smoke, quit! Nicotine in cigarettes can make sleep more difficult.

If you continue to have sleep problems, it might be wise to visit your doctor to be sure you don’t have a more serious sleep disorder.

While sleep is not a guaranteed cure all for you, it doesn’t hurt anyone to establish sleep habits that help you consistently get a good night’s sleep!

 

WRITTEN BY: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

REVIEWED BY: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/10/cover-sleep.aspx

https://healthfinder.gov/healthtopics/population/men/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep#the-basics_2

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/ask-the-doctor-right-amount-of-sleep

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Picture1

Did you know your blood pressure reading is affected by many factors, including how you are sitting?  When you have your blood pressure checked, be sure to follow the list below to ensure an accurate reading:

  • Empty your bladder before taking your blood pressure.
  • Avoid caffeine, exercise and smoking for at least 30 minutes before taking a reading.
  • Sit in a back-supported chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Don’t cross your legs.
  • Put your arm on a table, desk or some other support, so your arm is supported at heart level.
  • Relax for at least five minutes before your blood pressure is taken.
  • Don’t have a conversation while it is being taken.
  • Use the correct size cuff.
  • Place the cuff on your bare arm.Picture3

Nearly half of all Americans have high blood pressure, according to the new guidelines (listed in the chart below) from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

Normal blood pressure 120/80 mmHg or below
Elevated blood pressure 120-129/<80 mmHg
High blood pressure (hypertension) stage 1 130-139/80-89 mmHg
High blood pressure (hypertension) stage 2 140 or higher/90 or higher mmHg

People with stage 1 hypertension are at double the risk for a heart attack or a stroke when compared to those with normal blood pressure. This does not mean all of those with stage 1 hypertension need to take blood pressure drugs, though.  It is important to talk with your health care provider as to what may work best for you.  Some life style changes can make a difference in your blood pressure readings.

Picture4

Following the DASH diet can help lower blood pressure.  The DASH diet was rated by US News and World Reports as the best diet overall for the eighth year.  Other steps to take which may reduce your blood pressure:

  • Lose weight if you need to. Losing 10 pounds often improves blood pressure.
  • Lower your sodium intake.
  • Increase your physical activity. Aim for 90-150 minutes per week of either aerobic activity or resistance training or a combination of both.
  • Use stress coping techniques to reduce your stress levels.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Stop using tobacco.
  • Increase your consumption of potassium containing foods, such as potatoes, banana, almonds, peanuts, avocados, broccoli, carrots, oranges and other citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, and milk.
  • Take any blood pressure medications that you are prescribed.

Keeping your blood pressure at the normal level or below reduces your risk of heart disease or stroke.  Since 80% of strokes are preventable, keeping your blood pressure at normal levels or below is very important.

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

References

American Heart Association. (2018). Understanding Blood Pressure Readings, American Heart Association.  Available at www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/KnowYourNumbers/Understanding-Blood-Pressure-Readings_UCM_301764_Article.jsp#.WqBVUSVG3cs

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Preventing Stroke Deaths, CDC Vital Signs.  Available at www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/pdf/2017-09-vitalsigns.pdf

Dow, C. (2018). Pressure Points, More people have hypertension, say new guidelines, Nutrition Action Healthletter, January/February 2018.  45(1) 7-8.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2018). DASH Eating Plan, National Institutes of Health.  Available at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/dash-eating-plan

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

As the air cools in the fall we often lean towards fixing those comfort foods for our family. Things like: mac and cheese, chili soup, spaghetti sauce and pasta, chicken and noodles all taste good to us. Many of us are also concerned with making our meals as healthy as possible to prevent chronic disease risk, or just improve our health in general. Here are some ideas to “Soup UP” your next pot of chili:chili-2

  • Ground meats – Switch your regular ground chuck out for a ground sirloin or lean ground turkey (even turkey sausage). Look at the fat or % lean and go as lean as you can for the price. Another protein option could be meatless veggie protein crumbles – they will reduce the fat, but still have the same texture as other ground meats. This product is typically found in the freezer section of stores.
  • Beans – Instead of using just red kidney beans, try 2 different kinds of beans. Beans that are brighter color will have higher antioxidant properties (red, black or brown). Some research studies have found diets rich in the antioxidants in beans to result in lower cancer risks for breast, stomach, colorectal, kidney and prostate cancer. By combining the types of beans you can pick up the benefits from several different varieties.
  • Diced Vegetables – Replace your chopped onion with a variety of chopped vegetables. Choose from onions, peppers, sweet potatoes, corn, celery, pumpkin, and/or butternut squash. This is a great way to clean out the crisper drawer in your refrigerator and to ramp up the vegetables in your pot. I recently peeled and cubed a small sweet potato into a pot of chili – it tasted great and helped thicken it up too.
  • Tomato Products – Most chili is a combination of tomato products – sauce, paste, juice, and stewed or diced. Tomatoes are packed with vitamins A, C, B6, potassium, and even fiber. Research studies support the consumption of tomatoes with heart health benefits and even skin health. With tomato products look to “No Salt Added” products when purchasing canned.
  • Seasonings – Combine a variety of spices and herbs to suit your own taste preferences – cumin, black and cayenne pepper, oregano, and chili powder are all good choices. Keep your salt to a minimum. For some people higher sodium intake is linked with higher blood pressure.

A few other perks for a big pot of chili soup are that it is almost a one dish meal; by adding a dairy, fruit, and bread you can have a tasty meal. Soups also freeze well for left-over meals or to carry for lunch. And last-but-not-least you can use up left-overs in chili soup by switching ground meat for pulled chicken or pork, and almost any vegetable can be dumped in the pot. I can’t wait to hear your favorite chili combination.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fayette County.

Sources:

American Heart Association, (2016). Myths About High Blood Pressure, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/AboutHighBloodPressure/Myths-About-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_430836_Article.jsp#.WApYz4MrLct

North Dakota State University, “All About Beans Nutrition, Health Benefits, Preparation and Use in Menus”, Garden-Robinson, J. and McNeal, K., https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/all-about-beans-nutrition-health-benefits-preparation-and-use-in-menus#section-3.

Penn State Extension, “Eating Tomatoes May Very Well Save Your Life”, Kralj, R., http://extension.psu.edu/health/news/2014/eating-tomatoes-may-very-well-safe-your-life.

 

Read Full Post »

raspberry-995344_640

Did you know that today is National Raspberry Cream Pie Day?  Raspberries are abundant at this time of year.  Raspberries- like many other fruits- are an excellent source of Vitamin C, manganese and fiber. They also contain the phytonutrient ellagic acid, a potential anti-cancer agent.   They are an excellent source of soluble fiber and may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Raspberries also provide a slow release of carbohydrates into the blood stream.  This fruit is very low in calories, providing just 64 calories per cup serving. Raspberries also provide 8 grams of fiber and 54% of the daily need for Vitamin C.

If you are looking for raspberries on this eventful day you may be surprised to find that a variety of colors from red to black to purple to yellow are all available. Raspberries should be bright, shiny, and uniform in color. Avoid ones that are dull and appear to have surface moisture, as moisture promotes decay.  Handle this produce very gently to avoid bruising. Bruising shortens the life of the fruit and contributes to low quality. Berries are highly perishable; therefore, store fresh raspberries uncovered in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Gently rinse berries in cold water prior to use.  Never soak berries in water.  Be aware that raspberry shelf life is short so only buy what you can use. Plan to eat your berries within one to two days after purchase.

Try this quick and easy Raspberry Cream Pie Recipe:raspberry-925190_640

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 pints fresh raspberries
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared reduced fat graham cracker pie crust

Directions

  1. Whisk sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice together in a bowl; gently fold 1 pint of raspberries.
  2. Spread filling evenly within the crust.
  3. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.
  4. Top pie with remaining fresh raspberries when ready to serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from allrecipes http://allrecipes.com/recipe/229009/fresh-red-raspberry-cream-pie/print/?recipeType=Recipe&servings=16

 

Not enough time to make a pie today? Try these quick and easy ways to add raspberries to your National Raspberry Cream Pie Day:

  • Add fresh raspberries to hot and cold cereals
  • Top nonfat yogurt with fresh raspberries and some granola for a great breakfast, snack or dessert.
  • Combine raspberries into a fresh lettuce salad and top with a low fat vinaigrette dressing
  • Lastly, just enjoy fresh berries as a snack. They are delicious, sweet and juicy!

WRITTEN BY: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County and Marcia Jess, Program Coordinator, Wood County.

REVIEWED BY: Shawna Hite, Healthy People Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, Family & Consumer Sciences

Sources:

http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5511

http://extension.illinois.edu/raspberries/

http://www.msuextension.org/nutrition/documents/RaspberryFFS.pdf

Read Full Post »

potatoYou may have heard that “sitting is the new smoking.” Several recent research articles have sounded the alarms about the cardiovascular risk association with too much sedentary behavior. One study compared people who logged more than four hours of screen time to those with less than two and found a 125% increased risk in cardiovascular disease in the sedentary group. In response to the alarms, standing desks, standing meetings, and walking meetings have become more prevalent in some workplaces and schools. Devices such as Fitbit now measure sedentary hours that have less than 250 steps and buzz the user if it is time to get up and walk around. Although these changes in workplace culture and technology are certainly helpful, the cards are still stacked against us when it comes our (and our kids) daily routines. I probably fall into the category of active couch potato, since I jog three times a week and lift weight 2-3 times per week but gravitate to sitting 95% of my waking hours. Although, experts suggest that being an active couch potato is still better than being an inactive couch potato, and that there is still more research needed to understand the risk of sitting too much, most would agree that being couch potato is still a problem. On reflecting on my own daily routine, and my kids:

I spend at least an hour each day in my car sitting, to get to work, or to get to an Extension program (where I might encouraging people to be less sedentary).

Every meeting room, classroom, office has chairs, tables. The expectation is to naturally sit. Most people sit. I’ll stand, and others might stand or walk around, but sometimes we will get funny looks, or a look from the speaker we are listening to.

My kids are encouraged to sit in school. The one time that they are not encouraged to sit very long is during school lunch, the one time when they should be sitting longer.

I have a nice couch in my living room in front of the TV…

My daughter’s concert is in an auditorium with nice comfortable seats. If you stand in the isles, whether in the front or the back, you might be in someone’s way, or blocking someone’s view.

Softball and baseball games have bleachers, but also we have comfortable folding chairs that we can sit in. Basketball games are even more difficult to stand or even walk around.

The golf course I occasionally play on discourages walking in favor of carts in order to promote faster play.

There is nowhere to stand in a movie theatre.

I have a standing desk now, which can adjust up and down. I do stand most of the time but find it easy to lower it and sit for longer periods.

I push mow our lawn now, but riding mowers are fairly inexpensive.

Public health experts have this complex theory called Socio-ecological theory. It suggests that our health behaviors such as physical activity are shaped not only by our own motivations, knowledge, awareness and skills, but also by other people, environments, systems, policies, norms, etc. Although I am motivated to be less sedentary, there are many other influences besides gravity that are countering my efforts as suggested above.

TAKE A STAND. Social ecological theory also suggests that OUR behaviors can change or influence others. In other words we have the power by our own behaviors to influence the culture and the environment. If you stand in a movie theatre, you might feel awkward, or may get some looks, but in a way you are changing culture or what people perceive to be normal. Who knows, you might get some followers. Talk with your teachers and advocate for more classroom activities. Ask your supervisor about a standing desk, even if it might feel awkward. Stand up in a meeting, even if it feels strange. Keep it up, changing culture and norms takes time. This is an interesting YouTube video that illustrates the point.

Other Sources

Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005

National Institutes of Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404815/

Author: Dan Remley, PhD, Ohio State Univesity Extension, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Ohio State University Extension, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ross County.

Read Full Post »

When my daughter was a toddler, she had a talking toy Bullwinkle Moose that said “walking is good for you!”  For years it was a bit of a family joke and every time we went for a walk, someone had to quote Bullwinkle.      walking_focus_destress

Now, science is firmly behind the concept that walking really is good for you!  Among others, the American Heart Association promotes the positive benefits of walking. The simple of activity of walking can:

  • Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Improve your blood pressure, blood sugar and blood lipids profile.
  • Maintain your body weight and lower risk of obesity.
  • Reduce your risk of osteoporosis, breast and colon cancer.
  • Reduce your risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes.

What do you need to start walking?  Basically you just need comfortable supportive shoes and a safe place to walk.

The Mayo Clinic gives some suggestions for starting and maintaining a walking habit.

  • Set yourself up for success! Have a simple, attainable goal. Maybe the first week you plan to walk 5 minutes at lunch time.  Once that becomes a habit, gradually add time to your walk.
  • Track your progress. It can be very motivating to see how many miles you have walked in a week, month or year. You can record this in a journal, a spreadsheet or an online app.
  • Make it enjoyable. Some people like to walk alone, listening to music or just enjoying some “me” time. Others prefer to walk with a friend or two. Find out what works for you.
  • Vary your routine. Plan a couple of different routes – walk outside when possible or join others walking at the gym or local mall. If you’re walking alone, let someone know where you will be walking. Keep your cell phone in your pocket for emergency calls! If you have a light or whistle, take it with you.
  • If you miss a day or two, don’t give up! Remind yourself how good you felt when you were walking regularly and ease back into it.

While walking is a relatively low risk activity, you still want to think of preventing injuries to yourself. If you haven’t been active, start slow and gradually add to your time, distance and speed.  To avoid blisters, some studies have shown that synthetic fiber socks can be better than cotton socks which absorb moisture and increase friction. Shin splints (pain on the front of your lower leg) and knee pain can be prevented or minimized by wearing proper, supportive footwear and stretching and strengthening the supportive muscles.

Remember, every step you take helps you lead a healthier life. So, get up, lace on your walking shoes and get going!

walking shoes

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, FCS, OSU Extension, Franklin County rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, FCS, OSU Extension ,Pickaway County treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

The Mayo Clinic. Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health.
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/walking/art-20046261?pg=1
The American Heart Association.  Walking, Take the first step.

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/Walking/Walking_UCM_460870_SubHomePage.jsp

Read Full Post »

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day – that’s equal to about 1 teaspoon of salt!  Most Americans eat an average of 3,300 mg of sodium daily! http://www.cdc.gov/salt/

You should reduce your intake further to 1500 mg per day if you are in any of the following population groups who have been shown to be more susceptible to sodium’s blood pressure-raising effects.

  • People with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease                    image001
  • African-Americans
  • People ages 51 and older
    • Read the Nutrition Facts Label to see how much sodium is in the foods you are considering. All Americans should consume less than 100% of the Daily Value or less than 2400 mg of sodium each day. Check the label for lower sodium choices and compare sodium in different brands of foods — like frozen meals, packaged soups and choose those with lower sodium,
    • Prepare your own food when you can.  Don’t salt foods before or during cooking, and limit saltshaker. Only a small amount of the sodium we consume each day comes from the salt shaker.
    • Add Flavor Without Adding Sodium. Use herbs and spices instead of salt to add flavor to your foods.
    • Get FRESH when you can. Buy fresh or frozen (not processed) poultry, pork and lean meat rather than canned, smoked or processed meats like luncheon meats, sausages and corned beef. Fresh foods are generally lower in sodium.
    • Watch your veggies. Buy fresh, frozen (without sauce), or low sodium or no-salt-added canned vegetables.
    • Give sodium the “rinse.” Rinse sodium-containing canned foods, such as tuna, vegetables, and beans before using. This removes some of the sodium.
    • Examine your dairy products. Choose fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese and fortified soy beverages (often called soymilk).
    • Choose “Unsalted” snacks. Choose unsalted nuts and seeds, and snack products such as chips and pretzels.
    • Consider your condiments. Sodium in soy sauce, ketchup, salad dressings, and seasoning packets can add up. Choose lite or reduced sodium soy sauce and no-salt-added ketchup, add oil and vinegar to a salad rather than bottled salad dressings, and use only a small amount of seasoning from flavoring packets instead of the entire packet.
    • Eating Out: Choose a lower-sodium option. Ask for sauces and salad dressings be served “on the side,” then use less of them. Reduce your portion size – less food means less sodium! For example, ask the server to put half of your meal in a take out container before it comes.

    Start today in taking small steps that can have big results for good health!

    Author: Marie Economos, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Trumbull County, Western Reserve EERA, economos.2@osu.edu

    Review: Beth Stefura, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.edu

    Resources:

    http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/UCM315471.pdf

    http://www.cdc.gov/salt/

    http://www.cdc.gov/salt/pdfs/Reducing_Sodium_Diet_BP_Control.pdf

    http://www.cdc.gov/salt/fact_sheets.htm

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »