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Entries in Hypertension (8)

Thursday
Oct042012

Maternal Hypertension Linked to Lower IQ

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- High blood pressure during pregnancy can cause low birth weight and early delivery, and a new study suggests it may have lasting effects on the baby's brain.

The Finnish study of nearly 400 men found that those born to hypertensive mothers scored an average of four points lower on cognitive tests later in life.

"Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy predict lower cognitive ability and greater cognitive decline over decades in the adult offspring," the authors wrote in their study, published Thursday in the journal Neurology.

One in 13 pregnant women has high blood pressure, according to the National Institutes of Health.  And while most of them will have healthy babies, hypertension can lead to preeclampsia -- the leading cause of fetal complications.

"It's a fairly serious problem and one we often have to manage in the field of high-risk obstetrics," said Dr. David Hackney of UH Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio.  "If a woman develops preeclampsia, the treatment is to deliver the baby.  But obviously you don't want to do that if it's too early."

Previous studies have linked preterm birth and low birth weight to low IQ in adulthood.  But the new study suggests high blood pressure may be the earlier instigator.

"Our results may also offer mechanistic insight into why short length of gestation and small body size at birth are linked with lower cognitive ability, as hypertensive disorders are among the key reasons for prematurity and intrauterine growth restriction," the authors wrote, adding that the "propensity toward lower cognitive ability has its origins in the prenatal period, when the majority of the development of brain structure and function occurs."

Although hypertension during pregnancy can be managed with certain drugs, Hackney said women of childbearing age should eat healthy and stay active to lower their risk.

"It's important to remain healthy through early life and maximize health prior to becoming pregnant," he said.

The National Institutes of Health also recommends limiting salt intake, maintaining a healthy body weight and getting good prenatal medical care.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep252012

Americans Pick Their Favorite Salty Snacks

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The heck with hypertension, Americans love their salty snacks and the number one treat, according to a brand recognition survey by YouGov BrandIndex, is Ritz Crackers.

It's the second year in a row that the Nabisco product, a favorite since the 1930’s, has topped the list with an overall favorability rating of 55.2, just a smidgen higher than in 2011.

Trailing Ritz in second place is Lay’s Potato Chips while Doritos Tortilla Chips and Fritos Corn Chips, each made by Frito-Lay’s, finished third and fourth. Here’s the top ten:

1. Ritz
2. Lay's
3. Doritos
4. Fritos
5. Orville Redenbacher Popcorn
6. Wheat Thins
7. Tostitos
8. Cheetos
9. Pringles
10. Triscuit

YouGov conducted its survey of 1.5 million adults ages 18 and above by asking the question, “Do you have a general positive feeling about the brand?” and using scores of 100 through minus 100 with negative feedback subtracted from positive responses.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May222012

Sleep Apnea Treatment May Prevent Hypertension

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Sleep apnea may prove to be a treatable cause of high blood pressure, according to research released Tuesday that suggests wearing a special breathing mask at night may protect apnea patients from the hypertension.

Most people think of obstructive sleep apnea as a snoring disorder. Although many sufferers snore, apnea is characterized by short episodes in which the patient's upper airway narrows or closes, reducing the flow of oxygen to the body and brain. Those episodes, which can number hundreds in a night, not only disrupt nighttime sleep but may reduce daytime alertness and over time stress the body. For the past 15 to 20 years, doctors have thought that these episodes send blood pressure upward and put patients at risk of heart attack and stroke.

Doctors most often treat sleep apnea by having their patients use devices that employ a technique called continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, which delivers mild air pressure through a nasal mask, to keep their airways open throughout sleep.

Two studies released Tuesday in JAMA suggest that CPAP may reduce the risk of hypertension among apnea patients.

Dr. Ferran Barbe and his colleagues at the Institut de Biomedia Recerca in Lleida, Spain, studied the effects of CPAP treatment on hypertension and risk of heart attack and stroke among 723 apnea sufferers who didn't have daytime sleepiness. They divided the patients into two groups, one that wore CPAP masks while sleeping and an observation-only group. In the course of more than two years, patients who used CPAP machines at least 4 hours a night did better, but the study didn't show a statistically significant reduction in cardiovascular problems.

However, a related study in the same issue found a stronger benefit. Dr. Jose M. Marin, a respiratory specialist, led an observational study that followed 1,889 patients without hypertension who underwent evaluations for abnormal nighttime breathing at a sleep center in Zaragoza, Spain. They subsequently came in for annual blood pressure checks.

With more than 12 years of follow-up, Marin's study suggested that apnea patients who used a CPAP didn't develop hypertension as much as patients with untreated OSA, those who refused treatment or those who don't wear a CPAP as prescribed. The greater the adherence to prescribed nightly CPAP use, the more protective the treatment.

Dr. Viren Somers, a sleep apnea and heart disease researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., cautioned that the results of the two studies are suggestive "but not definitive that CPAP is protective of the cardiovascular system."

He said the conclusion that better adherence to CPAP use is protective also "has to be taken with a pinch of salt -- because the fact that someone uses CPAP more frequently and more conscientiously may mean they do other things, maybe take their medicines or do other things we don't measure that will improve their cardiovascular risk," said Somers, a professor of cardiovascular diseases.

Barbe's finding that those patients who adhered to therapy had a decreased incidence of hypertension "is in my opinion quite powerful and supports the relationship found in the Marin study," said Dr. James Rowley, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Detroit Receiving Hospital in Detroit and faculty member at Wayne State University. "The Marin study in particular was a more 'real-world' study and had a longer follow-up period so is in my opinion strongly supports the statement that OSA is associated with increased risk of hypertension."

The two studies provide more evidence for the benefits of CPAP therapy in reducing hypertension and its potential in preventing it among people with obstructive sleep apnea, Drs. Vishesh Kapur and Edward Weaver, both of the University of Washington in Seattle, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

"Treatment may not only reduce blood pressure (although modestly on average), but if confirmed by future studies, also may prevent hypertension in at-risk patients. Thus, OSA deserves attention in patients with or at risk of developing hypertension as a potentially treatable cause of hypertension as well as other clinically important outcomes."

However, they said additional clinical trials were needed to determine the amount of CPAP therapy necessary to achieve a beneficial effect, and to evaluate other sleep apnea treatments.

Because so many apnea patients complain that they cannot tolerate wearing a mask throughout the night, Somers said that industry is "trying to develop new ways of delivering positive airway pressure that are more tolerable." He said the idea is for the machines to deliver constant air flow throughout the night, increasing the pressure when it's needed. That way, the treatment "will be primarily instituted" when breathing is blocked, "and when you're breathing quietly and happily, you don't need it."

The sleep apnea pipeline includes new technology being developed to address some of the neurologic issues that underlie disrupted breathing to reduce apnea episodes. One approach now being tested involves stimulating nerves that control how the body keeps the airways open, Somers said.

Rowley said that for now, none of the other treatments used for OSA, including surgery, some oral appliances that reposition the jaw, CPAP masks, or even devices in the pipeline "have been studied for long-term outcomes of OSA, particularly cardiovascular disease. Most of the data is short-term and relates to subjective symptoms such as sleepiness and quality of life."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar272012

This Just In: Healthy People Live Longer, Study Finds

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Unhealthy habits, like smoking and being overweight, have long been linked to heart disease and cancer, America’s top killers.  The reverse of that coin -- the impact of healthy habits on preventing disease and death -- has been a mantra in the medical community. Now a new study adds weight to that, finding that healthful behaviors, like exercising and eating a balanced diet, can reduce the risk of early death by up to 76 percent.

“It’s common sense,” said study author Quanhe Yang, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division for Heart Diseases and Stroke Prevention. “We know what increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. And if you can prevent or postpone those risk factors from developing, it will really reduce your risk long term.”

Yang and colleagues used surveys to probe seven measures of healthy living -- smoking, physical activity, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, diet and weight -- in nearly 45,000 adult men and women between 1988 and 2010. They found people who were “ideal” on six or more of the parameters were 76 percent less likely to die from heart disease and 51 percent less likely to die from other causes, including cancer.

“We can prevent cardiovascular disease by preventing the risk factors from occurring in the first place,” said Yang. The study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., killing nearly 600,000 Americans each year, according to the CDC. While each healthy living parameter independently affected the risk of death due to heart disease, having an ideal blood pressure was the biggest contributor, reducing the risk by 40 percent.

“There are about 68 million people with hypertension in the U.S.,” said Yang. “If you could bring that down by 10 percent, you could prevent 14,000 cardiovascular events.”

Not smoking and eating an ideal diet reduced the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 13 percent each, Yang said. But less than one percent of the U.S. study population ate an ideal diet consisting of fruits, veggies, fish, whole grains with limited sodium and sugar.

Although smoking has declined since 1988, blood sugar -- a marker of diabetes -- and weight have risen steadily. Only 2.1 percent of the study subjects were ideal on six or more parameters. They tended to be younger, female and more educated. The majority of subjects were healthy on three of the seven parameters.

Yang said he hopes to see smoking continue to decline, and weight and diabetes level off. He also hopes to see the proportion of people with ideal physical activity and diet increase.

“If we can shift the whole population towards ideal cardiovascular health metrics, we will really reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and death,” said Yang.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan132012

Antidepressants Linked to Hypertension in Babies

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Pregnant women who take certain anti-depressants can significantly increase their chance of having babies that develop a condition known as pulmonary hypertension, according to a study published Thursday in the British Medical Journal.

An estimated one in every 1,000 babies born develop pulmonary hypertension, characterized by high blood pressure in the lung arteries, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The condition occurs when newborn babies are not able to adapt to breathing on their own, which can potentially lead to organ failure and brain damage.  On average, 11 percent of newborns diagnosed with this condition will die from it, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The study suggests that women who took one of the most prescribed class of anti-depressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) during pregnancy were twice as likely to have their baby develop pulmonary hypertension compared with mothers who didn't take SSRIs.

But many experts said the risk is still low.

"You're doubling the risk of extremely low risk to again, an extremely low risk," said Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, division director of obstetrics and gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.  SSRIs, more commonly known by their brand names such as Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa and Lexapro, are taken by 1.5 percent of pregnant women in the U.S.

The study reviewed six million births that took place from 1996 to 2007 in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Study researchers said they took into consideration the mothers' health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, or behaviors such as smoking, or the way the baby was delivered.  These factors have previously been associated to a baby's development of pulmonary hypertension.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul282011

Number of Americans Suffering with Gout Is on the Rise

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Gout, a type of inflammatory arthritis that is caused by the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints, causing pain and swelling, appears to be on the rise, according to a new study published Thursday in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

By comparing data from two national surveys -- one from 1988-1994 and the other from 2007-2008, researchers at Boston University School of Medicine found that about 4 percent of the U.S. population, or some 8.3 million adults, now suffer from gout, with the condition being more common in men than in women.

This latest rate is a 1.2 percent increase from 20 years ago.

The authors of the study also found that this rise in gout rates is linked to the rise in obesity and hypertension among U.S. adults, and so they conclude that “improvements in managing modifiable risk factors, such as obesity and hypertension, could help prevent further escalation of gout...among Americans.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar242011

What's For Breakfast? How About Lower Blood Pressure

George Doyle/Thinkstock(YONKERS, NY) --  Consumer Reports brought to light a new fact about men and high blood pressure on Thursday.  According to a study presented at an American Heart Association meeting in Atlanta, men who start the day with a bowl of cereal are 19 percent less likely to have high blood pressure than those who don't.   And if you’re talking about cereals high in fiber,  that percentage only increases.  Even with less consumption -- two to six servings per week -- men were still 11 percent less likely to have high blood pressure. 

Another benefit the study highlights is the importance of breakfast in one's daily meal routine as it has been linked to other health benefits, including better weight control, healthier cholesterol numbers and triglyceride levels and improved sensitivity to insulin.

Consumer Reports adds that you should look for products with at least three grams of fiber and no more than four grams of sugar per serving.

Consumer Reports also says that while the whole study hasn't yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, it is part of the respected Physicians' Health Study and includes approximately 17 years of follow-up with some 13,400 participants.

 

Saturday
Feb262011

FDA Approves 'More Effective' Hypertension Drug

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a drug that it says is more effective than others when it comes to treating high blood pressure.

The FDA approved Edarbi tablets for treatment of hypertension in adults. Officials say data from clinical studies shows that Edarbi has proven to be more effective in lowering 24-hour blood pressure as compared to FDA-approved hypertension drugs, Diovan and Benicar.

"High blood pressure is often called the 'silent killer' because it usually has no symptoms until it causes damage to the body," said Norman Stockbridge, M.D., Ph.D., of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "High blood pressure remains inadequately controlled in many people diagnosed with the condition, so having a variety of treatment options is important."

In a release, the FDA described Edarbi as being an angiotensin II receptor blocker that lowers blood pressure by blocking the action of angiotensin II, a vasopressor hormone.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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