More Evidence for Excess Fat Tissue to Contribute to Hypertension

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Hypertension, or increased blood pressure, is one of the…

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Hypertension, or increased blood pressure, is one of the more important ways in which the low-level molecular damage of aging is converted into high-level structural damage to tissues. Hypertension produces increased rupture of capillaries and other forms of pressure damage to delicate structures of the brain and other organs, resulting in loss of function and, ultimately, death. It also accelerates the progression of atherosclerosis, the creation of fatty plaques that weaken and narrow blood vessels, with the end result of stroke or heart attack as an important blood vessel suffers structural failure.

Being overweight or obese is strongly associated with risk and degree of hypertension. The underlying mechanisms are easy to speculate on: the chronic inflammation produced by visceral fat tissue causes dysfunction in the smooth muscle cells that control blood vessel dilation and constriction, for example. That breaks the feedback mechanisms controlling blood pressure, leading to hypertension. The diet needed to become overweight likely contributes to greater cross-link formation, stiffening blood vessel tissues to produce much the same outcome. And so forth through a laundry list of other low-level damage that manifests in blood vessel walls.

 

Among the cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, age is considered as the most important predictor of CVD events and hypertension is a major cause of CVD mortality. Age-related increase in blood pressure (BP) is recognized as a universal feature of human aging. Previous epidemiological surveys have shown a progressive increase in systolic blood pressure (SBP) with age, whereas diastolic blood pressure (DBP) also initially increases with age but falls at latter ages. Thus, effective control of BP is essential for improving population health.

Studies of BP associated with adiposity-related genetic variants and controlled trials of weight loss interventions have established the causal relationship between adiposity and BP. Regardless of age and other unmodifiable CVD risk factors such as sex and race, there are many risk factors that are manageable and can be controlled through lifestyle modification, including reduction of obesity. However, there are inconsistencies as to whether a general or central adiposity is more strongly associated with BP and different opinions about which variable is the strongest predictor of BP.

The present study aimed to investigate how BP and body…

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Stand Up for Good Health: Risks of Sitting Too Long

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Sitting Health Risks
Stand Up for Good HealthWhile we all know the hazards of fa…

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Stand Up for Good Health: Risks of Sitting Too Long

Sitting Health Risks

Stand Up for Good Health

While we all know the hazards of failing to include regular exercise as a part of our lives, it now appears that too much sitting can be risky. 1

Related Article: Dangers of Sitting Too Long

Research confirms the benefit of getting up and moving to maintain excellent health and quality of life as well as protect against premature death.

 

Research on Reduction in Sitting and Health

On November 13, 2013, Richard and Sara Rosenkranz of Kansas State University and their colleagues released findings from Australia’s 45 and Up Study, that included 194,545 participants, in BMC Public Health. In this study, those who reported the least time spent sitting were 13% more likely to rate their general health as outstanding and similarly most likely to rate their lifestyle as outstanding in contrast with those who sat 8 or more hours per day.2 “Not only do people need to be more physically active by walking or doing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, but they should also be looking at ways to reduce their sitting time,” Richard Rosenkranz stated.

“We’re basically telling our bodies to shut down the processes that help to stimulate metabolism throughout the day and that is not good,” Sara Rosenkranz added. “Just by breaking up your sedentary time, we can actually upregulate that process in the body.”

The Women’s Health Initiative, which consisted of 3 medical trials (CT) and an observational study (OS), was performed to attend to major health concerns causing morbidity and mortality in postmenopausal ladies. In the February 2014 concern of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Dr. Rebecca Seguin of Cornell University and her associates reported the results of a study that consisted of 92,234 topics who were 50 to 79 years of age upon registration in the Women’s Health Initiative. Dr. Sequin and her associates found that females who invested 11 hours or more daily sitting or resting without sleeping had a 12% increased threat of passing away of any cause over a typical follow-up period of 12 years compared to ladies who reported spending the least amount of time sitting or resting (four hours or less). The best increase in risk happened in coronary heart problem, followed by heart disease and cancer.

“The assumption has been that if you’re fit and physically active, that will protect you, even if you spend a huge amount of time sitting each day,” stated Dr. Seguin, who is an assistant professor of…
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Rethinking Cholesterol and Heart Disease Risk with Cardiologist Michael Ozner, MD

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You might think cholesterol alone is the key indicator of a health…

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Rethinking Cholesterol and Heart Disease Risk with Cardiologist Michael Ozner, MD
You might think cholesterol alone is the key indicator of a healthy heart, but it’s not the “root” cause.

Learn how atherogenic lipoproteins become the deciding factor that leads to heart disease. Learn how to reduce your heart disease risk and the importance of omega-3 fatty acids.

Rethinking Heart Disease Risk and Cholesterol

What’s the most important factor in heart disease?

Cholesterol, right?

Not so fast, cautions cardiologist Michael Ozner, MD. “I think it’s very important that we understand the root cause of heart attacks.”

“It’s not cholesterol per se but, rather, these particles which we call atherogenic lipoproteins that carry cholesterol and triglycerides. Cholesterol actually serves a worthwhile purpose. It’s required for cell membranes, for steroid hormone development, for bile, and other things, and triglycerides are useful as energy source. We need them, and they can’t travel by themselves. They need to be carried.”

Dr. Ozner, who is the medical director of Wellness and Prevention at Baptist Health South Florida, likens lipoproteins to vehicles and cholesterol and triglyceride molecules to passengers. Traffic jams are caused not by too many passengers, but by too many vehicles which, when they have nowhere to go, take the exit ramp into the arterial wall where they can become trapped, modified, and oxidized. This process initiates the disease known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerotic plaque is a collection of lipoproteins with their cholesterol and triglyceride cargo. Rupture of these plaques can lead to heart attack and stroke.1

Cholesterol and Atherogenic Lipoproteins

Understanding heart disease risk:

Apolipoprotein B (ApoB) is a component of some of the most atherogenic lipoproteins, including low-density lipoprotein (LDL), very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), and intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL) particles. Apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1), on the other hand, is primarily associated with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles and is potentially helpful. Levels of ApoB and its ratio to ApoA1 have a stronger association with cardiovascular disease risk than the better-known lipoprotein cholesterol fractions.2 These factors can be evaluated with blood tests.

Heart Attack Misconceptions

While LDL cholesterol has long been considered the standard test to assess cardiovascular risk, LDL is not the root cause of atherosclerosis, according to Dr. Ozner. Elevated LDL-cholesterol levels contribute to risk but don’t always…
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Balancing Hormones, Easing PMS and More: Red Clover Tea Benefits You Can Count On

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Table of Contents

What Is Red Clover Tea?
5 Benefits of Red Clover Tea
Nutritional Profile of Red Clover Tea: Does It Contain Caffeine?
How to Make Red Clover Tea
Red Clove…

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Red clover is valued in agriculture because it fixes nitrogen in the soil without the use of toxic fertilizers. It also prevents erosion, provides food for livestock and is hearty enough to survive in colder climates.1 But this versatile plant has other applications as well.

Natural healers have long attributed a myriad of health benefits to a potent tea that can be extracted from red clover flowers.2 In recent years, this tea has grown in popularity because of its ability to balance hormones and ease menopause symptoms.3

What Is Red Clover Tea?

Red clover, which is a legume in the bean family, was brought to North America by European immigrants in the 1500s. It is a versatile biennial or short-lived perennial. Red clover can adapt to a wide variety of soils and climates.4 It is often used as a cover crop with corn because of its ability to thrive in shady environments.5

Red clover grows from crowns and has hollow, hairy stems and branches. The stems can reach 30 inches, and there are four to six branches per stem. Red clover is topped by a pink flower, which is composed of hundreds of smaller legume flowers.6

Red clover tea, which is made from the flowering top, has been of particular interest to researchers and natural healers.7 Despite being derived from a plant so common that it may be growing in your backyard, red clover tea has a vibrant and complex flavor.

Unlike traditional teas, red clover tea is extracted from the flower rather than the leaves. It is sold in ready-to-use tea bags from online retailers, but an herbal tea infuser allows you to steep the unprocessed blossoms. Red clover tea has a delicate, sweet flavor profile.8

5 Benefits of Red Clover Tea

Red clover has long been used in traditional medicine as a treatment for cancer, whooping cough, various skin conditions and as a detoxifying diuretic.9 Here are some ways that red clover tea can benefit your health:

Promotes female reproductive health — Red clover is specifically rich in isoflavones, which are similar to the female hormone estrogen. Many women use red clover tea to address hot flashes, breast pain or tenderness and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).10

However, isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens, have been linked to fertility issues in men and breast cancer in women.11 Due to these concerns, I recommend that men avoid phytoestrogens, especially in the form of unfermented soy. It should be noted, though, that the phytoestrogens in red clover are not operating in isolation. Red clover has a complex micronutrient profile and the isoflavones are only one component.

May reduce risk of breast cancer — In 2013, a systemic review published in…

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Antibiotics Linked to Fatal Heart Condition

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Research shows your body’s microbiome has nearly 39 trillion bacteria.1 During early years, your family, dietary intake and environmental exposure contribute to the variety in y…

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Research shows your body’s microbiome has nearly 39 trillion bacteria.1 During early years, your family, dietary intake and environmental exposure contribute to the variety in your microbiome, influencing your lifelong health. Everyday activities such as brushing your teeth, eating, kissing someone or handling a family pet also affect your microbiome.

This composition may be as distinct to you as a fingerprint and plays an enormous role in disease prevention, and influences the function of your skin, lungs, breast and liver.2 Harmful bacteria can trigger illness and disease, which is frequently treated with antibiotics. Of the 10 most commonly prescribed, three are from the antibiotic class of fluoroquinolones.3

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first added a boxed warning to fluoroquinolones in 2008, due to the increased risk for tendinitis and tendon rupture.4 Boxed warnings, also referred to as black box warnings, appear on prescription drug labels designed to call attention to serious or life-threatening risks.5

An additional warning was added in 2011 for those suffering from myasthenia gravis, and updates were included in 2013 describing irreversible peripheral neuropathy.6 Most recently, the FDA warned fluoroquinolone antibiotics may increase the occurrence of ruptures or tears in the aorta.7

Latest FDA Warning Links Fluoroquinolones With Aortic Damage

The aorta is the main artery in your body supplying oxygenated blood to your circulatory system. The artery comes from the left side of your heart and runs down the front of your backbone. The review by the FDA found fluoroquinolone antibiotics increase the risk of tears in the aorta, also called aortic dissections, or ruptures of an aortic aneurysm, leading to excessive bleeding and death.

The findings occurred when antibiotics were given by mouth or through an injection. This led the FDA to caution against the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics in those at risk, unless there are no other treatment options available.

Specifically, the antibiotic should not be used in those who are at risk for, or have a current, aortic aneurysm, such as those suffering peripheral atherosclerotic vascular disease, hypertension and specific genetic conditions such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or Marfan syndrome.8

Findings were pulled from four published observational studies, which taken together demonstrated a consistent association between aortic dissection or rupture and fluoroquinolone use. The underlying mechanism could not be determined from those studies.

Some of the commonly used fluoroquinolones include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin), gemifloxacin (Factive) and moxifloxacin (Avelox). These are widely prescribed to treat upper respiratory and urinary tract infections. In a statement, the FDA warns:9

“Fluoroquinolones should not be used in patients at increased risk unless there are no other treatment options available.

Health care professionals should avoid…

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