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Take Control: How managing blood pressure can help save lives

Effectively managing your blood pressure can help reduce your chances of life-threatening medical events, even death

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(Family Features) Effectively managing your blood pressure can help reduce your chances of life-threatening medical events, even death.

Gain confidence and learn how to take control of your blood pressure with these tips and resources from the American Heart Association.

The Silent Killer
High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it typically has few, if any, noticeable symptoms but can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure and even death. Many people with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it. Some overlooked symptoms can include dizziness, facial flushing and blood spots in the eyes.

Understand Your Readings
(Family Features) Effectively managing your blood pressure can help reduce your chances of life-threatening medical events, even death.

Gain confidence and learn how to take control of your blood pressure with these tips and resources from the American Heart Association.

The Silent Killer
High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it typically has few, if any, noticeable symptoms but can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure and even death. Many people with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it. Some overlooked symptoms can include dizziness, facial flushing and blood spots in the eyes.

Understand Your Readings
The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to regularly take an accurate blood pressure measurement. Understanding your results is key to controlling high blood pressure. Blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg are usually considered within the normal range, yet it is important to talk to a doctor about your healthy range. Even if you fall within a healthy range, it can be beneficial to stick with heart-healthy habits like following a balanced diet and getting regular exercise. Consider these numbers and ranges to know if it’s necessary to take action:

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  • Elevated blood pressure is when readings consistently range from 120-129 mm Hg systolic (the upper number) and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic (the lower number). People with elevated blood pressure are likely to develop high blood pressure unless steps are taken to control the condition.
  • Hypertension stage 1 is when blood pressure consistently ranges from 130-139 mm Hg systolic or 80-89 mm Hg diastolic. At this stage, doctors are likely to prescribe lifestyle changes and may consider adding blood pressure medication based on your risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack or stroke.
  • Hypertension stage 2 is when blood pressure consistently ranges at 140/90 mm Hg or higher. At this stage, doctors are likely to prescribe a combination of blood pressure medications and lifestyle changes.
  • A hypertensive crisis requires medical attention. If your blood pressure readings suddenly exceed 180/120 mm Hg, wait 5 minutes then test again. If your readings are still unusually high, contact your doctor immediately. Seek emergency help if your blood pressure is higher than 180/120 mm Hg and you are experiencing signs of possible organ damage such as chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness or weakness, change in vision or difficulty speaking.

Know Your Risk
While many risk factors for high blood pressure may be related to your age, gender and family history, there are also risk factors you can change to help prevent and manage high blood pressure. People at added risk may be those who engage in lower levels of physical activity, eat a diet high in sodium (particularly from packaged, processed foods), may be overweight or obese, drink excessive amounts of alcohol and may have multiple chronic conditions.

Talk About It
Whether you’re making changes in your own life to combat high blood pressure or helping someone else, positive feelings and confidence are longer-term motivators to making health changes. If you’re talking with friends, loved ones or your doctor, be prepared to ask open-ended questions. Be curious and kind to yourself and others you may be helping.

Lowering Your Pressure
You can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, heart failure and even death with lifestyle changes and medication.

Watching your weight, especially if you are overweight or obese, can bring health gains; losing as little as 5-10 pounds may help lower your blood pressure. Managing your stress by relaxing for short periods during your workday, at night and on weekends is another productive practice.

If you have diabetes, it’s important to work with a doctor to manage the disease and reduce your blood glucose levels.

If you think you could have sleep apnea, getting screened for and treating the condition can also reduce your risk for developing high blood pressure.

When you have high blood pressure, medication may be an important part of your treatment. Follow the recommendations carefully, even if it means taking medication every day for the rest of your life.

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When you’re discussing high blood pressure concerns with your health care provider, also be sure to talk to your doctor about over-the-counter pain relievers that may raise your blood pressure. Talking with your doctor can help you identify over-the-counter pain medications that won’t raise your blood pressure to ensure you’re not creating a blood pressure problem while treating other concerns.

Getting Ready for Your Appointment
Think about what challenges you face in controlling your blood pressure that you need to share with your doctor to create a plan that works for you. Start by considering the answers to these questions to discuss with your health care provider:

  • How often do you check your blood pressure?
  • Do you keep a log of your blood pressure measurements?
  • Are you taking medications as prescribed?
  • What are some things you can do to have less salt in your diet?
  • What are some reasons it can be hard to manage your blood pressure?
  • What are some things you’d like to discuss during your appointment?

Learn more about monitoring and managing high blood pressure at heart.org/bptools.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (man talking with nurse)


SOURCE:
American Heart Association

Health

Observing World Cancer Day

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World Cancer Day is an international day marked on 4 February to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its preventiondetection, and treatment. World Cancer Day is led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008. The primary goal of World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer and is an opportunity to rally the international community to end the injustice of preventable suffering from cancer. The day is observed by the United Nations.

World Cancer Day targets misinformation, raises awareness, and reduces stigma. Multiple initiatives are run on World Cancer Day to show support for those affected by cancer. One of these movements are #NoHairSelfie, a global movement to have “hairticipants” shave their heads either physically or virtually to show a symbol of courage for those undergoing cancer treatment. Images of participants are then shared all over social media. Hundreds of events around the world also take place. (wikipedia)

https://stmdailynews.com/category/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/health/

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FDA CDC News

FDA Concludes that Existing Regulatory Frameworks for Foods and Supplements are Not Appropriate for Cannabidiol, Will Work with Congress on a New Way Forward

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Statement From:Janet Woodcock, M.D.
Principal Deputy Commissioner – Office of the Commissioner

January 26, 2023

Given the growing cannabidiol (CBD) products market, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration convened a high-level internal working group to explore potential regulatory pathways for CBD products. Today we are announcing that after careful review, the FDA has concluded that a new regulatory pathway for CBD is needed that balances individuals’ desire for access to CBD products with the regulatory oversight needed to manage risks. The agency is prepared to work with Congress on this matter. Today, we are also denying three citizen petitions that had asked the agency to conduct rulemaking to allow the marketing of CBD products as dietary supplements.  

The use of CBD raises various safety concerns, especially with long-term use. Studies have shown the potential for harm to the liver, interactions with certain medications and possible harm to the male reproductive system. CBD exposure is also concerning when it comes to certain vulnerable populations such as children and those who are pregnant. 

A new regulatory pathway would benefit consumers by providing safeguards and oversight to manage and minimize risks related to CBD products. Some risk management tools could include clear labels, prevention of contaminants, CBD content limits, and measures, such as minimum purchase age, to mitigate the risk of ingestion by children. In addition, a new pathway could provide access and oversight for certain CBD-containing products for animals.

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The FDA’s existing foods and dietary supplement authorities provide only limited tools for managing many of the risks associated with CBD products. Under the law, any substance, including CBD, must meet specific safety standards to be lawfully marketed as a dietary supplement or food additive. 

The working group, which I chair, has closely examined studies related to the CBD-based drug Epidiolex, published scientific literatureinformation submitted to a public docket, as well as studies both conducted and commissioned by the agency. Given the available evidence, it is not apparent how CBD products could meet safety standards for dietary supplements or food additives. For example, we have not found adequate evidence to determine how much CBD can be consumed, and for how long, before causing harm. Therefore, we do not intend to pursue rulemaking allowing the use of CBD in dietary supplements or conventional foods. 

CBD also poses risks to animals, and people could be unknowingly exposed to CBD through meat, milk and eggs from animals fed CBD. Because it is not apparent how CBD products could meet the safety standard for substances in animal food, we also do not intend to pursue rulemaking allowing the use of CBD in animal food. A new regulatory pathway could provide access and oversight for certain CBD-containing products for animals.

The FDA will continue to take action against CBD and other cannabis-derived products to protect the public, in coordination with state regulatory partners, when appropriate. We will remain diligent in monitoring the marketplace, identifying products that pose risks and acting within our authorities. The FDA looks forward to working with Congress to develop a cross-agency strategy for the regulation of these products to protect the public’s health and safety.

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Health

American Society of Nephrology Statement on U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Draft Research Plan on Screening for Kidney Diseases

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90% of Americans with kidney diseases are unaware that they are affected.

Newswise — Washington, DC (January 20, 2023) —The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) is encouraged by the recent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) announcement to solicit comment on USPSTF’s draft research plan on screening for kidney diseases. This development follows more than a decade of advocacy in support of more kidney health screening by ASN and other stakeholders dedicated to intervening earlier to slow or stop the progression of kidney diseases.

More than 37 million Americans suffer from kidney diseases that impact virtually every aspect of their lives as well as their families and communities. Kidney diseases are the ninth leading cause of death in the United States, yet 90% of Americans with kidney diseases are unaware that they are affected. Prevention and early detection are key to preventing kidney failure and achieving kidney health.

People with a family history of kidney diseases and people with diabetesobesity, or other health issues, are at a higher risk of kidney diseases. Older adults, people with lower incomes, and people who are Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Native/Indigenous American, Native Alaskan, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander are also most at risk for kidney diseases and kidney failure. Dialysis, the most common therapy for those with kidney failure, has a 5-year mortality rate worse than nearly all forms of cancer and requires billions of dollars annually to manage and treat. The recent approval of numerous therapies that successfully slow or stop the progression of kidney diseases mean it is more important than ever to screen Americans who are at-risk so they can access these effective, novel drugs as soon as possible.

“Early screening to drive faster more comprehensive intervention are critical components of a holistic prevention strategy for kidney diseases,” said ASN President Michelle A. Josephson, MD, FASN. “We fully support USPSTF and their efforts to advance the research agenda on this critical public health priority.” Dr. Josephson added, “The entire kidney community has contributed to this decades-long effort and ASN is committed to continuing our work with other advocates, including the Coalition 4 Kidney Health, and the USPSTF to prioritize screening for kidney diseases as USPSTF finalizes its draft research plan.”

For more information, please visit https://www.asn-online.org/policy/lac.aspx?ID=36

About ASN

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Since 1966, ASN has been leading the fight to prevent, treat, and cure kidney diseases throughout the world by educating health professionals and scientists, advancing research and innovation, communicating new knowledge and advocating for the highest quality care for patients. ASN has more than 20,000 members representing 132 countries. For more information, visit www.asn-online.org and follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.

Source: American Society of Nephrology (ASN)

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