Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Seasons & Energy Drinks Spike Blood Pressure

Controlling a silent stealth killer is a battle many wage everyday inside their own bodies. One out of three Americans has high blood pressure and a third of those have no idea hypertension is a part of their lives. Scientists and doctors are marveling at the changes a season make on the battle to lower blood pressure. It didn't matter if the patients studied were in frisky Anchorage, Alaska or the sultriness of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Blood Pressure seems easier to control during summer seasons according to a recently released 5 year study. Sodium intake in the winter and more exercise in warmer weather are potential explanations that require further study.

The study, reported to the American Heart Association, suggests a more active summer lifestyle may be the key.

Lead researcher Dr Ross Fletcher said: "People gain weight in the winter and lose weight in the summer. People tend to exercise more in the summer and less in the winter."

The researchers said it was also possible that people might eat more salty foods in winter. Salt is strongly linked to raised blood pressure.

Doctors advise paying more attention to this in winter months. Hypertension is a worldwide healthcare issue. It is asymptomatic or without symptoms until its ravages lead to major crises or death from heart disease, stroke or kidney failure. Race and gender play a role, with US African Americans being the most high risk group with the least amount of control of blood pressure.

One of the new hip things is drinking those omnipresent energy drinks teeming with jumbo caffeine kickers. Young people who mix the energy boosters with alcohol are taking grave risks with promoting bad behavior, injuries and lapses in judgment regarding sex. Two cans of a particular drink raised heart rate and blood pressure within four hours. Drink one of those energy concoctions during the cold wintry season and it's a potential double jolt whammy on the blood pressure. Those hyper drinks are now being proved to drive up blood pressure.

"We saw increases in both blood pressure and heart rate in healthy volunteers who were just sitting in a chair watching movies. They weren't exercising. They were in a resting state," James Kalus of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, who led the study, said in an interview.

But the increases potentially could be significant in people with cardiovascular disease or those taking drugs to lower heart rate or blood pressure, they told a meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Florida.

"While the amount of caffeine in energy drinks or coffee may cause a slight and temporary increase in blood pressure, it would have no greater effect than walking up a flight of steps," the American Beverage Association industry trade group said in a statement responding to the findings.

"So singling out energy drinks in a unique manner, particularly when compared to a more commonly consumed caffeinated beverage like coffee, does not provide a full and proper context for consumers." (photo Kristian Dowling)
Um, that's right the people who market energy drinks say what they believe the negligible effect is while draping themselves in victimhood because energy drinks were singled out for study. Great to know they economically weighed the costs first, have consumers health foremost in mind, rather than their Gucci pocketbooks.

An anecdotal book on natural ways to reduce high blood pressure is Robert Kowalski's The Blood Pressure Cure: 8 Ways to Reduce Blood Pressure Without Prescription Drugs. He gives his story after his heart attack at the age of 38. His book was released in 2007.

(See Mom, an actual post on something healthy...)

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