Wednesday, August 22, 2012




Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure, which can mean inadequate blood flow to the heart, brain and other vital organs. Low blood pressure refers to inadequate intravascular pressure to maintain the body's oxygen requirements.

Although commonly linked to shock, this sign may also result from cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological, or metabolic disorders. Hypoperfusion states especially affect the kidneys, brain, and heart, and may lead to renal failure, change in level of consciousness (LOC) or myocardial ischemia. Low blood pressure may also be caused by certain diagnostic tests- most commonly those using contrast media- and the use of certain drugs. It may stem from stress or a change of position - specifically, rising abruptly from a supine or sitting position to a standing position (orthostatic hypotension)
Normal blood pressure varies considerably; what qualifies as low blood pressure for one person may be perfectly normal for another. Consequently, ever blood pressure reading must be compared against the patent's baseline. Typically, a reading below 90/160 mm Hg or a drop of 30 mm Hg from the baseline, is considered low blood pressure.
Low blood pressure can reflect an expanded intravascular space (as in severe infections, allergic reactions, or adrenal insufficiency), reduced intravascular volume ( as in dehydration and hemorrhage), or decreased cardiac output (as in impaired cardiac muscle contractility). Because the body's pressure-regulating mechanisms are complex and interrelated, a combination of these factors usually contributes to low blood pressure.

Common symptoms include;
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • General weakness
  • Light headaches and fainting
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Unsteadiness
  • Head or neck discomfort
  • Fever higher than 101 degrees
  • Severe upper back pain
  • Cough with phlegm

  • Treatments can include;
  • Avoidance of prolonged standing
  • Slow, careful changes in position, especially on arising in the morning
  • Avoidance of alcohol
  • Avoidance of hot environments and hot showers or baths
  • Multiple small meals
  • Avoidance of rigorous exercise
  • Sleeping with lead-up tilt
  • Scheduling of activities in the afternoon
  • Increased salt and fluid intake
  • Prevention steps are;
  • Quit smoking or don't smoke in the first place.
  • Stay away from secondhand cigarette smoke and airborne irritants.
  • If you have seasonal allergies like hay fever, stay indoors during days or seasons when airborne allergens are high and, if possible, keep the windows closed. Use an air conditioner; avoid using fans that draw in air from outdoors; avoid air drying your clothes; shower and change your clothes after being outside.
  • If you have allergies year round, cover your pillows and mattress with dust mite covers, use an air purifier, avoid pets and other triggers.
  • Get regular exercise to promote blood flow.
  • Avoid heavy lifting.
  • Avoid straining while on the toilet.

    Saturday, August 11, 2012

    Your Immune System

    Your body's immune system is essential to your very survival. The immune system is a complex network of specialized cells and organs that defends your body against attacks by foreign invaders. When functioning properly, the immune system seeks out, finds, and destroys pathogens and infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. When it malfunctions however, a number of diseases, from allergies to arthritis, cancer, MS, or AIDS can develop or the immune system could see its own cells as foreign and attack them. This is called autoimmune disease. 
    An abnormal production of the chemical interleukin-6 by the body is associated with autoimmune disorders and inflammatory and allergic conditions. Plant sterols and sterolins block this abnormal production on interleukin-6 and thereby, help prevent autoimmune disorders, inflammation, and allergic conditions.

    The immune system is composed of these three “layers” or mechanisms.
    1. The first layer is the skin and mucous membranes, which acts as a physical barrier.
    2. The second layer is the “innate immune system,” a broad-acting, short-term, non-specific immune response to pathogens such as bacteria or viruses. Microbes that evade the innate system encounter a third layer of protection;
    3. A powerful mechanism called the adaptive immune response. Here populations of white blood cells known as lymphocytes – B cells and T cells – mount a powerful, highly specific attack on specific pathogens. “The adaptive immune responses to virus and bacterial infections, for example, are quite different.”
    Your body is indeed "fearfully and wonderfully made"!

    Friday, August 10, 2012

    Use Healthy Summer Drinks to Quench Your Thirst

    When the temperatures and humidity start to climb during the summer months, we naturally seem to feel thirstier. It is very important to give our bodies plenty of fluids and nutrients, especially during this time of year. The trick is to choose quality, nutritional drinks that don’t subject us to harmful substances and/or pack on empty calories. We’ll discuss some ideas for healthy drink alternatives, but first let’s lay a few ground rules about what not to take into our bodies.
    Soda pop is the “all-American” drink to reach for, at least that’s what the mainstream media and advertisers want us to believe. My advice is to take carbonated soft drinks off your grocery list and leave them off permanently. Unless, of course, you want to gain weight, weaken your bones, wreak havoc with your digestive system, and expose every organ in your body to toxic chemicals. Oh, and as a side note, pop doesn’t quench your thirst well; it only makes you thirstier.

    A second general guideline is to avoid the over use of caffeinated beverages and alcohol. Both of these are poisonous to your system, and they also lead to dehydration, a bad thing anytime, but especially during the dog days of summer.

    Okay, so we know what not to drink. What are some good things that we should drink?

    Dress-Up Your Water
    Pure, filtered water is hands down the best way to quench your thirst. The body — both on a cellular and systematic level – is composed of over 70% water. We need lots of it in order for us to operate the way we’ve been designed. The health benefits of drinking plenty of water are numerous (weight loss, strong immune system, younger-looking skin, better nutrient-absorption and toxin elimination, etc.). There is no better beverage than water when you are thirsty. I know some of you may be bored with plain old water, although your body will develop an increased desire for it if you drink it consistently. Here are a few healthy tips about making water a little more tasty and palatable.
    • Try a teaspoon or so of organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) in a glass of water. It gives it a bit of a bite taste-wise, but beyond that ACV provides a ton of healthy benefits such as boosting your digestive and immune systems, reducing acidic imbalance in the body (a major contributor to disease), and combating free radical damage.
    • Fresh fruit-infused water is not only flavorful but also healthy. This has its roots in Spanish cuisine and is known as aguas frescas. Adding fruit and/or vegetables and herbs will make the water more interesting, and expose you to the vitamins and minerals of the fruit without excessive amounts of sugar.
    • A simple twist of lemon or lime also adds flavor, or you may want to grab a few mint leaves (preferably from your own garden) and spice up your water in this fashion. Bruising the leaves helps to release the flavor.
    Chilled Herbal Teas
    There are so many varieties to choose from, that you are sure to find a flavor that tickles your fancy. Most are caffeine-free, and provide minerals, antioxidants, and other useful nutrients and benefits. Just be sure to stay away from simple sugar which is high in calories and terrible for your overall wellness, and of course you should avoid toxic artificial sweeteners.

    Stevia is your best choice for a natural sweetener. If you like a bolder taste, try using organic blackstrap molasses in your tea. It has a rich, strong flavor, so go easy on it. However, molasses is also a great source of minerals such as calcium and iron, and is actually a whole food-based sweetener that nutritionally builds up the body unlike simple sugar which tears it down.

    Another suggestion is to make fruit-infused herbal teas. Make this the same was as the fruit-infused water except substitute herbal tea for the water. Be creative with the different types of teas and fruits that you put together. There are endless possibilities in making a very healthy drink.

    Healthy Smoothies
    I love smoothies because you can literally add an unlimited number of healthy choices to these delicious drinks. Using a blender or food processor, you can whip up tasty and nutritious beverages including:
    • Fresh organic fruits such as berries, mango, peaches, cherries.
    • Organic cottage cheese and/or yogurt.
    • Whole foods such as freshly ground flax seeds or nuts.
    • Green veggies such as spinach, kale, avocado.
    • Natural, organic protein powder such as hemp seed or pea protein.
    • Potassium-rich foods such as organic bananas, apricots, oranges, or raisins are particularly helpful if you are highly-active in the heat (great for preventing dehydration and muscle cramping).
    • Milk substitutes such as hemp seed milk, rice milk or almond milk (soy-free or make your own).
    For an extra cool treat, try preparing your favorite smoothie and using it as a healthful alternative to ice cream. This is very easy to do if you have a Vita-Mix or comparable blender. One word of caution though: Depending on your choice of ingredients, smoothies can be quite high in calories. Enjoy in moderation to avoid unwanted weight gain.