Breast Feeding Your Baby can Reduce Your Heart Attack Risk
A large US study involving over one hundred thousand women has concluded that breast feeding your baby as a new Mom can protect you against heart disease, heart attacks and strokes in later life.
The investigations were carried out by a team of scientists and medical experts based at the University of Pittsburgh, and published in the medical journal ‘Obstetrics and Gynaecology’.
Study follows through from child birth to Menopause
It has followed the health of the study volunteers from their early child bearing years, through their later years and into the menopause stage of their lives.
The following findings were discovered by the research team, which was led by Dr. Eleanor Bimla Schwarz :-
- long term breastfeeding for more than a year) reduces the risk of suffering from a heart attack or a stroke by more than 10%
- A very short period of breastfeeding, typically just for a month after giving birth, was found to produce beneficial lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol, plus lower recorded rates of diabetes, all of which form significant risk factors in cardiovascular disease later in life
- The reduction in the instances of high blood pressure was 12%, whilst the reduction in instances of high cholesterol was even higher at 20%.
Employers need to facilitate breast feeding for women at work
Dr Schwarz contextualises the research findings towards employers, and promoting breast feeding wherever possible, especially encouraging new mothers to feed their babies where they work, when they go back to work.
Over the other side of the Atlantic, the United Kingdom now has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates anywhere, with nearly a third of all new Moms never even attempting to breast feed their babies.
A spokesperson from the UK National Childbirth Trust, Rosie Dodds, has called upon the UK government to assist with the promotion and facilitation of breast feeding in the workplace, and in more public locations.
If you have experienced any difficulties or obstacles when breast feeding your baby at work, or in public, please leave a comment below – we’d like to hear about your experiences
In the United States, United Kingdom and Northern European countries we’re often told that the best way to improve our afternoon concentration and attention span in the Office, or at home, is by taking a nap after lunch - like the Siestas taken by the folks down in Mexico and the hot Southern European countries such as Spain, Italy and Greece.
Diabetes UK Charity – new study confirms link
However a new study from a United Kingdom charity – Diabetes UK – seems to indicate that having a regular nap, or even a single nap per week, could increase our risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes by more than one fourth.
This serious disease is now reaching epidemic proportions and increasing rapidly in many western countries, and we’re especially concerned about it because it also poses a serious longer term threat to our heart health.
Serious complications – heart disease and stroke
Type 2 Diabetes is a condition that affects over 2 million British people, where the body is unable to properly regulate the levels of sugar in the blood, and the sufferer must take insulin medication tablets for the rest of their life. There is currently no cure for diabetes. If the condition is not managed carefully it can lead to a number of possible future medical complications such as coronary heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, gangrene or blindness, so it is something we definitely want to avoid getting if at all possible.
Some scientists have cautioned that the apparent increased risk of developing diabetes amongst nap takers may just be linked to other lifestyle factors. For instance these people are possibly more likely to be physically inactive, and have more unhealthy lifestyles than the rest of the study participants.
But daytime napping may also cause disturbance to normal nocturnal sleeping patterns – a problem that is all too common amongst night time and shift workers. This lack of sleep can cause coronary heart disease and cancer, as well as an elevated risk of type 2 diabetes, compared with those who adhere to normal sleeping patterns based on the natural environmental rhythms of night and day lighting conditions. It is believed that this is due to the trigger of hormonal and other body functions that inhibit and interfere with the normal production of insulin, which controls the body’s critical system of blood sugar regulation.
Obesity still far greater risk for Diabetes
The study was based on scientific data collected from more than 16,000 older Chinese volunteers, and also considered mitigating factors such as obesity. It compared those who never took a daytime nap, with those who took at least one period of daytime sleep per week. It’s results were presented by the Director of Research at Diabetes UK – Doctor Iain Frame, who cautioned that despite the increased risk discovered by this study, obesity and weight problems still represented by far, a more serious threat of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
By learning to understand what causes stroke, and recognise stroke signs and symptoms you could save the life of a loved one or family member.
This follows the recent death of a 48 year old British man – Jeffrey Wingrove, a former marathon athlete, who died from the stroke injury and the complications resulting from the delays by a United Kingdom healthcare provider’s out-of-hours on-call doctors. Despite repeated requests for assistance from the man’s wife, they failed to correctly diagnose the symptoms of stroke on three separate occasions.
What happened ?
This is a brief summary of the key events in this medical emergency. Not all details have been included for the sake of brevity :-
- Jeffery Wingrove collapsed after suffering from severe headaches, sweating and vomiting
- He managed to crawl to his bedroom, but was unable to move his right side easily – showing symptoms of a right stroke
- His wife called the doctor, but was referred to an alternative doctors office who were handling local requests for advice during the the night time
- Mrs Wingrove requested a home visit as her husband was too unwell to get out of bed, and he was too heavy for her to move
- On two occasions, doctors from the company declined to visit the patient at his home
- They advised her to collect a prescription for pain killing medication from a local pharmacy
- Eventually Mrs Wingrove called paramedics, who took the patient to Broomfield hospital in Braintree, United Kingdom, then transferred him to neurosurgical ward at Queen’s Hospital in Romford
- Despite having emergency surgery at the hospital he died from the stroke damage to his brain
- The total elapsed time from the man starting to feel unwell to his death was less than 48 hours
What lessons can be learned from this tragedy ?
We at Lower Blood Pressure sympathise whole heartedly with the Wingrove family, however we exist to educate, inform and hopefully help you – our readers – to avoid any repeat of this unfortunate, and we believe, avoidable episode in your own lives and families. So what what can we learn from this sad story ?
We must educate ourselves to know how to quickly recognise the stroke signs and symptoms. This is the most important factor in helping to save the life of a husband or a wife or an elderly relative. Because Mrs Wingrove did not know that her husband was displaying signs of a stroke, she attempted to contact the family’s doctor, rather than the emergency services.
We have a feature article all about Stroke, and how you can recognise the symptoms – you can find it here – it explains all about the FAST (Face – Arm – Speech ) test, which is the most effective way to diagnose the early signs of the onset of stroke.
We must act quickly if we suspect that any ONE of the FAST symptoms described above is present in the patient. It is absolutely essential to CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY, as this may save vital time in getting the proper treatment to the patient, which is best given at a hospital or ER Center.
Stroke symptoms awareness and fast treatment are key to stroke survival
Although the family have taken out and won a law suit, and received substantial compensation in an out-of-court settlement over Mr Wingrove’s treatment, the fact remains that he could possibly have survived this stroke damage. If everyone involved in the management of this man’s illness had had a greater awareness of this devastating life threatening condition, he may have been diagnosed and treated more quickly, and may have been alive today.
Definition of Hypertension
Hypertension disease is defined as when a persons blood pressure is constantly higher than the recommended level. The United Kingdom hypertension statistics make for alarming reading, with approximately one quarter of the adult population suffering from this condition, which has been labelled as ‘the silent killer’.
If you have undetected high blood pressure, you run the risk of developing serious complications, including a higher risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. Over an extended period of time it can cause the heart to become enlarged, or it’s ability to pump blood around the body to become less effective, which is known as heart failure. Other organ damage may result, such as kidney failure or eye damage.
Because Hypertension symptoms are rarely noticeable, and seldom make people actually feel unwell, the only way of knowing whether or not you may be suffering from it is to have your blood pressure tested regularly. A worrying statistic is that over a third of people with hypertension remain undiagnosed and are not receiving treatment for it, and this is putting their heart health and life at risk.
Important Note :-
Hypertension is a serious condition
It can represent a very real long term threat to your life
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is caused by the pumping action of the heart forcing the blood to flow through the arteries (which are the blood vessels that transport blood from the heart to the rest of the body). A certain amount of pressure in the arteries is normal and is necessary for normal circulation. However, if the blood pressure becomes consistently too high it becomes a health hazard, as it can damage the arteries, by causing them to thicken and become less elastic. This, in turn, limits the flow of blood and may cause permanently raised blood pressure.
What causes Hypertension?
In over 90% of cases there is no single underlying cause for elevated blood pressure. However there are certain known hypertension risk factors which should be avoided, as they can all contribute to the hypertension cause. The major risk factors are :-
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Being overweight or obese
- Eating too much salt
- Not doing enough exercise
- Not eating enough fruit and vegetables
- excessive anxiety
- Certain types of medications – your doctor will always ask you if you are taking any type of medication when you visit
High blood pressure can also be hereditary, as it does tend to occur in families, and in a very small number of cases it can be attributed to a single cause, such as kidney disease.
How do I know if I have hypertension ?
There are few symptoms of hypertension, so potential hypertension patient education is very important. All adults should have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years, but preferably more often, especially as you get older, as blood pressure usually rises with age. Hypertension diagnosis will usually be given by your physician.
Your doctor will know your medical history, and will make the diagnosis from a succession of blood pressure readings. This is given as two numbers, which represent millimetres of mercury or mmHg.
The first number is called the systolic pressure, which is the force of the blood as the heart contracts to pump it around the body.
The second number is called the diastolic pressure, which is the force while the heart is relaxing and filling with blood again in preparation for the next contraction.
A normal reading for an adult should generally be no higher than 140/85mmHg. People with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, should aim for a blood pressure even lower than this – around 130/80mmHg or below.
Several readings should be taken over a period of time to get an accurate measurement as blood pressure can fluctuate and one high reading does not necessarily mean a person has hypertension.
Is there a cure or treatment for Hypertension ?
Hypertension cure may be a misleading term. If you have high blood pressure, it is essential to control it, but this will require constant vigilance and treatment on your part. But this will pay big health dividends, as reducing your blood pressure by 5mmHg can lower your risk of having a heart attack by about 20%. There are many lifestyle changes a person can make to reduce their risk of hypertension or help to lower their blood pressure if it is already high. To reduce your blood pressure, or prevent it from getting high, you can follow some or all of the following hypertension guidelines :-
- Do more physical activity
- Keep to a healthy weight
- Cut down on your salt intake
- Cut down on alcohol
- Eat more fruit and vegetables
- learn to control your anxiety and stress levels
Also your doctor may prescribe hypertension drugs to help reduce your blood pressure and protect your heart. Various types of hypertension medications are available to help lower blood pressure, including ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers and diuretics. Doctors and heart specialists often prescribe a combination of these.
Whilst Smoking is not a direct risk factor for high blood pressure, it does increase the chance of suffering a heart attack, heart failure or a stroke. If you quit smoking, then within two years, your risk of suffering a heart attack is halved.