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15 good foods to lower blood pressure

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Changing the diet will significantly lower hypertension. Research has shown that some foods can decrease blood pressure, both immediately and in the long run.

High blood pressure is also known as hypertension and affects 1 in 3 people in the United States.

Drugs, dietary changes, and other lifestyle changes can reduce high blood pressure while reducing the risk of related conditions. Having high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease a person can experience.

We address foods in this article that may help reduce high blood pressure and include the scientific evidence.

Fifteen foods that help to lower blood pressure

Several studies have found certain foods can minimize high blood pressure. They look at which foods function, and how they can be integrated into a balanced diet.

1. Berries

Blueberries and strawberries
Blueberries and strawberries contain anthocyanins, which can help reduce a person’s blood pressure.

Blueberries and strawberries contain antioxidant compounds, a form of flavonoid called anthocyanins.

Researchers performed a broad study of hypertension to more than 34,000 people.

We found that those with the highest consumption of anthocyanins — primarily from blueberries and strawberries — had an 8% decrease in the risk of high blood pressure compared with those with a low consumption of anthocyanin.

Love the berries after meals as a snack or a sweet treat, or add them to the smoothies and oatmeal

2. Bananas

Bananas contain plenty of potassium, a mineral which plays a vital role in hypertension management. One medium-sized banana has around 422 milligrams of potassium in it.

Potassium decreases the effects of sodium and soothes discomfort in the walls of the blood vessels according to the American Heart Association.

Adults will aim for a daily intake of 4,700 milligrams (mg) of potassium. Other foodstuffs high in potassium include:

  • avocado
  • cantaloupe and honeydew melon
  • halibut
  • mushrooms
  • sweet potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • tuna
  • beans

People with kidney disease should speak about potassium with their physicians, since too much can be harmful.

3. Beets

Drinking beet juice can cut short- and long-term blood pressure.

Researchers recorded in 2015 that drinking red beet juice contributed to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension who drank about 1 cup of the juice for 4 weeks every day, 250 milliliters. Within 24 hours the researchers observed a few positive results.

Those who drank 1 cup of the beet juice a day in this study had an average reduction in blood pressure of around 8/4 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). This move has put the blood pressure within the normal range for many. A single blood pressure drug lowers concentrations by 9/5 mm Hg on average.

The researchers suggested that a decrease in blood pressure was caused by the high levels of inorganic nitrate from beets.

Each day, it can help drink a glass of beet juice, add beets to salads, or prepare the vegetables as a nutritious side dish. The beetroot juice items can be ordered online.

4. Dark chocolate

This sweet treatment could bring down blood pressure. A study of 15 studies shows that cocoa-rich chocolate in humans with hypertension or prehypertension decreases blood pressure.

Select high-quality chocolate that contains at least 70 percent of cocoa and eat a single slice, or one piece that weighs around 1 ounce a day.

There’s a selection of dark chocolate available to purchase online.

5. Kiwis

According to findings of one study, a daily serving of kiwi will reduce blood pressure in people with slightly elevated rates.

The researchers compared apple and kiwi effects on people with slightly elevated blood pressure.

They found that eating three kiwis a day for eight weeks resulted in a greater reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, compared to eating one apple a day for the same duration. The authors believe the reduction had been caused by the bioactive substances in kiwis.

Kiwis are also rich in vitamin C, which can substantially increase blood pressure readings in people who have been eating about 500 mg of the vitamin daily for around 8 weeks.

Kiwis can quickly be added to lunches or smoothies too.

6. Watermelon

Watermelon contains an amino acid called citrulline, which can help treat hypertension.

Citrulline helps the body produce nitric oxide, a gas that relaxes blood vessels and improves arterial flexibility. Such effects improve blood flow, which can lower hypertension.

In one study, ankles and brachial arteries showed decreased blood pressure in adults with obesity and prehypertension, or moderate hypertension who took watermelon extract. The brachial artery in the upper arm is the principal artery.

7. Oats

Oats contain a form of fiber called beta-glucan that can lower cholesterol levels in the blood. According to some studies, beta-glucan also may lower blood pressure.

A review of 28 trials concluded that higher consumption of beta-glucan fiber may lower the blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic. Barley includes the fiber as well.

Start the day off with a bowl of oatmeal, or use rolled oats to give meat or vegetarian burger patties a texture instead of breadcrumbs.

Oats are available to buy online.

8. Leafy green vegetables

Leafy green vegetables are rich in nitrates which help with blood pressure control. Some research indicates that consuming 1–2 portions of vegetables rich in nitrate each day can minimize hypertension for up to 24 hours.

Examples of leafy greens include:

  • cabbage
  • collard greens
  • fennel
  • kale
  • lettuce
  • mustard greens
  • spinach
  • Swiss chard

Stir spinach into curries and stews to eat a daily dose of green vegetables, sauté Swiss chard with garlic for a savory side dish, or bake a batch of kale chips.

9. Garlic

Eating Garlic
Eating garlic can increase a person’s nitric oxide levels.

Garlic is a natural food which is both antibiotic and antifungal. Its principal active ingredient, allicin, is also responsible for the health benefits associated with it.

Some research suggests that garlic increases nitric oxide production in the body which helps relax the smooth muscles and dilate the blood vessels. Hypertension may be reduced by those improvements.

One research recorded that in hypertensive people, garlic extract lowered the systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Garlic can improve many delicious meals, including stir-fries, soups, and omelets. Use garlic rather than salt may further improve heart protection.

10. Fermented foods

Fermented foods are abundant in probiotics, beneficial bacteria that play an important role in preserving well-being in the gut. Eating probiotics that have a moderate impact on high blood pressure, a study of nine studies has shown.

More enhanced effects identified by the researchers while study participants were consuming:

  • multiple species of probiotic bacteria
  • probiotics regularly for more than 8 weeks
  • at least 100 billion colony-forming units a day

Fermented foods to add to the diet include:

  • natural yogurt
  • kimchi
  • kombucha
  • apple cider vinegar
  • miso
  • tempeh

Some people tend to take daily concentrated probiotic supplements. Probiotic supplements can be purchased online.

11. Lentils and other pulses

Lentils are a staple of many diets worldwide, as they are an excellent vegetarian protein and fiber source.

Researchers who researched the effects of a diet rich in pulses on rats reported dropping blood pressure and cholesterol levels in 2014. A total of 30% of the rats’ diet contained beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas.

Lentils are very polyvalent. Most people are using them as a vegetarian alternative to minced beef or adding bulk to salads, stews and soups. There are a number of lentils available online for purchase.

12. Natural yogurt

The America Heart Association has confirmed yogurt can reduce women’s risk of high blood pressure.

The researchers found that middle-aged women who consumed five or more servings of yogurt per week for 18–30 years reported a 20 percent reduction in the risk of hypertension relative to women of comparable age who seldom eat yogurt.

The men in the sample did not seem to have the same benefits but their intakes of yogurt seemed to be lower.

It is important to remember that this work was sponsored by the US National Dairy Council.

Unsweetened yoghurts, such as regular or Greek yoghurts, tend to benefit more. Enjoy them for a balanced snack or dessert, with fruit, nuts, or seeds.

13. Pomegranates

Drinking 1 cup of pomegranate juice daily for 28 days will minimize high blood pressure in the short term, a 2012 study finding suggests. The researchers attributed the influence to the antioxidant content of the berries.

Although you can enjoy pomegranates whole, some people prefer the juice. When purchasing pre-packaged pomegranate juice, check that no added sugar is present.

14. Cinnamon

Cinnamon can also help to lower blood pressure, in the short term at least.

An analysis of three studies showed that cinnamon decreased short-term systolic blood pressure by 5.39 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 2.6 mm Hg. However, more research is needed.

Add cinnamon to the diet as an alternative to sugar, by sprinkling it over oatmeal or freshly chopped fruit. Cinnamon is available to purchase in various forms.

15. Pistachios

Consuming pistachio nuts may decrease a person’s risk of hypertension.
Consuming pistachio nuts may decrease a person’s risk of hypertension.

Pistachios are good nuts which can lower hypertension.

One study indicated that in a moderate-fat diet, including pistachio nuts could lower blood pressure during times of stress. This may be because the tightness of blood vessels is diminished by a compound in the nuts.

It’s important to remember that this small-scale research was funded by the Fresno California Pistachio Commission and the American Pistachio Growers.

Certain studies have shown a similar effect for certain nuts, such as almonds.

Snack on plain pistachios, sprinkle them in salads or combine them in pestos. Unsalted nuts are safer and are available to purchase online.

Foods to avoid

While certain foods may relieve hypertension, others can cause significant rises in blood pressure.

People can prevent or reduce hypertension by avoiding the following:

Salt

Sodium can significantly increase blood pressure. Lowering salt consumption by 4.4 grams a day significantly lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure, according to the findings of a study from 2013.

Caffeine

In coffee, tea, cola, and energy drinks caffeine can cause short-term blood pressure spikes.

A review of five trials showed that drinking up to 2 cups of strong coffee could raise the blood pressure of both systolic and diastolic for 3 hours after use.

Such results do not indicate that coffee would in the long run raise blood pressure or the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Alcohol

Consuming small levels of red wine may have some health benefits, but larger amounts of alcohol may cause drastic blood pressure increases.

Heavy intake of alcohol also raises the chances of heart failure, stroke, cancer and obesity.

Outlook

A healthy diet and lifestyle will assist in reducing the risk of hypertension.

Foods that can reduce blood pressure include berries, beans, oats, nuts, lentils, herbs, and spices.

Incorporate these into a healthy diet and perform sufficient physical activity to treat hypertension and improve health overall.

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Cardiovascular / Cardiology

What is an echocardiogram?

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An echocardiogram is an ultrasound image of the heart. It can help doctors diagnose a range of heart problems.

Doctors use echocardiograms to help them diagnose heart problems, such as damaged cardiac tissue, chamber enlargement, stiffening of the heart muscle, blood clots in the heart, fluid around the heart, and damaged or poorly functioning heart valves.

In this article, we explain how doctors use echocardiograms, what to expect during the test, and how to interpret the results.

What is it?

echocardiogram

Ultrasound waves are used in echocardiography to create a picture of the heart, which is referred to as an echocardiogram (echo).

It is a minimally invasive medical technique that emits no radiation and has few negative effects.

A doctor can see the following things during an echocardiogram:

  • any blood clots in the heart
  • areas of damaged or weak cardiac muscle tissue
  • the size and thickness of the chambers
  • how the valves of the heart are functioning
  • problems affecting the pericardium, which is the fluid-filled sac around the heart
  • causes of a stroke
  • the direction of blood flow through the heart

Doctors frequently utilize echocardiography to assess a person’s overall heart health, particularly following a heart attack or stroke.

What is the procedure?

Echocardiograms are simple, noninvasive procedures that require little preparation.

We’ll go over what to expect before, during, and after an echocardiography in the sections below.

Preparation

The person does not need to prepare if the echocardiogram is taken from the outside of the body by a healthcare expert.

A doctor will advise people who are getting a transesophageal echocardiography to avoid eating or drinking anything for at least 6 hours before the procedure. Following the local anesthetic wears off, people can resume eating and drinking 1–2 hours after the echocardiography.

During the test

The transthoracic (external) echocardiography will be performed by a sonographer. Sonographers are medical practitioners who specialize in producing images and movies for diagnostic purposes utilizing ultrasound instruments.

The person getting the echocardiography will take off their clothes from the waist up throughout the procedure. If they want to be covered during the exam, they can wear a hospital gown.

The sonographer will then urge the patient to lie on their back or left side on a table. They may inject a saline solution or dye into the veins of the patient to make the heart seem more distinct on an echocardiogram.

The type of echocardiography determines the procedure. Consider the following example:

Transthoracic echocardiogram

The sonographer will apply a gel to the chest if a doctor has ordered a transthoracic echocardiogram. After that, the sonographer will move the transducer across the chest to obtain various images of the heart.

The sonographer may ask someone to change positions or take or hold a deep breath throughout the examination. To gain a better view of the heart, they could press the transducer into the chest.

Transesophageal echocardiogram

If a clinician wants more detailed or sharper images of the heart than a transthoracic echocardiogram can provide, they may perform a transesophageal echocardiogram.

The person may be given a small sedative to help relax the muscles in their throat and a topical anesthetic to block the gag reflex during a transesophageal echocardiogram.

A doctor will guide a small transducer on the end of a long tube down the throat and esophagus until it reaches the back of the heart once the sedative and local anesthetic have taken effect.

As the doctor moves the transducer around the esophagus, the sonographer will record images of the heart. After swallowing the probe, the user should not feel the transducer or tube in their esophagus.

After the test

After a transthoracic echocardiography, most people can resume their normal activities.

After a transesophageal echocardiography, people may be required to stay at the hospital or healthcare center for a few hours. They may have a sore throat at first, but it should go away within a day or two.

If you were given a sedative prior to the exam, you should not drive for many hours afterward.

What does it diagnose?

Echocardiograms allow doctors to see the size, structure, and activity of different parts of the heart.

This allows them to identify heart abnormalities, assess the need for additional tests, decide their next actions, and monitor changes and improvements.

Doctors may use this approach to examine for signs or symptoms that could indicate the following:

  • Heart attack: The test can look for anomalies in the heart muscle tissue’s blood supply, as well as wall irregularities and blood flow, all of which can signal a heart attack.
  • Blood clots (thrombus) or tumors: In a study published in 2021, echo was proven to be a viable alternative to cardiac magnetic resonance in detecting thrombosis. According to a 2020 study, it is also an important noninvasive method for detecting heart masses such as malignancies.
  • Atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease (CAD): While an echo cannot detect artery blockages, narrowing and obstructed arteries can impair the heart’s ability to pump blood and disrupt the heart’s wall motion. This is more noticeable during times of stress, making a stress echo a useful diagnostic tool.
  • Aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection: An echo can detect a wide, weaker aorta, as well as unruptured aneurysms and their size, as well as fibrosis and thrombus formation in the vessel.
  • Cardiomyopathy: The test can determine the size and function of the heart and link it to factors such as wall thickness, weak heart muscle, leaky heart valves, heart failure, and high blood pressure.
  • Pulmonary hypertension: The test can measure heart pressure, which can indicate the presence of pulmonary hypertension and aid doctors in determining the following steps in the diagnosis.
  • Congenital heart disease: In newborns and early children, the test can detect congenital cardiac problems such as septal defects and holes.
  • Heart valve disease: The test checks for leakage, constriction, infection, and blockage in heart valves, as well as irregular cardiac blood flow.
  • Problems with the pericardium: The test can determine whether the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart) is inflamed (pericarditis) or has become filled with fluid or blood (pericardial effusion).
  • Heart failure: It can detect cardiac muscle that is weak, stiff, or thickened, which can be a symptom of heart failure.

Doctors frequently utilize the test to determine the cause of an abnormal electrical heart test, known as an electrocardiogram (EKG).

The method is also used to track how effectively the heart responds to various heart treatments, such as heart failure, drugs, prosthetic valves, and pacemakers.

If a doctor suspects a patient has cardiac abnormalities, an echocardiography will be ordered. The following are signs and symptoms that could suggest a cardiac condition:

Types of echocardiogram

Different types of echocardiograms are available, all of which use high-frequency sound waves. The following are some of the most frequent types.

The most common form of echocardiography is the transthoracic echocardiogram.

An ultrasound wand called a transducer is placed on the outside of the chest, near the heart, for this test. Sound waves are sent through the chest and into the heart via the device.

Sound waves move more easily when a gel is applied to the chest. These waves bounce off the heart and appear on a screen as images of the heart’s architecture.

Transesophageal echocardiogram

A thinner transducer attached to the end of a lengthy tube is used in a transesophageal echocardiogram. The tube will be swallowed and inserted into the esophagus, which connects the mouth to the stomach and runs behind the heart.

Because it gives a “close up” view of the heart, this type of echocardiography produces more detailed images of the heart than the typical transthoracic echocardiogram.

Doppler ultrasound

Doppler ultrasounds are used by doctors to check blood flow. They accomplish this by producing sound waves at specified frequencies and observing how the waves bounce off and return to the transducer.

Color doppler ultrasounds can be used by doctors to map the direction and velocity of blood flow in the heart. The blood flowing toward the transducer shows red, while the blood flowing away appears blue. It can also tell you how bad the blockages are.

A doppler ultrasound can detect issues with valves or holes in the heart’s walls, as well as let doctors examine how blood flows through it.

3D echocardiogram

A detailed 3D image of the heart is created through a 3D echocardiography. 3D echocardiograms can be used by doctors to:

  • plan heart valve or structural interventional surgery
  • image complex structures within the heart
  • assess valve functionality in people who have heart failure
  • assess the function of the heart in 3D
  • diagnose heart problems in infants and children

Stress echocardiogram

A doctor can order an echocardiogram as part of a stress test. A stress test involves physical exercise, such as walking, jogging on a treadmill, or riding a bike.

During the test, the doctor will keep track of your heart rate, blood pressure, and electrical activity in your heart.

Before and after the activity, a sonographer will do a transthoracic echocardiogram.

Stress tests are used by doctors to diagnose:

Point-of-care (POC) echocardiogram

A POC echocardiogram is a type of echocardiogram that can be performed at a patient’s bedside by a clinician. These can assist a doctor in answering specific inquiries about possible differential diagnoses.

Limited and focused POC echo are the two types of POC echo.

A limited echocardiogram aids a clinician in determining the cause and repercussions of a heart injury. A focused echo is used by a doctor to assist narrow down the list of other possible diagnoses or to answer a specific query.

With each heartbeat, a POC echocardiogram can determine how well the left or right ventricles pump blood.

Fetal echocardiogram

A fetal echocardiogram allows doctors to see the heart of an unborn baby. This check is normally done between 18 and 22 weeks of pregnancy. Because echocardiograms do not involve radiation, they are safe for both the mother and the infant.

Interpreting the results

The echocardiographic images will be sent to the doctor who requested the test by the sonographer after the exam. The doctor will examine the photos for indicators of cardiac disease, such as:

  • abnormal chamber size
  • poorly functioning valves
  • chamber size
  • masses in the heart, such as blood clots or tumors
  • damaged heart muscle tissue
  • pumping function of the heart
  • thick or thin ventricle walls

What can it miss?

Echocardiograms are very useful in detecting structural heart abnormalities. They may, however, not be the ideal way to check the coronary arteries.

Blockages can cause the structure of the heart. Changes in cardiac function, weak muscles, or thinner heart walls are frequently detected by doctors, prompting them to order additional tests such as a coronary angiogram.

Echocardiograms cannot detect conduction disorders or electrical difficulties that impact the heart’s rhythm, but they can measure the effects of these abnormalities on the heart.

Echocardiogram vs. electrocardiogram

An echocardiogram should not be confused with an electrocardiogram, or EKG, which is another diagnostic procedure. The electrical impulses or waves that flow through cardiac muscle tissue are measured by an EKG.

The electrical activity in the heart causes the heart muscle tissues to contract and relax, resulting in the rhythmic heartbeat that a stethoscope can detect.

Electrodes are placed on the skin of the chest, arms, or legs by a qualified technician, nurse, or doctor. These electrodes capture electrical activity and transfer it to a computer, which translates it into a graph that a doctor may see.

Are there any side effects?

An echocardiogram has a very minimal risk of problems or side effects. When the sonographer guides the tube down the throat during a transesophageal electrocardiogram, the person’s gag reflex may be triggered. After the exam, some people may experience a sore throat.

A significant consequence, such as injury to the throat, vocal cords, or esophagus, can occur very rarely as a result of the transesophageal echocardiogram.

Some people may have an adverse reaction to local anesthetics, sedatives, contrast dyes, or saline used during the exam. Only use contrast dyes if absolutely essential when pregnant.

The following are some of the potential negative effects of contrast dyes:

During a stress test, some people may experience changes in blood pressure or a reduction in oxygen delivery to the heart. In the event that a person has any issues during the assessment, a stress test will be performed in a fully equipped medical facility.

When a person is given sedatives, the stomach contents have a risk of entering the lungs. To avoid this, the patient will be asked to come to the surgery on an empty stomach.

Conclusion

Doctors utilize echocardiography to diagnose heart-related issues. A doctor will assess how well a person’s heart pumps blood during the test.

Doctors can also use echocardiography to check for indicators of cardiac disease such weak heart muscle, blood clots inside the heart, or malfunctioning heart valves.

An echocardiogram may be ordered by a clinician if a patient exhibits symptoms of heart disease, such as:

  • heart murmurs
  • irregular heartbeat
  • shortness of breath
  • abnormal blood pressure
  • leg swelling

The test has a low risk of serious problems or side effects in general. However, some people may have discomfort, and other people may be allergic to the contrast material or anesthesia.

Sources:

  • https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00392-020-01741-7
  • https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/echocardiography
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326727
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4593021/
  • https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.120.017684
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1443950620314487
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4960283/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326059/
  • https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/stress-test
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666087320300910
  • https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ajum.12128
  • https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/sciadv.abi9283
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK395556/

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Cardiovascular / Cardiology

How do you reduce your resting heart rate?

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The number of heartbeats a person has each minute, also known as a pulse, is referred to as heart rate. A lower resting heart rate indicates excellent health.

The resting heart rate of a person is measured in this article. It will also go through the optimal heart rate range, explain what causes variations in heart rate, and offer suggestions for lowering heart rate both instantly and over time.

Lowering your heart rate

lower the heart rate
Oscar Wong/Getty Images

In reaction to variables such as emotional stress or objects in their surroundings, a person’s heart rate may rapidly increase. In these instances, addressing these causes is the most effective strategy to lower heart rate.

Sudden variations in heart rate can be reduced by doing the following:

  • taking a warm, relaxing bath or shower
  • practicing stretching and relaxation exercises, such as yoga
  • performing vagal maneuvers
  • practicing deep or guided breathing techniques, such as box breathing
  • relaxing and trying to remain calm
  • going for a walk, ideally away from an urban environment

Long-term, it is also feasible for people to reduce their heart rate. This can be caused by a variety of lifestyle choices. This can have an impact on heart rate during physical exercise or stressful situations.

A person’s heart rate can be lowered by a variety of reasons, including:

Exercising

Regular exercise is the simplest and most efficient strategy to attain a reduced heart rate that lasts. Regular exercise, for example, was found to consistently reduce resting heart rate in a 2018 meta-analysis. Although any type of exercise might be useful, the writers believe that yoga and endurance training are the best.

Keeping yourself hydrated

The heart needs to work harder to maintain blood flow when the body is dehydrated. A 2017 study revealed that drinking 335 milliliters of water for 30 minutes helped lower resting heart rate. For another 30 minutes, the fall persisted. A person’s heart rate can be lowered by drinking a lot of liquids throughout the day.

Limiting stimulant intake

Stimulants can cause dehydration, which increases the burden on the heart. High quantities of caffeine, for example, have been shown to cause dehydration. However, there is no clear scientific evidence that regular tea or coffee drinking causes dehydration, which might cause to an increase in resting heart rate.

Limiting the amount of alcohol consumed

Although more study is needed on this issue, there is evidence that drinking alcohol can cause dehydration. However, it’s still plausible that drinking alcohol raises resting heart rate.

Because alcohol is a poison, the body has to work harder to metabolize and eliminate it. This can occasionally cause an increase in heart rate.

Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet

A nutritious diet can help to promote heart health and function. Fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains should all be included in this diet.

Antioxidant– and healthy-fat-rich foods and supplements may reduce blood pressure, making it simpler for the heart to pump blood.

According to a research published in 2021, the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid efficiently decreases blood pressure. Potassium-rich meals can also help to reduce blood pressure by lowering salt intake.

Scientists have discovered that a wide variety of meals can help you maintain good heart health. Nutrients that are good for your heart include:

  • omega-3 fatty acids from fish, nuts, and grains
  • polyphenols and tannins from tea and coffee
  • vitamin A from leafy, green vegetables
  • dietary fiber from whole grains, nuts, and most fruits and vegetables
  • vitamin C from citrus and other fruits and leafy greens

Getting enough sleep

Sleep deprivation causes stress throughout the body, including the heart. People’s resting heart rates rise when they stray from their regular bedtimes, according to a 2020 study.

Maintaining a healthy body weight

Excess weight puts a strain on the body and the heart. It’s probable that this will result in a faster heart rate. Extra weight, for example, might make exercising more difficult.

Scientific research, on the other hand, indicates that body weight is a poor predictor of heart rate.

Identifying and addressing sources of significant long-term stress

Workplace stress, caring for a loved one, and financial strains all cause the heart and body work harder to maintain their normal beat. A 2018 analysis, for example, found that work-related stress is an important risk factor for coronary heart disease.

Seeking counseling or psychological service

People may not always have the ability to overcome difficult situations or life events on their own. Traumatic events, sorrow, and certain mental health issues all put a strain on the body, making it difficult for people to deal with day-to-day tasks. Counseling and therapy may be beneficial in certain situations.

Getting outdoors

Changing surroundings is one strategy for reducing heart rate. Spending time in less urbanized surroundings, for example, can lower physical and psychological stress measurements, according to study published in 2018. This might be as easy as a walk in the neighborhood park.

Practicing relaxation techniques

Stress reduction may also be aided by relaxation exercises. However, a meta-analysis published in 2019 found that many research on this issue were of poor quality. The authors continue to emphasize that meditation has the potential to increase psychological well-being, but that additional study is needed.

Resting heart rate and health

A decreased heart rate allows the heart to keep a healthy rhythm and adapt to stimuli more quickly. According to a 2015 study, high heart rates may relate to health concerns such as:

  • changes to calcium usage by heart cells
  • inflammation and oxidative stress
  • blood vessel dysfunction
  • ncreased blood pressure
  • changes to protein activity in the heart

According to research published in 2021, those with persistently high heart rates are at an increased risk of developing a variety of health problems, including:

  • organ system failure
  • decreased cardiac output, which may cause persistent fatigue
  • cardiac arrest
  • cardiomyopathy
  • myocardial ischemia

Ideal heart rates

The heart rate fluctuates. A fluctuating heart rate is caused by a variety of circumstances, including:

  • weather
  • hormonal changes
  • emotional stress
  • physical activity
  • time of day
  • age

The ideal resting heart rate varies from one person to the next. Most people should aim for a resting heart rate of 60–100 beats per minute (bpm).

A person’s maximal heart rate may be calculated by subtracting their age in years from 220. During moderate activity, a healthy heart rate range is generally 50–70% of maximal.

The healthy heart rate range during heavy activity is 70–85 percent of maximal heart rate.

The following are the average heart rate ranges during activity:

Age in yearsTarget heart rateAverage maximum heart rate
20100–170 bpm200 bpm
3095–162 bpm190 bpm
4093–157 bpm185 bpm
4590–153 bpm175 bpm
5088–149 bpm170 bpm
5585–145 bpm165 bpm
6083–140 bpm160 bpm
6580–136 bpm155 bpm
7075–128 bpm150 bpm

How to measure heart rate

Placing the index and middle fingers side by side on the neck, below the border of the jawline, and counting how many heartbeats occur within 60 seconds is a simple approach to check the pulse.

Pulse readings are ideally taken following periods of rest. As a result, before getting out of bed, a person should count their heartbeats first thing in the morning.

Causes of an unhealthy heart rate

Each pulse is caused by specific muscle cells called myocytes, according to an assessment from 2021. The brain delivers impulses to the heart that strengthen the myocytes and cause more frequent pulses when these cells want more oxygen.

Several health issues, according to a 2019 study, make people more likely to have a faster heart rate, including:

Outlook

The normal bodily reaction to environmental or other stresses is an accelerated heart rate. A persistently high resting heart rate, on the other hand, may indicate an underlying medical condition.

Medical intervention may be required if someone’s typical heart rate is extremely high due to an underlying medical condition. Beta-blockers can lower heart rate, according to an analysis from 2021. Beta-blockers are prescribed by doctors to treat a range of disorders, including:

  • glaucoma
  • congestive heart failure
  • arrhythmias
  • high blood pressure
  • heart attacks
  • coronary artery disease

When to contact a doctor

In some cases, a greater heart rate necessitates consulting with a physician. If any of the following apply:

  • The elevated heart rate has no apparent cause.
  • Shortness of breath, chest discomfort, fuzzy vision, or faintness are common side effects of an elevated heart rate.
  • Even while at rest, the elevated heart rate lasts for a long time.

Thyroid, electrolytes, and blood levels should all be checked by a doctor. They might wish to run some further tests before concluding that a high heart rate isn’t a cause for worry. That is why, if a person fulfills any of these characteristics, it is always a good idea to visit a physician.

Conclusion

Throughout the day, changes in heart rate occur naturally. The resting heart rate is a good indicator of cardiac health.

A persistently high heart rate might suggest health problems and lead to serious consequences.

Many people, however, may reduce their resting heart rate by making lifestyle changes including eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly.

Sources:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6592896/
  • https://journals.viamedica.pl/arterial_hypertension/article/view/66941
  • https://www.karger.com/article/fulltext/435947
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK544225/
  • https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00193/full
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6320919/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5981243/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321310
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532906/
  • https://www.nature.com/articles/s41746-020-0250-6
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553128/
  • http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/133/19/1892
  • https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-08446-4
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16231755/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537780/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6470661/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6306777/
  • https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/jaha.117.008073
  • https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/measuring/heartrate.htm
  • https://healthyforgood.heart.org/move-more/articles/target-heart-rates

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Cancer / Oncology

What to know about ascites (excess abdominal fluid)

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A buildup of fluid in the abdomen is known as ascites. When the liver isn’t functioning properly, this can happen. Swelling and pain can occur when fluid fills the area between the organs and the abdominal lining.

Cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver, causes ascites, which is a common symptom.

When fluid builds up in the belly, a person may feel bloated and uneasy. Shortness of breath might be caused by the fluid pressing on the lungs.

A doctor can treat ascites with lifestyle changes, diuretics, and antibiotics, depending on the etiology of the condition. In some circumstances, they may need to use a needle to drain the fluid.

Read on to learn more about what causes ascites, as well as common symptoms, treatment options, and more.

Ascites

  • Ascites An ultrasound can identify the excess fluid, which a healthcare professional can then remove.  Protonic Ltd/Stocksy
  • Ascites Ascites can also cause fluid to build up in the abdomen, leading to a distended appearance. This causes pain and trouble breathing, and it can lead to severe complications.  Zay Nyi Nyi/Shutterstock
  • Ascites Ascites results from cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver. Fluid builds up and causes swelling, often in the legs and ankles.  Casa nayafana/Shutterstock

The medical word for a buildup of fluid in the abdomen is ascites.

When the blood pressure in the portal vein — which goes from the digestive organs to the liver — becomes too high, it might cause this. As a result of the increased pressure, kidney and liver function is impaired, leading fluid to collect.

People with liver disease or cirrhosis are 80 percent more likely to develop the condition.

Symptoms

Swelling in the abdomen from too much fluid can make it feel tight and painful.

Ascites symptoms might appear over a period of weeks or even days. While the edema may appear small at first, it can quickly worsen.

Among the signs and symptoms are:

Causes of ascites

The most prevalent cause of ascites is cirrhosis, or liver scarring.

Other possible causes include:

Ascites vs. belly fat

Although ascites and belly fat may appear to be the same thing, a doctor will be able to tell the two apart.

Ascites and fat have different movements and sensations. When a person is lying down or standing, a doctor can examine their abdomen. The contour of the abdomen may indicate that it is fluid-filled rather than fat-filled.

A person with ascites may also have a bloated, firm, and swollen abdomen. They may also have rapid weight and body form changes. These changes occur at a far faster rate than a person’s body fat mass generally increases.

Is ascites a life-threatening condition?

Ascites, in most situations, is not life threatening. However, the cause could be a more serious condition, such as liver failure, which could be fatal.

The death rate for people with ascites as a consequence of cirrhosis ranges from 15% in one year to 44% in five years.

If ascites is not treated, it can lead to serious consequences. They could, for example, get an infection in the fluid in their abdomen. If not handled appropriately, this can be dangerous.

Ascites treatment and management

Ascites can be treated in a number of ways. A doctor will determine which solutions are ideal for a patient’s condition.

Reduction of sodium

A doctor will most likely recommend that a person’s sodium intake be limited. In general, they should limit their salt intake to fewer than 2000 mg per day.

Diuretics

Diuretics, also known as water tablets, help a lot of people with ascites. These aid in the removal of excess fluid from the body, hence lowering edema.

Common diuretics like furosemide (Lasix) and spironolactone may be prescribed by a doctor (Aldactone).

Paracentesis

A doctor or medical expert performs a basic technique called paracentesis. To remove extra fluid, a needle is inserted into the abdomen.

A doctor may take a small sample of fluid for testing if they suspect an illness. A doctor will, however, remove a bigger amount of fluid if a person has a lot of swelling.

Shunts

A shunt may be inserted by a doctor to drain the fluid that has accumulated due to ascites.

They will numb and clean the area first. Then a long needle will be carefully inserted into the vein to open it. They will implant a tube from the neck to the abdomen after creating a minor incision in the chest area.

Diagnosis of ascites

The amount of fluid in a person’s abdomen determines the diagnosis. Physical examination is frequently used by doctors to diagnose ascites.

An ultrasound or CT scan of the abdomen may be used to confirm the diagnosis.

A doctor would usually take a sample of the fluid by putting a small needle into the abdomen wall while under local anaesthesia, withdrawing some fluid, and sending it to be tested.

To discover the cause of the fluid buildup, doctors will test the fluid for symptoms of cancer and infection.

Outlook

The cause of ascites has an impact on a person’s outlook. Antibiotics can be used to treat an infection that causes ascites in a person.

Paracentesis and shunts can help most people with ascites from cirrhosis improve their quality of life. They will, however, almost certainly not improve their chances of survival. Instead, they assist in the management of the condition while a person awaits a liver transplant.

Summary

A buildup of fluid in the abdomen is known as ascites. It is usually seen as a side effect of liver disease.

Bloating, indigestion, constipation, and shortness of breath are among symptoms. Medications can be used to treat it.

Sources

  • https://gi.org/topics/ascites/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470482/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318775
  • https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/coping/physically/fluid-abdomen-ascites/treating/shunts
  • https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/coping/physically/fluid-abdomen-ascites/about

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