Categories for Blood Pressure Levels in Adults (measured in millimeters of mercury, or mmHg)

The ranges in the table apply to most adults (aged 18 and older) who don't have short-term serious illnesses.

What is hypertension?

Hypertension is commonly called High Blood Pressure. It is defined as a condition in which the pressure on the arteries remains high for a long amount of time.

"Blood pressure" is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways.

High blood pressure or Hypertension is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems. A person’s blood pressure is usually expressed in terms of the systolic pressure over diastolic pressure and is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), for example 140/90.

Blood pressure is lower during sleep and highest when awake. In high blood pressure, the heart has to pump the blood harder, and this could lead to organ damage, heart attack and other illnesses.

What causes hypertension?

The exact reason for high blood pressure is unknown. But some widely seen causes of hypertension are as follows :

• Having unhealthy eating habits

• Smoking

• Drinking

• Stressful lifestyle

• Overweight

• Old age

• Family background

• High consumption of coffee, tea

• Vitamin D deficiency

• High salt intake

• Less physical activity

Hypertension Symptoms

In Most of the cases a person suffering from hypertension does not know they have it. This is why it's called a silent killer and due to this ignorance is a major factor for a large number of deaths due to hypertension. The Best way to find out if you have hypertension or not are to do regular blood pressure check up.

Some of the main symptoms are as follows:

• Headache

• Blood in urine

• Confusion

• Problem in eye sight

• Severe chest pain

• Breathing problem

• Dizziness

Hypertension can be Prevented by Doing following the Steps:

• Regular Exercise: By doing all the exercises that puts weight under control helps in treating hypertension. Exercises such as running, jogging, swimming are very useful and effective.

• Proper Diet: Having proper diet with low amount of fats is also a very important factor in controlling of hypertension.

• Quit smoking

• Decrease consumption of caffeine, tea, alcohol

• Take medication properly

• Have a healthy lifestyle

• Have a lot of fruits and vegetable daily

• Reduce salt consumption

• Perform regular blood pressure check up

by: L. Del Rosario

Telemedicine in the Middle East

Telemedicine is not created to replace healthcare providers, but to enhance access to healthcare for people in far flung locations or those for whom the access to healthcare is limited by culture, language or clinical resources. Dubai is known for its magnificent buildings and skyscrapers, shopping malls, man-made buildings and hotels and their health services are gaining popularity as well mainly due to its high standard and comparability to other developed countries. Hospitals, which boast modern facilities, are strategically located to ensure convenience as well as easy accessibility to WiFi, broadband Internet and cellular networks, people are increasingly taking responsibility for their well-being. Technological advancement in the Middle East coupled with availability of health related information to the consumers enable people to become active participants in the management of their health.

Advances in communication and collaboration technologies are transforming Healthcare’s definition from the traditional approach of curing individuals to caring for individuals. Healthcare requires collaboration between Providers of care and technology to help people live longer, healthier lives. This transformation is a complex matter but with the help of governments, NGO’ss and health organizations around the world, quality healthcare is within reach.

There will be continuous improvement and evolution as to medicine is concerned and it is just empirical that people get the right information to make right choices concerning their health. - L. Del Rosario

Patients' online access increases utilization

Patients with online access to their medical records and secure e-mail communication with clinicians had increased use of clinical services, including office visits and telephone encounters, compared to patients who did not have online access, according to a study appearing in the Nov. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Prior studies suggest that providing patients with online access to health records and e-mail communication with physicians may substitute for traditional healthcare services,” according to the study. The presumption is if patients could look up health information online such as their test results, request prescription refills, schedule appointments or send secure e-mail to clinicians, their use of clinical in-person and telephone calls may decrease. “Many previous studies involved small numbers of patients and were conducted early in the implementation of patient online access.”

Ted E. Palen, MD, PhD, MSPH, of the Institute for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Colorado in Denver, and colleagues investigated the association between patient online access and use of clinical services. The study examined the use of healthcare services by adult group members who were continuously enrolled for at least two years during the study period March 2005 through June 2010 in Kaiser Permanente Colorado.

Utilization rates were calculated for both users and nonusers of My Health Manager (MHM), a patient online access system. Member use of online access steadily increased from about 25 percent at the end of 2007 to 54 percent by June 2009. More than 45 percent of members with MHM access used at least one MHM function.

The researchers found that when they compared the use of clinical services before and after the index date between MHM users and nonusers, they saw a significant increase in the per-member rates of office visits (0.7 per member per year) and telephone encounters (0.3 per member per year). “There was also a significant increase in per-1,000-member rates of after-hours clinic visits (18.7 per 1,000 members per year), emergency department encounters (11.2 per 1,000 members per year) and hospitalizations (19.9 per 1,000 members per year) for MHM users compared with nonusers. This utilization pattern was seen for members both younger and older than 50 years.” More variability was found in rates of utilization by MHM users with chronic illnesses.

The authors suggest several possible explanations for these findings. “Online access to care may have led to an increase in use of in-person services because of additional health concerns identified through online access. Members might have activated their online access in anticipation of health needs. Members who are already more likely to use services may selectively sign up for online access and then use this technology to gain even more frequent access rather than view it as a substitute for contact with the healthcare system.”

“If these findings are evident in other systems, healthcare delivery planners and administrators will need to consider how to allocate resources to deal with increased use of clinical services. As online applications become more widespread, healthcare delivery systems will need to develop methodologies that effectively integrate health information technologies with in-person care.”

These findings may be disappointing for patient portal enthusiasts, wrote David W. Bates, MD, MSc, and Susan Wells, MB, ChB, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, in an accompanying editorial. The findings should not, however, discourage organizations from increasing the use of electronic health portals by patients.

“Personal health records (PHRs) are here to stay, and the tethered architecture appears to offer the most benefits. The data on utilization are uncertain and PHRs may not decrease healthcare utilization. However, electronic access to PHRs represents an extremely powerful tool from a variety of perspectives and can help empower and engage patients. More data on how to use them and on what specific modules and applications will be beneficial are clearly needed.” by Beth Walsh

Immune System Gene May Be Linked To Alzheimer's

An international research team including scientists from the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine has discovered a link between a mutation in an immune system gene and Alzheimer's disease.

Using data from 25,000 people, researchers from the Faculty of Medicine and University College London's Institute of Neurology discovered that a rare genetic mutation in the TREM2 gene - which helps trigger immune system responses - is also associated with increased risk of Alzheimer's. The discovery supports an emerging theory about the role of the immune system in the disease.

"This discovery provides an increasingly firm link between brain inflammation and increased risk for Alzheimer's," says Dr. Peter St George-Hyslop, director of U of T's Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases. "This is an important step towards unraveling the hidden causes of this disease, so that we can develop treatments and interventions to end one of the 21st century's most significant health challenges."

St George-Hyslop, renowned for identifying five genes associated with Alzheimer's disease, says the breakthrough is, "another win for U of T scientists who are building on a worldwide legacy of expertise in neurodegenerative research."

The team began by sequencing the genes of 1,092 people with Alzheimer's and a control group of 1,107 healthy people. The results showed several mutations in the TREM2 gene occurred more frequently in people who had the disease than in those without the disease. One mutation - known as R47H - had a particularly strong association with the disease.

The mutation makes a patient three times more likely to develop the disease, although it affects just 0.3 per cent of the population.

"While the genetic mutation we found is extremely rare, its effect on the immune system is a strong indicator that this system may be a key player in the disease," says Dr. Rita Geurreiro from UCL, the study's lead author. - Medical News Today

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