theSundaily.my Health http://www.thesundaily.my/sites/default/files/images/thesundaily_logo_google.png theSundaily.my Health http://www.thesundaily.my/rss/lifestyle/health http://www.thesundaily.my/rss/lifestyle/health en Even low levels of physical activity can reduce cardiovascular risk in seniors http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/11/25/even-low-levels-physical-activity-can-reduce-cardiovascular-risk-seniors
Carried out by the Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the 18-year study looked at 24,502 adults aged 39 to 79 years to compare the association between different levels of physical activity and the risk of cardiovascular disease in elderly to middle-aged individuals.

"We know that regular physical activity has major health benefits," said first author Dr. Sangeeta Lachman, "Healthy adults are advised to do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease." However she added that, "These recommendations are based primarily on research in middle-aged adults and we wanted to know whether regular physical activity yields comparable cardiovascular health benefits in elderly people".

Upon enrollment, participants were asked to complete a health and lifestyle questionnaire, complete a standardized physical examination, and give blood samples.

Physical activity during work and leisure time was also assessed by a questionnaire, with participants then categorized as active, moderately active, moderately inactive and inactive.

During the median follow-up of 18 years, the team found that there was an inverse association between physical activity and the risk of cardiovascular disease in both elderly and middle-aged people.

The team also found that even just a small amount of activity had benefits, with elderly people who were moderately inactive showing a 14% reduced risk of cardiovascular events compared to those who were completely inactive.

"This suggests that even modest levels of physical activity are beneficial to heart health," commented Dr Lachman. "Elderly people should be encouraged to at least do low intensity physical activities such as walking, gardening, and housework".

"Given our aging population and the impact of cardiovascular disease on society, a broader array of public health programmes are needed to help elderly people engage in any physical activity of any level and avoid being completely sedentary," she concluded.

The results can be found published online in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. — AFP Relaxnews]]>
Health Fri, 24 Nov 2017 19:50:45 +0000 theSundaily 506197 at http://www.thesundaily.my
Slum mum woes as Philippines birth control plans fail http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/11/24/slum-mum-woes-philippines-birth-control-plans-fail
The plumber's wife already had four children by the time a family planning law was passed in December 2012, but she had two more after opponents blocked it and the government health centre near her shanty ran out of birth control pills.

"I don't want any more (children). Sending all of them to school is an effort. One more and I may no longer have time for myself," the former department store clerk told AFP.

Albos and her family live on her husband's US$10, (RM41)-a-day wage in a dirt-floor home in Paradise Village, tucked behind a smelly open sewer in the north of Manila, the nation's capital where millions live in brutal poverty.

The law was meant to provide free condoms, birth control pills, implants and other family planning methods to couples in poor communities, while protecting mothers from death and other health risks associated with pregnancies.

The law was hailed then as a big victory for the rights of the poor, finally overcoming the powerful Catholic Church and their socially conservative allies in Congress.

The Philippines, a former Spanish colony, is the Church's Asian bastion with 80% of the nation's 103 million people Catholic. The power of the Church, has helped to ensure abortion and divorce remain illegal.

The country's fertility rate slowed to 2.33 births per woman in 2015 from a runaway six in the 1970s, United Nations data shows but it remains an outlier.

The number of Filipinas who die from complications of giving birth also remains high, according to the UN figures.

However the legislation turned out to be only the start of another long battle.

The law itself did not come into force until April 2014, as it was delayed by legal challenges.

While the Supreme Court ruled the legislation was constitutional, it defanged the law by removing penalties for officials and workers who refused to provide contraceptives.

It has since been weakened further after some conservative legislators gutted its funding.

"We have not taken off. We've been taxiing for the last five years," Health Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo told AFP in an interview, when asked to assess the programme.

He said the Supreme Court's removal of the penalty provisions had rendered the law "basically toothless", while a lack of funds meant the government could not buy enough contraceptives.

Breakthrough

President Rodrigo Duterte, who took office last year, has followed in his predecessor's footsteps in trying to get contraceptives to the masses.

His Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this month ruled that dozens of contraceptives, including implants and pills, were not abortion inducing and thus the government could distribute them for free.

Condoms were not subject to the challenge but only two percent of Filipino men use them, according to the health department. This is partly due to men not wanting to use them, and their expense.

Church-backed groups filed a case with the Supreme Court in 2015 insisting the implants and other contraceptives were abortifacients, and thus unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court then ordered the government not to distribute those contraceptives until the FDA made its own ruling on the issue.

Bayugo said the government had started to deliver 500,000 implants, the vast majority of its stocks, following this month's FDA ruling. But he said it was not nearly enough to tackle the problem.

"The resolution will not cure the funding issue ... it's been our problem for the last five years," he told AFP.

The health department estimates six million couples need contraceptives, but have no reliable access to them.

This year's allocated budget of 165 million pesos (US$3.2 million) is only enough for two million of these couples, according to Bayugo.

Congress rejected the original family planning budget proposal for 2017 of 1.2 billion pesos.

The health ministry has sought a budget of 342 million pesos for next year. But this is still less than a third of what the government deemed necessary to fully implement the law.

And with less than six weeks left in 2017, Congress has yet to approve next year's family planning budget.

While the government was banned from dispensing implants, Albos the slum mother, went to Likhaan, a charity that receives foreign funding.

She finally had an implant, which releases a hormone that prevents women's ovaries from releasing eggs, after her sixth child was born this year.

Non-government groups including Likhaan have been providing birth control services to about 150,000 people falling outside the health department coverage, its executive director, Junice Melgar, told AFP.

But even their own modest programmes have suffered setbacks that highlight the enduring political problems.

Last year scores of panicked women swamped Manila clinics demanding the removal of their hormone implants, Melgar said. The incidents were confirmed by Bayugo.

The women were scared off by a politician's unfounded warnings the implants caused cancer, polio and even blindness, they said. — AFP]]>
Health Fri, 24 Nov 2017 04:02:02 +0000 theSundaily 506029 at http://www.thesundaily.my
Study sees link between pollution and sperm size, some sceptical http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/11/22/study-sees-link-between-pollution-and-sperm-size-some-sceptical
An analysis of 2001-2014 data for more than 6,400 Taiwanese men and boys aged 15 to 49, found "a robust association" between a decline in "normal" sperm and exposure to PM 2.5 pollution, it said.

PM 2.5 is the term used for air pollution containing the smallest of particles, those measuring 2.5 microns in diameter or less.

A micron is a millionth of a metre.

The link was observed for short-term exposure of three months, as well as for long-term exposure of two years, according to study results published in the medical journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, though outside experts questioned the conclusions.

The research team said every increase of five microgrammes per cubic metre of air (5ug/m3) in PM 2.5 exposure over two years, was associated with a "significant drop" of about 1.29% in normal sperm shape and size.

Pollution exposure was measured at each participant's home address using Nasa satellite data.

While sperm shape and size declined, sperm numbers increased, "possibly as a compensatory mechanism," the researchers found.

A similar correlation was witnessed with PM 2.5 exposure of only three months – how long it takes for sperm to be generated.

The team stressed the link was merely "observational", which means they cannot definitively state that air pollution was the cause of sperm size decline.

Allan Pacey, a professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield who was not involved in the study, said sperm size and shape is notoriously hard to assess, and their effect on infertility unclear.

"So, whilst the authors have found a potentially interesting biological result, I am not sure that it is clinically meaningful."

For Kevin McConway of The Open University in England, other factors not taken into account by the researchers may be responsible for the sperm changes.

"So there has to remain doubt as to whether particulate pollution, or indeed any kind of air pollution, is a cause of semen abnormality," he said via the Science Media Centre in London.

"If I were young enough to worry about my fertility, I wouldn't put moving to an area with cleaner air at the top of my list of actions – though there are certainly many other health-related reasons to live in cleaner air." — AFP]]>
Health Wed, 22 Nov 2017 02:53:23 +0000 theSundaily 505397 at http://www.thesundaily.my
Study shows video games could cut dementia risk in seniors http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/11/18/study-shows-video-games-could-cut-dementia-risk-seniors
A new study suggests older adults who practice specific computer training exercises that test how fast they respond to visual stimuli could face a 29% lower chance of developing dementia, results deemed encouraging by experts even as more work is needed to confirm the link.

The randomized clinical trial involving more than 2,800 people study was funded by the US National Institutes of Health, and used a specific brain-training exercise called "Double Decision," a patented program by Posit Science that is available on BrainHQ.com.

The exercises tested a person's ability to look at an object in the center of the screen, like a truck, and click on an object that popped up in the periphery, like a car.

As the user improves, the exercises move faster and become more difficult.

The idea is to exercise the brain's ability to change – known as plasticity – and to test skills of perception, decision-making, thinking and remembering.

Study authors say the process is like learning to ride a bike, a skill that doesn't take long to learn but which drives a long-lasting brain change.

Randomized study

Participants were an average age of 74 when they enrolled in the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly study.

Dozens of peer-reviewed scientific studies have been published using ACTIVE data, which has now completed 10 years of follow up.

Participants in the trial were assigned at random to four groups: one did computer exercises, a second one followed a series of traditional memory exercises, another did reasoning exercises, and the fourth, a control group, did nothing at all.

Those enrolled in the computer-game part of the study did at least 10 hours of training in the first five weeks of the program.

Some went on to do more training over the next three years, leading to up to 18 hours of total computer work.

"Speed of processing training resulted in decreased risk of dementia across the 10-year period of, on average, 29% as compared to the control," said lead author Jerri Edwards, a researcher at the University of South Florida.

There was no significant difference in risk of dementia for the strategy-based memory or reasoning training groups.

The findings are published a peer-reviewed journal of the Alzheimer's Association known as Alzheimer's and Dementia: Translational Research and Clinical Interventions.

Experts urge caution

Some outside experts urged a dose of skepticism in interpreting the current study as a magic bullet against dementia, since many previous studies have found little to no benefit in popular online brain-training courses.

"The results reported here, of apparent reduction in risk of dementia after 10 years following only a few hours of cognitive training, are therefore rather surprising and should be treated with caution," said Rob Howard, professor of old age psychiatry at University College London.

"I find it implausible that such a brief intervention could have this effect."

According to Doug Brown, director of research at Alzheimer's Society, the study is "positive" in that it spanned a decade and compared several kinds of brain training.

But it made its conclusions about dementia in patients based on self-reports or from subjects' families, not clinical diagnoses of the condition.

"This study hints that a particular type of brain training may help people to ward off dementia, but due to limitations of the research, we can't confidently conclude this," he said.

Experts say more studies should be conducted to see if the findings can be replicated, and better explained. — AFP Relaxnews]]>
Health Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:48:06 +0000 theSundaily 504173 at http://www.thesundaily.my
Fresh care for your hair http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/11/17/fresh-care-your-hair However, with a new range of natural hair products, you can do just that.

Botanicals Fresh Care by L'Oreal Paris vows to respect our body and the environment we live in without adding any harmful chemicals such as silicones, parabens, and colourants.

By using only raw ingredients, it is encouraging us to be true to ourselves and enrich our bodies with nutrients that we deserve.

At the same time, these products are stored in 100% recycled and recyclable bottles. The goal of this natural creation is to promote a green and clean urban living lifestyle for its consumers.

Strengthen your hair

Botanicals Fresh Care actually caters to all types of hair conditions and it is designed to find our hair's stronger nature.

In terms of ingredients, Coriander is a source of strength for fragile hair and a powerful botanical favoured for its richness in Omega 6 and revitalising benefits. Botanicals Fresh Care infuses the precious herbal extract in a featherweight texture to help repair fragile hair. Strength is infused into every hair fibre, even the weakest strands.

Meanwhile, Geranium is a radiance remedy for dull hair and a bright and colourful flower known for its exceptional and renewable essential oil. Using a precise distillation process, chemists for Botanicals Fresh Care have successfully extracted this oil to be incorporated in a lush formulation designed to restore vibrancy to dull or coloured hair.

It is no surprise that all women love to care for their looks and there has also been a surge in men who take grooming seriously. No one should feel ashamed to do so.

Instead, we should feel proud and be happy that we love to take care of ourselves. By looking and feeling good daily, it also gives us the confidence and empowerment we need in carrying out our daily routine.

Respect your body

When asked if we respect our bodies, we often say yes. But do we really know what it truly means and takes, or do we say yes just for the sake of it?

Unfortunately, I admit I am guilty of the latter. The most common way to respect our body and environment is by eating healthily and in moderation. Sure, Malaysians are spoilt for choice when it comes to food, but it does not mean we have to indulge in heavy meals all the time.

Make it a new habit to cut everyday meals in half and exercise regularly. The key is to feed the body with nutritious food and use eco-friendly products. Subsequently, it would create a better living environment and lifestyle. Learn to respect and love our body as it will thank us in the future.

Brand loyalty

With companies spending a huge chunk of their budget to focus on brand loyalty, it is hardly any surprise that many of us consumers stay loyal to one brand. The sad reality is many of us are in the dark of how much damage these chemically infused products can cause harm to our bodies and environ-ment. The results might have us thinking twice about the hair care products we are currently using.

Among a list compiled, parabens came up at the top of the list and brace yourself, ladies, because it consists of estrogen-resembling properties that increase the chances of breast cancer. Harsh chemicals do not only cause detrimental effects on our body but also to our beautiful
nature.

Vital check

Therefore, it is vital for us to check the contents of any beauty products beforehand and shy away from companies that are still manufacturing harmful products.

By using eco and body friendly products, it will also create a balanced mind, body and soul that will sync in harmoniously with the environment. Furthermore, non-recyclable materials like plastic only create more waste pollution in the long run as millions are poured in just on product packaging alone.

This will make it harder to maintain a greener lifestyle.]]>
Health Fri, 17 Nov 2017 06:21:46 +0000 Pan Eu Joe 503985 at http://www.thesundaily.my
Eating variety of nuts linked to lower heart disease risk http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/11/17/eating-variety-nuts-linked-lower-heart-disease-risk
Eating five weekly servings of walnuts, peanuts or other kinds of tree nuts was linked to a 14% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and a 20% lower risk of fatal complications due to hardened arteries, said the report Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Walnuts appeared to be the healthiest option, according to the findings, based on more than 210,000 people who answered regular surveys as part of a nurses' study that spanned 32 years.

"After looking at individual nut consumption, eating walnuts one or more times per week was associated with a 19% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease," said the report.

People who ate peanuts two or more times per week had a 13% lower risk of heart disease than people who ate none.

Those who ate tree nuts, such as almonds, cashews, chestnuts and pistachios, had a 15% lower risk of heart disease.

"Our findings support recommendations of increasing the intake of a variety of nuts, as part of healthy dietary patterns, to reduce the risk of chronic disease in the general populations," said lead author Marta Guasch-Ferre, a research fellow at the department of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Many past studies have examined the role of eating nuts on people's health.

Researchers said this one stands out due to its size and the way it looked at the association between specific types of nuts and major cardiovascular events.

However, because it was an observational study based on self-reported questionnaire responses, it was unable to prove cause-and-effect.

"Ideally, further investigations should test the effects of long-term consumption of nuts supplemented into the usual diet on hard cardiometabolic events," said an accompanying editorial by Emilio Ros, a doctor at the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona.

"In the meantime, raw nuts, if possible unpeeled and otherwise unprocessed, may be considered as natural health capsules that can be easily incorporated into any heart-protective diet to further cardiovascular well-being and promote healthy aging." — AFP Relaxnews]]>
Health Thu, 16 Nov 2017 19:50:05 +0000 theSundaily 503927 at http://www.thesundaily.my
Amish gene mutation makes some live 10 years longer http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/11/16/amish-gene-mutation-makes-some-live-10-years-longer
The report in the journal Science Advances is the latest clue in a decade-plus search for the secrets to healthy aging in this traditional, Christian community that balks at most modern technology.

Researchers in the US and Japan are currently testing an experimental drug that aims to recreate the effect of this mutation in people, in the hopes it may protect against age-related illnesses and boost longevity.

"Not only do they live longer, they live healthier," said lead author Douglas Vaughan, chairman of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

"It's a desirable form of longevity."

Researchers studied 177 members of the Berne Amish community in Indiana, and found 43 who had one mutant copy of the gene, SERPINE1.

These carriers lived to 85 on average, while those without it in the Amish community tend to live to 75.

Amish people with this gene mutation were also significantly less likely to get diabetes, and they had more efficient metabolisms.

The key protein at play in the aging of cells appears to be PAI-1 (plasminogen activator inhibitor,), which is influenced by SERPINE1.

PAI-1 is known to be related to aging in animals but its effect in humans has been less clear.

Northwestern University researchers have partnered with Japan's Tohoku University to develop and test an experimental drug that would inhibit the action of PAI-1, like in Amish people with the mutant gene.

The drug has passed basic safety trials and is now being tested in phase 2 trials in Japan on how well it works on insulin sensitivity in people type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Northwestern is seeking regulatory approval to begin a US trial next year. — AFP]]>
Health Thu, 16 Nov 2017 04:10:18 +0000 theSundaily 503599 at http://www.thesundaily.my
Eating variety of nuts linked to lower heart disease risk http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/11/16/eating-variety-nuts-linked-lower-heart-disease-risk
Eating five weekly servings of walnuts, peanuts or other kinds of tree nuts was linked to a 14% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and a 20% lower risk of fatal complications due to hardened arteries, said the report Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Walnuts appeared to be the healthiest option, according to the findings, based on more than 210,000 people who answered regular surveys as part of a nurses' study that spanned 32 years.

"After looking at individual nut consumption, eating walnuts one or more times per week was associated with a 19% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease," said the report.

People who ate peanuts two or more times per week had a 13% lower risk of heart disease than people who ate none.

Those who ate tree nuts, such as almonds, cashews, chestnuts and pistachios, had a 15% lower risk of heart disease.

"Our findings support recommendations of increasing the intake of a variety of nuts, as part of healthy dietary patterns, to reduce the risk of chronic disease in the general populations," said lead author Marta Guasch-Ferre, a research fellow at the department of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Many past studies have examined the role of eating nuts on people's health.

Researchers said this one stands out due to its size and the way it looked at the association between specific types of nuts and major cardiovascular events.

However, because it was an observational study based on self-reported questionnaire responses, it was unable to prove cause-and-effect.

"Ideally, further investigations should test the effects of long-term consumption of nuts supplemented into the usual diet on hard cardiometabolic events," said an accompanying editorial by Emilio Ros, a doctor at the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona.

"In the meantime, raw nuts, if possible unpeeled and otherwise unprocessed, may be considered as natural health capsules that can be easily incorporated into any heart-protective diet to further cardiovascular well-being and promote healthy aging." — AFP Relaxnews]]>
Health Wed, 15 Nov 2017 19:46:24 +0000 theSundaily 503538 at http://www.thesundaily.my
The case for heartcare http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/11/15/case-heartcare
Heartcare encompasses all ailments that can impair the functionality of the heart.

Take diabetes, for example, which refers to the body's inability to respond to or produce insulin, which results in a high blood glucose (sugar) level.

Over time, the condition can damage your blood vessels, as well as the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels.

People with diabetes also tend to develop heart disease at a younger age than those without diabetes.

And among adults with diabetes, the most common causes of death are heart disease and stroke.

Another group of people at risk of developing heart disease are those who suffer from hypertension, or high blood pressure.

In fact, hypertensive heart disease is the number one cause of death associated with high blood pressure. It refers to a group of disorders that include heart failure, ischemic heart disease, and left ventricular hypertrophy (excessive thickening of the heart muscle).

Ischemic heart disease, which means that the heart muscle isn't getting enough blood, is usually the result of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries (coronary artery disease), which impedes blood flow to the heart.

Another potential source of risk for your heart is having a fatty liver.

While most people can understand how the previous two conditions can impact the heart, what effect can an entirely different organ have on it?

Well, the liver produces and feeds many enzymes and hormones that help control other bodily functions.

Imagine if a company's human resource department failed in its task. Any delay in distributing the salary to its employees, and the whole company goes into chaos.

One of the primary functions of the liver is to store fat. It does this by absorbing glucose from our blood, and turning it into body fat for ­long-term storage.

But, when the liver stores too much fat, it too breaks down. Too little and it's not good for overall health, too much and it can be harmful. Those who have a fatty liver are also in danger of developing heart disease.

Instead of focusing on each of these conditions individually, the health industry is now moving to bring them all under one mission, and getting everyone to 'take care of the heart'.

It makes sense. You also have to make many other careful choices in life, as it all comes back to the heart.

But I think, all these messages on heartcare tend to miss the point.

These days, I see a lot of popular media and advertising trying to sell the idea that you can actually eat your way to a better healthy heart.

Yes, you can stay healthy by not eating junk, following a reasonable diet, and controlling your portions.

You may even be able to do it for a long while, but we are still human. And there is a lot of nice food out there to tempt us.

People may order a non-fat latte with a triple shot of espresso, but add in three packs of sugar. Or have a healthy grilled chicken salad, but covered in a dressing so thick and oily that it is almost a dish in itself.

And don't even get me started on those new age superfoods, like kale.

Kale the super veg has been the base for all sorts of everyday food, like kale shakes, kale and cheese pie, kale salad.

I have nothing against kale. I think it's a good healthy vegetable.

And we Asians have been consuming the mighty kale for generations. We just call it kailan, also known as Chinese kale. It's kind of same but different.

But the danger of thinking we can eat our way to good health is usually that we tend to ignore another far more effective method of improving our heart health – movement!

I use the word 'movement' because the word 'exercise' is scarier. And let's face it, most of us would rather eat kale than run on the treadmill.

The trouble with modern living is that people are moving less, and trying to get into the habit of exercising.

But, I'd like to note here that if people actually took the trouble to move more, then they need not pay anything for exercise.

Let's put it this way. 'Exercise' these days more often that not equals some form of outward payment in monetary value like buying a gym membership, or home exercise equipment.

This is something my grandfather and my parents never felt the need for in their day.

When they needed to buy bread, they walked to the shops. Today, you can Uber your bread to you.

I'm just wondering how that helps your heartcare.


Jonathan Tan is currently Club Manager of the Sports Toto Fitness Centre at Berjaya Times Square. He can be contacted at lifestyle.jonathan@thesundaily.com.]]>
Health Wed, 15 Nov 2017 03:09:54 +0000 Jonathan Tan 503257 at http://www.thesundaily.my
High blood pressure is redefined as 130, not 140: US guidelines http://www.thesundaily.my/news/2017/11/15/high-blood-pressure-redefined-130-not-140-us-guidelines
Doctors now recognise that complications "can occur at those lower numbers," said the first update to comprehensive US guidelines on blood pressure detection and treatment since 2003.

A diagnosis of the new high blood pressure does not necessarily mean a person needs to take medication, but that "it's a yellow light that you need to be lowering your blood pressure, mainly with non-drug approaches," said Paul Whelton, lead author of the guidelines published in the American Heart Association journal, Hypertension, and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Healthy lifestyle changes include losing weight, exercising more, eating healthier, avoiding alcohol and salt, quitting smoking and avoiding stress.

The new standard means that nearly half (46%) of the US population will be defined as having high blood pressure.

Previously, one in three (32%) had the condition, which is the second leading cause of preventable heart disease and stroke, after cigarette smoking.

The normal limit for blood pressure is considered 120 for systolic, or how much pressure the blood places on the artery walls when the heart beats, and 80 for diastolic, which is measured between beats.

Once a person reaches 130/80, "you've already doubled your risk of cardiovascular complications compared to those with a normal level of blood pressure," said Whelton.

"We want to be straight with people – if you already have a doubling of risk, you need to know about it."

- People in 40s most affected -

Once considered mainly a disorder among people 50 and older, the new guidelines are expected to lead to a surge of people in their 40s with high blood pressure.

"The prevalence of high blood pressure is expected to triple among men under age 45, and double among women under 45," according to the report.

Damage to the blood vessels is already beginning once blood pressure reaches 130/80, said the guidelines, which were based in part on a major US-government funded study of more than 9,000 people nationwide.

The category of prehypertension, which used to refer to people with systolic pressure of 120-139, no longer exists, according to the new guidelines.

"People with those readings now will be categorised as having either Elevated (120-129 and less than 80) or Stage I hypertension (130-139 or 80-89)."

Medication is only recommended for people with Stage I hypertension "if a patient has already had a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke, or is at high risk of heart attack or stroke based on age, the presence of diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease or calculation of atherosclerotic risk."

The proper technique must be used to measure blood pressure, and levels "should be based on an average of two to three readings on at least two different occasions," said the report.

"I absolutely agree with the change in what is considered high blood pressure because it allows for early lifestyle changes to be addressed," said Satjit Bhusri, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

"It is important, however, to realise that the change in the definition does not give course to increase prescription of medications, rather that it brings to light the need to make lifestyle changes," Bhusri said in an email to AFP.

The new guidelines were announced at the American Heart Association's 2017 Scientific Sessions conference in Anaheim, California. — AFP Relaxnews]]>
Health Tue, 14 Nov 2017 19:50:05 +0000 theSundaily 503213 at http://www.thesundaily.my