Stress is an integral part of each one of our lives and it cannot be eliminated no matter how much we try. While a little stress is good and keeps us motivated, too much stress can increase a person’s risk of developing life-threatening lifestyle conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. When we are faced with a stressful situation, in addition to the emotional discomfort, our bodies react by releasing stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) into the blood.
These hormones prepare the body for the ‘fight or flight response’ by making the heart beat faster and constricting blood vessels to get more blood to the core of the body instead of the extremities. Hypertension–the silent killer–is a medical condition that often remains undiagnosed until relatively late in its course.
How Hypertension Kills You Silently
You don’t feel hypertension. Many hypertonic patients don’t even know they are suffering from it. But hypertension is dangerous! Every other person living in a civilized country dies from its sudden fatal consequences: Heart attack, stroke, embolism.
Affecting one billion people worldwide, the condition can be explained as, blood pressure levels exceeding 140/90mm Hg. Our body produces a surge of hormones when we are stressed. These hormones temporarily increase our BP by causing the heart to beat faster and the blood vessels to become narrow. The increased incidence of hypertension, or high blood pressure (BP), over the years can be attributed to a lack of exercise, a diet rich in fat and salt, obesity, increased level of stress and increased smoking and alcohol consumption.
Hypertension Statistics and Facts: It is estimated that the number of hypertensive adults will increase from 972 million in 2000 to 1.56 billion in 2025, a rise of about 60%. High BP is the result of abnormally high pressure of blood in the arteries. It affects more than 1 in 3 adults aged 25 & above worldwide.
In 2014, 158,334 or 1.8% of total deaths happened due to hypertension in India. BP should normally be around 120/80 mm Hg. High BP, in most cases, is asymptomatic and silent, so unless it’s monitored actively, it stays hidden. The symptoms are usually vague—dizziness, headache, nosebleeds, flushing, tension and fatigue—so it can be missed easily. Hypertension is a main risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease. 30 per cent of women and 32 per cent of men have high blood pressure.
Don’t Take Insomnia Lightly
If you are the kind of person who resorts to counting sheep with increasing frustration every night, or staring glassy-eyed into an abyss of semi-darkness you need to worry about this. Those who take longer than 14 minutes to fall asleep face a greater risk of hypertension, according to research published last year in Hypertension, the American Heart Association’s journal.
Sugar Is Worse Than Salt for Hypertension
It is often said that large consumption of salt can trigger BP but recent studies suggest the large sugar intake is worse. One of the first recommendations your physician probably gave you was to cut back on salt. Yet, there’s far more to maintaining a healthy blood pressure than eating a low-salt diet – a strategy that works for some people and fails for others. A common tendency of people to beat stress is to consume high sugar and trans fat-laden comfort food and indulge in vices such as drinking and smoking.
This further makes one’s blood pressure worse and also triggers diabetes in the long run. Excess consumption of both salt and sugar can contribute to hypertension. Research presented at the Experimental Biology 2016 meeting in San Diego, US, in April shows that high levels of fructose may predispose individuals to hypertension.
A reduction in the intake of added sugars, particularly fructose, and specifically in the quantities and context of industrially-manufactured consumables, would help not only curb hypertension rates, but might also help address broader problems related to cardiometabolic disease, the study suggests. How to Cure Hypertension
How to Beat Hypertension – Stress Buster Treatment
- Lose extra pounds: Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Being overweight also can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea), which further raises your blood pressure. Besides shedding pounds, you generally should also keep an eye on your waistline. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. Consider boosting potassium. Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. Top sources of potassium-rich produce to achieve low blood pressure include sweet potatoes, tomatoes, orange juice, potatoes, bananas, kidney beans, peas, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and dried fruits such as prunes and raisins. Cut salt smartly, cutting sodium means more than going easy on the saltshaker, which contributes just 15% of the sodium. Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg.
- Listen calming music: Need to bring down your blood pressure a bit more than medication or lifestyle changes can do alone? The right tunes can help you get low blood pressure, according to researchers at the University of Florence in Italy. They asked 28 adults who were already taking hypertension medication to listen to soothing classical, Celtic, or Indian music for 30 minutes daily while breathing slowly. After a week, the listeners had lowered their average systolic reading by 3.2 points; a month later, readings were down 4.4 points.
- Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity — at least 30 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). It’s important to be consistent because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again. Exercise helps the heart use oxygen more efficiently, so it doesn’t work as hard to pump blood. The best types of exercise for lowering blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing.
- Reduce and Manage Stress: Stress can increase blood pressure, at least temporarily. Many activities can help you stay calm while dealing with daily stresses. Many of the same healthy actions that are good for your blood pressure — like eating right and exercising — can also counteract stress.
- Meditation: In addition to exercise, other forms of relaxation like meditation or deep breathing are also helpful. Slow breathing and meditative practices such as yoga decrease stress hormones, which elevate renin, a kidney enzyme that raises blood pressure. Try 15 minutes in the morning and at night for low blood pressure. Inhale deeply and expand your belly. Exhale and release all of your tension. It is often said in India, meditation is cure to all the ailments.
Also Read: Why Desi Ghee Is Good For Your Heart
OMG This Porn Can Kill Your Libido
One of the biggest lies internet communities and modernism have sold us is that enjoying porn is totally healthy and acceptable. For many, cyber-porn is causing problems beyond finding ways to erase that browser history.
With republicans calling porn a public health crisis and governments banning it many countries, the damage done by porn has suddenly become a social evil as psychiatrists have linked porn with the making of ‘Young Sexual Offenders’ and sexual health experts have blamed it for inducing Erectile Dysfunction (ED).
How porn rewires your brain, hijacks your libido, and risks your bedroom life is certainly an issue that cannot be ignored anymore. Internet porn is creating a generation of young men who are hopeless in the bedroom, ruining many relationships and marriages, according to the recent researches.
Watching porn isn’t giving a guy erectile dysfunction, but also decreases their attraction to their partner, contribute to human sex trafficking, and addicting them to their computer screen.
Porn can ruin your relationship by killing your libido
Researchers think the Internet makes people much more vulnerable to sex addictions because it gives them instant access to pornographic material. While most porn viewers are guys, about one third of visitors to pornographic websites are women, and psychologists say women struggle with cyber-porn addictions, too.
Participants in a study viewed only about five hours of pornography over a six week period. Afterwards they noticed a direct impact on their sexual satisfaction in real relationships. The more participants were exposed to porn, the less satisfaction they had with their intimate partners: they were less likely to be pleased with their partner’s physical appearance, affection, and sexual performance in the bed.
The report, called ‘Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction is a Growing Problem’, explains that the loss of libido 30 years early is caused by continuous over-stimulation of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that activates the body’s reaction to s€xual pleasure, by repeatedly viewing pornography on the internet.
Exposure to lurid images and films in the new media is de-sensitizing so many young people that they are increasingly unable to become excited by ordinary sexual encounters, reports suggest.
How Porn Hijacks the Brain
A ‘paradoxical effect’ is created whereby with each new thrill, or ‘dopamine spike’, the brain loses its ability to respond to dopamine signals, meaning that porn-users demand increasingly extreme experiences to become sexually aroused. This imbalance in the brain leads to many problems: impotence with your spouse, frequent masturbation with very little satisfaction, anxiety, fatigue, lack of motivation, inability to concentrate, and escalating tastes for more bizarre or novel porn.
Over a decade ago, Dr. Judith Reisman called porn an “erototoxin,” theorizing that the brain itself might be damaged while watching porn. She speculated that future brain studies would reveal that the surge of neuro-chemicals and hormones released when someone watches porn has measurably negative effects on the brain.
Her theory was initially ignored by the perverts but the recent studies and brain mapping proves it scientifically that porn can ruin your sex life, romantic relationship and the marriage. People who think that porn is harmless and simply helps people “get in the mood”, or “relieves frustration”, are kidding themselves.
The chemical processes in our brains are really complicated, and when you start messing with them, it’s really difficult to develop a healthy sexuality again.
Why Night Owls Are Smarter Than Early Birds
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise” is the saying that makes all the night owls out there question their productivity. However, now the habit of vamping gets science on its side. Studies show night workers are stronger both mentally and physically. Shibika Mitra explains the reason why one should feel proud of being a night-owl.
Night Owls vs Early Birds – Who Wins The Race?
A research at the University of Madrid studies the circadian rhythm or the natural body clock of 1000 adolescents and evaluated their academic performance and general intelligence. 32% of them turned out to be the late workers and this group bagged considerably higher on inductive reasoning that measures better academic performance and predict higher intelligence.
Humans are programmed to go to sleep when the sun goes down and wake up as the sun shows up. By evolution they need light to figure out their way and cannot see much in the dark. However The Intelligence Paradox: Why the Intelligent Choice Isn’t Always the Smart One, explains the reason behind being the night owl. Being the more intelligent individuals you are tend to go against the evolutionary design and stay up late after the sun is down.
The early bird catches the worm but what about the midnight oil burners who reap all they can under the blanket of shining stars. The perks of being the one who works best at night is way beyond the psychological. You know you are the night-owl if you feel a sudden strength and urge to wind up all your days chores once the sun sets down.
Researchers at the University of Alberta found that the strength of the early birds remained constant throughout the day, but the nightowls’ strength rose at night. The explanation was, a night person experiences a central nervous system drive which increases motor cortex and spinal cord excitability. Their boost of night energy, explains why they have trouble sticking to an earlier bedtime.
Then comes experiencing the peace of the night. Your brain can detach itself from the hustle of its surrounding and think peacefully at night. Many, in fact, all have stayed up all night pondering about someone or something. Many life decisions are made during these hours.
This tendency to have clearer thoughts, develop non-conventional spirit and find alternative or original solution is again backed up by researchers from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan who found that night people tend develop original and creative solutions to problems than morning.
However these researches are not your passport to skimp on sleep and permission to stay up late. The right amount of sleep, seven to nine hours for an average adult is must for a healthy lifestyle. If your lifestyle allows then opting out of early wake-up time and burning the midnight oil gives you the silent and distraction free hours.
Guest post by Shibika Mitra
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