High Blood Pressure – Risks, Treatments, and Medical Research


High blood pressure is also known as hypertension, and it is a condition that affects millions each year. If left alone, hypertension can significantly decrease a person’s quality of life. Among other things, it increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and aneurysms. All of those things can be fatal, or at the very least life changing events.

Research on hypertension focuses on narrowing down the overwhelming majority of cases for which a discernible medical cause for the hypertension is not known. It is estimated that in upwards of eighty five percent of cases, while high blood pressure is noted, it is unable to be traced back to a medical condition causing it. This makes the treatment of high blood pressure a far less exact science that it could otherwise be.

There are a few known causes of hypertension. One of these is kidney disease. Your kidneys act as scrubbers for your blood, removing toxins and garbage from the blood and passing them out of your body. When kidneys begin malfunctioning, the garbage and toxins can build up in the blood. Simple liquid dynamics say that if the same amount of liquid is forced through an increasingly narrow channel, the pressure of that liquid will go up. This is essentially what happens when kidneys start to fail; the garbage builds up on the walls of blood vessels, pressure.

While this is one example of what researchers call secondary hypertension, it is a relatively small slice of the overall case load. Far more cases are dubbed primary hypertension, which has no discernible cause. The best remedy in those cases is for scientists to prescribe medication designed to lower blood pressure.

However, when looking at the kidney failure case, the blood pressure problem could be far more directly solved by going after the root cause, of which hypertension is merely a symptom. For as many as ninety five percent of cases, the primary cause is unknown, and scientists are left treating the symptom. Given the harsh side effects associated with blood pressure medication, this is a less than ideal situation to be in.

Medical Research Questions Answered

Controversy and the medical industry have long been bedfellows. This was been the case since the days when morphine was an indispensable ingredient in children’s cough mixture and mercury was the panacea that cured everything from a grazed knee to cancer of the colon. A controversial issue that is in and out of the news these days is paid medical research performed on volunteers. Many people believe that it exploits those who struggle to support their families or those who find themselves in strange countries and are struggling to survive economically. Proponents of the practice, however, believe that it is vital to gain necessary insight into the functioning of new drugs. Supporters also claim that the volunteers are well informed of the process before hand and are simply reimbursed for their time and inconvenience. They are not paid for risks taken.

Advertisements for volunteers often make it sound like participating in medical research is the most fun that you can have, barring that dream that you have about flying. They emphasise that the demand is great for paid research and highlight all of the possible things that you can do with the extra money. They draw attention to the fact that most clinics have comfortable features so that you can relax, play pool, watch TV, and catch up on your reading. They make it sound as if it’s like going on a short holiday that ultimately benefits mankind.

Before you can register as a volunteer for medical research, you have to fill in a registration form that requires your personal details as well as details about your current and medical health. They want to know if you currently suffer from afflictions like asthma, seasonal heyfever, hepatitis or liver problems, neurological problems, thyroid problems, irritable bowel syndrome, depression or if you have ever tried to commit suicide. Your body mass index is important, as is your blood pressure. Additional required information includes: whether or not you take regular medication, are a smoker, drink regularly, or use recreational drugs. Volunteers are also asked about dietary habits, and, if they are female, what their child bearing statuses are. Anyone from 18-85 years old can qualify.

The length of each research study depends on the registration outcome and can range from a few hours to 5 months or more. If you don’t have the time for lengthy trials there are studies that take place on outpatient visits. There are also weekend studies, which may suit students or full-time workers.

All trials have to be approved by the Ethics Committee before they can begin and all doctors are bound by the Declaration of Helsinki guidelines for conducting medical research. All drugs are subjected to rigorous tests in pre-clinical trials before they can be given to healthy volunteers. Volunteers are well informed of the drugs that are going to be tested on them, as well as on the possible side effects and risks involved. The side effects are usually minimal, such as drowsiness and headaches. The studies are made as safe and risk free as they can possibly be. Every contingency is planned for.

Volunteers don’t enter the process as lab rats, at the mercy of mad scientists in lab coats. They have rights, one of which is to have the procedure explained to them in full. They sign a consent form to indicate that they understand the procedure and what it is that they are agreeing to do. Volunteers are able to choose the studies that they want to take part in. One of volunteers’ most important rights is to be able to withdraw from any trial at any stage without any justification. This may or may not affect payment depending on the clinic concerned. They also have the right to privacy, and information about their participation in medical research is kept strictly confidential.

There have been cases where medical research has gone horribly wrong. People have been paralysed. Some have even died when all they were supposed to be testing was a harmless aspirin-like drug. However, the cases where the research has benefited the sick and the dying have far outnumbered the casualties of the trials. A few headaches and some drowsiness seems a small price to pay in the search for a drug that could possibly alleviate great suffering, or even cure a terminal illness.

Beware of Oversimplifications – Health And Wellness

In their desire to make sense out of health information, people often oversimplify the truth. For example, potato chips have long been reputed as a junk food. Actually the quick cooking process of potato chips preserves its nutrients better than mashed, boiled, or baked potatoes. Ounce per ounce, potato chips provide more nutrients than other forms of potatoes. However, because potato chips are cooked in oil, they are high in fat and calories and are not recommended for people trying to lose weight. By being aware that the truth is not simple for most health issues, the tendency to oversimplify and over generalize health information can be thwarted.

Health Discoveries Take Time

Health discoveries often mean media headlines, but a cardinal rule of science is that findings must be replicable. Health information based on a dramatic discovery is not usually valid unless it is confirmed in several follow-up studies or experiments.

Criteria of Valid Reliable Health Information

Health information should be valid and reliable and based on scientifically controlled studies. In health research, validity means truthfulness. If a study is designed and conducted properly, its findings are likely to be valid. For example, it was found that adding vitamin E to human cells in the laboratory stimulated cell division and growth. This was used to support the erroneous conclusion that vitamin E would delay the aging process. This was not a proper generalization because a simple laboratory experiment is not a valid procedure for demonstrating something as complex as aging.

Reliability is another key criterion for evaluating health information and refers to the extent that health claims can be consistently verified. If a claim is reliable, it can be demonstrated to occur consistently in study after study. Researchers speak of findings as statistically significant when they are considered reliable. Statistical significance means that the probability that a study’s findings are due to chance alone is less than 5%. That is, 95 out of 100 times similarly designed studies would yield similar results. Because thousands of studies are performed, however, some studies that yield statistically significant results eventually prove to be wrong. Consequently it takes hundreds of studies, many of them conflicting, to create a consensus on a particular health issue. Any health claim worth considering should be based on numerous studies or experiments conducted over many years.

Health information must also pass scientifically controlled, double-blind studies. The classic study includes at least two groups in which one is an experimental group and receives some form of experimental treatment and the other is a control group and receives no treatment. The double-blind feature of a study means that neither the researcher nor the subjects know who is receiving an experimental treatment. If a researcher wanted to prove, for example, that a particular brand of soap prevents athlete’s foot, two groups would be needed. One would use the experimental soap, and the other would use a placebo or soap substitute. Researchers administering the soap treatment would not know which soap they were using, nor would the subjects in the experimental and control groups. Therefore if the experimental group has significantly fewer cases of athlete’s foot, the results can be attributed to the treatment.

Mens Health and Wellness

Mens health is a very important issue that needs more focus in the media and medical community. Although a lot of progress has occurred over the past twenty years there is still much to do. We need to distinguish real health issues from cosmetic needs and assumptions. All too often when you hear Mens or Womans health it tends to lean towards beauty topics versus wellness as we are advocating here. Internal health needs and trends are where we will attempt to focus our research and provide feedback in the future at Planet Berry.

This is the sort of mens health issues you should be thinking about. Mens health is crucial to learn about and to keep up to date on. We as a society should never fall short in communicating new research and findings throughout the medical community that help the greater good. This is our goal. Today’s topic is health and wellness for men.Health and wellness is the twin issues you can never afford to ignore. An annual plan to conduct proper physical fitness tests and measurements is a good foundation once you reach the age of thirty.

Yes we are all living to much older ages on average but are we doing so with a better quality of life and thus wellness? Modern medicine is truly a miracle but at times it too can restrict natural remedies for fear of lack of support from the government or as we all know the FDA. FDA is not evil. It exists to protect the population as best it can by forcing companies to certify their claims and thus products through detailed analysis and clinical testing. In such and environment speed to market is sacrificed for the greater good. Mens health as well as Womans health is, at times, forced to pioneer natural supplements such as the acai berry of the Amazon rainforest to see if they benefit from the state advertisements. The Acai is just one example as you have many natural supplements found in all four corners of the world which add great value to our overall health and wellness.

Mens health is not about just being athletic. Everyone wants to look good. Athletes tend to set the bar and role models are easy to find. However, realistically the commitment to an athletes physically toned body takes much more of a personal commitment than most want to believe or invest in. No short cuts unless you take an illegal route perhaps with unauthorized steroids. We never recommend this route and highly discourage its practice. A balance between the top and bottom (obesity) is a more comfortable expectation. So much can be done for mens health with simple steps like a change to your diet which you can view samples of and gain insight to at Planet Berry.

In summary, we believe a well rounded diet monitored by a nutritionist to start you off and reviewed with your medical professional is a great first step. The cost of doing this initial step is well worth the investment for the long term health and wellness you will achieve. Do your research and study current trends and topics that interrelate to this subject. Be as active as you can on a daily basis. Don’t fall prey to the 3 times per week attitude. Its every day or else! We highly recommend pedometers as they will keep track of your steps per day and in most cases trigger that competitive spirit in all of us to reach the 10,000 steps per day as recommended by leading physicians throughout the country such as Dr. Perricone. Change your mind and you will change your health and thus wellness overall. Be open to new ideas but always consult your physician first before adding new supplements or therapies to your normal routine.