March 2010 National Institutes of Health • Department of Health and Human Services • newsinhealth.nih.gov Inside News: 3 All About Aneurysms... 4 Light and Migraine Pain... Mobile Health... We Can! The Salty Stuff Salt, Blood Pressure and Your Health Salt is essential to our body’s beats. The numbers 120/80 mmHg fluids. That’s likely why we are the ones you should aim to evolved to enjoy its taste. On keep your blood pressure below. the other hand, anyone who’s Some research also suggests gotten a mouth full of sea- that excessive salt intake might water knows that too much increase the risk of stomach salt tastes terrible. Maybe cancer. Scientists continue to in- your body’s trying to tell vestigate this possible connection. you something. It turns Researchers do know that not out that too much salt everyone is equally sensitive can lead to a host of to salt. “From our experi- health problems. ments, we know there’s The chemical name lots of variation in the for dietary salt, or blood pressure response,” table salt, is sodium Loria says. Certain groups chloride. Since 90% of people see greater of the sodium we reductions in blood pres- ingest is from sure when they lower salt, it’s difficult their salt intake: African- to separate the Americans, older people effects of salt and and people with blood sodium in many pressure above normal. studies. However, “Within those groups, it’s the sodium part there’s a lot of variation be- most doctors focus on. tween people.” Loria says. But about that a higher salt intake raises blood “The best known effect of sodium 1 in 3 adults nationwide has high pressure. Reducing salt intake, on the on health is the relationship between blood pressure right now. Another other hand, lowers blood pressure. sodium and blood pressure,” explains third have “prehypertension,” mean- Blood pressure is the force of Dr. Catherine Loria of NIH’s National ing their blood pressure numbers are blood pushing against the walls of Heart, Lung and Blood Institute high enough to put them at risk to arteries as the heart pumps out (NHLBI). Dozens of studies, in both develop high blood pressure. In light blood. When this pressure rises—a animals and people, have shown of this, she says, “it’s really important condition called high blood pressure, for the majority of the population to or hypertension—it can damage the reduce their blood pressure.” body in many ways over time. High Definitions blood pressure has been linked to Experts recommend that people take in less than 2,400 milligrams of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure Arteries and other health problems. continued on page 2 The vessels that carry blood from There are 2 blood pressure num- your heart throughout your body. bers, and they’re usually written with @ Subscribe one above or before the other. Systol- Stroke ic, the first, is the pressure when the When normal blood flow to heart beats, pumping blood through .n ih.gov the brain is stopped, usually by the arteries. Diastolic is the pressure news in health ruptured or blocked blood vessels. when the heart is at rest between 2 March 2010 http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2010/March continued from page 1 The salt we sprinkle on our food sodium a day—that’s what’s in about Web Links actually accounts for less than 10% of our salt consumption. Most of the salt 6 grams of salt, or about a teaspoon. For links to more information about we eat salt comes in processed foods People with high blood pressure salt, see this story online: from stores, restaurants and dining should shoot for 1,500 milligrams halls. You may already know that fast or less—about 3.7 grams of salt. But http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2010/March/feature1.htm food, cold cuts and canned foods right now, the average man in the tend to have a lot of salt. United States takes in over 10 grams day could cut the number of new “Many people don’t realize that a of salt per day and the average cases of heart disease each year by lot of our salt is from breads and cere- woman over 7. as many as 120,000, stroke by 66,000 als,” Bibbins-Domingo says. Studies Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo at the and heart attack by nearly 100,000. have found that over 20% of the salt University of California, San Fran- It could also prevent up to 92,000 in the average American’s diet comes cisco, recently led an NIH-funded deaths each year. All segments of the from grain products, such as breads, study that used computer modeling population would benefit, with Afri- cereals, crackers and chips. to explore the effects of a modest can-Americans having the greatest “In terms of advice, I think the best reduction in salt intake in the United improvements overall. Women would guidance we have is for people to States. The researchers found that particularly benefit from reductions pay attention to nutrition facts on the reducing salt intake by 3 grams per in stroke, older adults from a decline labels,” Loria says. “The percent daily in heart disease and younger adults value is a better guide than the lan- from fewer deaths. guage that’s used on food labels like Wise Choices Some countries have already be- ‘low-salt.’ These labels can be confus- gun to tackle this problem using vari- ing because they have very defined Cut Back on Sodium ous strategies, such as working with technical meanings.” Try to select n Look at Nutrition Facts labels industry to reduce the salt content in foods, she advises, with less than 5% and try to choose foods that processed foods, requiring labels on of the daily value of salt per serving. have less than 5% of the Daily ready-to-eat foods and educating the Even small reductions can have Value of sodium per serving. public. The UK has achieved a 10% an effect on your blood pressure. If reduction in salt consumption over you can’t find a low-salt alternative n Use fresh poultry, fish and the past 4 years. to a particular food, it still helps to lean meat, rather than But wouldn’t we all miss the taste? canned, smoked or processed. pick something that’s lower than “Several studies have shown that as what you’re already consuming. “You n Choose fresh or frozen you gradually reduce sodium intake, can find remarkable variation in the vegetables that have no you lessen your desire for salty food,” amount of salt across major brands of added salt. Loria says. And surveys of people food,” Bibbins-Domingo says. “Even n Rinse canned foods to across the UK have found that most without choosing something labeled remove some of the sodium. people didn’t notice any difference in ‘low sodium,’ you can often find a the taste of their food. lower sodium alternative.” n In cooking and at the table, cut back on salt and flavor “A very modest decrease in the Beyond salt, a healthy eating plan foods with herbs, spices, amount of salt, hardly detectable in can help keep your blood pressure lemon, lime, vinegar or salt- the taste of food, can have dramatic under control. Check out NHLBI’s Di- free seasoning blends. health benefits for the U.S.,” Bibbins- etary Approaches to Stop Hyperten- Domingo stresses. sion (DASH) eating plan at www.nhlbi. nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash. Other NIH News in Health (ISSN 1556-3898) lifestyle measures can help you keep your blood pressure down, too. Lose National Institutes of Health Editor Harrison Wein, Ph.D. weight if you’re overweight or obese. Office of Communications Assistant Editor Vicki Contie & Public Liaison Get regular physical activity. Quit Contributors Vicki Contie, Bryan Ewsichek (design), smoking. And manage your stress. Building 31, Room 5B64 Margaret Georgiann (illustrations) and Harrison Wein Bethesda, MD 20892-2094 The more of these steps you take, the firstname.lastname@example.org more likely you’ll be to avoid related Tel: 301-435-7489 Fax: 301-496-0019 newsinhealth.nih.gov health problems. Attention Editors Reprint our articles and Why not start now? Make illustrations in your own publication. Our material For more health information from NIH, visit small changes at first, and then is not copyrighted. Please acknowledge NIH News keep working to gradually low- in Health as the source and send us a copy. http://health.nih.gov er your family’s salt intake. n http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2010/March March 2010 3 When Blood Vessels Bulge All About Aneurysms An aneurysm—a balloon-like bulge ruptured brain aneu- in an artery—can develop and grow rysm, which is a type for years without causing any symp- of stroke. toms. But an aneurysm is a silent Who’s at risk for threat to your health. aneurysm? “We know If an aneurysm grows too large, that family his- it can burst open, or rupture, and tory plays a lead to dangerous bleeding inside role,” says Dr. the body. Aneurysms can also cause Eser Tolunay of a split within the layers of an artery NIH’s National wall. This split, called a dissection, Heart, Lung can lead to bleeding within the ar- and Blood tery’s layers. Aneurysms that rupture Institute. or dissect can cause sudden death. “About 20% of Many aneurysms occur in deep aortic aneu- inside the chest, abdomen or brain. rysms have a Most appear in the aorta—the main genetic com- artery that carries blood from the ponent.” Other heart down through the center of factors that can the body. About 14,000 Americans weaken the walls of arteries and lead reason,” says Tolunay. “Sometimes, if die each year from aortic aneurysms. to aneurysms include smoking, high an abdominal aortic aneurysm is big Three-fourths of these aneurysms blood pressure, atherosclerosis (the enough, the doctor might be able to arise in the lower part of the aorta. buildup of fatty deposits in the arter- feel it during a routine physical.” These are called abdominal aortic ies), infections and trauma, such as a If you have an aneurysm, medica- aneurysms (AAA). Aneurysms that car crash. tions can help lower your blood pres- occur in the chest are called thoracic Age and gender also contribute to sure and reduce the risk of rupture. aortic aneurysms (TAA). risk. Aortic aneurysms are most com- If the aneurysm is small, your doctor About 1 in 50 people has some mon in men after age 65. Brain aneu- may recommend regular checkups type of aneurysm in the brain. Many rysms appear more often in women to monitor its size. Large or quickly of these are small and cause no between 30 and 60 years of age. growing aneurysms may be treated real problems. But each year about The symptoms of an aneurysm with surgery, although surgery for 27,000 people in the U.S. have a can vary widely and depend on its brain aneurysms carries many risks. location and size. Large AAAs might Options for aortic aneurysms include cause a throbbing in the abdomen. open surgery, which removes the an- Large TAAs may lead to pain in the eurysm, or endovascular repair, which Wise Choices strengthens the aorta by inserting a back, jaw, neck or chest. Brain aneu- Aneurysms: tube, or stent. rysms can cause pain around the eye Reduce Your Risk Talk with your doctor if you have a or numbness on one side of the face. You can’t control your genes or If an aneurysm ruptures or dissects, family history of aneurysms or other certain other risk factors, but get immediate medical attention. risk factors. People at high risk may taking these steps might lower Sudden, severe pain in the lower need routine screening to find and your risk of aneurysm and its abdomen and back can indicate a monitor an aneurysm. “If you’re con- complications: ruptured AAA. Dissected or ruptured cerned, get checked,” says Tolunay. TAAs may cause sharp pain that trav- “And certainly lifestyle changes—like n Quit smoking. els from the upper back to the abdo- stopping smoking—can help.” n n Keep your blood pressure and men. Ruptured brain aneurysms can cholesterol levels in check. cause a sudden, intense headache. n Follow a healthy diet and However, because most aneurysms Web Links exercise regularly. have no symptoms, they’re often For links to more information about n If your family members have found by chance during a doctor vis- it. “Many aneurysms are found when aneurysms, see this story online: had aneurysms, talk to your doctor about being screened. a patient is getting images—like http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2010/March/feature2.htm MRI or CT scans—done for another 4 March 2010 http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2010/March Health Capsules For links to more information, see these stories online: http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2010/March/capsules.htm How Light Boosts Migraine Pain Light can make migraine pain worse. perceive images. pupil enlarge or shrink in response A new study of blind patients may When the 14 patients were ex- to light. help explain why. The finding could posed to light, their migraine pain Animal studies showed that these eventually lead to better treatments. got worse. In contrast, light had no rare cells carry light signals through More than 1 in 10 people nation- effect on the 6 volunteers who were the optic nerve and on to brain cells wide get recurring migraines—often totally blind. The scientists concluded that transmit pain. The research sug- described as a pulsing or throbbing that the optic nerve must play a key gests that non-image-forming eye in one area of the head. To discover role in light-induced migraine. cells may help trigger migraines. how light can worsen the pain, NIH- The researchers then searched for “Clinically, this research sets the funded scientists studied 20 blind the cells in the eye that might trigger stage for identifying ways to block patients who suffer from migraines. the pain. They knew that the eye’s the pathway so that migraine pa- Six of the volunteers couldn’t main light-detecting and image- tients can endure light without pain,” detect any light, either because their producing cells were not responsible, says lead researcher Dr. Rami Burstein eyes were removed due to disease because these cells were damaged of Harvard Medical School. n or because of damage to the optic in the 14 blind patients. Instead, the nerves, which connect the eyes to the researchers focused on rare light- brain. The other 14 patients could sensing cells that help maintain the Featured Web Site detect some light but couldn’t sleep-wake cycle and help the eye’s We Can! Health on the Go http://wecan.nhlbi.nih.gov Wondering what the side effects are MedlinePlus provides authoritative Want to help your family avoid for your new prescription? Or the consumer health information to over excess pounds? Check out the newly symptoms of H1N1 flu when the 10 million visitors per month. redesigned web site for We Can!, a school nurse calls to say your child The mobile version of MedlinePlus national education program designed doesn’t feel well? A new NIH web site includes summaries for over 800 to give parents and communities ways called Mobile MedlinePlus can help. diseases, wellness topics, the latest to help kids stay at a healthy weight. Mobile MedlinePlus lets you health news, an illustrated medical Get tips on choosing low-calorie gain ready access to reliable health encyclopedia and information on snacks, getting active and cooking fun, information that’s optimized for your prescription and over-the-counter healthy meals. mobile phone. It’s available in English medications. at http://m.medlineplus.gov and Spanish at You can use the site to get tips on http://m.medlineplus.gov/spanish. healthy food choices when grocery Some experts predict that within shopping, or select an over-the-coun- the next 5 years, more people will ter cold medicine at the drug store. connect to the Internet using mobile Or you can learn about safe drinking devices than with desktop or laptop water when you’re traveling abroad. computers. NIH’s National Library of If you access the Internet with Medicine created Mobile MedlinePlus mobile devices, bookmark Mobile based on the popular MedlinePlus MedlinePlus. It puts reliable health web site at http://medlineplus.gov. information at your fingertips. n How to get NIH News in Health Read it online. Get it by email. Get it in print. Visit newsinhealth.nih.gov Click the “Subscribe” button on Download PDF files at our web site for our home page to sign up for printing, or contact us to get print copies email updates when new issues free of charge by mail for display in Subscribe are posted online. offices, libraries or clinics within the U.S. See page 2 for our contact information.
Pages to are hidden for
"Sodium Inake or Salt and High Blood Pressure or Hypertension"Please download to view full document