Some Interesting Tidbits
Today my post is going to focus on some current news to do with aspects related to monitoring blood pressure.
I am going to touch on such diverse points as how the way cooking meat can have a bearing on blood pressure, to a look into using CBD oil to help manage hypertension. And there is also a new Blood Pressure App technology out there which is causing a positive stir.
How you cook your meat can affect your blood pressure
Who would have thought that there can be a link between cooking meat and high blood pressure?
Whilst at first glance it doesn’t seem obvious, some researchers have taken a look at this very subject and discovered a connection… And their research combined with a study which lasted 16 years provided some very interesting facts about two aspects of preparing meat:
- The way that meat is cooked
- The degree of well-doneness of the cooked meat.
The first interesting results of this longitudinal studied presented to the American Heart Association revealed that people who either grilled, broiled or roasted their meat more than 15 times a month actually had a 17% higher chance of developing hypertension than those who cooked their meat using a high heat source, like an open flame, only 4 or less times in a month.
This study used a sizeable subject group of over 50,000 women and 17,000 men, all of whom had normal blood pressure readings at the outset of the study.
And there’s more…
What was even more revealing in this study was that the risk of developing high blood pressure in the test group increased by 15% in those people who preferred to eat their meat well done, as opposed to those who like a rarer type of preparation.
The lead researcher - Dr Gang Liu (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) - concluded that the reason for this increased risk of eating meat which is cooked at a higher temperature and for longer lies in the fact
“The chemicals produced by cookng meats at high temperatures induce oxidative stress, inflammation and insulin resistance… and these pathways may also lead to an elevated risk of developing high blood pressure”
For those of us who want to minimize yet another risk for developing hypertension, the final verdict on cooking meat could be summed up in the following way:
MEDIUM/MEDIUM-RARE IS TO BE PREFERRED
LESS IS BETTER.
Another thing to consider is that, when determining the level of “doneness” of the meat, it is advisable to use a food thermometer rather than relying on the old-fashioned way of judging how well it is cooked by the colour and texture of the meat.
- Rare and Medium rare Meats should be cooked within the guideline of 145 - 160 degrees Fahrenheit (63 - 71 degrees Celsius)
- Fish at 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees Celsius)
- Chicken at 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius).
CBD OIL and Blood Pressure
Cannabidiol Hemp Oil - or CBD Oil for short -has been used for many years as an organic method of treating chronic pain conditions caused by diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia and Arthritis.
What is exciting is the fact that CBD oil’s inflammation-reducing characteristics can also be used to great effect to boost heart health, as well as benefit the whole body. And the good news for those suffering from hypertension is that the ability of CBD to exert a relaxation response on artery walls, as well as thereby preventing further inflammation, has a very positive effect on controlling blood pressure.
CBD Oil given in a 600mg capsule has been shown in a study by the American Society for Clinical Investigation to reduce the resting blood pressure of the test subjects when the heart activity of the subjects was investigated afterwards.
And perhaps more significantly yet, the group taking the CBD Oil was also given a stress test to cause a natural increase their blood pressure. When the increase in BP expected with such a stress test was measured, it was found that these subjects had a lower increase in their blood pressure than would normally be anticipated.
The encouraging news with these discoveries about the potential of using CBD Oil as an alternative medicine for high blood pressure is that there is a currently a growing movement in North America to legalize the use of recreational Cannabis for personal use.
This will certainly make it easier for people who wish to try this option out to be able to access high quality CBD Oil without too much difficulty - and without needing a Doctor’s prescription.
Indeed this will be definitely be the case in Canada where the countrywide legalization of Marihuana by the Federal Government for recreational consumption is gearing up to come into effect in the summer.
Hi Tech Update:
Wrapping up this round-up for today, I noticed that there are developments going on in the world of technology when it comes to the area of mobile device apps for measuring blood pressure on a smartphone device.
With more and more people using smartphones as an integral part of their daily lives because of the sheer convenience and mobility of such devices, it was inevitable that some enterprising “tekkies” would start to look at the blood pressure niche as a potential area to develop into.
The issue with mobile device apps for measuring blood pressure thus far has been the element of accuracy of results when compared to the more accepted method of self-monitoring blood pressure using a BP cuff device fitted around the upper arm.
But this is the beauty of technology - it is constantly evolving and improving!
One such team on the cutting edge of software development thinks they have a new approach to solving the reliability issue by coming up with a new app (and accompanying hardware) for smartphones which can be used to measure blood pressure with an accuracy which may be eventually be able to rival that of arm cuff BP monitoring machines.
The difference here involves the use of a more convenient point of measurement. You see, the artery which the team of Michingan State University scientists have chosen to target for measurement is the “transverse palmar arch artery” at the fingertip.
See diagram below (click on image to enlarge)
As the lead author of the study Anand Chandrasekhar, states:
“Being able to use your fingertip makes our approach much easier and more accessible”
The Finger Blood Pressure Device - how it works
Two sensors - an optical one which sits atop a second, pressure sensor - are fitted along with the necessary accompanying circuitry into a thin housing which can be attached to the back of a smartphone.
With the app turned on the user then presses their fingertip against the sensor unit and holds the phone level with the heart. Now the user monitors the phone screen to make sure that the correct amount of pressure is being applied and waits for a reading to be obtained.
In the trials the trick was to see if users could properly apply the correct finger pressure for the period of time needed to register an accurate BP reading. And encouragingly, the team found that 90% of the candidates testing the device could achieve this goal with ease after just 1 or 2 practice runs!
Whilst this system is still in the experimental, design and testing phase, there is every reason to believe that this option for measuring blood pressure will become the way of the future. It is anticipated that the ability to record a log of daily measurements by simply being able to take out one’s smartphone, turn on an app and use the fingertip pressure technique to read one’s BP will appeal to a large number of people who are dealing with blood pressure issues and who need to take regular measurements.
The technology will undoubtedly continue to improve as scientists focus on finessing the hardware and possibly reducing the size of the sensors, and their circuitry, so that resulting mini-device will eventually become part of a standard phone case.
Since most of us are very comfortable unlocking our phones by using a fingerprint pressure sensor button, it will not be too much of a stretch for us to get used to applying the same principle for measuring our BP with the smartphone we carry around everywhere we go!!
I hope this round up of interesting tidbits concerning blood pressure management was of interest. I plan to make this a regular feature in my future posts.
If you have any thoughts and feedback about the material covered in today’s article, please feel free to drop me a comment below.