Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Protect Your Ticker by Observing Blood Pressure Awareness Month: Take the Steps to Test for and Treat High Blood Pressure

May is blood pressure awareness month. Like all good causes, the National High Blood Pressure Education Program (NHBPEP), as part of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), has decided to designate a month devoted to educating people about the importance of getting their blood pressure tested and lowering their blood pressure if necessary. The annual event may just save people from the dangerous diseases that are caused by untreated high blood pressure.

A good, accurate blood pressure test is a necessary first step to giving you the right information about where you are and what you need to do to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. Many quick stop blood pressure centers at the pharmacy or even your doctor’s office, don’t always give you the right information. That is because you are usually in a hurry, or perhaps so stressed out by shopping that these tests give you inaccurate readings. Often a false high blood pressure reading is the case, but this may only be a temporary raise. On the other hand, a false low reading can result from faulty equipment or the way the cuff is applied (see the article I published last week on how to get a good blood pressure reading from May 10, 2006.)

There are other ways to make sure you know and understand your blood pressure situation. Follow these steps to stay on top of your heart health by monitoring your blood pressure.

1. Get regular readings at the same time each month. If you are concerned about possible hypertension, then daily monitoring may be necessary. For the average healthy person, monthly, semi-annually or even annual readings are sufficient.

2. If you are borderline hypertensive, take preventative measures immediately. Don’t wait until your blood pressure gets dangerously high to do something about it. Changes in lifestyle and nutrition can greatly impact blood pressure and help you avoid life-long medication. It is easier to get the situation under control if dealt with early on.

3. Prepare for testing by giving yourself time to relax and come to a natural resting heart rate before taking the reading.

4. Don’t take blood pressure measurements immediately after drinking coffee, cola, or other drinks containing caffeine. Also, wait an hour after taking cold or allergy medicines. These raise blood pressure temporarily and will give you a false reading.

5. Blood pressure is different when standing or sitting or suddenly changing position. Don’t take a reading until you have been in the same position for at least a couple of minutes. You can also take readings in both arms and get the average for a more accurate assessment.

The most important part of keeping your blood pressure and heart healthy is knowledge. Learn about how you can eat right, how much to exercise, and what preventative measures you can take each day. If you do all of these things you will be able to keep blood pressure stable even if you have a family history of hypertension. Above all, keep your weight in the healthy range for your height and age. Just losing a few pounds can significantly lower blood pressure and improve your overall health.

To Your Natural Health,

Frank Mangano
Author of "The Silent Killer Exposed"

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dangerous Shortcuts Your Doctor May Be Taking When Measuring Your Blood Pressure

Did you know that your trusted family doctor may be taking a shortcut during your office visits that might be putting your health at risk? I know it sounds hard to believe, but it's true. As a result of trying to squeeze as many appointments as possible into their daily schedules, doctors sometimes skip vital steps during your physical exams.

It starts when you are rushed into the doctor's office and the very first thing they do is take your blood pressure. This actually may be the worst time during your visit to do such a test, because the rushing and hurrying combined with the anxiety of being in a doctor's office to begin with can automatically cause your blood pressure to spike.

In situations like this your blood pressure readings can be inaccurate or misleading. There are serious health consequences that can happen to you from a misdiagnosis - in either direction.

For someone with borderline high blood pressure, a false low reading may delay the necessary precautions to lower it. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to serious heart disease even decades down the road. On the other side of the coin is the scenario that a false high reading is recorded and a patient gets put
unnecessarily on medication -- medication they will likely have to take for the rest of their lives. For these reasons, it is critical that health care providers give accurate blood pressure

There are three areas where improper blood pressure readings can far too easily occur. One is with the procedures used in taking the blood pressure readings. The American Heart Association (AHA) has
established guidelines for taking blood pressure readings which involves taking at least 4 different readings and recording which were taken while standing and which while sitting.

Using the cuff, the AHA recommends taking the patient's blood pressure reading TWICE, once on each arm, while the patient is in a standing position. Then record the average of these two readings.

Next, doctors should take the patient's blood pressure TWICE, once on each arm, while they are sitting and record the average of the two readings. It is advised that the standing blood pressure numbers be used as a reference only, but the average of sitting measurement should be used as the most correct reading.

This procedure applies to taking measurements at home or at the doctor's office. If the technician at your doctor's office does not follow this procedure, request that they take more readings so that they can get a more accurate assessment. They may be surprised if they have not done this routinely how different the readings can be from one arm to the other or between standing and sitting. Also, ask them to give you a few minutes to relax after arriving at the office. If you can, try to be a little early for the appointment so you can have plenty of time to rest.

The second area where blood pressure readings can be inaccurate is with faulty equipment. Cuffs need to be calibrated periodically to be accurate. Doctor's offices and labs should do this routinely, and you will need to maintain your home system according to the manufacturer's instructions.

If you are buying a cuff for home use, it is a good idea to use a manual cuff. Few of the automatic blood pressure cuffs on the market for the general public are very accurate and easily lose calibration. They tend to give false low readings and a false sense of healthy blood pressure. The hospital grade automatic
cuffs are much more accurate, but not affordable to the average person. A manual cuff still gives the most accurate reading. A moderately priced cuff and stethoscope set can help you stay on top of your blood pressure from home. That is, so long as you know what you are doing.

That brings us to the third area where errors can occur: operator error. You must learn how to properly use the cuff and listen for a heartbeat. Be sure to get proper training from a qualified health care professional.

When doing the test at home, operator error often occurs when the cuff is not made tight enough to get a loud enough heart beat. The cuff has to be pumped up to the point that it is just starting to be uncomfortable. Next, make sure you are in a quiet enough space that you can tell when the heart beat is starting and stopping and then take careful note of the gauge's reading.

To Your Natural Health,

Frank Mangano
Author of "The Silent Killer Exposed"

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The High Blood Pressure And Sodium Connection: Is Salt Raising Your Blood Pressure

You can have your cake and eat it too -- well at least you can lower your blood pressure and have your salt too. That is what recent research is telling us about sodium’s role in managing blood pressure. Hypertension, it turns out, is not caused by too much salt. Neither is it lowered by simply cutting salt out of your diet. So how is it that table salt (sodium) is still getting such a bad rap and being linked to high blood pressure? The real culprit it turns out is not salt, but how your body manages sodium and its proportion to the amount of potassium, calcium and magnesium in your body.

Scientists have discovered that deficiencies in potassium, calcium and magnesium have a much greater impact on blood pressure than the mineral salt. These other minerals are so important in controlling blood pressure that when they are out of balance with each other, they can make salt more of a threat to healthy blood pressure.

The fact is that only about 10 percent of the population is considered “salt sensitive.” It is this relatively small group that has to watch their salt intake for a variety of reasons, including its impact on blood pressure.

There are some easy ways to make sure all of the important minerals in your body are in balance. These include:

ü Eat a well-balanced diet with a variety of foods. This will ensure that you are getting a wide range of nutrients and not just one or two key elements.

ü Make sure you get enough calcium -- 2000 mg per day. Calcium is essential to bone density, but in relationship to blood pressure, it is believed that low calcium levels can actually cause high blood pressure. Calcium is a natural diuretic, so when salt is consumed, even larger quantities, having enough calcium signals the kidneys to get rid of the excess sodium. Also, calcium prevents a certain hormone that raises blood pressure from being released and doing its damage.

ü Get plenty of potassium. Studies have shown that diets high in potassium and lower in sodium can prevent many diseases and keep blood pressure lower. On the other hand, when there is much more sodium than potassium, blood pressure goes up. Balance the two, and you can make great strides in controlling hypertension.

Here are some food suggestions for getting enough of these essential minerals:

Calcium -- Aside from dairy products, which can be high in fat and hard on the digestive system, broccoli, spinach, and salmon are good sources.

Magnesium -- Foods such as whole grains, nuts and black beans will help you get the beneficial 400-800 mg daily of magnesium.

Potassium -- bananas, potatoes, orange juice, and cantaloupe all provide potassium. Potassium is the most substantiated mineral in controlling blood pressure.

When even good food choices leave you feeling you are lacking in important minerals, supplements can pick up the slack. Whether through food choices or supplements, getting enough minerals into your diet is necessary to counteract the impact of sodium in the battle with high blood pressure.

To Your Natural Health,

Frank Mangano
Author of "The Silent Killer Exposed"

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Obesity-Hypertension Connection: Is Your Weight Putting You At Risk?

Did your daily weigh-in cause your blood pressure to spike? If it did, you are not alone. More than 50 percent of Americans are overweight or obese and the numbers just keep on rising. These shocking statistics have doctors from the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, and American Heart Institute wondering how to stop the epidemic. That sudden shock of seeing the numbers on the scale inch up is not what’s giving rise to your blood pressure. It is the ongoing, day-to-day strain that obesity puts on the entire cardiovascular system that causes blood pressure to reach dangerous heights.

Being extremely overweight and having high blood pressure is so closely related that it has even been given its own name: obesity hypertension. Of all the cases of hypertension in the U.S., 75% can be directly attributed to obesity. Deaths directly from hypertension or that had high blood pressure as a primary contributor totaled 310,707 deaths in the U.S. in 2002. It’s a chain reaction (obesity=hypertension= heart disease=death) that all begins with how fat a person is.

Obesity is also a condition that is an equal opportunity disease. It doesn’t matter if you are male, female, old, young, or the origins of your ancestry. If you are overweight, you increase your chances for hypertension and if you lose weight, your risk goes down. But stay overweight and your risk of developing hypertension is 5 to 6 times greater than someone who is at his or her ideal weight.

How Heavy is Obese?

The first question to ask in removing the obesity risk factor for hypertension is “Am I overweight?” Obesity is determined by Body Mass Index (BMI), which takes into account the relationship between height and weight. A BMI above 30.0 is considered obese. A score between 25.0 and 29.9 is considered “overweight.” Ideally, BMI should be between 18.5 and 24.9.

To measure your own BMI you take your current weight and divide it by the number you get when you multiply your height in inches by your height in inches again. Then multiply that number by 703 for your BMI. For example, if you are 5’6” and weight 165 pounds, you would multiply 66” times 66” for a total of 4356. Then divide 165 by 4356 for a total of 0.0378. Next multiply that by 703 for a BMI equal to 26.6, which is considered overweight.

How Does Being Overweight Impact Blood Pressure?

When you are obese, your body needs more blood in order to supply oxygen to and nourish the extra tissue. When you put more blood into the same passageway of veins and arteries, there will be extra pressure on those blood vessels.

Weight gain is also usually in the form of fat. According to Mayo Clinic research, fat cells even produce more chemicals, which in turn add to the strain on the heart and pressure on the blood vessels. In addition, there is an increase in insulin from weight gain. This makes the body retain sodium and water, which also increases heart rate and decreases the ability of the blood vessels to move blood throughout the body, thereby increasing blood pressure.

It’s not just how much you are overweight, but also where you carry your extra weight that can have a great impact on blood pressure. Risk factors are increased when added weight is in the abdominal area. This is because people with a so-called spare tire also have increases in blood sugar, which causes the fat to be deposited there, and then starts the sodium and water retention cycle.

Reducing Weight to Lower Blood Pressure

Because there is a direct correlation between obesity and hypertension, it makes perfect sense that by losing weight you can lower blood pressure. The proof is in the numbers. Blood pressure is measured in mm/hg. A reading of blood pressure both as the heart beats and as it relaxes, creates the dual number of X over Y giving you your final blood pressure reading. For every 2.2 pounds of weight lost, blood pressure falls 1 mm/hg. Realistically, an overweight person like in our example above could lose just 10 percent of their body weight – in this case 16.5 pounds and lower their blood pressure by 7 or 8 points.

Small Steps for Big Results

If you can conquer obesity, then you can take dramatic steps in lowering blood pressure. One of the best ways to combat weight is with walking. Walking increases metabolism and is more effective in the long run than more strenuous cardiovascular workouts. Those who are overweight should talk to their doctor before starting an exercise program of any kind, but all physicians will agree that walking is one of the safest, most effective forms of exercise. Good shoes that provide support to the arches will protect feet and knees from stress injuries. Also, walking on softer surfaces such as a grassy field or dirt road will give a better workout because more balance and coordination is needed.

Some other ways to lose weight safely and lower blood pressure include:

1. Reduce sodium intake
2. Don’t eat within 3 hours of going to bed at night
3. Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day
4. Replace saturated animal fats with non-saturated, healthy fats from vegetable sources
5. Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages that are packed with calories

There are some risk factors associated with hypertension that you cannot control, such as genetics, race, and age. How much you weigh and what you do to make sure you are a good weight is within your control. Take action to keep obesity in check and reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure.

To Your Natural Health,

Frank Mangano

Author of "The Silent Killer Exposed"

Discover An All Natural Treatment That
Can Stop Alzheimer's Symptoms

Visit One of The Internet's Leading
Resources on Cholesterol:


Thursday, February 09, 2006

5 Great Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Using 1 Great Fruit

Have you had your lycopene today? If you ate a green salad with fresh chopped tomatoes, then you not only got a healthy dose of this powerful antioxidant, but you have also taken significant action toward lowering your blood pressure. A recent double-blind study conducted in Israel has confirmed what hearth-healthy Italians have enjoyed for centuries – tomatoes (and tomato sauce) lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

The Israeli study was led up by Dr. Esther Paran, head of the hypertension division of Soroka Medical Center. It involved patients who were already being treated for hypertension, but were not responding well to the medications. Dr. Paran had patients take a supplement of tomato extract. The results were a significant drop in blood pressure after just four weeks.

Tomatoes are so effective at lowering blood pressure because they contain lycopene. This potent antioxidant is even the focus of some hybrid tomatoes grown by the Israeli company, Lycomato, in order to have higher concentrations of lycopene in each piece of fruit. Other antioxidants found in tomatoes make this one super-food in the prevention of heart disease. It can even help keep LDL cholesterol from oxidizing which makes it stick to the arteries and narrow the passage way causing blood pressure to increase.

Even during the peak growing season it can be difficult to consume four whole tomatoes each day, which is the recommended amount for having a positive impact on blood pressure. Here are some ways to get the benefits of tomatoes without having to eat them straight off the vine.

1. Make Chili. Using tomato puree, which is a concentrated form of tomatoes, as the base for your chili utilizes the antioxidants without the bulk of a whole tomato. Add some ultra-lean and high protein ground bison and kidney beans with minced garlic and onions, and cayenne pepper and you have a heart-healthy main course and a full day’s allowance of tomato.

2. Since using olive oil with the tomatoes enhances the curative quality, make your pasta sauce red with tomatoes, tomato paste and olive oil to sauté the garlic and onion. Tomato paste used in making sauce contains more than 10 times the nutrients of a single tomato.

3. Have a fresh salad as a side dish to either of these entrees and cut one whole tomato on top. You’ll get one-quarter of you tomato intake right there.

4. Drink tomato juice. It is better to make your own fresh juice so that you can control the sodium. Store bought juices can be high in sugar and sodium-based preservatives. If you have a juicer, you can make some incredible veggie juices to suit your own tastes by adding carrots, celery and some low-sodium seasonings.

5. Take a tomato supplement. If you just can’t stomach tomatoes, then a 200 mg supplement provides the equivalent of more than the recommended four tomatoes.

Adding tomatoes to your diet can reduce systolic blood pressure by 10 points and diastolic pressure by 4 points as was evident in the Israel study. Whatever way you slice it, tomatoes will keep strengthen your immune system and lower blood pressure.

To Your Natural Health,

Frank Mangano

Author of "The Silent Killer Exposed"

Discover An All Natural Treatment That
Can Stop Alzheimer's Symptoms

Visit One of The Internet's Leading
Resources on Cholesterol:


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Natural Alternative to the Most Prescribed Hypertension Meds

Wouldn't it be great if you could get all of the benefits of a high
blood pressure medication without the damaging side effects? Well
you can if you just know what foods to eat and how to supplement
them with a few good choices. When it comes to managing blood
pressure it often is the combination of the food and lifestyle
choices you make each day that can be the difference between life
long dependency on medication or a life of good nutrition and

The intent of blood pressure medication prescribed by your doctor
is to quickly and continuously lower blood pressure readings for
both the systolic and diastolic readings - the top and bottom
numbers. Sometimes the problem lies with just one of those
readings - either as the heart beats or the pressure between beats
as the heart rests.

Blood pressure medication causes one of three main reactions. They
either increase the size of the blood vessel (vasodilator); flush
out the blood vessel of salt and water and create freer blood flow
with less volume (diuretic); or slow down the heart beat (beta

Top 3 High Blood Pressure Medications

1. Doxazosin (brand name Wytensin) is a vasodilator that relaxes
blood vessel walls. Its negative side effects include rapid
heartbeat and fluid retention, so often other medications must be
prescribed to counter act these side effects, which can raise blood
pressure. Also, this medication is associated with some
gastrointestinal problems and impotence.

2. Hydrochlorothiazide (under brand names Carozine, HydroDiuril or
Diaqua) is a potassium reserving diuretic. It is intended to hang
on to the potassium, an important mineral in lowering blood
pressure that can get dangerously low with diuretic usage. The
resulting side effects however are dizziness, muscle weakness and
especially cramping.

3. Acebutolo (brand name Sectral) is a beta blocker intended to
decrease the heart rate and blood flow. The side effects are a
lowering of the good cholesterol (HDL) and a rapid heart rate can
occur if the medication is suddenly stopped.

Get the Same Results without Drugs

To get the same benefits of the most commonly prescribed
medications without the negative side effects there are natural
alternatives. Diet is the number one way to increase the desirable
reactions, but exercise contributes greatly too.

For example, the same reaction caused by vasodilators can take
place when you get enough L-Arginine. This amino acid lets the
walls of the blood vessels relax. You can take a supplement or get
it through animal proteins, peanuts or soy.

By drinking plenty of water, at least 8 glasses each day, you can
accomplish the same diuretic effects of the prescription. You will
flush out excess salt and other toxins that can increase blood
pressure. You can keep your potassium levels in a good range by
eating fresh bananas and potatoes.

Finally, to get the same benefits of a slower heart rate and freer
flowing blood without lowering your good cholesterol you can keep
your heart strong with Hawthorne and through routine cardiovascular
exercise that will allow the heart to work more efficiently.


This article is based on the book, "The Silent Killer Exposed" by
Frank Mangano. Frank is an author, researcher and health advocate
who dedicates his life to finding solutions for people interested
in reducing their risk of health problems by improving their overall
quality of life naturally, without the use prescription medication.
Learn more by visiting his website:


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

What the Numbers Mean - How Blood Pressure is Measured

A check up at the doctor quickly reveals many important facts about
your health. One very important test is the blood pressure reading.
The test is routine and simple. You don't even need to undress or
be stuck with a needle to get a clear picture of what is going on
with your blood pressure. The end result is vital information
about how much pressure or force is put on your blood vessels as
the heart muscle pumps and then again as it relaxes.

The two numbers related to blood pressure are officially known as
the systolic and diastolic readings. The systolic, or top number,
measures the pressure of the blood as it leaves the heart and
surges through the blood vessels. The diastolic number on the
blood pressure reading is what kind of force is on the artery walls
in between heart beats.

A blood pressure reading is written with the systolic number on top
and diastolic number on the bottom and is expressed as "x over y."
A normal blood pressure may be 120 over 80 or written as 110/70.
The value of the numbers refers to milligrams of mercury (mmHg).

I created a chart on the following webpage which shows what normal
blood pressure ranges are and when you need to be concerned about
lowering your blood pressure:


Not only is high blood pressure measured, but a reading of
90/25mmHg is considered very low blood pressure and warrants
specific kinds of treatments.

Blood pressure is measured using a cuff that goes around the upper
arm. It is pumped with air to make it tighten around the arm so
that a pulse can be heard through a stethoscope. The medical
professional listening is recording when they hear a pulse as the
band tightens and then when they can no longer hear it as the
pressure is released. This gives them the systolic and then the
diastolic readings.

There are many times throughout the day when blood pressure
readings are affected which does not necessarily mean you have the
condition of high blood pressure. A temporary rise in blood
pressure is often seen after consuming certain foods or beverages
or if you have taken specific kinds of medications. The concern
doctors have is when blood pressure is in the stage 1 range

On the other hand, low blood pressure readings may indicate there
is an infection present or that you are dehydrated. It can also
signal more serious conditions such as heart disease.

It is important to have blood pressure readings at every annual
physical. Often if you visit the doctor when you are sick they will
routinely measure blood pressure. If you have had high readings in
the past, you doctor may want to monitor your condition more
closely. He or she may recommend testing each week or even everyday at your local pharmacy or using a home testing device.


This article is based on the book, "The Silent Killer Exposed" by
Frank Mangano. Frank is an author, researcher and health advocate
who dedicates his life to finding solutions for people interested
in reducing their risk of health problems by improving their overall
quality of life naturally, without the use prescription medication.
Learn more by visiting his website:


High Blood Pressure’s Diseases of the Arteries

You may know that high blood pressure can cause the heart to become enlarged through years of overwork. But did you know that the disease called hypertension – the technical name for high blood pressure – can also do some serious damage to the arteries?

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)

One type of hypertension is called Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) because it is a condition where the pressure on the pulmonary artery is too great. This becomes an area of concern when pressure is above 25 mmHg. Normal pressure on the pulmonary artery is 14 mmHg. In PAH the inside of the arteries becomes narrower because the muscles along the wall tighten up. The arteries can also become thick from the increased muscle mass in the arteries due to their “workout.” When this happens the thicker walls create a narrower passage way for the blood flow and blood pressure increases.

The pulmonary arteries can also form scar tissue. This narrows the artery even more. Blood clots can cause further blockage and make blood flow difficult. All of the factors that narrow the arteries can also cause them to harden.

As time goes on without treating PAH, the right side of the heart is forced to work harder. Eventually it becomes so weak that it completely fails. The number one cause of death for people with PAH is heart failure. PAH is either inherited or comes about as the result of other conditions such as chronic lung disease, blood clots in the lungs or heart disease which can be caused by other types of conditions such as hypertension or high cholesterol.


Atherosclerosis is another condition of the arteries brought about by high blood pressure among other diseases and conditions. The risk of developing this hardening and narrowing of the arteries is increased with age. If you have a close relative with the condition you are also at greater risk.

Basically, atherosclerosis starts because of a buildup of plaque in the arteries by damage to the artery’s lining. High blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol all contribute to damaging the artery walls. When plaque builds up it can lead to blood clots that narrow the arteries even more. With increased blood pressure on the arteries and the clots, there is a greater chance of heart attack or stroke.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is when the arteries leading to the heart become hardened and narrower. There can be different types of CAD, the most common being angina and heart attack. Angina is a condition of chronic chest pain because the heart is not getting enough blood. A heart attack is the result also of the blood not making its way to a portion of the heart. Complete heart failure which can result in death happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood through the body.

To treat CAD, it is recommended that blood pressure is kept in check. High blood pressure adds to the strain on the arteries and the heart. A healthy diet and lifestyle will reduce the chances of developing CAD and other diseases or conditions of the arteries.


This article is based on the book, "The Silent Killer Exposed" by
Frank Mangano. Frank is an author, researcher and health advocate
who dedicates his life to finding solutions for people interested
in reducing their risk of health problems by improving their overall
quality of life naturally, without the use prescription medication.
Learn more by visiting his website: