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Study links blood pressure to early life changes in brain activity, blood flow

Raghu Kshitiz

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Unhealthy gut bacteria may also hike blood pressure

WASHINGTON —  Abnormally high blood pressure is linked to changes in brain activity and blood flow early in life, according to a study conducted on a rat model of high blood pressure.

High blood pressure — which is also often called the silent killer because it typically has no symptoms until after it has done significant damage to the heart and the arteries — is a condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high.

For the study, published in Experimental Physiology, the team investigated physiological changes in a rat model called ISIAH, short for inherited stress-induced arterial hypertension.

High blood pressure — in 90-95 per cent of people — has no identifiable cause, yet it is a risk factor for diseases of the brain, kidneys, heart, eyes, and other parts of the body, said a group of researchers at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Russia.

These rats develop high blood pressure at four to six weeks of age, and this is sustained throughout their lifetime.

“The study of early physiological changes may help clarify the cause of high blood pressure. Understanding this could help us prevent the disease early on,” said led author Alisa Seryapina from the Institute of Cytology and Genetics.

As the rats in high blood pressure group grew older, changes in rates of blood flow in certain arteries were observed.

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Vitamin D deficiency linked higher diabetes risk

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — People with vitamin D deficiency might have a greater risk of developing diabetes, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Seoul National University said in a new study report.

For the study published in PLOS One, researchers studied 903 healthy adults without pre-diabetes or diabetes during clinic visits from 1997 to 1999, and followed up with them for 10 years, to study their levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin and their medical condition.

Among the study participants, who had a mean age of 74, researchers found 47 new cases of diabetes and 337 new cases of pre-diabetes.

“Further research is needed on whether high 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels might prevent type 2 diabetes or the transition from pre-diabetes to diabetes,” study co-author Dr. Cedric F Garland, adjunct professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, said in a press release.

“But this paper and past research indicate there is a strong association,” he said.

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The 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which is known as the ‘sunshine’ vitamin because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight, also can be received through certain foods and supplements. The vitamin helps in growth and development of bones and teeth, and resistance against certain diseases.

The minimum healthy level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in blood plasma was listed as 30 nanograms per milliliter, which is 10 ng/ml above the level recommended in 2010 by the Institute of Medicine, now part of The National Academies.

“We found that participants with blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D that were above 30 ng/ml had one-third of the risk of diabetes and those with levels above 50 ng/ml had one-fifth of the risk of developing diabetes,” first author Dr. Sue K. Park, of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Seoul National University College of Medicine in South Korea, said.

Those below 30 ng/ml were considered vitamin D deficient and up to five times at greater risk for developing diabetes than those above 50 ng/ml.

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To reach the D levels of 30 ng/ml, Garland said it would require dietary supplements of 3,000 to 5,000 international units per day, but less with moderate daily sun exposure.

The recommended average daily amount of vitamin D is 400 IU for children up to 1 year, 600 IU for ages 1 to 70 years and 800 IU for persons over 70, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Good food sources for vitamin D include egg yolk, shrimp,salmon, sardines, fortified milk, cereal, yogurt and orange juice.

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