logo logo

Newsletter Issue: 17 — Date: 12th December 2006 — Web Site: http://www.my-blood-pressure.com

Welcome to a holiday edition of the My Blood Pressure newsletter!

As the festive season is almost upon us, and 2006 is nearly at the end, we both want to thank everyone for your support this year. We are looking forward to the new year and a new version of My Blood Pressure.

For everyone celebrating Christmas … Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy 2007!

Steve and Kellie

My Blood Pressure News

Response times to support emails may be a little longer than usual between December 23rd and January 2nd. We will aim to reply within 24 hours, but it may take up to 48 hours.

Work is continuing on version 3 of My Blood Pressure and I am looking forward to its release in 2007. Thank you again to everyone who has sent me their suggestions and feedback. I don’t have a definite release date as yet, but we will announce it in a future newsletter.

Contributed by: Steve

Breatheasy review by Kellie

I have been approached on numerous occasions to write about health related products in this newsletter. I have said no each time as I didn’t like the products, or felt they were too expensive, or both.

A couple of months ago, I was sent some “relaxation” CDs called “Breatheasy Interactive Breathing with Music”. To my surprise I liked them!

Firstly some background: Six months ago my Doctor told me I should find time each day to relax, perhaps meditation or yoga. I do not have high blood pressure – it is usually a healthy 117/75, but I can get a bit stressed. I thought relax every day – yeah right! (I have a 4 and 6 year old) He then suggested I purchase a CD of relaxing sounds and listen to it each night. The CD’s (which were quite expensive) ended up being mostly rain sounds. It is nice to listen to rain, but soon it becomes very boring. I tried to relax but my mind would wonder to all the things I should be doing apart from listening to rain. I probably listened to them 5 times before they went into the bottom draw. I assumed that the Breatheasy CDs would be something similar.

However, David O’Hara’s Breatheasy CDs were not what I expected.

They are designed so that you can slow your rate of breathing. You may ask what that has to do with blood pressure? – but there is more and more research turning up showing there is a link between breathing rate and blood pressure. A news item I recently covered, was a study done by the National Institute of Health which showed that simply breathing slowly for a few minutes a day can help regulate blood pressure. If you are interested in the reasons behind this, the Breatheasy website has a nice list of research papers on this topic.

Rather than just trying to describe the CDs, with the permission of Breatheasy, I have created a small sample music file which you can listen to by clicking here. It should open in your Windows Media player. You should hear my voice, and then about 15 seconds of the CD. (My children love recording themselves singing, so I thought I would have a go too — but I don’t sing!)

For those of you that can’t listen to the sample, what you hear is relaxing music (A favorite of mine is on Classical Disc 1 – Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A major, Adagio). You also hear a rhythmical “whooshing” sound. The aim is to slow your rate of breathing down to the rate on the CD. Normally we breathe at 14 breaths per minute (bpm) or more if we are anxious or stressed. The CD will bring your breathing rate down to 7bpm. According to the research, this relaxes muscle tension and opens up the blood vessels, thus reducing blood pressure – although the study I quoted above, suggests that the lowering of blood pressure may be a result of the body being better able to break down salt. Whatever the reasons, the research suggests that it does work to lower BP.

Not many people have 30 minutes spare to listen to rain sounds to relax – I don’t. I think with Breatheasy, because I have something to do, something to focus on, it works quicker. I can listen to it for 5 minutes and feel relaxed at the end of it. Also, knowing there is sound research behind it makes it seem like time well spent.

I think that at US$47 + postage, the 6 CD’s are good value, and if you are not happy they offer a full refund within 90 days.

I can’t say that this will lower your blood pressure, but if anyone does try it, I would be very interested in hearing how you go.

The Breatheasy website is at: www.control-your-blood-pressure.com

Contributed by: Kellie

Disclaimer: We are considering partnering with Breatheasy to sell their product through our website. Therefore, any feedback would be greatly appreciated! – Kellie

Blood Pressure News Roundup

Some interesting new studies were released this month including a study that shows the more time you spend driving your car, the less sleep you get and the higher your blood pressure. Yet another good reason to avoid driving and walk wherever possible.

Researchers showed migraine sufferers are at a higher risk of hypertension. If you are or know a migraine sufferer, monitoring and tracking blood pressure may be especially important. A new study showed women who had hypertension when pregnant have an increased chance of developing hypertension latter in life. If you had high blood pressure when pregnant it may be worth mentioning at your next Doctors visit.

And the good news is that a study at The University of Texas showed a positive outlook can help reduce your blood pressure.

Enjoy the news!
Thanks Kellie

High blood pressure and pregnancy
A recent study has found the risk of a female developing hypertension earlier in life may be increased if the female suffered from high blood pressure during pregnancy. It had previously been assumed that pregnancy hypertension was temporary with no long term effects. Researcher Dr Garovic said, “What we have found is that 50% of women who have hypertension during pregnancy will develop high blood pressure by the time they are age 52.” Researchers at the Mayo School of Medicine, Minnesota analyzed the health of 4,782 women. It is suggested women who suffered hypertension during pregnancy inform their Doctor. (Full story)

Men should avoid risk factors in midlife
This months Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) focuses on what can help men lead longer and healthier lives. Researchers found avoiding risk factors in midlife can increase the length and quality of life for men. The risk factors were; smoking, hypertension, excess weight and excess alcohol. Other factors which contribute to a healthy long life include high education and a marital partner. Dr Willcox and colleagues wrote that the studies, “suggest that it is important to be physically robust in midlife.” (Full story)

Migraine sufferers at risk for heart disease
Results of a new study presented at the 2006 American Heart Association meeting, showed men who suffer from migraines were at a higher risk for heart disease. The information of over 20,000 men was analyzed to discover men who experience migraines have a 42% increased risk of suffering a heart attack. This study confirms a previous study on women which also showed migraine sufferers are more likely to have cardiovascular disease. Dr Bonow, chairman of Cardiology at Northwestern University said, “If someone has a migraine, they should be alerted to this new information that they may be at risk of a heart attack at a higher level than other people.” (Full story)

High blood pressure helped with slow breathing
A US study at the National Institute of Health has shown slowing down the rate of breathing can help with hypertension. The research suggests breathing slowly at 10 breaths a minute for a few minutes a day can help regulate blood pressure. Researcher Dr. Anderson suggests slower breathing increases kidney efficiency and helps to break down salts. Dr Anderson said, “If you sit there under-breathing all day and you have a high salt intake, your kidneys may be less effective at getting rid of that salt than if you’re out hiking in the woods.” (Full story)

Driving time reduces sleep time
A new analysis of the American Time Use Survey 2003 from the U.S. Department of Labor shows lack of sleep is linked to excess time spent in the car. David Dinges from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine said, “The more time you spend in the car, for any reason, the less you sleep”. Researchers blame extra time in the car on sprawling cities and congested highways. This has concerned researchers due to the impact lack of sleep has on blood pressure levels. A good night sleep, when blood pressure levels can drop by 20%, is considered an important part of managing high blood pressure. (Full story)

Study links anxiety disorders to hypertension
A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows a link between anxiety disorders and physical illness, including high blood pressure and heart disease. Researchers at The University of Manitoba, Canada studied 4,181 adults with anxiety disorders such as; panic disorder, fears and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Over 60% of those with anxiety disorders suffered from physical illness and poor health. Researchers hope the study will lead to programs to diagnose and help those people with anxiety disorders and medical illness. (Full story)

A positive outlook may help hypertension
A study by the University of Texas of over 2,500 people found a link between a positive out look on life and lower blood pressure levels. A group of people aged 65 years and over were studied to determine their emotional well being and their blood pressure levels. Those individuals who ranked their degree of positive emotions the highest tended to have the lowest blood pressure levels, whether or not they were taking antihypertension medications. Researcher Dr Glenn Ostir said, “Our thoughts and emotions do affect our physical processes, the nice thing is that we have some control over that.” (Full story)

A cup of decaf may not be caffeine free
A study by researchers at the University of Florida, claims that most decaffeinated coffee contains some amount of caffeine. Many people are advised to avoid caffeinated drinks due to medical conditions such as high blood pressure and anxiety disorders. Researchers analyzed decaffeinated coffee purchased from 9 major US national coffee houses. Prof. Goldberger said, “If someone drinks 5 to 10 cups of decaffeinated coffee, the dose of caffeine could easily reach the level present in a cup or 2 of caffeinated coffee.” Researchers felt it was important that people were aware that decaffeinated is not the same as caffeine-free. (Full story)

Global campaign launched against salt
A global campaign has been launched to promote the reduction of dietary salt intake to less than 5gr a day in order to lower blood pressure. A new global organization called WASH World Action on Salt and Health plans to persuade international food manufacturers to commit to salt reduction in processed foods. High salt intake is a known risk factor for hypertension and cardiovascular disease. WASH claims that reducing salt in processed food will help to prevent cardiovascular disease. (Full story)

Contributed by: Kellie

About us

This newsletter is put together by a brother and sister team.

Steven Alan is 37 and is the programmer of the My Blood Pressure software. Steve was diagnosed with high blood pressure in February 2004. Steve needs to monitor his blood pressure regularly, and will probably need to do so for the rest of his life. Steve’s systolic blood pressure was over 200 at one point, but recently he has got his blood pressure under control, and most readings are below 120/80.

Steve is responsible for contributing news about the software as well as tips and tricks for using the software.

Kellie Helen (Steve’s sister) is 35 and a full time mother to a 6 and 4 year old. In her spare time!, she has started working with Steve on the website and newsletter. Kellie grew up in a household which had its fair share of blood pressure problems! Their father has always had high blood pressure, but somehow Steve got all the high blood pressure genes, while in her teens, Kellie used to suffer from her blood pressure being too low. Kellie worked in the medical and surgical industry before becoming a full time mum, and is looking forward to spending more time on this project as her children get older.

Kellie is responsible for scouring the net for news stories of interest to people who monitor their blood pressure, and collecting and organizing stories contributed by subscribers.

My Health Software
PO Box 1468
Rozelle 2039
Australia
Kellie: kellie@my-blood-pressure.com
Steve: steve@my-blood-pressure.com

Disclaimer: Nothing contained in this newsletter is intended to be instructional for medical diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your health care provider.

To unsubscribe from this newsletter, click on the link below, or send an email to newsadmin@my-blood-pressure.com letting me know you want to unsubscribe. I will remove your name immediately and permanently.

bottom


bottom Steve