Tag Archives: high blood pressure

Could You Have Masked Hypertension?

Approximately a third of American adults suffer from hypertension (a whopping 75 million people). Some may not even be aware they have the condition. Just because your blood pressure readings are okay at the doctor’s office doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. There are two phenomena that result in inaccurate blood pressure readings at the doctor’s office: one is called ‘masked hypertension’, and its opposite is called ‘white coat hypertension’. Today we’re going to investigate masked hypertension.

What is Masked Hypertension?

Masked hypertension is a phenomenon whereby a person’s blood pressure measures in the healthy zone when they are visiting a doctor, but readings are much higher when they self-measure at home or at another location. This may occur because some people find a doctor’s office to be a calming environment, whereas their home life may be quite hectic or busy which may affect their blood pressure. Masked hypertension may also be a result of a person’s blood pressure spiking when they partake in activities such as drinking or smoking on a regular basis.

How Common is Masked Hypertension?

According to Doctor Deepak Bhatt, MPH, editor of the Harvard University Heart Health letter, the only reason we know this condition even exists is because of several studies that required participants to gather ambulatory blood pressure readings as well as some in a doctor’s office. In some of the studies, up to 40% of participants experienced higher blood pressure in everyday life than in the doctor’s office. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing the true number of people affected by masked hypertension because if a person’s readings are fine in the office, a doctor commonly won’t request they check them at home.

What to do About Masked Hypertension?

Dr. Deepak suggests that because high blood pressure is such a prevalent problem in America, those middle-aged or older should invest in a home monitor to occasionally check their numbers to ensure their readings are healthy across the board or to alert them if the readings differ. Blood pressure is a silent killer if left undetected and unmanaged, so it is important to know your true numbers.

Stay tuned next time for the opposite phenomenon known as white coat hypertension. Thanks for visiting DocChat!


Spice Up Your Health With These 13 Nutritious Seasonings

  1. Turmeric contains curcumin which has anti-inflammatory and fat-suppressing properties. It is also associated with helping lower the risk of metabolic conditions such as obesity.
  2. Cinnamon boasts healthy helpings of iron, calcium and antioxidants. It has shown promise in helping stabilize blood glucose and blood pressure.
  3. Cardamom works as a gastrointestinal soother and contains a natural antiseptic called cineole.
  4. Sage has proven effective to help with cognitive function. In a particular study, sage helped increase memory in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s patients. It has also been used in traditional medicine throughout history for a variety of reasons.
  5. Ginger is also a natural anti-inflammatory which, as you may know, is known for its gastrointestinal benefits. It has even been used in pill form by popular pharmaceutical companies as a stomach soothing medication. Research has also linked ginger with appetite suppression.
  6. Peppermint helps reduce irritable bowel symptoms by relaxing the stomach muscles to allow easier food passage as well as reducing bloating. When used in steam form, peppermint can also help decongest people with post nasal drip, sinusitis or rhinitis. When combined with hot water, peppermint helps open the airways and drain blocked nasal passages (breathe in 3-4 drops of pure peppermint oil in a cut of boiling water).
  7. Cayenne is often used to help cold and flu symptoms and works as a natural decongestant. Research suggests it may also help stabilize the metabolism, blood pressure and cholesterol.
  8. Oregano has natural antimicrobial properties and has traditionally been used to help such conditions as dandruff, UTIs, lung conditions and menstrual symptoms. It is also a rich source of vitamin K.
  9. Chili flakes contain an anti-inflammatory compound called capsaicin. Chili pepper flakes have quite a powerful analgesic (pain reducing) effect when enough are consumed.
  10. Chives contain allicin which may help control LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels as well as possibly aid in reducing high blood pressure, thus contributing to overall cardiovascular health.
  11. Thyme is a spice powerhouse. It brags natural antiseptic and antifungal characteristics and contains pyridoxine (also known as vitamin B-6) which helps lower stress levels. Thyme is also rich in antioxidants, potassium, iron, folic acid and vitamins A, B, K, E and C. Can a garnish get any healthier than that?
  12. Garlic is another spice superstar. It contains even more allicin than chives, as well as antifungal and antibacterial components. Research proposes that when consumed regularly, garlic may help lower the risk of cardiovascular problems and shows potential anti-carcinogenic properties as well.
  13. Cocoa may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. There have been several studies done on the effects of cocoa on the heart, many of which have resulted in positive findings that dark chocolate can help the heart when consumed regularly. The anti-inflammatory compound flavanol may be to thank for cocoa’s heart healthy quality.

Thanks for visiting DocChat, we hope you come back soon!



There are many thyroid conditions, but the two most common are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism (catch our blog on hypothyroidism in case you missed it earlier today). Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland just below the Adam’s Apple that produces the thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) hormones which help regulate oxygen levels as well as help control your metabolism, growth, appetite, heartbeat and reproductive health. It is estimated that more than 20 million Americans have some kind of a thyroid condition, and more females are affected than males.


As you can imagine, hyperthyroidism is the opposite of the hypothyroidism. While people with hypothyroidism don’t produce enough thyroid hormones, those with hyperthyroidism have overactive thyroid glands that produce an abnormal excess of the hormones. Hyperthyroidism causes all kinds of chaos in the body, often producing such effects as elevated blood pressure. Hyperthyroidism can happen on its own, or can be caused by an underlying autoimmune disease such as Lupus. It is also associated with a condition called thyroiditis, where the gland becomes chronically inflamed. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is an immune disorder called Grave’s disease.

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

Signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism sometimes progress slowly, but can lead to the following:

  • Drastically increased appetite
  • Weight loss even if you’re eating more food (not all sufferers lose weight)
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Tachycardia or irregular heartbeat
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Uncontrollable sweating
  • Trembling
  • Weakness
  • Hot flashes and getting hot easily
  • Abnormal menstrual periods (fewer and lighter)
  • Red, irritated eyes
  • Changes in bowel movements (more frequent or loose)


One treatment option for hyperthyroidism is oral radioactive iodine which causes the thyroid gland to shrink, helping even out thyroid symptoms. It has been shown, through decades of popular use, to be a safe treatment. Another treatment option is anti-thyroid medications which gradually reduce the hormones produced by the thyroid gland. Anti-thyroid medications don’t work well for everyone, many of them can be a little more problematic than iorine. They can cause rare but serious side effects such as potentially fatal liver damage, so they should be used with caution. Your doctor will know which carry less risks than others. Beta blockers are often prescribed to people with hyperthyroidism to help lower the heartrate and stabilize high blood pressure caused by the disorder. Lastly, a surgery called thyroidectomy can be performed if a person doesn’t respond to, or is allergic to any of the medications, but this is a last case resort.

While many of the symptoms can be attributed to other conditions, if you experience several of those listed it may be time to look into it. If you do suspect you may have hyperthyroidism, you should check in with your doctor or one of our certified physicians at DocChat to be further evaluated.



Your Kidneys Work Hard – What Can You Do For Them?

Millions of Americans are effected by kidney disease and poor kidney function, but fortunately there are measures you can take to help protect your kidneys against disease.

What Is Kidney Disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also known as kidney failure or chronic renal disease, is a condition where your kidneys slowly lose the ability to function. During the more advanced stages of the disease, a sufferer may need a kidney transplant or kidney dialysis to stay alive. CKD affects nearly 26 million Americans, with millions of others at risk of developing it. The main causes of CKD are unchecked, chronically high blood pressure and diabetes.

Symptoms of CKD

Some of the main symptoms of kidney failure are loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, unexplained swelling in ankles or legs, trouble passing urine or passing less urine, fatigue, puffiness around eyes, feeling generally unwell, shortness of breath or extreme itchiness (without allergies). Many of these symptoms are vague and can be attributed to less serious illnesses. However, if you are experiencing these symptoms without cause, you should talk to your doctor (or one of ours) today.

Tips To Help Your Kidneys Fight Disease

While these measures may not fully eliminate your risk of developing kidney disease (or stop progression completely), they will certainly help you protect those vital organs as much as possible. Such measures include:

  1. Moderate your alcohol intake – drinking elevates not only your cholesterol, but also your blood pressure. Drinking too much causes chronically elevated levels which can contribute to kidney failure over time. The CDC defines moderate drinking as 1-2 drinks a day, so for the sake of your kidneys, you’d be best advised to keep your drinking below this cap.
  2. Keep hydrated – don’t make your kidneys work too hard by becoming under-hydrated. Make sure you get the recommended 5-8 glasses of water daily!
  3. Maintain proper nutrition – cutting down on junk and fatty foods and following a balanced, cholesterol-friendly diet (see suggestions below) is the best plan of action to avoid or lessen kidney damage. Another nutrition tip? Drastically cut down on salt intake.
  4. Be cautious of OTC supplements – some herbal supplements have been known to cause issues with the kidneys, it is always a good idea to check with your doctor (or one of DocChat’s highly qualified physicians) before beginning new supplements.
  5. Stay fit and active – getting regular exercise is a great way to help keep the body in tip top condition. It will also help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol to healthier levels, which will subsequently help your kidneys in the long run. Plus, it is a good idea to shed as many extra pounds as you can because obese people run a much higher risk of developing CKD.
  6. Be careful with certain meds – some medications such as NSAIDS (when used frequently) or even long term use of antibiotics can cause kidney problems or exacerbate existing kidney issues, so use caution and talk to your doctor about the risks before starting.
  7. Control potential contributing conditions – If you already have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you should work to control your condition, or it will lead to major kidney complications if left unmonitored. Over half of diabetics develop kidney damage, so take good care of your condition and hopefully those statistics will start to lower.
  8. Get screened regularly – regular checkups and bloodwork will alert your doctor to any changes or issues with your kidneys, these are especially important if you have kidney disease in your immediate family, if you have high blood pressure or cholesterol, if you have to use antibiotics or NSAIDS frequently because of other conditions, or if you have prediabetes or diabetes.
  9. Quit smoking – similarly to other health issues, smoking can cause or exacerbate kidney problems because of the harmful chemicals the body is ingesting. If you are a smoker and are concerned about kidney health, talk to your doctor about ways to quit today.

Diet Dos And Don’ts For Kidney Health 

Foods that will increase your cholesterol are not good choices for kidney health as high cholesterol and blood pressure are among the chief contributors to CKD. Some dos and don’ts for kidney health include:

  • For meatsDo eat: oily fish and baked, grilled or boiled skinless turkey or chicken
  • Don’t eat: fatty meats like sausages or beef dishes
  • For oils and greaseDo use: extra virgin olive oil
  • Don’t use: too much butter, lard or certain oils such as coconut
  • For your dairy share – Do eat: skim milk and reduced fat yogurts
  • Don’t eat: heavy creams or too much hard cheese
  • For sweets – do Eat: fruit like avocado
  • Don’t eat: high-fat, high-sugar baked goods and candy

There you have it – some of the precautions you can take to lower your risk of developing (or worsening) chronic kidney disease. Stay happy and healthy! Thanks for visiting DocChat.


The High Risks Of Hypertension


Blood Pressure (BP) is calculated by measuring the force of blood coursing your arteries as your heart is pumping, called systolic pressure, over your diastolic pressure, the force of blood flow through the arteries while your heart is relaxed and refilling. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, consists of a chronic BP reading of 140/90 or higher (www.heart.org). According to the American Heart Association, over 80 million Americans have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Devil May Care

Everyone knows that high blood pressure is problematic, but the complications are more dangerous than we may think. Unfortunately, not every one properly heeds their doctor’s warnings of high blood pressure. Often when a person is diagnosed, they just stick the information on the dusty top shelf of their mind, and continue on with everyday business. However, nonchalance certainly is not the attitude any of us should be taking toward Hypertension.

The Silent Killer

Hypertension has been deemed ‘the silent killer’ for a reason. Most people have no symptoms as their pressure gradually climbs to unhealthy heights, putting the body in danger. According to Kathy Berra, clinical director of the Stanford Heart Network at the Stanford University School of Medicine, “Many people assume you will get a headache or some other kind of signal when blood pressure is high, unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Often, the first sign of unknown or untreated high blood pressure is a stroke, a heart attack, or kidney disease.” This is a scary notion to say the least.

Are You At Risk?

Even though hypertension is an intruder of the silent variety, there are some risk factors that can let you know if you are in danger of developing the condition. The World Heart Federation states that “Lifestyle and genealogy are significant contributors to high blood pressure. One can inherit it from parents and grandparents, but diet, tobacco use, stress levels, and lack of exercise are the leading causes.”

Comorbid Culprits

Aside from the disease itself, unchecked chronically elevated BP levels can also lead to other conditions such as kidney damage and failure, transient ischemic attacks (mini stokes), or even full blown strokes. Hypertension can also lead to potentially fatal heart problems including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries due to fatty buildup), and congestive heart failure. Also, the World Heart Association has established a strong link between chronically elevated blood pressure and diabetes. These are just a few of the many comorbid conditions that go hand in hand with high blood pressure.

What Can You Do?

There are many things we can do to prevent hypertension, or help reverse the condition. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, some of the things you can do to manage your blood pressure include maintaining a healthy diet and weight, quitting smoking, keeping alcohol consumption at a low-to-moderate level, exercising regularly, as well as keeping stress levels under control.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends a nutritive system developed by their research teams called the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (or the DASH eating plan), to help prevent or reverse high blood pressure. This diet centers mainly around vegetables, fruit, certain dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry and seeds or nuts. It also advises limiting intake of sugar, red meat and excess sodium.

Check Your Numbers

Every adult should have their blood pressure checked at their next routine check-up to ensure there are no red flags. By checking your BP every now and then, you could avoid years of silent damage. You can check your blood pressure for free at most pharmacies, or you can buy a home blood pressure monitor. Stanford University’s Kathy Berra maintains that if you suspect, or have been told by your doctor that you have issues with blood pressure, the best course of action is to start checking and recording it yourself regularly.


The World Heart Federation: http://www.world-heart-federation.org/

The University of Maryland Medical Center: https://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/high-blood-pressure

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/dashdiet.html

The American Heart Association: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/WhyBloodPressureMatters/Why-Blood-Pressure-Matters_UCM_002051_Article.jsp

Bewell @ Stanford University: https://bewell.stanford.edu/blood-pressure

Can Low Blood Pressure Also be Troublesome?

blood pressure 2

Today, almost every other person in your social circle complains about high blood pressure and its terrifying effects as it can cause a stroke and several other heart diseases.

Though it is not as severe as high blood pressure, low blood pressure is still alarming. Another name for low blood pressure is hypotension. While low blood pressure varies individual to individual, doctors generally consider a blood pressure reading lower than 90/60mmHg as low blood pressure.

Here are some of the problems that low blood pressure can cause:

Restricts the Amount of Blood Flowing into the Brain

Mostly, this is a result of flawed and incorrect signals from the brain. People with neurally mediated hypotension i.e. flawed brain signals, have nerves signaling to the brain that there is high blood pressure which consequently results into low amounts of blood flowing to the brain.

If dropped too low, blood pressure can prevent blood from flowing to the brain and many other vital organs of your body. As a result it can cause blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, along with fainting spells.

Cause of Severe Dehydration

Though naturally, low blood pressure is not worrisome, it can still be troublesome. This is because low blood pressure is usually caused by excessive dehydration. Low blood pressure, along with some other symptoms like fever, vomiting etc. causes your body to lose excessive amounts of water which can be a serious cause of concern.

Underlying Diseases or Nervous Systems Disorder

An abnormally low blood pressure indicates the existence of some underlying conditions or damage to the nervous system. You might be suffering from a heart condition or have nervous systems disorders like Parkinson’s disease which triggers low blood pressure. So, it is important to establish your low blood pressure level and if it is extremely low, you need to get yourself examined in case you are suffering from any underlying diseases.

Causes Your Body to Go into Shock

Since low blood pressure means that your brain, kidney and many other vital organs are not receiving the adequate amount of blood, it can cause severe problems like strokes, heart attacks and kidney failures. Heart attack can be caused when the heart is unable to supply enough blood to the various organs in the body, resulting in your body to go into cardiogenic shock.

The most severe problem low blood pressure is likely to cause is shock. This sudden and severe drop in the amount of blood pumping to vital organs means that tissues are not receiving enough oxygen which can cause death within a short amount of time.

If you suffer from low blood pressure, it is important that you speak to an expert. There is no need to worry as help is right here. Get in touch with us today and see what you should do to feel better and healthier.

Loving mature couple making dinner together while in their kitchen at home

Hobbies that Can Help Control Blood Pressure

Blood pressure issues (high or low) can lead to life-threatening complications if left untreated. Whether you have been recently diagnosed with an active blood pressure issue or wish to change your lifestyle to prevent health problems in the future, these suggestions will help you improve your daily routine and lower your stress levels.

Stress can worsen blood pressure issues. If you find yourself frequently stressed out then it is time to take steps to reign in your stress levels. Find things which trigger your stress and avoid them if possible and remember stress can be controlled. Step back from stressful situations and put your health first.

The best way to reduce stress is by concentrating on other things. Many experts say that choosing a healthy hobby can help beat blood pressure problems. To help you in this regard, we’ve listed below a myriad of options that might help.

Cultivate Healthy and Relaxing Hobbies
Slow paced hobbies requiring concentration on simple tasks will help you relax.

● Gardening—Reconnect with nature and your nurturing side.
● Cooking—Can be as simple or complex as you want. You will get delicious food and a sense of achievement.
● Photography—Go out and explore the world and capture your journey with pictures.
● Scrap-booking –Create an artistic expression of your life journey.
● Writing—Unleash your imagination and start writing, even maintaining a personal journal is therapeutic and can build perspective.
● Solving Puzzles—A fun solitary or group activity, it will leave you with a sense of accomplishment.
● Listen to Music—Listen to your favorite music; try to expand your tastes by exploring different music styles.
● Reading—Reading allows you to get absorbed in a different world. Turn it into a group activity and join a local reading group.

Make Regular Exercise a Part of Your Daily Routine
This section deserves a heading of its own simply because of its benefits. Exercising can be considered a hobby, and when it comes to ‘exercising to maintain your blood pressure’ it is different from regular workouts and weightlifting.

Aerobic Exercise
Regular aerobic exercise will help you achieve and maintain a strong cardiovascular system. People with blood-pressure issues should make time for some light aerobic exercises, even a brisk 30 minute walk will improve your health.

Non-aerobic exercises will also help you keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. The less vigorous kinds of yoga are the best type of non-aerobic exercise. Yoga has proven to be an excellent form of exercise that helps to achieve mental and physical strength. There are a lot of classes offered where you can learn basic technique and then continue by yourself. Yoga includes some specific breathing techniques which help you maintain a calm mental state. Yoga techniques slow down the heart rate; this is known to help people with hypertensive issues.

We hope this will help you keep your blood pressure under check. However, if you suffer from these issues you can get in touch with us as telemedicine can help in these problems as well.