High blood pressure – FIVE cooking tips to slash your hypertension risk

High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects more than a quarter of all UK adults, according to the NHS.

Having high blood pressure puts extra strain on your blood vessels and vital organs.

The condition increases your risk of heart attacks, strokes and vascular dementia.

But, you could lower your risk of hypertension by eating more fruit and vegetables.

“Eating more fruit and vegetables has been proven to help lower blood pressure,” said Blood Pressure UK.

“Fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and fibre to keep your body in good condition.

“They also contain potassium, which helps to balance out the negative effects of salt. This has a direct effect on your blood pressure, helping to lower it.”

Get the most from your fruit and vegetables by following these tips.

Cooking

Even just by boiling your vegetables before dinner, you could help to lower your blood pressure.

“If you boil vegetables, use as little water as possible to help keep the vitamins and minerals in them,” said Blood Pressure UK.

The best way to cook your vegetables to lower blood pressure is to steam or bake them.

More vitamins and minerals are locked into the vegetables by cooking them this way, as opposed to boiling or frying them.

Shopping

When you’re at the supermarket buying your weekly vegetables, it’s best to avoid certain types.

“Don’t buy fruit and vegetable dishes that come with sauces.

“They often contain a lot of fat, salt and sugar.”

Eating

It’s best to mix up the types of vegetables you eat with your dinner.

“Vary the types of fruit and vegetables you eat.

“Each has different health benefits and it will keep your meals interesting.

“By eating a range of different vegetables, you’ll make sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs.”

Storing

The longer you leave vegetables before eating them, the more nutrients they lose.

“Try to eat fresh fruit and vegetables as soon as possible.

“They will lose their nutrients over time, so if you want to store your ingredients for a while, it is best to freeze them or buy frozen packets.”

Chopping

If you’re preparing dinner, but need one and a half onions, what should you do with the remaining half?

“Avoid leaving vegetables open to the air, light or heat if they have been cut.

“Always cover and chill them, but don't soak them because the vitamins and minerals can dissolve away.”



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Arthritis symptoms - FIVE ways to prevent and reverse joint pain

Arthritis can affect anyone of any age - including children, according to the NHS.

Symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, inflammation, restricted movement, and having warm, red skin over affected joints.

If left untreated, the condition can become debilitating.

While there’s currently no cure for arthritis, symptoms could be reduced by raising awareness of healthy habits, said Aetna International’s Director of Population Health, Dr Sneh Khemka.

“Arthritis is a tricky condition – it is difficult to predict the onset and severity of disease,” Khemka told Express.co.uk.

“There are over 100 forms of arthritis; some are genetic, for example rheumatoid arthritis; whereas others are related to age [degenerative], such as osteoarthritis.

“By improving management of arthritis in the community, we can empower patients and give them some of their independence back.”

Engaging with exercise could help to reduce symptoms, said Khemka.

Participating in aerobic activities, such as swimming and hiking, helps to keep joints mobile and strengthens the muscles around the joints.

Certain foods could help to fight inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids - found in oily fish and soybeans - can reduce swelling.

Cherries should be added to your diet, as well as citrus fruits, nuts, dairy products and garlic.

Also, losing weight could help to relieve some arthritis pain, Khemka said.

“Your spine, hip, knees and ankles support your bodyweight. By being overweight you put more pressure on these joints, and are more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis.”

Sitting in the same position for long periods of time could increase your risk of joint pain.

If you work in an office, or just enjoy sitting on the sofa watching the television, it’s a good idea to stand up every 30 minutes, to prevent your body from locking up.

It’s also important to prevent excess strain on your joints, said Khemka.

If you’re lifting heavy objects, carry them close to your body, which will lower the strain on wrists and smaller joints.

“It is crucial we identify those at risk and intervene early on,” said the doctor. “If you do develop symptoms, make sure you see your doctor immediately.

“Arthritis is progressive. The longer you leave it, the more damage is done to your joints. Your doctor will help recommend treatments and exercises to preserve your mobility. Early detection is key.”



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Pancreatic cancer: THIS number of patients will not receive surgery, chemo or radiotherapy

Just a third will get the treatment that is most likely to keep them alive.

The crisis in caring for sufferers is laid bare today by Pancreatic Cancer UK which reveals those with more common types of the killer disease are twice as likely to receive life-extending or potentially life-saving treatments.

Analysis by the charity shows less than ten per cent of people with pancreatic cancer have surgery compared with almost half of patients with all common cancers.

They will today demand action to address the injustice.

TV and radio presenter Nicholas Owen, 71, who lost his father to pancreatic cancer, said: “I know only too well how much change is needed for all of us affected by this disease.

“My father died in 1981 and since then, there have been very few new treatments introduced and precious little progress in the way that people with the disease are cared for.

“That must urgently change, and I am very proud to be a part of a movement paving the way towards that.”

Pancreatic cancer claims the lives of almost 9,000 people in the UK each year. The charity is fighting to ensure more people struck down by the disease receive life-extending or life-saving treatments and more trials are performed to improve survival rates.

Eight in 10 sufferers are diagnosed at an advanced stage where life-saving treatment is not an option.

The call for action comes as the charity hosts a summit today showcasing innovative pancreatic cancer care from around the UK.

Chief executive Diana Jupp said: “Having a diagnosis is devastating for all patients, but seven in ten are then completely shattered by the news there is no way of treating their cancer.

“All they are offered is some relief for their symptoms, and they face an awful prognosis. We must now bring about a new dawn for people affected by the disease.

“More patients must receive treatment which will give them the best chance of living for longer, or surviving – and everyone diagnosed must receive the best possible treatment and care for them.

“To achieve this step change for people affected, we need patients to be diagnosed earlier and more treatment options for those who are diagnosed.”



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Dementia news: Your EYES could predict if you will develop symptoms

Researchers found people whose eyes show signs of small changes in blood vessels at the age of 60 may be more likely to develop thinking and memory problems by the time they are 80 than people with healthy eyes.

The study involved 12,317 people who took tests of memory and thinking skills at the beginning of the study, again about six years later and for a third time about 20 years after the first test.

A special retinal camera was used to take photos of the back of the participants' eyes about three years after the start of the study, when the participants were an average age of 60.

A total of 11,692 people had no signs of retinopathy, or damage to the blood vessels in the retina, 365 people had mild retinopathy and 256 people had moderate to severe damage.

The researchers found that people who had moderate to severe retinopathy were more likely to have bigger drops in their scores on the memory and thinking tests over time than the people who had healthy eyes.

Study author Doctor Jennifer Deal, of Johns Hopkins University in the US, said: “Problems with the small blood vessels in the brain are likely as important a factor in cognitive decline as problems with larger arteries, but we don't have the ability to take pictures of these small vessels with brain imaging.

“Because the blood vessels in the eye and the brain are so similar anatomically, we hypothesised that looking at the blood vessels in the eye would help us understand what was happening in the brain.“

For the people with moderate to severe damage, their average scores on the tests declined by 1.22 standard deviation units over 20 years, compared to a decline of 0.91 standard deviation units for people with healthy eyes.

When the researchers adjusted to take into account people who had missed some of the thinking tests, they found that the difference between the two groups was equal to 0.57 standard deviation units.

Dr Deal added: “To put this in perspective, a previous study using the same methods found that the effect of diabetes on cognitive decline was equal to 0.21 standard deviation units.

“If our study results can be confirmed, differences in retinal integrity could provide reasonable estimates of how much small blood vessel damage in the brain is contributing to cognitive decline.”

Shel said one limitation of the study, published online by the journal Neurology, was that photos were taken in only one eye.



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What is psoriatic arthritis? FOUR signs that you have the painful joint condition

Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that develops in some psoriasis patients, according to the NHS.

It’s a long-term condition that gets worse over time.

It’s believed to be caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy tissue, just like in psoriasis.

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are similar to both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

“See your GP if you experience persistent pain, swelling or stiffness in your joints – even if you haven't been diagnosed with psoriasis,” said the NHS.

“If you've been diagnosed with psoriasis, you should have check-ups at least once a year to monitor your condition.

“Make sure you let your doctor know if you're experiencing any problems with your joints.”

Signs of psoriatic arthritis can include painful joints or swelling.

Inflammation and restricted movement could also be symptoms of the painful condition.

Some patients experience more extreme symptoms than others, the NHS said.

There may also be times when symptoms improve - known as remission.

Similarly, they could also get worse during certain periods, known as flare-ups.

There’s currently no cure for psoriatic arthritis.

But, certain treatments may help to relieve symptoms and slow down the condition’s progress.

Psoriatic arthritis patients are more likely to develop some other conditions, including cardiovascular disease.

You can lower your risk of these conditions - and reduce your arthritis symptoms - by maintaining a good balance between rest and exercise, and by losing weight if you’re overweight.



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Should you take fish oil while pregnant? What is the benefit of fish oil capsules?

Eczema risk was reduced by 22 per cent in children whose mothers took a probiotic supplement between 36 and 38 weeks of pregnancy.

Adding beneficial bacteria to the diet during the first three to six months of breastfeeding had the same effect.

The findings come from one of the biggest investigations of maternal diet and childhood allergy ever undertaken.

Scientists pooled data from more than 400 studies involving 1.5 million mothers and their children.

While clear benefits were seen from fish oil and probiotics, there was no evidence that avoiding potentially allergy-triggering foods such as nuts, dairy produce and eggs during pregnancy had any effect.

Lead researcher Dr Robert Boyle, from Imperial College London, said: "Food allergies and eczema in children are a growing problem across the world.

"Although there has been a suggestion that what a woman eats during pregnancy may affect her baby's risk of developing allergies or eczema, until now there has never been such a comprehensive analysis of the data.

"Our research suggests probiotic and fish oil supplements may reduce a child's risk of developing an allergic condition, and these findings need to be considered when guidelines for pregnant women are updated."

Allergies to foods such as nuts, egg, milk or wheat affect around one in 20 children in the UK.

They are the result of the immune system overreacting to harmless substances, leading to symptoms such as rashes, swelling, vomiting and wheezing.

Eczema, also thought to involve an overactive immune response, affects around one in five children in the UK and causes dry, cracked and itchy skin.

People who suffer from eczema are also more likely to have allergies.

More work is needed to understand how fish oils and probiotics may protect against allergies and eczema, according to study co-author Dr Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, also from Imperial College.

She said: "Despite allergies and eczema being on the rise, and affecting millions of children, we are still hunting for the root causes of these conditions, and how to prevent them.

"This study has provided clues, which we now need to follow with further research."

The new findings appear in the latest issue of the online journal Public Library of Science Medicine.

Previous studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil may help to dampen down an overactive immune system.

Probiotics, taken in the form of capsules, a powder or a health drink, contain live bacteria that may influence the natural balance of microbes in the gut.

Scientists have linked the disruption of naturally occurring gut "flora" to allergy risk.

Commenting on the research, Seif Shaheen, professor of respiratory epidemiology at Queen Mary University of London, said: "More definitive answers on the possible role of maternal probiotic and fish oil supplementation in the prevention of childhood allergic disease can only come from further large trials, which follow up the children to school age.

"If such trials are big enough they may be able to identify particular subgroups of mothers and children who would benefit most from these interventions."



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Heart attack WARNING: Women of THIS shape 'are more at risk'

Researchers found that while general obesity and obesity specifically around the abdomen each have 'profound' harmful effects on heart attack risk in both sexes, women were more negatively impacted by higher waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio than men.

The researchers said the findings suggest that the differences in the quantity and distribution of fat tissue not only results in differences in body shape between women and men, but may also have implications for the risk of a heart attack in later life.

The study involved nearly 500,000 British adults aged 40 to 69.

Study lead author Doctor Sanne Peters, Research Fellow in Epidemiology at the George Institute for Global Health at Oxford University, said: "Our findings support the notion that having proportionally more fat around the abdomen - a characteristic of the apple shape - appears to be more hazardous than more visceral fat which is generally stored around the hips, i.e. the pear shape."

She said further research on sex differences in obesity may yield insights into the biological mechanisms and could lead to sex-specific interventions to treat and halt the obesity epidemic.

One in four British adults is obese, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

The UK has the highest level of obesity in Western Europe, ahead of countries such as France, Germany, Spain and Sweden.

Obesity levels in the UK have more than trebled in the last 30 years and, on current estimates, more than half the population could be obese by 2050.

Being obese puts people at a higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and certain cancers.



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Brain cancer warning - why you should never ignore feeling sleepy

Brain cancer is caused by cells multiplying in an abnormal way, according to the NHS.

Symptoms of the condition are caused as the tumour takes up space inside the skull.

The signs can develop over a period of time, and patients may not show any symptoms to begin with.

But, you should see a GP if you’re feeling persistently drowsy.

“Some symptoms of a brain tumour are very general and lots of other medical conditions can cause them,” said Cancer Research UK.

“It's unlikely to be a brain tumour, but always get your symptoms checked out.

“You might find you feel drowsy or you are sleeping more. You might be falling asleep during the day.”

The NHS added: “See your GP if you have the above symptoms, particularly if you have a severe and persistent headache.”

Other signs of brain cancer include persistent headaches and seizures.

You should also see a GP if you have progressive weakness, vision and speech problems, and paralysis on one side of the body.

Persistent nausea and vomiting may be signs of the deadly disease.

If your GP can’t identify a cause of the symptoms, they may refer you to a neurologist for further tests.

More than 9,000 people are diagnosed with brain tumours in the UK every year.

About half of all primary brain tumours are cancerous, the NHS said.

You’re more likely to develop the disease is you’re exposed to high levels of radiation.

Losing weight could help to prevent brain cancer, said Cancer Research UK.



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Eczema cream WARNING: Do NOT use this herbal treatment - NHS claims ‘more harm than good’

Eczema is a common condition that can make the skin become dry, itchy and cracked, according to the NHS.

Patients usually have periods where symptoms are less noticeable, as well as periods of particularly bad episodes - known as flare-ups.

You can help to relieve the dry skin condition by avoiding triggers, and by using moisturising creams.

But, you should avoid using Yiganerjing Chinese Medicine Cream, as it contains undisclosed steroids and anti fungal ingredients, the NHS and government urged.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) - a government division - has acted to stop the sale of the cream.

Yiganerjing Cream contains the steroid clobetasol propionate, which is the active ingredient in prescription-only medicines for eczema and psoriasis.

Creams contains steroids could be sued sparingly, as as directed by a doctor or pharmacist, the MHRA said.

“The sale of potent steroid creams directly to the public is illegal for good reason,” said MHRA Manager of the Medicines Borderline Section, Dr Chris Jones. “If used without medical supervision these medicines can be dangerous.

“Steroids must be prescribed by healthcare professionals who follow strict criteria when prescribing them and monitoring patients using them.

“They can suppress the skin’s response to infection, can cause long-term thinning of the skin, and if applied long term over a wide area, particularly in babies and children, can cause other medical problems.

“Our advice to anyone who is using Yiganerjing Cream, particularly on young children and babies, is to discontinue use immediately.”

There are topical corticosteroids and emollients available that could help to relieve the symptoms of eczema.

See a GP if you have symptoms of eczema, the NHS said.

Symptoms include itchy, dry, cracked, sore and red skin.

Some patients may have small patches of dry skin, while others may have widespread inflamed skin all over the body.

Eczema often occurs in people that get allergies, have asthma or hay fever.

Express.co.uk has approached Yinganerjing Chinese Medical Cream for comment.



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Arthritis pain - add this 41p vegetable to your shopping list to prevent joint pain

Arthritis is a common condition that can cause joint pain and inflammation, according to the NHS.

Other symptoms of arthritis include stiffness, restricted movement and muscle wasting.

Some treatments and therapies could help to ease arthritis pain.

But, eating more broccoli could help to prevent and reduce arthritis symptoms, scientists have claimed.

Eating broccoli could lower the risk of developing joint pain, according to scientists from the University of East Anglia.

The cruciferous vegetable contains the compound sulforaphane, which was revealed to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

But, the researchers found the compound could get into joints in sufficient amounts to reduce arthritis pain.

The findings could help the UK’s eight and a half million osteoarthritis patients, the scientists added.

“Osteoarthritis is a major cause of disability,” said researcher Ian Clark.

“It is a huge health burden but a huge financial burden too, which will get worse in an increasingly ageing and obese population such as ours.

“As well as treating those who already have the condition, you need to be able to tell healthy people how to protect their joints into the future.

“There is currently no way in to the disease pharmaceutically and you cannot give healthy people drugs unnecessarily, so this is where diet could be a safe alternative.”

The arthritis-fighting compound sulforaphane is also found in Brussel sprouts and cabbage.

Eating more vegetables could help to prevent arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

“Try adding broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale or cauliflower to your salad or stir-fry,” the foundation said.

You could also prevent arthritis by eating more omega-3 fatty acids and by losing weight, if you’re obese.



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Diabetes type 2 - 88p a day natural supplements ’SLASHED’ woman’s high blood sugar

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that affects about 3.7 million people in the UK.

The condition is caused by the pancreas not producing enough of the hormone insulin, or the body not reacting to the hormone.

A lack of insulin lowers the amount of sugar that the body takes from the blood, leading to high blood sugar.

But, CuraLin supplements significantly lowered one patient’s blood sugar, it has been claimed.

Maureen Kersley, 72, was diagnosed with diabetes after a routine health check.

She was prescribed diabetes medication to bring her blood sugar down, but it caused unwanted side effects, Kersley said.

But, CuraLin supplements helped to reverse the condition, she added.

The supplements use all-natural ingredients, and are available from 88 pence a day.

“During a routine check with my GP, they uncovered that my HbA1c [glycated haemoglobin] was showing that I had diabetes, as it was well beyond the pre-diabetic level,” said Kersley.

“As soon as I was told, it felt like a death sentence as I know of all the symptoms it can lead to.

“I tried to manage my blood sugar levels with my diet alone; I generally eat well and don’t have a lot of sweet things but I still found it hard to keep my blood sugar levels down which made me nervous.

“I found Curalin on Facebook and it has changed my life already, in just a matter of weeks. I tried the first week trial pack and noticed almost straight away that my fasting blood sugar levels dropped from 8 or 9 down to 6.9.”

The dietary supplements, which aren’t a substitute for conventional treatment, combines traditional ingredients from across the world.

Ingredients include bitter melon, alma, turmeric, and fenugreek.

CuraLin presents an “amazing opportunity” to lower costs of managing diabetes on the NHS, said Kersley.

You could lower your risk of diabetes by eating a healthy, balanced diet, and by losing weight if you’re overweight.



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Freezing weather means we're set for worst winter deaths crisis in DECADES

And people with health conditions including heart problems and asthma have been warned to take care and stay indoors as temperatures plummet.

Campaigners fear this winter could even bring "unprecedented numbers" of deaths amid forecasts of severe cold weather into mid-March.

Malcolm Booth, chief executive of the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners, said: "Last year's excess winter death figures were pretty horrendous even though it was a relatively mild year.

"With a cold spell like this the risk is this number will rise if people, especially the elderly, do not take great care. We could be facing unprecedented numbers this year."

Last year saw 34,300 excess winter deaths in England and Wales caused by slips, falls and illness, according to the Office for National Statistics.

In the winter of 2014-15 there were 43,900 deaths, the highest number since 1999-2000 when there were 48,400.

Latest PHE figures reveal there have been 150 new admissions to intensive care units with influenza since mid-February.

More than 750 people were reported as being in hospital with the flu, including the deadly Australian strain, last week.

Dr Richard Pebody, PHE's acting head of respiratory diseases, said: "We have seen significantly more deaths than we'd usually expect to see this winter, particularly in over-65s in England.

"The very cold weather some areas have seen since Christmas and the strains of flu circulating this winter are likely to be important contributing factors.

"These both tend to affect the elderly and those with underlying conditions."

Charities have warned people with health problems to take extra care over the next few weeks.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director for Age UK, added: "Simple precautions such as wrapping up warm when going outside, sleeping with the windows closed at night and having plenty of hot food and drinks throughout the day can help keep these risks at bay."



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