Importance of Understanding Blood Pressure Readings

Importance of Understanding Blood Pressure Readings

High blood pressure is a common concern for aging adults and individuals with risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Whether you are an individual who has been instructed by your doctor to check your blood pressure regularly or you would like to know more about blood pressure readings taken at your doctor’s office, here’s some helpful info:

What is Blood Pressure?

First, you should understand what blood pressure readings measure. An individual’s blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes as it moves through the arteries. For most people, blood pressure levels vary throughout the day depending factors like activity level and stress level. An individual who has consistently high blood pressure readings is diagnosed with high blood pressure. A higher than normal blood pressure over time leads to damage to the heart, blood vessels and kidneys and may cause a heart attack or stroke.

What is a Blood Pressure Reading?

A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers:

  • Systolic, or the top number, is a measure of the level of pressure in the arteries as the heart beats.
  • Diastolic, or the bottom number, is a measure of the level of pressure in the arteries between heart beats, when the heat is resting.
  • A heart rate of 120/80 is expressed as a blood pressure of 120 over 80.

What Does My Reading Mean?

The American Heart Association set the blood pressure categories of risk:

  • Less than 120/80 is considered a normal blood pressure reading
  • A systolic reading of 120-139 or a diastolic reading of 80-89 is considered prehypertension
  • A systolic reading above 140 or a diastolic reading above 90 is called hypertension
  • A person with a reading above 180/110 is in need of emergency care

What Does it Mean if I Have High Blood Pressure?

A blood pressure reading in the prehypertension range typically does not warrant immediate action. Instead, a doctor will likely ask you to continue to regularly monitor your blood pressure levels at varying times of the day. Prehypertension may also be a sign that you should work to alleviate causes of high blood pressure, including being overweight, consuming excess sodium and drinking too much alcohol.

A consistent blood pressure reading in the hypertension level is likely to warrant treatment. Some patients work on changes to diet, personal habits and exercise to control high blood pressure, but medication may be needed if lifestyle changes do not work.

Benefits of Online Medical Registry

The precise conditions of a medical emergency cannot be predicted, but ensuring that medical providers have accurate information can be absolutely crucial. Registering with an online medical registry such as with American Medical ID can prevent potentially life-threatening decisions and enable speedy treatment.
Drug interactions can be fatal, especially in an emergency situation where other factors may already pose a risk to the patient. An individual in a crisis situation might be unable to self-report drugs and treatment due to unconsciousness or distress. Medical ID jewelry can help pinpoint patients registered with significant medical conditions or allergies to certain medications. For example, an online registry can inform health care providers that a patient has a pacemaker or a particular illness, such as diabetes.

Medical records are often sufficient in an emergency, but sometimes it is best to go straight to the source for information. Online medical registries can also carry information about a client’s medical care team- doctors, nurse practitioners, psychiatrists, psychologists and other caregivers. This information can be helpful if caregivers need more information prior to treatment.

In some emergencies or otherwise stressful situations, maintaining identification and documentation can be a hassle or nearly impossible. Medical ID jewelry can provide an identity, and information maintained on the registry can provide emergency contact information and insurance information.

Patients with past surgeries, neurological disorders or other histories may present a unique problem when it comes to diagnosis, especially when the patient is unable to present a medical history. Documents, including scans, can be maintained on online medical registries and accessed when previous health status needs to be assessed. Also, documents pertaining to end of life status, such as living wills and donor cards, can be provided in the event that an individual in the registry does not survive.

Even in situations that do not pose an immediate threat to health, online medical registries provide fast and efficient access to a patient’s information. Many hospitals have tedious processes for transferring paperwork and records from one facility to another and many health databases only provide information within a relatively small network of health care facilities. On the other hand, an online medical registry can potentially provide access in any facility.

Whether the situation is a medical emergency or straightening out insurance information after an annual visit, registering with an online medical registry can make the process more efficient. When you purchase medical ID jewelry from American Medical ID, you have the option of signing up with the online medical registry.

Wearing a Medical ID Bracelet at Work

Where are you most likely to pick up the cold, flu or something more serious, like meningitis? At the office. Highly contagious viruses and infections like these are passed around by bacteria that have been left behind by a sick person or someone who doesn’t yet realize that he is getting sick. From investing in a medical ID bracelet to avoiding certain office areas, you can take steps to stay healthy at work.

Keep your hands clean

Bacteria left on common areas in the office can live through the entire day and infect everyone who comes in contact. Here are some areas often ripe with germs:

  • Doorknobs
  • Telephones
  • Keyboards
  • Elevator buttons
  • Chair arms
  • Tables
  • Fridge handles
  • Drawer pulls
  • Staplers

Sometimes avoiding these areas is impossible, but you can still be proactive about your health. Even if you aren’t using a shared keyboard or telephone, wipe them down with alcohol or a sanitizing wipe before using. Washes your hands goes a long way to keeping you healthy.

For commonly touched areas like doors, use the paper towel you dried your hands with to push open the door. If this isn’t possible, touch a higher part of the door that others may not have used as often. Or use your weight, or another part of your body, to open the door. Any germs that get on your hands are very likely to get on your face as well.

Staying safe at work

Keeping yourself germ-free at work is important to avoid illnesses that could put you in bed for days. But there are more serious health issues to worry about while you’re at work also. If you have a medical condition or serious food allergy, it’s important to identify yourself. A medical ID bracelet can have your important medical information engraved on it, and this small accessory could save your life.

Emergency medics are trained to look for a medical ID bracelet because the information may be imperative to deciding which treatment is right for you. If you are on certain medications or have a heart condition, diabetes or asthma, an emergency could leave you unable to speak. And because it’s unlikely that your co-workers will know your personal medical history, a medical ID bracelet will let emergency personnel exactly what they need to know to save your life.

If a bracelet isn’t your style, there are these other options available:

  • Dog tags
  • Keychains
  • Necklaces
  • Sport bands
  • Wallet cards
  • Charms

Invest in your safety at work today by finding the right medical ID jewelry for you at


10 Foods that Help Fight Arthritis Symptoms

According to, over 40 million Americans suffer from arthritis and related symptoms. 285,000 of those affected are children. As a parent, it’s important to provide a diet for your children that keeps them healthy. Plus, by eating the right foods, you could lessen your own chances of having severe flare ups. By including these 10 foods in your diet, you could have fewer arthritis symptoms from now on.

1.  Salmon has Omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the chemicals in your body that spread inflammation.

2.  Low-fat milk is a good source of Vitamin D, which helps prevent swelling and soreness. However, it’s smart to limit your daily dairy intake.

3.  Olive oil can be spread lightly over salad. Use about a tablespoon. It also stops inflammation before it starts with the compound oleocanthal.

4.  Citrus fruits can satisfy your sweet tooth and give you the Vitamin C you need to protect your collagen. Skip the supplements and go straight for the fruit.

5.  Onions contain quercetin, which is also an antioxidant that calms inflammation. Start throwing them into your recipes for dinner as many nights a week as you can.

6.  Green tea is an excellent alternative to coffee or sweet tea. Plus, it decreases the production of EGCG in your body, which can cause joint damage.

7.  Ginger can be grated into meals like stir-fry or muffins. Or try drinking ginger tea. Its effects are the same as Ibuprofen if taken regularly.

8.  Gluten-free bread could significantly reduce any swelling you are experiencing. Wheat tends to cause inflammation, and many people are allergic to it without even knowing.

9.  Avocados are seasonal, but in small amounts have been proven to ease arthritis symptoms in dogs. And for humans, it’s an anti-inflammatory superfood.

10.  Water should be your go-to drink, especially if you have arthritis. Water lubricates your joints, which makes moving around a lot easier.

Although it’s important to incorporate these foods into your regular diet, the most imperative step in decreasing arthritis symptoms is to reach and maintain a healthy body weight. Being overweight or obese makes moving around a lot harder on your joints every day. This causes strain and swelling.


Closely Spaced Pregnancies Increase Risk for Autism

In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that one in roughly 111 children from certain testing sites across America have a form of autism. This includes classic autism, pervasive development disorder and Asperger’s syndrome. Just one year later, researchers showed that one in every 91 American children is on the autism spectrum. This developmental disorder is growing at such a rapid pace that medical personnel are shocked, and studies have proven that closely spaced pregnancies have played a part in this phenomenon.

In 1992, the director of the Lazarsfeld Center for Social Sciences at Columbia University put a team of researches together to test his theory that closely spaced pregnancies put the second child at risk for a developmental disorder. The team’s findings showed that out of 662,000 sibling pairs born within three years of one another in the state of California, none of the firstborns were diagnosed with an autistic disorder, but 3,137 of their younger siblings were. Of this number, 22 sibling pairs were born within one year of one another, showing that the closer the births are, the higher the risk of autism.

Researchers and medical professionals don’t know exactly why a child born within three years of his or her older sibling faces a greater risk for autism. Possibly the most logical explanation for this is that the mother’s body hasn’t had adequate time to reproduce all the nutrients needed to have another healthy baby. But the same study in California showed that more often than not, a closely spaced pregnancy can result in a healthy baby. Therefore, other inherent factors – perhaps also with the mother – must be figured in too.

Other factors that increase risks of autism

The increase of children born with autism isn’t just from closely spaced pregnancies. It comes from other factors as well, one being parental age. It’s not surprising news that the older a mother is during pregnancy, the more health risks the child faces. Down syndrome, low birth weight and other complications are linked to a woman’s age during pregnancy. Autism risks, however, are linked both to the mother and father’s ages if they are over the age of 40. Over the last two decades, people have begun to put off pregnancy, and researchers believe that this is a contributing factor to the dramatic increase in autism.

Preterm-birth babies are also at an increased risk for having a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum. Preterm, or premature, births are defined as fewer than 33 weeks in the womb. Because the infant’s brain develops differently outside of the womb, mothers who give birth before 33 weeks of pregnancy increase their risk of seeing cognitive problems in later childhood. Developmental disorders associated with autism are largely social, and they inhibit the child’s ability to maintain relationships in different ways.

Proactive steps for dealing with autism

Looking out for the signs of autism is important, especially if you had a premature birth, a pregnancy at a later age or your baby had a low birth weight. One thing that could send up a red flag is if your baby gives little to no joyful expressions, especially when interacting with others. If your child doesn’t respond to his or her name, follow directions or even appear to hear you at times, you should have him evaluated by a medical professional.

If your child is diagnosed with a disorder on the autism spectrum, it’s important to identify him with a medical ID bracelet. Because of the non-engaging behavior associated with autism, it’s likely that your child will try to wander away at times. A medical ID bracelet could save his life. Have the child’s pertinent medical history, medications or simply a home address and phone number engraved on the medical ID bracelet to ensure his safety. American Medical ID has a wide selection of medical ID bracelets to choose from. Find one that fits your child’s needs today!

10 Tips for Lowering Your Cholesterol

Take these diet and exercise tips to heart to watch your cholesterol levels drop.

Has your doctor mentioned lowering your cholesterol? Whether it’s something you’ve been struggling with for a while or if you’ve been recently diagnosed with high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia), this quick list can help you lower your levels through diet and exercise. Cholesterol can be a huge problem, especially if you have a family history or are prone to heart disease, clotting or a number of other conditions. Lowering your cholesterol can leave you happier and most of all, healthier.

  1. There are two kinds of cholesterol, LDL (bad) and HDL (good). Eating more good cholesterol than bad is a good way to start. Diet is half the battle, so why not start out with the right foot? Foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids, plant oils and soluble fibers are great sources of good cholesterol.
  2. Do you like seafood? Even if you don’t, you may want to develop a taste for it, as it’s both heart-healthy and a great source of good cholesterol.
  3. Balance what you eat. American portion sizes are massive compared to the rest of the world. It may be difficult at first, but your body with eventually adjust to smaller portions and will thank you for it. You may even lose a little weight in the process!
  4. Are you a snack-a-holic? Nuts are a great source of monosaturated fat which fights bad cholesterol. So a salty, nutty treat may indeed be just what the doctor ordered. Other sources of monosaturated fats are also recommended for both a healthy diet and lowering your LDL levels.
  5. Stick to unsaturated fats as well. They help lower bad cholesterol and may even raise your good cholesterol level. Saturated fats such as those in butter and palm oil, for example, are best used in moderation.
  6. Whole grain cereals, bread and granola are great ways to help with your cholesterol levels. White bread, for example, boosts your blood sugar levels and makes you feel hungrier sooner. Wheat bread doesn’t raise your blood sugar as quickly, leading to a feeling of fullness that lasts longer.
  7. You knew it was coming – exercise! Even just 30 minutes a day of physical activity such as walking or swimming can drastically improve your situation, as it helps clear your arteries that may become clogged by cholesterol.
  8. Break it up. You don’t even have to walk, jog, whatever your preference, for 30 minutes straight. Do it ten minutes at a time, for instance.
  9. Even physical activities such as gardening or dancing can help. If you don’t like the gym or find walks too boring, get out there and do something fun!

10.  Don’t worry, be happy! Stress can increase the amount of cholesterol your body retains, so take a breather every once in a while.


Recycling Your Medical ID Bracelet – Is it Time?

Being safe and saving the earth? It’s possible! For those of you that wear medical ID bracelets, you know how important it can be to keep them in good shape. Even with the most dedicated care, they can still fade or tarnish, becoming difficult if not impossible to read. This can cause problems for medical personnel who may need to provide you immediate care. Unreadable bracelets can be misread or illegible entirely, and if the time comes that you need critical care, their warning may go unheeded. Also, your bracelet may start coming apart or break entirely. What then?

Recycling Your Bracelet

You may wonder if it’s possible to recycle your bracelet. American Medical ID offers a gift card for you to use toward the purchase of a new bracelet should you choose to recycle your old one. Depending on the material of the bracelet, they’ll offer $5-75 toward the purchase of your new bracelet. They do this by recycling the metals in their own production shop, deferring the costs of buying new materials from suppliers. You’ll usually receive the gift card in about 4-6 weeks.

The way you begin the recycling process is simple. Head on over to the link below and get going. It’s a very easy, streamlined process, and the money you’ll save will be worth the time. All you’ll have to do is fill out the form on this page. After you finish providing the required information, you’ll be taken to a confirmation page. You’ll print that page off and mail it in along with your old bracelet. Remember, as your medical ID bracelet is valuable because of the metals used to make it, you should either choose shipping insurance or send via registered mail. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially since your bracelet contains personal information. It’s as simple as that!

Get a New One!

American Medical ID offers plenty of different styles for you to choose from, so it’s worth your time to find one that fits your budget and style. From metals to sportsbands, bracelets are made to order.


Food Allergies 101

Do you know someone with a food allergy? Likely you do. 1 in 25 children are affected by food allergies, and many adults suffer as well. It’s a common, though unsung, problem that many Americans live with. What should you look for, and how can you help? Prevention is much of the battle, and knowing what to look for goes a long way.

Being educated on the matter can only help in the long run if you or someone you may know has an allergic reaction to certain foods. Remember, if someone appears to be having an allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention. An allergic reaction may not seem bad at first, but it can progress quickly. It’s not possible to cure allergies, only avoid the triggers and be prepared in the event of a reaction.

What Foods Are People Allergic To?

A person can be allergic to just about any food, but most allergic reactions are caused my eight main foods.

• Milk/Dairy

• Soy

• Wheat/Gluten

• Egg

• Peanut

• Tree nut

• Fish

• Shellfish

What Happens?

As with allergic reactions in general, there are a wide variety of symptoms, but mostly, look for the following.

• Rash

• Swelling in the throat, face, or around the lymph nodes

• Itching

What Can You Do To Help?

Often, a person will know if they’ve eaten something they’re allergic to and know to seek medical care, even after using a portable epinephrine pen, for example. But you can help, too.

• Don’t share food with friends who are allergic. Sometimes, the food you eat may have trace amounts of another food that can cause reactions.

• Wash your hands after eating.

• Seek help immediately if someone seems to be having an allergic reaction.

Food allergies are serious. They can cause serious long-term injury or even death if not treated right away. Therefore, it is important to avoid the foods someone is allergic to if at all possible and seek immediate medical attention via 9-1-1 should someone appear to be having a reaction.

You can also provide yourself or someone you know with food allergies the gift of a medical ID bracelet. This is a proactive tool to use in the event of an emergency. A medical ID bracelet lists personal medical information, including specific food allergies and provides medical personnel a clue to proper treatment. Check out the stylish medical ID jewelry at American Medical ID today!


New Genetic Risk Factors of Alzheimer’s Disease

For those of you unfamiliar with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), it is a neurological or brain disorder that destroys memory and thinking ability. Eventually, the disease progresses to the point that a person can’t carry out basic, everyday tasks. Mostly, symptoms of AD appear after age 60; however, AD can also affect younger patients in early-onset cases. Researchers believe that the disease may begin affecting a patient 10-20 years before symptoms are noticeable.

Recently, a worldwide research group identified a number of new genes and pinpointed exact ones that may be risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s been up for discussion for some time that there may be genetic risk factors for certain diseases, AD among them, but recently scientific advances have shown that there may indeed be genetic propensity to diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Until this research was done, a single gene, APOE, was linked to Alzheimer’s. Now, there are at least three more that may also directly or indirectly affect a person’s chance to develop the disease. Although the new genes don’t directly correlate with developing Alzheimer’s, they may pave the way for more breakthroughs and eventually a discovery of what biological factors directly influence the development of disorders such as AD.

In the United States, the National Institute of Health’s National Institute on Aging established the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium, or ADGC.  The Consortium provided researchers at the university and professional level to combine and compare data and link to each other for support. Similarly, researchers across the US, UK, and Europe combined data on genetic research involving Alzheimer’s. Both projects were funded by the National Institute of Health, and the results of the study were published as two papers in the online edition of Nature Genetics on April 3, 2011.

The researchers took information taken from the genetic information provided by Alzheimer’s patients as well as cognitively normal people and the differences at the genetic level pointed to certain genes that may be a factor in developing disorders like this. Certain variants in genetic code seemed to consistently be associated with the disease.

This research suggests that Alzheimer’s may begin on a cellular level, involving protein movement and lipid transportation. The new insights provided by this study promise to change the way scientists look at this disease as well as others.





Taking Blood Thinners? Learn the #1 Safety Precaution

What is the #1 safety precaution if you are taking a blood thinner? A medical identification bracelet. It’s a simple, but effective intervention that all patients should consider.

If you are currently taking a blood thinner, your doctor has probably recommended it to help prevent a stroke or heart attack. Common blood thinners include: Coumidin, Plavix and Warafin, although blood thinners are marketed under a variety of different pharmaceutical names. In general, they are all considered anticoagulants because they can prevent clotting in the arteries and the veins. They are important and life saving medications.

But even medications carry risks when prescribed with other medications. Blood thinners can have serious (even fatal) side effects when they interact with other medications. For this reason, a physician needs to know exactly what you are taking and why. Unfortunately, most people assume they will be able to let the physician know this information themselves, in the event of an emergency situation.

The truth, however, is that sometimes an emergency leaves a patient unconscious, temporarily incapacitated, or simply unable to communicate. In a true medical emergency, even the steadiest patient can become disorientated and confused. That is why medical bracelets are so important. They can communicate quickly and effectively for you, letting the practitioner know basic, but vital health information.

The American Medical Association considers these bracelets so important, they recommend that all patients consider wearing one. That way, if anything happens to you, a medical provider will know immediately, simply by examining the bracelet, what medications you are taking. Most bracelets are inscribed with other vital statistics, including your name, any allergies, as well as contact information for your personal physician. That way a medical doctor can call your physician immediately to consult about your case.

If you or your loved one is taking a blood thinner, make sure to have an emergency medical ID bracelet. Sometimes, the simplest things are truly the most important. American Medical ID carries a line of medical ID bracelets that are both stylish and functional. Find one that fits your needs or those of someone you care about today!