Nighttime Noise Could Possibly Raise Blood Pressure Risk

We’ve long known that some people are light sleepers while others snooze right through extremely loud noises. Though fairly small, a new study shed some interesting light on how sleeping in noisy areas may affect your body. According to this study, your sleeping body registers the effects of noise by temporarily raising your blood pressure. The study monitored a group of volunteers who lived near four busy European airports hosting plenty of inbound and outbound flights every night. Each participant was fitted with a blood pressure monitoring device, which was programmed to gather blood pressure info at 15-minute intervals. To complete their preparations, researchers outfitted each volunteer’s bedroom with a sound recorder and a decibel meter. This allowed the researchers to record all background noise entering the room, along with time and volume indicators.

Astonishingly, researchers found that noise events correlated precisely with spikes in subjects’ blood pressure. These findings covered all types of noise events, from airport noise to traffic sounds or snoring. As one might reasonably expect, researchers noted that louder sound events corresponded with more pronounced spikes in blood pressure. Though most people intuitively realize that it is better to sleep without interruption, it is more surprising to learn that noises can affect your body even as you remain fully unconscious. For people who suffer from abnormally high blood pressure and heart disease at the same time, this topic is naturally of great interest.

Nevertheless, it is too early to draw too many conclusions from this study. Although this study is a step forward, researchers still don’t completely understand the relationship between noise and hypertension. Co-authored by Dr. Jarup of Imperial College London, this recent study only featured 140 study subjects. It may take a much larger study to produce definitive answers regarding this important topic. It is interesting to contrast this study with an earlier sleep study from the same organization. The earlier study monitored a much larger group, which numbered in the thousands. In the previous study, researchers found that regular exposure to night-time highway noise increased hypertension risk for men. However, this effect did not extend to women. Mysterious results like these demonstrate that we have a lot to learn about the human body.

Fortunately, high-quality foam earplugs help a lot when it comes to reducing night noise. To achieve quieter sleep without cutting yourself off from the world, consider wearing one earplug when you retire. This will significantly reduce your noise exposure without leaving you totally unresponsive to stimuli. Remember that there is more than one way to put in an earplug. You’ll want to use a method that ensures a tight seal in your ear cavity. If your foam earplugs fall out of your ear routinely while you sleep, there’s a good chance you’re not putting them in properly.

Do Painkillers have a Link to Increased Risk of Heart Attack

A new study conducted by a group of European researchers and published in the British Medical Journal shows that people who actively take NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to treat pain are at a higher risk for heart attacks than those who do not use these types of drugs for pain relief.

The study looked at over 450,000 people from three different countries that suffered a heart attack. The people ranged in age, health condition, ethnic and economic backgrounds, and were from both sexes. What they discovered is that over 15 percent of these people recently begun taking NSAID prior to their heart attack.

The highest risk group was those that began the drug regiment a month prior to their heart attack and were using prescription strength pain killers. Those in the lowest group were taking over-the-counter (OTC)strength medications and took them infrequently. Those who took the medications most often, even OTC strength had higher risks of suffering a heart attack.

What Does This Mean?

At this point in time, researchers are not sure what their findings mean. They have discovered a connection between these pain medications and heart attack risk, now they have to learn why. Additional studies have begun to discover if this risk has anything to do with other health conditions, the reasons for taking the pain medications, or if something in these medicines themselves are what is causing the increased risk.

Anyone who is currently taking these medications regularly are encouraged to speak with their doctor about any risks that may be associated with their use.

If you are taking pain medications that are considered a NSAID, you are encouraged to take special care to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. Make sure that you are eating right and that you get enough exercise each day to keep your heart strong. If possible, reduce use of these medications if your doctor approves and your condition allows.

NSAID drugs include: Voltaren, Rofecoxib, Celebrex, Ibuprofen, and Naproxin. These medications are available in prescription strength alone or mixed with other medications. Some of these medications are available over-the-counter in weaker strengths. Check all medications that you take to see if they contain these medications and then speak with your doctor.

Could You Be at Risk for Stroke? New Research Suggests That You Might Be If You Suffer From Migraine Headaches

In the United States, more than 37 million people battle crippling pain, nausea and vision changes associated with migraine headaches. Now, those people may be at a higher risk for stroke, as well. A link between migraine and stroke has long been suspected and new research is beginning to add more support to the idea that there is a link between the two conditions.
A preliminary study that was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in November, found that women that have a history of migraine headaches might have an increased risk of stroke, as well. Researchers at the University of Florida studied more than 900 women that were being assessed for heart disease. About 25 percent of those women reported a history of migraines. The study found that there was a more than 50 percent higher risk of stroke among the women in the study that reported migraines within a six-year period of time.
Before this most recent study that took place in November, previous research found a connection between migraine, especially the kind that is accompanied by an aura, with risk for stroke. A migraine with aura refers to a migraine that is accompanied by changes in vision, such as zigzag lines or flashes of light in your field of vision. These migraines are often quite disturbing for the person experiencing them. According to research that was presented at the American Stroke Association’s 2016 International Stroke Conference, researchers found that people that have migraine headaches with auras are more than twice as likely to have a stroke caused by a blood clot compared to migraine sufferers that do not have the aura. All of these studies definitely point to a link between stroke and migraine.

What Should I Do If I Have Migraine?

If you suffer from migraine, one of the most important things to do is to talk with your healthcare provider about your symptoms. There are certain medications that may raise your risk for migraine-associated stroke, such as hormone replacement therapy. Research has found that women that take hormone replacement therapy containing estrogen and that also have migraines with aura are at a significant risk for stroke. Therefore, it is important to talk with your physician whenever you have a migraine. In spite of the large number of people who have migraines, they are still largely misunderstood. A migraine is not the same as an ordinary headache. It is actually a collection of complex neurological symptoms and is usually more severe than a typical headache. In addition, a collection of symptoms that are not seen in regular headaches may accompany a migraine. Some of these symptoms include sensitivity to light or sound, temporary vision loss, nausea or vomiting. If you have migraine symptoms, definitely have a conversation with your doctor about it. Your physician can assess stroke risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking to determine if you are at risk for stroke.