Thursday, August 30, 2007

Where's the pain?

It has been two days now that I have been pain free and walking with a long stride.

After ripping the lateral insertion of my left gastroc it took me 3 days before I could limp around OK. One week later I was walking without a limp. Now it is 10 days later and my hips are good?


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Argentine Tango

I'm starting an Argentine Tango thread.

From here on in this blog all references to Tango mean Argentine Tango.

Here are a couple of Tango sites to check out.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

BP Tip#10

Tip #10 - What are other people doing to lower their blood-pressure?

Managing high blood-pressure consistently is often challenging. Luckily, you are not alone in your quest to control your blood-pressure. This last tip of ours, will introduce you to others who share your concerns so you can learn what works for them.

To facilitate such conversations, we have created an online forum, focusing on non-drug treatments for blood-pressure.

You are invited to participate in the LowerBP forum and urge you to share your good and bad experiences relating to high blood-pressure with other people. The LowerBP forum also includes a free "ask the expert" opportunity featuring world leading experts on blood-pressure.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

BP Tip#9

Tip #9 - Beware of blood-pressure & pain reliever mix.

Did you know that extended use of some over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers like Advil may interfere with some high blood-pressure medications and even elevate blood-pressure?

The pain relievers of concern belong to a group known as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs or NSAIDs, These drugs work by blocking the body's production of prostaglandins, substances which play a role in inflammation and fever.

The problem is that by blocking prostaglandin production, NSAID pain relievers may prevent your blood-pressure medication from working properly. In addition, NSAIDs themselves may increase blood-pressure and can cause salt and water retention in the body.

What can be done about it?

Tylenol and other pain relievers that have acetaminophen as the active ingredient may be less problematic. Acetaminophen has not been shown to have any negative effects on blood-pressure medications. In any case, be sure to talk to your doctor before using any OTC pain reliever for more than 10 days. Be SMART about the medications you take and their effect on your body. To view the blood-pressure specific website of Tylenol Click Here.

BP Tip#8

Tip #8 - How sleep affects your blood-pressure.

This may sound trivial but it's important to acknowledge that sleeping well can help lower blood-pressure. Here are some facts and suggestions for getting a good night's sleep, every night.

Get plenty of sleep - When you are refreshed, you're better able to tackle the next day's problems, allowing you to avoid and better cope with stress.

If you have difficulty falling asleep, try keeping a schedule; going to sleep and awakening at a consistent time each day. A bedtime ritual such as taking a warm bath, reading or eating a light snack helps many people relax. Make sure you sleep healthily - People with high blood-pressure are more likely to suffer from a condition called sleep apnea. In this potentially serious sleep disorder, breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Apnea is Greek for "without breath."

If you have been told that you snore loudly or you wake up feeling tired after a full night's sleep or you are sleepy during the day, it may be worthwhile to learn more about sleep apnea. For more information from the Mayo Clinic Sleep Center Click Here.

BP Tip#7

Tip #7 - Can supplements lower blood-pressure?

According to the Mayo Clinic, some dietary supplements may help you lower your blood-pressure to a certain degree. The following supplements are categorized by the strength of the scientific evidence that shows they lower blood-pressure. Be careful when taking supplements. They can do more harm than good if used inappropriately.

Strong evidence for lowering blood-pressure: Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, alpha-linolenic acid

Good evidence for lowering blood-pressure: Coenzyme Q10

Unclear evidence for lowering blood-pressure: Garlic

To learn more about how to use supplements correctly from the Mayo Clinic's High blood-pressure Center Click Here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

BP Tip#6

Tip #6 - Exercise your way to lower blood-pressure.

In addition to diet, it's likely that your doctor has also mentioned that physical exercise can help lower blood-pressure. But did you know that mild exercise, such as walking, may reduce blood-pressure just as much or even more than strenuous activities, such as jogging? The good news is that every bit of activity counts.

A recent statement prepared jointly by the American College of Sports Medicine and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you accumulate 30 minutes or more of exercise on most days of the week.

For the American College of Sports Medicine white paper about exercising your way to lower blood-pressure Click Here.

In addition, here are few fun gadgets available on the market that can help you keep track of your activity.

A rather inexpensive pedometer can help you reach your goals counting steps, aerobic steps, distance in miles and calories burned. For more information about popular pedometers Click Here.

If you want to be more scientific, you might want to also use a heart rate monitor. For more information about popular monitors Click Here.

For those who would like the latest gadget in fitness monitoring complete with a calorie management system, take a look at a new device, named bodybugg by the Apex Fitness Group. For more information about the bodybugg Click Here.

BP Tip#5

Tip #5 - Can your diet help lower blood-pressure?

Ok, we are sure your doctor has told you (on more than one occasion) that losing extra weight and eating better can reduce high blood-pressure.

As we know it is "easier said than done," we thought we'd provide you with few facts and tools that can help.

If you are overweight, every 10 pound (4.5 Kg) reduction can lower blood-pressure by 5-20 points.

Reducing sodium intake for salt sensitive people was shown to reduce BP 2-8 points.

Limiting your alcohol consumption to two glasses for men and one glass for women (and light weighted individuals) can lower blood-pressure by 2-4 points.

Cutting caffeine can also make a difference.

The "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension" (DASH) project funded by the National Institutes of Health demonstrated that people who adhered to this diet, which is rich in potassium and calcium and limits fat and sodium, were able to reduce BP 8-14 points within just 8 weeks. To download a NIH white paper about the DASH diet Click Here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

BP Tip#4

Tip #4 - How to deal with "blood-pressure elevating" stress.

It is common wisdom that stress can momentarily elevate your blood-pressure. In fact, many scientists believe that our highly stressed modern way of life is one of the underlying causes of high blood-pressure (hypertension).

Risks increase over the long term

According to the Mayo Clinic on High Blood Pressure, "The effects of acute stress are usually only temporary. However, if you experience stress regularly, the increases in blood-pressure that it produces over time damage your arteries, heart, brain, kidneys and eyes -- just as with persistent high blood-pressure. This cumulative effect of stress often goes unrecognized until it manifests itself as a serious health problem."
[ Stress and High Blood Pressure: What's the connection?]

So what can be done about it?

To reduce stress, relaxation is always recommended, however in most cases it is impractical.

Here are some suggestions you can try instead: If you are about to embark on a stressful situation (i.e. phone call, walking into the boss's office), take a few deep breaths and exhale slowly. While this simple breathing maneuver will not provide a sustained reduction, it can certainly reduce the temporary BP elevation, which is important in itself.

Practicing meditation, yoga and other techniques which incorporate slow breathing exercises enable better coping with stressful events and in some cases even lower blood-pressure.

Volunteer and change the world

Back when I worked for IntelliGenetics Cindy Brehmer and I worked on IEEE standard 1044. As I recall, one of my contributions was to support the use of the term anomaly over the committee's earlier term "error, fault and failure". This may not seem like a very difficult position to take now but at the time Mr. Data had not yet seeded the English language with the term anomaly.

Because I volunteered to work on the IEEE committee and stuck with it until the end the standard reflects Cindy and my best work and point of view.

Today I discovered the FDA's Glossary for Computer Terms and see that they have adopted my definition (the IEEE definition) of anomaly.

Work for what you believe in and keep at it. Your efforts make a difference and the spokes of the wheel you build do serve to support the universe in ways you will never know.

Thanks to Mr. Bach for the pointer, Unambiguous definition. Check out his short ironic blog entry. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Homemade Ginger Ale


  • 4 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 teaspoons honey
  • 2 cups seltzer water
  • Lemon slices
  • Ice

1. Finely chop or shred ginger in a food processor or with a hand grater. Boil water and add the ginger to it. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain.

2. Add honey. (More can be added to taste.)

3. Allow mixture to reach room temperature. Pour 1/2 cup in a glass. Add seltzer, a lemon slice, and ice. Stir and serve.

Any leftover drink must be refrigerated or the mixture will begin to ferment and you'll have ginger beer! Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information (per serving): 23 calories; 6 g carbohydrate; 0 g fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g fiber; 0 mg cholesterol; 25 mg sodium.

Grilled Brätwurst

We went to session in Chico yesterday. The seed that started this particular evening was a discussion of "real" brats has another a couple of months ago. Susan said that her recipe for brats was so much better that we had to try it (the way her German grandmother made it). A date was set and five of us made the 2+ hour trip to Chico to take her up on the offer for the best brats.

Brats is made with a natural casing. When thoroughly cooked, its casing usually splits open. Stops boiling just before that happens.


  • Brätwurst (real, from Chicago)
  • Beer
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Sun dried organic water
  • Hot dog buns
  • Sauerkraut
  • Mustard
  • Hot mustard

Put the brats in a pot and cover with beer. Season the beer with a halved onion and some garlic cloves. You may add some water to get the fluid level up.

Boil in beer for 45 minutes to an hour, this cooks them.

Grill the cooked brätwurst for a few minutes. Not much, just enough to put the grill marks on and dry the casing a bit (reduce the elasticity, improve bitability).

Serve with hot dog buns, sauerkraut, relish, mustard and beer.

Personally, I skip the relish and beer.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

BP Tip#3

Tip #3 - Do you suffer from"white-coat" hypertension?

What is "white-coat" hypertension?

If your home blood-pressure measurements are consistently lower than blood-pressure measured at your doctor's office, you might suffer from a common condition called "white-coat" hypertension.

So what is your real blood-pressure?

Both measurements are true. Physiologically, "white-coat" hypertension means that your body is probably more reactive to stressful events. This means that you probably have elevated blood-pressure many times during the day that you may not be aware of.

Should I be concerned about "white-coat" hypertension?

"White-Coat" hypertension is not as dangerous as sustained hypertension (hypertension which is present all the time). However, individuals who have "white-coat" hypertension may have a higher risk of complications and cardiovascular disease than those with completely normal blood-pressure all the time. Another risk of "white-coat" hypertension is that individuals with this condition may develop sustained hypertension at a later time.

So what can be done about it?

Learn how to deal with daily stress. More on this in tomorrow's tip. Daily home blood-pressure monitoring has been shown to somewhat reduce "white-coat" hypertension, although it's not clear if it reduces the long term risk of high reactivity to stress.

RESPeRATE has been proven to virtually eliminate "white-coat" hypertension. Dr. William Elliot presented these findings at the 2005 American Society of Hypertension annual meeting. To learn more about these findings Click Here.

Ask Dr. Rowena

Do you have medical questions? Dr. Rowena Sobczyk is available to answer your questions about blood-pressure and hypertension. You can also browse the archive of answers. Click Here

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

BP Tip#2

Tip #2 - Are you measuring your blood-pressure correctly?

Did you know that 26% of all people who are told they have high blood-pressure are misdiagnosed and are either over treated or under treated?

Here are a few tips on how to measure blood-pressure correctly. It may seem a bit cumbersome at first, but keep in mind that with blood-pressure, every millimeter point counts. Use a home blood-pressure monitor (BPM) validated for accuracy, and make sure your cuff size fits properly. It may cost a little more, but it's worth every cent. For a list of home BPM that were used in seven separate RESPeRATE clinical trials Click Here.

One measurement of blood-pressure on its own can be misleading. When measuring BP at home, take three consecutive measurements -- the first measurement will be somewhat higher. Your real blood-pressure is the average or the number between the 2nd and 3rd measurement. In addition, as blood-pressure normally fluctuates, it is important that you track a week of daily measurements taken at the same time of day to see the true trend.

To watch a video from the Mayo Clinic on how to accurately measure and track your home blood-pressure Click Here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

BP Tip#1

Tip #1 - What you need to know about high blood-pressure?

Before introducing non-drug ways to lower blood-pressure, let's cover the basic facts about blood-pressure. We'll also provide a few online resources should you want to read more.

What is blood-pressure?

Blood-pressure is the force of blood exerted on the inside walls of blood vessels. Blood-pressure is expressed as a ratio (e.g. 120/80). The first, top number is the systolic pressure or the peak pressure when the heart pushes blood out into the arteries. The second, bottom number is the diastolic pressure or the lowest pressure when the heart rests. Your blood-pressure normally varies during the day. It's generally lowest at night and increases in the morning to reach a peak in the afternoon. It increases during activity and decreases at rest.

What are the risks of high blood-pressure?

Normal blood-pressure is less than 120/80 points. Higher levels of blood-pressure (hypertension), a condition referred to as the "silent killer," can develop for years without any signs or symptoms. Left untreated, the damage high blood-pressure causes to blood vessels and vital organs increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, heart failure, dementia and blindness.

What are the benefits of lowering high blood-pressure?

Luckily, high blood-pressure is manageable and lowering it can greatly reduce your risk of developing associated life-threatening conditions. For example, lowering blood-pressure by 14 systolic points for 5 years has been shown to provide:

  • 37% reduction in strokes
  • 55% reduction in congestive heart failure
  • 27% reduction in heart attacks

Complete information from the NIH.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Blood Pressure Reduction via Yoga

My sister and Fred gave me a blood pressure (BP) monitor years ago, I have been tracking my BP regularly ever since. From time to time I notice/feel that my BP is high and vow to work on lowering it.

When I measure by BP I always do it the same way at the same time of day. First thing in the morning before getting any water on my face (can you save dive response) laying supine in bed with my head on my pillow. I measure the pressure three times and record the third measurement.

Often my BP drops 20 points be the third measurement. This is because I relax and do my yogic breathing. Sharon didn't believe me at first. Now there is AMA style research to validate my assertion.

RESP@TATE is a company that is selling a biofeedback device to teach people how to slow down their breathing. By reducing respiration to less than 10 cycles per minute the body will relax and thus reduce the pressure on the vessels.

The study groups spent 15 minutes a day developing their deep breathing for eight weeks. RESPeRATE users with uncontrolled blood pressure experienced a decrease of BP by up to 36 points systolic ans 20 diastolic. The average reduction was 14/8 mmHg points.

I think that what has been discovered by western medicine has been known for centuries by yoga, qigong, tai chi and other eastern holistic people. Relax, you'll live longer.

Take a few deep abdominal breathes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Simpsons Movie

Best movie I have ever seen in my life, so far.
Not only was it politically and environmentally relevant but it was funny too.

This summer's comedy hit is based on the Fox network's long running (December 1989 - present) TV cartoon The Simpsons. Not until it made it to the big screen did I realize how much broadcast TV has limited the show's creators. Homer is his true non-PC self, Bart is portrayed as a lonely boy who only wants to be loved by his father, we get to see the Full Monty and Maggie is allowed to say her first word in 19 years.

In addition to the TV show website, the movie site is also worth wasting your time.

Check out this hot new character named Sharon Simpson, Homer's cousin. She looks a lot like my sweetie don't you think? Hot Redhead Sharon Simpson

Don't be so snooty tooty high and mighty, please view this teaser and see if you are emotionally free enough to grok the gestalt, GATES DOS it!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Beautiful Ikebana site

Daniel Ost has a great Ikebana style. Check out his stuff. I don't know what "style" or Ryu he is from, but my guess is his ego is to large to fit into one. None the less, his eye is wonderful.