Tag Archives: birth defects

Folic Acid Awareness

National Folic Acid Awareness Week

It’s National Folic Acid Awareness Week, and folic acid is a B vitamin that helps cells grow. Getting enough of it can help prevent birth defects.

Protecting Your Baby with Folic Acid

 

Getting 400 mcg of folic acid a day can help prevent up to 70% of serious birth defects of the brain and spine, like anencephaly and spina bifida.

Preventing Birth Defects

 

Even if you’re not planning on getting pregnant, women should be getting enough folic acid. It helps your body make new, healthy cells every day, like for your hair, skin, and nails.

Healthy Cell Growth from Folic Acid

 

Birth defects of the brain and spine happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy, and half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. Getting enough folic acid can help protect your baby even before you know you’re pregnant.

One of the easiest ways to get enough folic acid is to take a daily multivitamin with folic acid. You can also eat foods like enriched breads, pastas, and cereals that have added folic acid.

Folic Acid in Your Vitamins

 

Once you know you’re pregnant, pay careful attention to if you’re getting enough folic acid in your diet. Knowing how to read food labels can help you check for folic acid.

You can also eat a diet rich in folate to help get enough folic acid. Foods like beans, lentils, citrus, and dark leafy greens have high amounts of it.

Check out the recipes high in folic acid we also shared this week!

Eating Your Folic Acid
Birth Defects Prevention for Healthy Babies

Birth Defects Prevention Month

January is Birth Defects Prevention Month, and we gave you info and resources each day this week to protect your baby and help the cause.

Every 4 1/2 Minutes

 

What do you actually know about birth defects? This brochure can help.

If you’re pregnant or thinking about pregnancy, March of Dimes can help you protect your baby at each step.

Pregnancy and Preventing Defects

 

Making these healthy choices while pregnant can help prevent birth defects.

Making Healthy Choices to Prevent Defects

 

Birth defects aren’t a rare occurrence. Take steps to protect your family.

1 in Every 33

 

Folic acid has been shown to protect your baby. Learn more about getting enough.

Folic Acid and Birth Defects

 

The cost and toll of birth defects on parents and kids affect us all.

Birth Defects Affect Us All
Reasons You Have High Blood Pressure

Breaking Down Why You Have High Blood Pressure

Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure

Some people are more likely to have high blood pressure, and this can be because of things you can’t control, or because of lifestyle choices you make.

  • Age – The risk of high blood pressure increases with time. Men usually develop it around age 45 and women after age 65.
  • Race – High blood pressure and serious complications are more common for African Americans.
  • Family History – High blood pressure tends to run in families.
  • Certain Chronic Conditions – Kidney disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea can raise your blood pressure.
  • Stress
  • Pregnancy – Your blood pressure may be raised during pregnancy.
  • Being Overweight – The more you weigh, the more blood your body has to pump to perform normal tasks like carrying oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. That more blood that’s pumping, the higher the pressure.
  • Not Being Physically Active – Not being active usually makes your heart rate higher, which means your heart’s working harder than it should and pumping more.
  • Tobacco Use – Smoking and chewing tobacco raise your blood pressure temporarily, but it can also damage your arteries which raises your blood pressure in the long-term.
  • Too Much Salt –  When you eat too much salt, you also gain water-weight, which increases your blood pressure.
  • Too Much Alcohol – Heavy drinkers can damage their heart over time.
  • Too Little Potassium – Potassium helps balance sodium in your body.
  • Too Little Vitamin D – Not enough vitamin D in your diet might affect an enzyme your body makes that affects your blood pressure.

If you have some of these other risk factors, your doctor may set your blood pressure target lower.

Other Causes of High Blood Pressure

If you have secondary high blood pressure, it’s caused by an underlying condition. It usually appears suddenly and goes away when the condition has been treated. These things might cause it:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Kidney problems
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Thyroid problems
  • Birth defects in your blood vessels
  • Certain meds, like birth control pills, anti-depressants, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers, and some prescription drugs
  • Illegal drugs like cocaine

Reasons for High Blood Pressure After Meds

Some find that even though they’ve gotten on a medication, their blood pressure is still not low enough. If you find that your blood pressure is higher than normal at certain times, think about these factors.

Lifestyle Choices

Some of your lifestyle choices could be raising your blood pressure.

  • Quit smoking, and cut back on alcohol and caffeine.
  • De-stress.
  • Watch your diet.
  • Get active.
  • Make sure you’re taking your meds exactly as your doctor prescribed.
  • Visit your doctor for regular checkups.

The Season

Believe it or not, studies show that the season can have an effect on your blood pressure. It’s more likely to go back to normal levels in the spring and summer than it is in the winter, no matter if you live in a very cold climate or a very warm one.

Perhaps it’s because it’s harder to get out and exercise and because of the extra pounds you can pack on during the holiday season. Either way, this means in the winter, it might be necessary to take higher doses of meds or even different drugs. Talk to your doctor if you notice this seasonal difference in your readings.

Medications

Did this raise go hand-in-hand with a new pill you started? Did you get a cold and start taking some over-the-counter meds you don’t normally?

Check to make sure that what you’re taking isn’t to blame. And talk to your doctor about the risk or if you should make changes to your prescriptions.

Bigger Problems

If your blood pressure is still strangely high, your doctor might need to adjust your meds. And if this still doesn’t help, it might be a sign of something more serious, like kidney problems or a chronic condition. Then, it’s time for a doctor’s appointment and maybe some tests to find the cause.