November is National Marrow Awareness Month, and it’s the perfect time to celebrate the doctors, researchers, and donors helping fight back against marrow-based diseases. Learn more about which diseases can be treated by bone marrow transplants.
Bone marrow is the tissue inside your bones that helps make blood cells. White blood cells help fight infections, red blood cells help carry oxygen throughout your body, and platelets help to control bleeding.
A bone marrow transplant replaces unhealthy marrow with healthy marrow from a donor. Learn more about the most common types of transplants.
Bone marrow transplants can treat blood cancers like leukemia or lymphoma, bone marrow diseases like anemia, or other immune system or genetic disease like sickle cell disease. Learn more about how marrow donation works.
Are you a patient facing a bone marrow transplant or a caregiver of someone who is? Learn more about the process, from the first steps to life after a transplant.
Becoming a donor is an important decision. Learn more about the process and the support you can get as a donor.
Even if you can’t be a donor, you can still join the National Marrow Donor Program’s community to help.
It’s Atrial Fibrillation Month, and atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib or AF, is a type of irregular heartbeat that can raise your risk of other health problems. Learn more.
For most people, their heart beats between 60 and 100 times a minute. Those with AFib can have heart rates as high as 175 beats a minute.
AFib can feel like drums or thunder pounding in your chest or even flip-flopping in your chest. Talk to your doctor if you’ve experienced this kind of discomfort.
If you’re experiencing AFib and other issues, like shortness of breath with light physical activity, lightheadedness, dizziness, or fatigue, your heart might not be getting enough blood and oxygen out to your body.
AFib raises your risk of stroke by 5 times. It can allow clots to form, which can cause strokes that can cause serious damage to your tissue and brain.
Some people may just have to cut caffeine in their diet to improve their AFib. Others may need special medication and treatment to address the underlying cause.
If you suffer from heartbeat irregularities, changes in your lifestyle, like being physically active, quitting smoking, or managing stress and your blood pressure can also help.
July is Group B Strep (GBS) Awareness Month, so we’re helping you learn more about it each day.
GBS is a type of bacteria that’s in the digestive track of up to 1 in 4 pregnant women, and can cause babies to be miscarried, stillborn, premature, handicapped, or very sick. Learn more.
GBS Disease has 3 types, prenatal (during pregnancy), early-onset which happens within your baby’s first week, and late-onset, anytime after 1 week. Learn more.
GBS does have noticeable symptoms! If you’re pregnant, call your doctor if you have less or no fetal movement after your 20th week, or if you have an unexplained fever.
Once your baby’s born, call you doctor or take them to the ER if they have refuse to eat, sleep too much, have a high or low temp, red skin, or blue or pale skin from not enough oxygen. See the full list of symptoms.
Babies can be infected with GBS from in the womb until several months old. Women usually don’t have symptoms, but should get infections during pregnancy treated right away.
You can check for GBS with a urine test during pregnancy if you’re worried you might have it.
The hospital can also test your baby to see if they have GBS after they’re born, so talk to your doctor about any symptoms you see.
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.
- 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.
Some of your lifestyle choices could be raising your blood pressure.
- Quit smoking, and cut back on alcohol and caffeine.
- Watch your diet.
- Get active.
- Make sure you’re taking your meds exactly as your doctor prescribed.
- Visit your doctor for regular checkups.
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.
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.
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.