Scientists are finding ever advancing ways to tackle obesity and high blood pressure.
From calorie-counting cameras to ultrasounds for the obese, this is the age of invention where anything is possible when it comes to tackling tough conditions like hypertension and obesity.
The link between high blood pressure and obesity has been invariably linked. Research estimates that obesity accounts for around 26 percent of cases of hypertension in men and 28 percent in women. Meanwhile, 36 percent of American adults are obese and about 29 percent have hypertension.
According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, obesity increases the risk of a number of health conditions including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease (CAD), sleep apnea and cancer. Obese people have a 50-100 percent increased risk of premature death, and it’s estimated that obesity may be the cause of 300,000 deaths per year.
It’s all good and well to preach weight loss to prevent hypertension and other diseases, but for those already obese (a Body Mass Index of 30 or more), it is difficult to diagnose diseases through a regular ultrasound exam. According to Klein Biomedical Consultants, just over 22 million abdominal ultrasound exams were performed in 2012. However an independent survey of physicians showed that up to 10 percent of abdominal ultrasound exams are non-diagnostic due to obesity.
The good news is that InnerVision Medical Technologies, Inc., an Alberta-based company engaged in research and development of high-resolution ultrasound systems, has completed its prototype ultrasound device and early evaluation results for imaging morbidly obese patients. Basically, the new machine is able to penetrate the abdomen deep enough to provide improved diagnostic quality images for patients with a body mass index (BMI) well above 50. It avoids having to use the more costly computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedures currently used for this BMI category.
So how do people reach BMI’s well over 50? One way is through overeating. As far as hypertension goes, there are a host of diets tailored to lower blood pressure naturally – avoiding sodium is always high on the list. Losing weight however, is no easy task. Some researchers blame diet fails on the fact that people often miscalculate calories when dieting, most likely playing down the amount they consume.
This led University of Pittsburgh researchers to design tiny, 3D cameras that can be worn on clothing throughout the day. The cameras will document exactly how much the wearer is eating by calculating how many calories there are in the food they consume.
The scientists who devised the ‘eButton’ gadget, say that “better understanding of intake ─ thanks to more accurate information ─ could lead to better overall health and help tackle chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”