Thursday, 24 January 2013

Earth Hour 2013

Earth Hour 2013 will take place from 8.30pm – 9.30pm on Saturday 23 March

Hundreds of millions of people, businesses and governments around the world unite each year to support the largest environmental event in history – Earth Hour.
Earth Hour is organised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). With almost 5 million supporters and a global network in over 100 countries/territories, it’s one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organisations. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and build a future where people live in harmony with nature.

Where it began
In 2007, WWF-Australia inspired Sydney-siders to show their support for climate change action in the first ever Earth Hour event. It showed that everyone, from children to CEOs and politicians, has the power to change the world they live in. In Sydney, Australia, 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights out for one hour to take a stand against climate change.
In 2008, the plan was to take Earth Hour to the rest of Australia. But then the City of Toronto, Canada, signed up and it wasn’t long before 35 countries and almost 400 cities and towns were part of the event. It said something compelling to the world: that the climate challenges facing our planet are so significant that change needs to be global.
With the invitation to ‘switch off’ extended to everyone, Earth Hour quickly became an annual global event. It’s scheduled on the last Saturday of every March – closely coinciding with the equinox to ensure most cities are in darkness as it rolled out around the Earth.
In 2011, Earth Hour saw hundreds of millions of people across 135 countries switch off for an hour. But it also marked the start of something new – going Beyond the Hour to commit to lasting action on climate change. In 2012, Earth Hour celebrated its largest event to date with more than 6,950 cities and towns in 152 countries and territories switching off their lights, and with hundreds of thousands of people accepting an IWIYW challenge to take their commitment to the planet beyond the hour. With the power of social networks used to promote the campaign, Earth Hour is working towards an interconnected global community committed to creating a more sustainable planet.
More than 7,000 cities and towns in 152 countries and territories switched off their lights for Earth Hour 2012, sending a powerful message for action to save the planet. This year, more than 200,000 individuals accepting I Will If You Will challenges on YouTube to turn their symbolic action for the planet into an on-going commitment to a sustainable future.

Climate Change
Global warming is the greatest threat facing our planet today. A warming planet alters weather patterns, water supplies, seasonal growth for plants and a sustainable way of life for us, and the world’s wildlife.
A continuous flow of energy from the sun heats the Earth. Naturally occurring gases in the atmosphere, known as greenhouse gases, trap this heat like a blanket, keeping the Earth at an average of 15 degrees Celsius – warm enough to sustain life. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most significant of these gases. The amount of naturally produced CO2 is almost perfectly balanced by the amount naturally removed through photosynthesis and its dissolution in oceans. However, the overuse of fossil fuels is leading to increased CO2 in the atmosphere, trapping more and more heat and warming the Earth.
As a result, we’re seeing more dramatic weather patterns across the globe.  The effects of Earth’s changing weather not only causes devastating natural disasters but shrinking of the world’s ice shelves and glaciers due to warming sea water. Because ice acts as a solar reflector, the less ice there is, the less heat the Earth reflects. 
Humanity’s overconsumption of food, material goods, fossil fuels, and non-renewable resources is putting a huge toll on the planet, exceeding its capacity to sustain us. 
Forests absorb and remove CO2 from the atmosphere. So areas undergoing excessive deforestation experience higher carbon emissions.  Agriculture is the second largest greenhouse gas emitter after fossil fuels. Methane produced by livestock, manure management, the burning of savannah, and the conversion of forests to pasture land are all major sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate change has already started, but it’s not too late to take action. There’s still time for us all to be part of the solution. Although the journey to a sustainable future may seem difficult to imagine, it is far from impossible. We can all do our part individually and together.
We can celebrate our planet one day a year for Earth Hour – and go Beyond the Hour towards a sustainable future.

Get Involved
Earth Hour is a unique opportunity for you to become more sustainable and do something positive for the environment. It’s been the source of inspiration for millions of people taking steps towards a cleaner, safer future. It’s not just about saving energy for one hour, it’s about going Beyond the Hour with lasting, behaviour-changing actions for a sustainable planet. 
There are lots of ways you can take action for Earth Hour. Whether you’re a social media fan or a hands-on organiser, you’re sure to find some inspiration right here!

"Man's goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished"
"Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfil themselves."
Nelson Mandela

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Lance Armstrong : The Truth Shall Set You Free

"I don't like that guy. That is a guy who felt he was invincible, was told he was invincible, truly believed he was invincible. That's who that guy was. That guy is still there. I'm not going to lie to you or to the public and say, Oh, I'm in therapy. I feel better. He's still there."
Lance Armstrong on old tapes of him under oath refuting the doping charges

I was so hopeful that the truth behind the allegations against Lance Armstrong would be justified but as I watched Lance Armstong’s admission of guilt on the Oprah show, I have to admit that I was disappointed. I do still feel an amount of compassion for the man who was a hero in many of our lives.  Surviving cancer against all odds and the ability to return to cycling, his passion in life, should have been enough.  But instead he was caught up in a game of drug abuse, the only way he knew how to win the Tour de France.  Getting away with it once became an obsession to continue his lies and cheating – what I call an addiction to power and glory.  But what I think is not important and the abusive accusations of others are not important here.  What is important is why he let his ego get the better of him, resulting in the hurt to family, friends and the world at large.  I decided to look up a couple of psychological evaluations to find some answers.

Cognitive Dissonance
If you've ever told a lie and felt uncomfortable because you see yourself as scrupulously honest, then you've experienced cognitive dissonance. It occurs whenever your view of yourself clashes with your performance in any area—you see yourself as smart but can't believe you made such dumb stock investments. Exactly how we choose to resolve the dissonance, and its discomfort, is a good reflection of our mental health.
I quote from an article in Psychology Today called “Cognitive Dissonance Group Opinion and the Fall of Lance Armstrong: How to cope with a fallen hero”:
“Lance Armstrong generates dissonance. The man who became famous for never giving up is giving up. He is a winner and a loser.  Yesterday he was quoted as saying "I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair." With his unimaginatively weak statement the man who almost single-handedly galvanized attention interest and fascination on the Tour De France and raising consciousness and money and funds for cancer has admitted to being another sports hero impostor. If there would have been truth behind his innocence Lance Armstrong would have fought this, and he did his own cancer, until he was victorious.  But this giving up is as clear an admission of wrongdoing as can be, and also stops the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency from testifying about anything else they might know about him, including10 former teammates ready to testify against him.  Lance Armstrong is a survivor and a liar; an incredibly strong man, and an incredibly weak man; a source of inspiration, and a source of disgrace and embarrassment; a hero and a villain. In short he has become the modern day exemplar of cognitive dissonance.
The theory of cognitive dissonance would predict that people would strive for dissonance reduction by using these three strategies.  In other words groups will form as people use one of three dissonance reduction strategies. They might sound something like this:
1. “He shouldn’t have to keep defending himself against these charges.  He was right to give up.”
2. “It doesn’t matter that they stripped him of his titles because he has already done so much good in the world.”
3. “We don’t need false heroes to raise money for cancer treatment, there are plenty of other good people to do that.”
But these biases nudge us away from reality.  The truth now is that Lance Armstrong is both good and bad; inspiring and despicable; a legend and fake. My hope is that another group forms based on allowing two truths to remain intact.  The struggle is in trying not to make this dissonance even out, take it away, or stop it.  Instead the work is to try and leave the truth as it is: Lance Armstrong is profoundly human.”

The Halo Effect
I quote from another article in Psychology Today called “Zero Worship: Did Surviving Cancer Make Armstrong a Hero”:
“It might be hard to remember after this week’s Oprah interview, but before Armstrong was driven from professional cycling and the Livestrong Foundation he founded, he was a hero to millions.  Although many people weren’t all that surprised that he doped and lied, many others were and have responded with intense anger and sadness. The blogosphere, social media sites, and airwaves are filled with angry condemnations of Armstrong. One tweet reads, “Lance Armstrong. pathetic. liar, bully, sad role model for bike race enthusiasts.”
Clearly there’s some truth to that statement. Armstrong doped. Armstrong lied. And he made untold millions doing it. Our opinion is that there should be consequences for his wrongdoings. But lots of people behave in equally unethical ways, and we don’t find ourselves getting nearly as upset about it.  What was it about Armstrong?  Why were we so willing to put him up on a pedestal?  Why did he have so far to fall before hitting earth?
A good part of the answer may be his status as a cancer survivor. Armstrong’s story is nothing short of amazing: In 1996, after years of professional cycling, he was diagnosed with a testicular cancer that had already spread to his lungs and brain. The prognosis looked bad. But, after surgery (including an operation on his brain) and extensive chemotherapy, he recovered, rejoined the world of professional cycling in 1998, and won the Tour de France many times over.
When survivors experience amazing recoveries, we are often quick to label them “inspirations." And not just in an “it’s-amazing-you-survived” kind of way. Many of us are quick to assume they’re amazing and inspirational in other ways, as well.  In short, we assume they must also be good people. Psychologists have a term for this—the halo effect.
The halo effect is a kind of cognitive bias in which our evaluation of someone’s character is unduly influenced by our overall impression of him or her.  Because someone’s survival story is inspirational, we jump to the unwarranted conclusion that he or she, as a person, must also be inspirational in other ways, even those not connected to his or her ordeal. So we tend to accord survivors role model status more broadly, even though we may have no real evidence they deserve it.
We seem to do the same for survivors. Because someone’s survival story is inspirational, we jump to the unwarranted conclusion that he or she, as a person, must also be inspirational in other ways, even those not connected to his or her ordeal. So we tend to accord survivors role model status more broadly, even though we may have no real evidence they deserve it. It’s important to note that this often is not an enjoyable experience for many survivors. Quite the contrary, it can place terrible pressure on them at precisely the time they may be trying to return to life as usual.”

Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism. Narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, limiting their ability to function in relationships and in other areas of their life, such as work or school.
I quote from an article in Dark Psychology called “A brief snapshot of a highly successful athlete admitting steroid usage”:
“Given the recent national news of Lance Armstrong disclosing he has previously used anabolic steroids, the nation seems to be split in accusing him of being a pathological liar and narcissist or an athlete who made a mistake and should be forgiven being a cancer survivor. What has been frequently discussed, by those following his story, is his multitude of television and media appearances over the years where he convincingly and calmly stated he had never used anabolic steroids. For those who look at Mr. Armstrong as a hypocrite & pathetic liar, his calm demeanor during his past press conferences are the examples they use to illustrate he is a nefarious character. 
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) has been defined as a chronic pattern of grandiosity, a lack of empathy and an obsessive need for recognition. People with NPD perceive they are extremely important to everyone within their social spheres. People with NPD are often described as being pretentious, cocky, arrogant, patronizing, disdainful and pompous. In laypeople terms, someone with this disorder may be described simply as a “narcissist” or as someone with “narcissism.” Both of these terms generally refer to someone with narcissistic personality disorder. Based on the severity of NPD, the dysfunction to the sufferer’s life and associates can range from minimal negative impact to devastating and highly destructive.
Not having evaluated Lance Armstrong and knowing very little about his childhood, family dynamics, past self-destructive behaviors, past harmful behaviors towards others, this writer does not have an opinion. Not having any demographic or psychological information to formulate a diagnostic impression, this writer can only conclude, by observing his deceptive talents, that he has practiced the art of deception for many years to be as talented as he presents on media.”

The future? 
Whatever the prognosis, has Lance Armstong hit rock bottom yet?  I am sure there is more to come with pending court cases and harsh public abuse.  The only way he can bring justice to himself and the world is to change his attitude and make his amends.  He has made the first step of acceptance by admitting his guilt but he has a long road ahead of truth and reconciliation. As his ex-wife Kristen said: “The truth shall set you free”.
Did you watch the interview and what are your thoughts on his admission of guilt?

“Armstrong's fall from grace is so huge. It means a lot that he has finally come clean. But he also needs to realize his life is not just about a bike, races or a big mistake. Everybody has the ability within them to rise again. What really matters in the world is what kind of human being he chooses to be."
Oprah Winfrey

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Compassion For The Elderly

“Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened”
Jennifer Yane

As the job hunting has been totally unfruitful, one of my options for earning money is to go over to London and do a course on Care Giving for the elderly.  Once you have passed the exam with over 80%, cannot be too hard, the agency finds you a position with a family.  It is very well paid but friends and family have asked me if I could cope doing this kind of work.  I do tend to be empathetic so, as long as I can keep my boundaries and not get emotionally involved, I am sure I would be fine.  I realise now that it may not be so easy ……

I came across this story on Facebook the other day which emphasizes the insensitivity towards the elderly. It also teaches us that although they can be difficult and tend to not communicate, they are still human and have feelings like us all.  It makes me wonder how many times we presume that an elderly person has Alzeimers or are senile when in fact they are mourning their past, are full of fear for what future they have left and do not know how to express their feelings.
When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in North Platte, Nebraska , it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.  Later, when the nurses were going through his meagre possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.  One nurse took her copy to Missouri .
The old man's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the St. Louis Association for Mental Health.  A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this little old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this 'anonymous' poem winging across the Internet…….

Crabby Old Man

What do you see nurses? . . . .. . What do you see?
What are you thinking . . . . . When you're looking at me?
A crabby old man . . . . . Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit . . . . . With faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food . . . . . And makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . . . . . 'I do wish you'd try!'
Who seems not to notice . . . . . The things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . A sock or shoe?

Who, resisting or not . . . . .. Lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . . . The long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking? . . . . . Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse . . . . . You're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am. . . . . . As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, . . . . . As I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of Ten . .. . . . With a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters . . . . . Who love one another.

A young boy of Sixteen . . . . With wings on his feet..
Dreaming that soon now . . . . . A lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . . . My heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows . . . . .. That I promised to keep.

At Twenty-Five, now . . . . . I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . . . . With ties that should last.

At Forty, my young sons . . . . . Have grown and are gone,
But my woman's beside me . . . . . To see I don't mourn.
At Fifty, once more, babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . .. . My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me . . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future . . . . . Shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing . . . . . Young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . . . And the love that I've known.

I'm now an old man . . . . . And nature is cruel.
Tis jest to make old age . . . .. . Look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles . . . . . Grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone . .. . . Where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass . . . . . A young guy still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . My battered heart swells.
I remember the joys . . . . . I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and living . . . .. . Life over again.

I think of the years, all too few . . . . . Gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . . That nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people . . . . . Open and see.
Not a crabby old man . . . Look closer . . . See ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within.  We will all, one day, be there, too!
The best and most beautiful things of this world cannot be seen or touched.  They must be felt by the heart.

“Never lose sight of the fact that old age needs so little but needs that little so much”
Margaret Willour

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Understanding Cholesterol

“Eating properly is great. I mean you cut the fat down, cut the cholesterol out, but still you got to get your rest and you got to have some form of exercise”
Mike Ditka

It may surprise you to know that cholesterol itself isn't bad. In fact, cholesterol is just one of the many substances created and used by our bodies to keep us healthy. Some of the cholesterol we need is produced naturally (and can be affected by your family health history), while some of it comes from the food we eat.
There are two types of cholesterol:
·         LDL (bad) cholesterol  and
·         HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides
Cholesterol is a soft, fat-like substance found in the bloodstream and in all your body's cells. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL or 'bad') cholesterol can join with fats and other substances to build up in the inner walls of your arteries. The arteries can become clogged and narrow, and blood flow is reduced. High-density lipoprotein (HDL or 'good') carries harmful cholesterol away from the arteries and helps protect you from heart attack and stroke.  

It's important to understand the difference, and to know the levels of "good" and "bad" cholesterol in your blood. Too much of one type — or not enough of another — can put you at risk for the following heart diseases:

·         coronary heart disease
·         heart attack 
·         strokes

As your blood cholesterol rises, so does your risk of coronary heart disease. If you have other risk factors such as high blood pressure or diabetes as well as high cholesterol, this risk increases even more.

Understanding Cholesterol: How to Stay Within the Healthy Range

High cholesterol has been associated with poor health and an increased risk of heart disease for the last two decades. This idea immediately spawned myths about saturated fats, which demonized certain categories of food, like eggs and healthy oils. Most physicians will advise you to keep your cholesterol levels as low as possible, or else suffer serious complications.
But did you know that high cholesterol is not necessarily a precursor to poor health nor is it an indicator of heart disease?  Conventional doctors neglect to tell you the truth: your body NEEDS cholesterol. And there are far better indicators of your heart health than just your total cholesterol level.
Back to Basics: What is the Purpose of Cholesterol?
About 75 percent of the cholesterol in your body is produced in your liver, while the other 25 percent is obtained from the foods you eat. This soft, waxy substance is essential for the production of:
·         Cell membranes
·         Hormones
·         Bile acids (for fat metabolism)
·         Vitamin D
Cholesterol also contributes to the formation of your memories and is crucial for your neurological function. Cholesterol also affects the formation of serotonin, a hormone that is involved in your mood regulation.
Studies have found that people with insufficient levels of cholesterol have a higher chance of developing depression and suicidal thoughts, while others may experience an increased capacity for violence and aggression. In extreme cases, low cholesterol can raise your risk of cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
A rise in cholesterol levels, on the other hand, occurs in response to damaged cells. A high amount of this substance in your bloodstream just proves that your body is working to repair or create new cells.
Statins: A Drug That's Actually Bad for You
Having elevated levels of cholesterol is not a disease that requires statins, yet millions are taking them as we speak. It is unfortunate that Americans are led to believe that this class of cholesterol-lowering drugs is the answer to normalizing cholesterol levels, when there over 900 studies documenting their adverse effects.
For instance, statins also deplete your CoQ10 levels. CoQ10 or Coenzyme Q10 is a substance that plays a crucial role in the creation of your ATP molecules needed for cellular energy production. Other than the side effects brought by statins, CoQ10 deficiency can also yield to a number of complications, including heart failure.
Unfortunately, conventional doctors oftentimes immediately base judgment on numbers and prescribe dangerous statins, which ironically puts your heart health at risk.
Cholesterol shouldn't be feared to the point that you need toxic drugs to suppress it. Rather, the key is to understand how cholesterol works to know how to stay within an optimal range. It's time to shatter the myths surrounding cholesterol and statins!

Share this infographic with your friends and family, and help them take control of their health:

Top 10 Cholesterol Lowering Foods:
High cholesterol has been linked to heart disease and stroke. While exercise and a healthy lifestyle are important factors when trying to lower your cholesterol, making modifications to your diet can help too. Cut back on saturated and trans fats found in some meats, oils, packaged cookies, crackers and cakes, and add a mix of cholesterol lowering foods. Here are the top 10 foods that can help.
Because fibre helps to absorb cholesterol from your intestines, oatmeal and oat bran can lower your low-density lipoprotein, LDL, which is the bad cholesterol. Aim for 10 grams or more of soluble fiber a day, which is the equivalent of 1-1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal with a banana mixed in.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, eating a handful of walnuts, almonds, pecans or most other nuts can reduce your cholesterol. Nuts help to decrease cholesterol in the blood while keeping vessels elastic and healthy.
Some fish, particularly salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines and albacore tuna, have been linked with lowering cholesterol because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 also helps to reduce blood pressure and the chance of blood clots.

Olive Oil
Olive oil can reduce your LDL and maintain your HDL (good cholesterol). You can choose to cook with olive oil, use it as salad dressing and substitute butter with it. Extra virgin olive oil has the most benefit because it is processed less and therefore contains more antioxidants.
Apples contain a powerful ability to absorb cholesterol and clean it out of your bloodstream, according to the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
Beans are a good source of soluble fibre. They are also high in protein, which can replace high-cholesterol foods such as red meat in your diet.
Brown Rice
The oil in brown rice helps to reduce cholesterol. You can combine this with beans and vegetables for a healthy side or main dish.
As little as one-half teaspoon a day can help reduce triglycerides or LDL. Sprinkle it on your oatmeal or apples for a tasty and healthy treat.
Not only can garlic help decrease cholesterol, it can also reduce bacteria, fungi and digestive disorders and keep blood clots from forming.
Soy is found in soy nuts, tofu, soy beans, soy milk and tempeh. The soluble fiber and isoflavones in soy can lower LDL and raise HDL.

American Heart Association

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Have You Checked Your Blood Pressure Lately?

“If you don't know your blood pressure, it's like not knowing the value of your company”
Mehmet Oz

Everyone has and needs blood pressure. However, high blood pressure, or hypertension, is a disease. Even though it typically has no symptoms, HBP can have deadly health consequences if not treated. High blood pressure often does its damage without creating symptoms, but when blood pressure numbers rise above 180 for the systolic pressure or 110 for the diastolic pressure, you need emergency treatment. Although it is possible that low blood pressure can alert you to a problem, it is usually only dangerous if it causes notable signs and symptoms.
Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers, written as a ratio for example 120/80.
The top number, which is also the higher of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (when the heart muscle contracts).
The bottom number, which is also the lower of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood).
This chart reflects blood pressure categories defined by the American Heart Association.

Blood Pressure
mm Hg (upper #)

mm Hg (lower #)
Less than 120
Less than 80
120 - 139
80 – 89
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1

140 – 159


90 - 99
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2

160 or higher


100 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis
(Emergency care needed)

Higher than 180


Higher than 110

If, while monitoring your blood pressure, you get a systolic reading of 180 mm Hg or higher OR a diastolic reading of 110 mm HG or higher, wait a couple of minutes and take it again.If the reading is still at or above that level, you should seek immediate emergency medical treatment for a hypertensive crisis. If you can't access the emergency medical services (EMS), have someone drive you to the hospital right away.
Hypertensive Emergency
A hypertensive emergency exists when blood pressure reaches levels that are damaging organs. Hypertensive emergencies generally occur at blood pressure levels exceeding 180 systolic OR 120 diastolic, but can occur at even lower levels in patients whose blood pressure had not been previously high.
The consequences of uncontrolled blood pressure in this range can be severe and include
·         Stroke
·         Heart Attack
·         Angina (unstable chest pain)
·         Loss of consciousness
·         Memory loss
·         Damage to the eyes and kidneys
·         Loss of kidney function
·         Aortic dissection (bleeding into and along the wall of the aorta, the major artery)
·         Pulmonary edema (fluid backup in the lungs)
·         Eclampsia ( life-threatening complication of pregnancy)

8 Foods that lower blood pressure
Plant-based diets and diets high in fruits and vegetables are strongly associated with lower blood pressure -- so much so that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) officially recommends adopting healthy eating practices as one of the primary actions to take to prevent or lower high blood pressure and hypertension.

1. Celery
Mark Houston, a physician and medical director of the Hypertension Institute of Nashville at Saint Thomas Hospital, recommends celery to patients as a natural remedy for lowering blood pressure. This recommendation isn't anything new: Doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have been prescribing celery or celery root to patients with high blood pressure for more than a century.
How it works: Celery contains phytochemicals known as phthalides, which relax the muscle tissue in the artery walls, enabling increased blood flow and, in turn, lowering blood pressure.
How much: According to Houston, eating four stalks of celery per day may be helpful in lowering blood pressure. For a boost of protein, add a tablespoon of unsalted peanut butter or almond butter; both are high in monounsaturated fat (the heart-healthy kind).

2. Cold-water fish
Cold-water fish are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, which are famous for their cardiovascular benefits. In particular, omega-3s lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Wild (not farmed) salmon, tuna, mackerel, cod, trout, halibut, herring, and sardines are among the best sources.
How it works: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids: The human body can't make them, so we need to get them from the food we eat. Omega-3s seem to positively influence several cardiac risk factors, such as blood triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood), heart rate, and atherosclerosis (plaque in artery walls).
How much: According to the joint guidelines from the FDA and the EPA, two six-ounce servings per week of most cold-water fish is a safe amount for most people, including pregnant women and nursing mothers, to reap the health benefits with minimal risk from exposure to toxins. If you bruise easily, have a bleeding disorder, or take blood-thinning medication, talk to your doctor about potential complications.

3. Broccoli
Nutritionally speaking, broccoli is a red-carpet regular, connecting the worlds of scientific research and natural health. This cruciferous veggie is hailed as a super-food because of its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. And when it comes to lowering blood pressure, broccoli sells itself.
How it works: Broccoli is a potent package of fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C, all nutrients that may help lower blood pressure. One cup of steamed broccoli provides more than 200 percent of the vitamin C you need each day. Researchers aren't sure how, exactly, vitamin C helps. Theories range from the vitamin promoting the excretion of lead to calming the sympathetic nervous system to protecting nitric oxide, a molecule that relaxes blood vessels, thereby increasing blood flow. But the results are the same: Antioxidant vitamin C helps bring down blood pressure.
How much: For the myriad health benefits you can reap from regular consumption of broccoli, most people would do well to eat at least one serving a day. For variety, eat it raw with salsa or hummus, or steamed with olive oil and lemon. If you have a juicer, run the stalks and leaves through for a spicy green sipper.

4. Dandelion
For more than a century, dandelion has been used as a cure-all for countless conditions and ailments in cultures around the world, particularly in its native Asia and Europe. The entire plant is edible, from leaves to roots. And in addition to lowering blood pressure, it's good for the liver, eyes, and skin.
How it works: A natural diuretic, dandelion helps reduce blood pressure by releasing excess sodium without the loss of potassium (as occurs with some over-the-counter diuretics). This is doubly important because excess sodium raises blood pressure by constricting blood vessels, while potassium helps regulate it. Dandelion is also loaded with magnesium, a mineral that is critical to proper function of the heart and muscles.
How much: Eat fresh dandelion greens in a salad, sauté dandelion roots in a stir-fry, or drink dried dandelion in a tea. Incorporate dandelion into your diet as often as you can; it's really good for you, and in any form you find it (except on your lawn), chances are that it's organic -- grown without harmful pesticides or herbicides.

5. Whole-grain oats
In a 12-week study comparing whole-grain oat-based cereals to refined wheat-based cereals, researchers reported that 73 percent of hypertensive participants in the oats group were able to cut out their antihypertensive medications, or reduce them by half. The remaining participants also experienced significantly reduced blood pressure.
How they work: The fiber and magnesium found in oats both have beneficial effects on blood pressure. In addition, oats help slow atherosclerosis, the plaque buildup that occurs in blood vessels.
How much: Aim for one serving (about three-fourths of a cup) of whole-grain oats per day, or at least six servings per week. For a boost of blood-pressure-lowering calcium and potassium, eat whole-grain oatmeal topped with skim milk (or unsweetened soy milk) and banana, or sprinkle oat bran on cereal and salads. Loose oats also make an excellent thickener for soups and stews.

6. Black beans
Legumes boast a high fiber-to-protein ratio that you won't find in any other type of food. This combination helps maintain lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, both of which help keep artery walls healthy, which promotes lower blood pressure.
How they work: Black beans are a nutrient-dense source of fiber and magnesium, which are essential for healthy blood pressure levels. What puts them at a distinct advantage over other foods, though, is the folate you'll find in these legumes. Folate, also known as folic acid in its synthetic form, is a B-complex vitamin that appears to lower blood pressure (especially systolic blood pressure) by relaxing blood vessels and improving blood flow.
How much: 400 micrograms of folate is the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Aim for that as a minimum; 800 micrograms daily has shown significant benefit in reducing blood pressure in multiple large-scale studies. One cup of cooked black beans provides 256 micrograms of folate. Many cereals are also fortified with folic acid.

7. Berries
Calorie for calorie, berries are among the most nutritional foods on the planet when it comes to fiber and antioxidant capacity. All berries are great for you, but blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are tops for their ability to help lower blood pressure, thanks to high doses of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and other plant compounds.
How they work: All three berries are high in fiber, but raspberries rank highest: Just one cup delivers more than 33 percent of the daily value, for a mere 60 calories. A cup of strawberries offers 136 percent of the daily value for vitamin C. And blueberries contain a compound called pterostilbene that helps prevent plaque buildup in the arteries. Last but hardly least, berries are anti-inflammatory.
How much: Eat at least one serving (one cup) of berries per day, fresh or frozen.

8. Low-fat dairy
In a Dutch study of hypertension in adults 55 and older, researchers found that low-fat dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt may help prevent hypertension.
How it works: The modest amount of fat in low-fat dairy is important because it increases the bioavailability of calcium, making it easier for the body to absorb. In addition, milk and dairy products offer blood-pressure-lowering magnesium and potassium.
How much: In a 2006 study from Harvard Medical School, researchers found that people who ate more than three servings per day of low-fat dairy showed a systolic blood pressure reading of 2.6 points less than those who ate less than half a serving per day. So aim to include skim milk, cheese, and yogurt into your three daily meals, or in between.