ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
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Know Your Asthma Triggers
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
CANCER
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
CAREGIVING
Depression, PTSD Common Among Lung Transplant Patient Caregivers
Exercise During Pregnancy May Help Baby
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Fruits, Vegetables, Teas May Cut Smokers' Cancer Risk
Low Vitamin A, C Intake Tied to Asthma Risk
Breakfast Eggs Keep Folks on Diet
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Vitamin D Deficit May Trigger MS Risk Gene
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
EYE CARE, VISION
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
FITNESS
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
Maximize Your Run
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
FDA Bans Unapproved Prescription Cough, Cold and Allergy Meds
U.S. Prepares for Possible Return of Swine Flu in Fall
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Combo Treatment Eases Wheezing in Babies
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
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Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find

(HealthDay News) -- America's sweet tooth may be contributing to the ever-increasing number of people with high blood pressure.

Two new studies link fructose, the kind of sugar in soft drinks and many sweetened foods, to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.

"It raises the possibility that fructose may have a role in the pathogenesis of hypertension," said Dr. Richard J. Johnson, professor and head of the division of renal diseases and hypertension at the University of Colorado and a co-author of one of the studies. Both were scheduled to be presented this week at an American Heart Association conference in Chicago on blood pressure research.

"It shows that if you ingest a certain amount of fructose, you can raise blood pressure" to the level of hypertension, Johnson said.

Fructose makes up about half of ordinary table sugar; the other half is glucose. Fructose is widely used by food and beverage manufacturers because it is inexpensive. "Americans are eating large amounts of this, three or four times more than we did 50 years ago," Johnson said.

The study, led by Johnson and Dr. Santos Perez-Pozo, a nephrologist at Mateo Orfila Hospital in Minorca, Spain, included 74 men, average age 51, who ate a diet that included 200 grams of fructose a day. That is far more than the average U.S. consumption of 50 to 70 grams, but "some people are getting as much as 150 grams a day, so we are not that far off," Johnson said.

Half the men also took daily doses of allopurinol, a drug for gout that reduces blood levels of uric acid, and the others took a placebo, an inactive substance.

After two weeks, men on the high-fructose diet who were taking the placebo had an average increase of six points in systolic blood pressure (the first number in a reading of, for instance, 120/80) and three points in diastolic blood pressure (the second number). The men taking allopurinol along with their high-fructose diet had only a one-point increase in systolic pressure.

The study results appear to confirm the belief that fructose raises blood pressure by increasing uric acid levels, Johnson said, but he stressed that the finding is preliminary.

"Clearly we need additional trials," he said. "We need larger population-based trials to see if there is a causal relationship."

In the United States, one in three adults has high blood pressure, which was the cause of death or a contributing factor in about 319,000 U.S. deaths in 2005, according to the heart association.

The second study scheduled for presentation at the heart meeting found that the timing as well as the amount of fructose that's consumed affected blood pressure. The study was done on mice.

For the study, the mice, who slept during the day, had either unrestricted access to fructose-enriched water or access restricted to either daytime or nighttime hours. Monitors were implanted in the mice to measure their blood pressure.

All the mice consumed large amounts of the sweetened water, said Mariana Morris, assistant vice president for graduate studies and chairwoman of the pharmacology and toxicology department at Wright State University's Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio, who led the experiment.

The mice that consumed fructose continuously or at night had an increase in blood pressure, with a spike at night, when they were awake. The pattern was reversed in mice that consumed fructose in the daylight hours -- high during the day and low at night. The reversal in the day-night rhythm "is similar to the pattern seen in human diabetics," Morris said. This suggests that the timing of fructose intake is important in cardiovascular pathologies, she said.

All of the mice gained weight. "If you give them fructose at the wrong time, when they are supposed to be sleeping, it has a greater pathological effect on blood pressure and body weight," Morris said. "But they love it, no matter when they get it."

The results paralleled those of a study reported Sept. 3 online in Obesity in which mice were put on a high-fat diet. Some were fed during their normal daytime sleeping hours, and others were fed at night. The mice that ate during the day (when they were supposed to be sleeping) averaged a 48 percent weight gain, compared with 20 percent for those fed at night.

What happens in mice probably happens in people, Morris said. "We have 99 percent of the same genome," she said.

SOURCES: Richard J. Johnson, M.D., professor and head, division of renal diseases and hypertension, University of Colorado, Denver; Mariana Morris, Ph.D., assistant vice president, graduate studies, and chairwoman, Pharmacology and Toxicology Department, Boonshoft School of Medicine, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio; Sept. 23-24, 2009, presentations, American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Research Conference, Chicago Published on: September 24, 2009