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 April Fool's Day is Good for Your Vascular Health

March 28, 2011    Contact: Sue Crosson-Knutson    312-334-2311    scknutson@vascularsociety.org

(CHICAGO) Tried-and-true April Fool’s Day tricks - a pie in the face, sitting on a whoopie cushion, hot sauce in your food - are good for your vascular health.  

“Laughter increases blood flow and improves the function of blood vessels,” said Dr. Vivienne Halpern, a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery®. “Reducing stress is especially beneficial for persons who have hypertension (high blood pressure).”

A hearty laugh on April Fool’s Day - or any day in April - celebrates National Stress Awareness Month. It’s just what the doctor ordered.

“Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones (cortisol, epinephrine, dopamine, and growth hormone) and increases the level of health-enhancing hormones (endorphins and neurotransmitters),” she said. “This can result in a stronger immune system and fewer physical effects of stress.”

Dr. Halpern suggests hearty laughter as a healthy way to:
 
• Increase blood flow and improve the function of blood vessels
• Relieve stress
• Relax muscles - for up to 45 minutes
• Create a sense of well-being through release of good hormones.

Stress and high blood pressure are no laughing matter. Pressures at work, at home, finances, and emotional problems can affect blood pressure. A combination of these stressors can create serious physical conditions, including hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.
 
High blood pressure is a reality for one of three Americans over age 20 according to a 2010 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in America according to 2010 National Vital Statistics Report.
 
A healthy lifestyle can reduce high blood pressure and the chance of stroke and heart attack as well as peripheral arterial disease that can lead to limb loss. This includes:

• a diet high in fruits, vegetables, fiber, and low-salt foods
• daily exercise of 30 minutes or more five days a week
• not smoking or consuming alcohol excessively
• a healthy body weight. 

For information on vascular health, visit VascularWeb.org®.
 
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About the Society for Vascular Surgery
The Society for Vascular Surgery® (SVS) is a not-for-profit professional medical society, composed primarily of vascular surgeons, that seeks to advance excellence and innovation in vascular health through education, advocacy, research, and public awareness. SVS is the national advocate for 3,370 specialty-trained vascular surgeons and other medical professionals who are dedicated to the prevention and cure of vascular disease. Visit its Web site at VascularWeb.org®. Follow SVS on Twitter and Facebook.
 
 

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VascularWeb® is the prime source for all vascular health and disease information, and is presented by the Society for Vascular Surgery®. Its members are vascular surgeons, specialists, and vascular health professionals who are specialty-trained in all treatments for vascular disease including medical management, non-invasive procedures, and surgery.