Hypertension:The causes, stages, complications and prevention

Hypertension which is also known as “High Blood Pressure” is the degree of measurement of the force or “pressure” of the blood against the walls of your arteries as the heart pumps blood throughout the body. Hypertension readings are usually given as two numbers such as 120/80 or 120 over 80.


The numbers should be written as follows: 120/80 mmHg. The first/top number is called the systolic blood pressure: (a measurement of the pressure inside your arteries when your heart beats) and the bottom number is called the diastolic blood pressure: (which indicates the pressure between beats, when your heart is resting). the first example above: 120/80 is considered normal blood pressure while 140/90 mmHg is a indication of hypertension. But if your blood pressure is “120/80 or higher, but below 140/90, it is called pre-hypertension.” People with pre-hypertension, are more prone to developing high blood pressure.


The Stages of Hypertension:   

  • Pre-hypertension: This stage indicates a systolic blood pressure between 120 and 139 or a diastolic pressure between 80 and 89. Adults who enter this pre-stage are at high risk for developing hypertension.
  • Hypertension Stage 1: A systolic blood pressure that is between 140 and 159 or your diastolic pressure is between 90 and 99, which is considered to be in hypertension stage 1.
  • Hypertension Stage 2 :A systolic pressure of 160 or higher or a diastolic pressure that is 100 or higher, is hypertension stage 2.

The Causes of Hypertension:

There are many factors that may lead to hypertension, such as being very over weight, smoking, unhealthy diet,  being over stressed, Drinking heavily, also African Americans seem to be at a higher risk. But factors other than lifestyle may cause high blood pressure, like genetics, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, Cushing syndrome. And aside from medical conditions, medications may induce a secondary cause of hypertension, examples are: birth control pills, diet and cold medications, etc.  There are complications if untreated since there are no symptoms much of the time; people can develop chronic heart disease, stroke and severe kidney problems if not treated. If you have nosebleeds, extreme headaches, vertigo, and blurred vision you might have what is known as malignant hypertension which can be fatal.

Some preventions as mentioned before are eating a well rounded diet and getting plenty of exercise can reduce your chances of suffering from hypertension, also by limiting the amount of salt intake and drinking in moderation can also go along way help reduce your risk. Also by avoiding stress whenever possible and maintaining a healthy body weight.


Charles Duke: A Music Legend in the Making


I had the privilege to interview the singer/songwriter and recording artist Charles Duke at Cheri in Harlem, and discuss what he loves the most; making music and performing for people at various venues in New York.


Charles Duke is a Harlem based singer/songwriter who writes music about the human condition and the human heart.  Charles moved to Harlem from the south in June of 2012, and the reason he chose to move to Harlem is due to the original Harlem Renaissance between the end of World War I and the mid 1930’s. “Moving to New York was a faith walk, I never done anything like this before. I had one big suitcase and a sublet from a friend in Queens for half a month. I saved up as much as I could for four months before that”, he told me about his move to Harlem.  Charles received his first piano lessons from his mother when his was very young, she asked him while he was riding with his mom in a “blue Chrysler mini-van” if he would like to take piano lessons, and then started playing at the local church, and went on to study with a private teacher, who introduced him to many styles and into production. Charles soon became obsessed with playing piano, but began singing much later.


What is integral to Charles music is that it “has to be true and honest”; the music has to be honest for him to relate to it. The main message that Charles wants to convey in his music is “a message of hope and love, and feelings that you can’t always put into words”. He feels words and melodies in a combination can reach across that gap where words alone fail. Charles experience in New York has been very seminal for him in the short time he has been here, “Its real” as he put it. Meeting so many different people and being a part of Harlem is such a wonderful experience for him. In one respect that his music has changed over time is that he is writing “more close from center”, and gaining a deeper understanding of himself and his feeling allows him to write  more about himself rather than from the mindset of others. He told me that “before things was more or less black and white” but now after moving to Harlem discovered more grey areas than he could have ever imaged” in regards to his feelings and outlook on life as a whole.


What Charles enjoys most about his music is “transporting people to other places” and getting “behind the masks that people wear”, singing about true stories regarding people’s lives, and reaching the true heart of others, which moves and inspires him greatly.  Working with inner-city children is something that Charles is very passionate about, teaching music and arts education to disadvantage youths is very important to him.  The main themes that Charles pursues in his song writing are “love and relationships, spirituality, the connection to life and our connection to each other, and telling stories that capture the imagination.”  During my conversation with Charles he recalled that during his youth was very shy, but he said that “whenever I walked into a room that had a piano in it, he felt like he had a friend, that made it easy for me, I had a skill, and that helped me a lot”. The scariest experience that Charles encountered was “The bus ride from the airport to the apartment upon arriving in New York, during that two hour ride his mind was racing. “Having people walking straight at me, and having to bob and weave around them”.


I asked Charles what was the most embarrassing moment in his life, his response was “I was working out in the gym in college on the treadmill listening to music, when I was done with my workout I stepped off the treadmill and on to the next treadmill that was still moving, because someone was still on it, I stumble down and my shorts get caught on the handrail and pulled them off”.  Songs that have inspired Charles are “The impossible dream and greatest love of all”. Charles wants to have a profound impact on the world through his music, and his music is inspiring indeed.  What people do not know about Charles Duke is that he is very sensual, something that is not very evident in his music. “I’m a very mellow guy, but I like to turn up every now and then in moderation, which is something that I enjoy. I like that, but many people don’t know that about me”.


Now it’s very hard to imagine Charles Duke getting angry, but I asked him what makes you angry? “Injustice makes me angry, especially injustice toward children, and human suffering, I don’t like to get angry very much. I feel many things can be solved by common sense, there is so much in the world and no one should be without. I try not to get angry too much because it’s a hard emotion to control”.  Charles dream project is “to make great music with wonderful people with legends that inspire me, it’s ever evolving for me. I just want to collaborate with amazing people and make amazing music”.


Many people have compared Charles Duke with John Legend, so I asked him how he felt about that. “I really admire him, I thought that his last album was incredible, I love the way his career has evolved. There are a number of issues that he spoke out about, like social justice issue, I really respect that, and it would be great to be considered in his category, that’s a real honor”.

The best piece of advice Charles was ever given was when he first got here in Harlem is Embrace the journey, live every single day and know that you will get to the destination.” Charles Duke goal professionally is to reach as many people as possible, internationally on television and radio, and in large venues. Charles told me that the one thing he cannot do without is his family, “They keep me grounded and remind me where I came from. That’s really important to me”.


Charles Duke’s First EP “Blue Treble” was released in 2010, which included songs such as “Can You See”, “Not Gonna Quit” and “Cruise Control”. Charles Duke produced, wrote, arranged, performed, and recorded every song on the EP. Charles EP “Hello Christmas” Which he performed at Ashford & Simpsons “Sugar Bar” in December 2015, and The news inspired social justice EP “American Skin” featuring his hit single “Everybody wants to be Loved” are all on sale online on CD or download.


Charles Duke is currently performing “Musical Vibrations” presented by CHARLES DUKE and Friends every Wednesday in April 2016 for a one month residency at Cheri Harlem restaurant on 121st Street and Lenox Ave. Featuring a solo exhibit by Artist and Painter Rachel Natalie Rawlins.  $10.00 donations suggested. All ticket proceeds and 10% of all art work purchased will be donated to Mind Builders creative art center in the Bronx for music scholarships for inner city children to receive quality arts education.








TheTriclosan Factor: International Health Hazard or FDA/EPA Cover Up?

For 40 years antibacterial soap and products have been on the market in the U.S. and abroad. However research has now shown that the active ingredient: Triclosan in antibacterial body washes and soaps that we have been using for decades is harmful to the human immune system, alters hormonal balance and may be the genesis of antibiotic resistant pathogens.  (FDA)

Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent which is a polycholorol phenoxy phenol.  So far there is no evidence that triclosan provides any extra benefit to human health beyond the anti-gingivitis factor in toothpaste. (FDA)

“Triclosan is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the European Union.”

“The use of triclosan as an additive for plastic production for use in food packages has not been approved by the European Commission.” (EC)

“Triclosan has also been employed as an selective agent in molecular cloning.  Bacteria host transformed by plasmids harboring a triclosan resistant mutant FabI gene (mFabI) as a selectable marker can grow in the presence of high dose of triclosan in the culture media.”

“Triclosan safety is currently under review by the FDA and Health Canada.”


Now that we are all aware that (2, 4, 4’-trichloro-2’-hydroxydiphenyl ether) Triclosan which is a chlorinated aromatic compound and is used as an antimicrobial agent, Triclosan was first registered as a pesticide in 1969 by the EPA. “At the EPA, because of nomenclature procedure a bacterium is considered a “pest” implying (wrongly) that bacteria which causes disease in human and animals, should be viewed the same way as actual pest like rodents and boll weevils.”

(Paul Alexander, Huffington Post).

“Colgate now uses a chemical pesticide called triclosan in its Colgate Total toothpaste.” (Beth Greer: best- selling author of “Super Natural Home.”)


We are engaged in a comprehensive scientific and regulatory review of all the available safety and effectiveness data.

This includes data relevant to the emerging safety issues of bacterial resistance and endocrine disruption due to triclosan in FDA-regulated products.

(FDA, Aug 29 2012.)

“The FDA is working to incorporate the most up-to-date-data and information into the regulations that govern the use of triclosan in consumer products. FDA anticipates communicating the findings of our review to the public in winter 2012 through our rulemaking process.” (FDA)

“In the1960s, hexachlorophene, a synthetic compound contained in over-the-counter products, was taken of the market after researchers determined that it caused brain damage when bath washes containing it were used on newborn babies.

To replace it, industry developed triclosan, a chlorinated aromatic compound that was initially added to soap to increase its ability to kill germs and control the spread of contamination. It was so effective at eradicating bacteria that companies began adding it to an array of products ranging from hand soaps to merchandise like kitchen utensils.”

(Paul Alexander: The Huffington Post 05/03/2013).

“Meanwhile, back when triclosan was first created, it was determined that the substance also fell under the jurisdiction of the FDA, which began its own investigation. In 1974, because of the hexachlorophene debacle, the FDA instituted a review process of all over-the-counter products. At that time, an investigation of triclosan commenced; four years later, the substance was placed in the antimicrobial category. Soon, the FDA found that triclosan was safe, but the agency needed additional information to determine if it is effective — just the opposite of what the EPA found. By 1978, public and industry sources submitted relevant research. Sixteen years passed. Finally, in 1994, the FDA issued a decision — sort of. The agency needed additional information to make a final determination. Two decades later, still no decision. One was promised in 2012. But that deadline came and went too.


The FDA’s inability to reach a final decision is the subject of ongoing litigation in the Southern District Court in Manhattan, as a public advocacy group is suing the FDA over its inability to conclude its examination of triclosan. But the litigation has developed its own complicated history, with a lower court throwing out the case only to have that move overruled by a higher court. Any decision will be subject to years of appeals.”

(Paul Alexander: The Huffington Post 05/03/2013).



“Back in 1978, the FDA considering banning triclosan from soaps because it was no more effective at fighting germs than traditional soap, and it was linked to problems with the brain, liver, and spleen. And yet the agency did nothing to limit its use. Over than 30 years later, more science has emerged that triclosan interferes with hormones essential for development of the brain and reproductive systems. It has become so widespread that has been found in 75 percent of Americans over the age of six. The agency says that in light of safety concerns, it is reviewing all available evidence and will share its triclosan findings in the winter of 2012. This was after it missed its summer of 2011 deadline. 2013 must be the year the agency issues its new findings–more than three decades after it released its original findings. But that is not enough. It must act on those findings and ban the use of this ineffective and hazardous additive in consumer products.”  (Peter Lehner: (NRDC) Natural Resources Defense Council).




  • “Triclosan is used in a variety of common household products, including soaps, mouthwashes, dish detergents, toothpastes, deodorants, and hand sanitizers.
  • In the United States, manufacturers of products containing triclosan must indicate it on the label. Triclosan is sold under several trade names, including Ultra Fresh, Amicor, and BioFresh. Triclosan is also a component in some pesticides, mattresses, insulation, and underlayment’s that install under various types of flooring, including laminate, wood, glued down, and engineered wood, and carpeting for the purpose of slowing or stopping the growth of bacteria, fungi, and mildew. For example, some high density sound-suppressing underlayment’s are treated with triclosan. Triclosan penetrates the skin on contact and enters the bloodstream.”
  • In August 2009, the Canadian Medical Association asked the Canadian government to ban triclosan use in household products under concerns of creating bacterial resistance and producing dangerous side products such as chloroform and dioxins.
  • Triclosan is toxic to aquatic bacteria at levels found in the environment. Triclosan inhibits photosynthesis in diatom algae which are responsible for a large part of the photosynthesis on Earth.
  • Endocrine disruption:
  • A 2006 study concluded that low doses of triclosan act as an endocrine disrupter in the North American bullfrog. The hypothesis proposed is that triclosan blocks the metabolism of thyroid hormone because it chemically mimics thyroid hormone and binds to the hormone receptor sites, blocking them, so that normal hormones cannot be used.
  • A study between 2003 and 2006 concluded that triclosan (as an endocrine disruptor) affects the immune system and showed a positive association with allergy or hay fever diagnosis. Another study in 2000 offered the result that low amount of triclosan can be absorbed through skin and can enter the bloodstream, has also been found in both the bile of fish living downstream from waste-water-processing plants and in human milk.
  • The negative effects of triclosan on the environment and its questionable benefits in toothpastes have led to the Swedish to recommend not using triclosan in toothpaste.
  • Another 2009 study demonstrated that triclosan exposure significantly impacts thyroid hormone concentrations in the male juvenile rats.
  • Triclosan is also showing up in dolphins near South Carolina and Florida in concentrations known to disrupt hormones, growth, and development in other animals.
  • Muscle contraction: Triclosan has been reported to impair excitation-contraction coupling in cardiac and skeletal muscle function in mice.
  • Two reports by the same authors suggest that triclosan can combine with chlorine in tap water to form chloroform which the United States Environmental Protection Agency classifies as a probable human carcinogen, meaning it likely causes cancer.
  • These intermediates can be cleaved to form chlorophenols, which can react with free chlorine to form trihalomethanes, such as chloroform. As a result, triclosan was the target of a UK cancer alert; even though the study showed that the amount of chloroform generated was less than amounts often present, in chlorinated drinking water.


Stop the Use of Triclosan:

“A really effective way to absorb chemicals is through the mouth. For example, when a drug like nitroglycerine is administered for a heart condition it is given under the tongue for fast absorption. So are natural homeopathic remedies. So what happens when you brush with toothpaste containing triclosan? You get a dose of the chemical. Colgate is aware that Triclosan shouldn’t be ingested in large amounts. But what about small amounts ingested twice a day over years? According to scientists, triclosan (also found in deodorant, acne cream and antibacterial soaps) is proven to be an endocrine disruptor in laboratory animals. It decreases thyroxine levels in the thyroid (Crofton, 2007), interferes with testosterone and decreases sperm counts (Kumar, 2009); and interferes with estrogen, bringing on early puberty (Stoker, 2010).”


Soap: Dial® Liquid handsoap and body wash; Tea Tree Therapy™ Liquid Soap; Clearasil® Daily Face Wash; Dermalogica® Skin Purifying Wipes; DermaKleen™ Antibacterial Lotion Soap; CVS Antibacterial Soap, Ajax Antibacterial Dish soap, Ultra Concentrated Dawn Antibacterial Dish soap, Kim care Antibacterial Clear Soap, Bath and Body Works Antibacterial Hand Soaps, Gels and Foaming Sanitizers.

Dental Care: Colgate Total®; Breeze™ Daily Mouthwash; Reach® Antibacterial Toothbrush

Cosmetics: Garden Botanika® Powder Foundation; Mavala Lip Base; Movate® Skin Litening Cream HQ; Paul Mitchell Detangler Comb, Revlon Color Stay LipSHINE Lip color Plus Gloss, Babor Volume Mascara, Phytomer Perfect Visage Gentle Cleansing Milk, Phytomer Hydra continue Instant Moisture Cream, Bath and Body Works Antibacterial Moisturizing Lotions.

Deodorant: Arm and Hammer® Essentials Natural Deodorant; Queen Helene® Tea Trea Oil Deodorant and Aloe Deodorant; DeCleor Deodorant Stick; Epoch® Deodorant with Citrisomes.

First Aid: SyDERMA® Skin Protectant plus First Aid Antiseptic; Heal well Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint; Solarcaine® First Aid Medicated Spray; Nexcare™ First Aid, Skin Crack Care; : Universal Cervical Collar with Microban.

Kitchenware: Farberware® Microban Cutting Boards; Franklin Machine Products FMP Ice Cream Scoop SZ 20 Microban; Hobart Semi-Automatic Slicer; Chix® Food Service Wipes with Microban; Compact Web Foot® Wet Mop Heads.

Source:  Beyond Pesticides.

Some antibacterial soaps use Triclosan’s cousin, triclocarban in place of Triclosan.

Other Personal Care Products: Murad Acne Complex® Kit, ®; Diabet-x™ Cream; Scunci Microban Comb, Sport slick Pocket Slick.

Clothes: Bio fresh® socks, undergarments, tops and bottoms.

Office and School Products: Ticonderoga® Pencils with Microbar Protection, Avery® Touchgaurd View Binders, C-line® products, Clauss® cutting instruments, Costco® products, Sharp® printing calculators. Westcott® scissors

Other: Bionare® Cool Mist Humidifier; Deciguard AB® Antimicrobial Ear Plugs; Bauer® Re-Akt hockey helmet and 7500 hockey helment; Miller Paint Acro Pure Interior Paint; Holmes Foot Buddy™ HMH120U Antimicrobial Foot Buddy Foot Warmer, Blue Mountain Wall Coverings, California Paints®, Davis Paint® Perfection, Hirschfield’s Paint®,O’Leary Paint®, EHC AMRail Escalator Handrails, Dupont™ Air Filters, Winix Dehumidifiers, J Cloth® towels, select Quickie cleaning products, Kimberly Clark® WYPALL X80 Towels, Canopy® kitchen towels, ALUF Plastics®, BioEars earplugs, Petmate® LeBistro feeders and waterers, Infantino cart covers and baby carriers, Oreck XL®, Bissell Healthy Home Vacuum™, NuTone® Central Vacuum systems, Rival® Seal-A-Meal® Vacuum Food Sealer, CleenFreek SportsHygiene Yoga Mat, Resilite Sports Products, Rubbermaid® Coolers, Stufitts sports gear, Venture Products® fitness mats, Custom Building Products, DAP®Kwik Seal Plus®, Laticrete, Niasa Biquichamp® mortar grout and sealant, ProAdvanced Products.


Some antibacterial soaps use Triclosan’s cousin, triclocarban in place of Triclosan.(Source: Beyond Pesticides.)