Research Defined

Contribution at its best: DeGarmo Institute of Medical Research

The Silent Killer

I think we have all heard our nurses tell us “your blood pressure is good today,” or possibly, “your blood pressure is a little high,” when we have gone to see the doctor for a number of reasons. Most people hear this and don’t think another thought about it, but what exactly does “good” blood pressure mean? Or why is nothing addressed even when the nurse says it is “a little high today”?

A lot of the information that we brush off of our shoulders is simply the information we are oblivious to. Teachers do not necessarily go into detail about common diseases such as high blood pressure (aka hypertension) in 8th grade health or 11th grade A&P classes. But here is the thing EVERYONE needs to know… high blood pressure is known as “the silent killer” in the medical world. It is a disease that is usually not properly monitored due to patients being unaware they even have it, or it is thought to be so common that it is overlooked in its seriousness, at least, through patients’ eyes.

Let’s start with the numbers. What exactly does 120/80 mean? The top number is known as the systolic number. In lamest terms, that number determines how much pressure your heart is enduring while beating. The bottom number is your diastolic number. This number tends to be looked at with more concern from doctors when it gets too high, because this basically determines how your heart is RESTING in between each heartbeat. When this number gets high, this means your heart is being overworked, because it is not resting properly in between beats like it should be. Both numbers are important though, but it is more common to see the systolic number higher than normal versus the diastolic number.

I took my blood pressure this morning. It was 115/75. I am usually in the 110/65 range, but I did not rest for 5 minutes sitting before I took it, had a cup of coffee, and am fighting some sinus problems that are making me sneeze and blow my nose a lot today. YES, all of these things affect blood pressure! But still, my numbers are good even after these factors are considered. My point to this is that you can be below 120/80 or even a little over those numbers and you are fine. Stress, pain, caffeine, smoking, diet, walking, (obviously exercise), having your feet or legs crossed, etc, have an affect on your blood pressure readings. However, with exercise (even though your blood pressure rises during it), your resting blood pressure will decrease overtime (which is a great thing!). Basically, the higher either of those numbers are, the harder your heart is working, and that is definitely a vital organ you want to keep healthy and strong.

High blood pressure is usually diagnosed when patients show consistent readings at or above 140/90. 180/120 is severe and needs to be addressed immediately by medical attention. Diet and exercise are typical factors that influence the development of this disease, however, it can also be caused by something else going on (secondary hypertension). This is why it is important to monitor your health! High blood pressure is reversible most of the time. Some of us are more prone to it than others due to our genetics. Either way, it is a disease that can be controlled, and even though its effects are severe (stroke, heart attack, death) it can easily be taken care of.

You can find more information about high blood pressure if you would like using some of these links below. If not, you can always call us.🙂


By: Mandy DaNelz

For Smokers and Ex-Smokers…

Just within the past few years, everyone has become even more aware of the health risks that come along with cigarette smoking. Businesses have become smoke-free, public cities have enforced special spots for smokers to get a quick nicotine buzz, and even the popularity of vaping has become invincible as the “new thing.” Even though smokers have a bad rep (inconvenience to non-smokers, the smell, the financial waste), we should all become knowledgeable of the health conditions that come with lung damage.

COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is one of the main health concerns regarding smoking, other than lung cancer itself. It is the THIRD leading cause of death in the U.S. That number only includes those who are accounted for. Most people are not even aware they have COPD. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are two main conditions people should pay attention to. When severe enough, COPD can become a major disability, because a lot of people no longer can take more than a few steps without getting so winded they cannot breath. When damage is done to the lungs, the lungs no longer have the ability to expand to their fullest, so less air is taken in with each breath. COPD is a progressive disease, and doctors have yet to find out if/how the damage to the lungs can be reversed. Life-style changes can definitely slow down this progression, such as exercise, proper treatment, and the obvious… removing yourself from the damage being done.

This article is kinda tearing down smokers and ex-smokers (usually if you currently or have smoked in the past for 10 years or more, you are at risk of having/developing COPD), but a handful of people develop this disease due to over exposure to pollutants in the air such as dust, fumes, chemicals, etc. Most of these occurrences are job related. However, the leading cause is smoking, but any long-term damage to the lungs basically defines this disease.

Is vaping better?? Many articles say it is the best of the two evils, but still not good for you. All and all, stick to what your parents and maybe even your teachers told you to do, and just DON’T START. But hey, plenty of people did start not knowing the health risks and now it is a terrible habit to try to kick. Our advice for those who are in this situation… seek proper treatment. There are many options out there to help! Including medical research studies!

For more information about this disease:

By: Mandy DaNelz


There really is such a thing as SWEET blood

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Why Constipation is Embarrassing

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Silence could be another word for pain

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The Building Blocks of Clinical Trials

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You Are NOT a Lab Rat

“Research”, unfortunately, will most likely always have a negative stigma behind its purpose. There have been many terrifying and world changing events that have given this word a bad reputation. The Holocaust may be the most impactful representation. Research tends to be tied with words like experimentation, science, lab-rats, cancer, and all of the other really negative connotations. However, this blog will educate you and open your eyes to a whole new world behind this meaning.

Research is actually a very sophisticated, safe and sterile way to look at the world of medicine. In medical research, there are so many safety phases that have to be proven safe to the FDA before it even reaches medical research offices like ours. In fact, all of the medications you or people you know are now taking have been through all of the phases of research. By the time we get studies here at DeGarmo’s, the medications have already passed safety phases.

So what happens before we get them?? Think about the times we live in for a second and how advanced our scientists/pharmacists have become with the knowledge of the human body and how it works. In a metaphorical sense, we have basically built Noah’s Arc to prep us for the world flood. Now and days, it’s just a matter of refinement to that arc to make it more useful and effective. When developing new medications, Scientists are already starting from a strong foundation of medical intelligence. So when they come out with a new medication, they have not necessarily started from scratch.

After a medication is developed, they perform the first stages of research by observing the medications’ effects on animals, such as the lab rats we know of too well (for all of the animal rights advocates out there, I personally apologize if this is offensive. However, it is what it is and I am stating facts). After this phase, where the medication has to be proven SAFE of use, they will use the medication on healthy volunteers. Here is the kicker, these people are HEALTHY AND VOLUNTEERING. Clinical trials usually compensate very well financially for people’s time and travel. Though money is never a factor to use to convey, people who volunteer know this and are more than willing to contribute to the research. Other people are genuinely passionate about the medical field and find this a way for them to contribute to the future of helping people! No matter the reason, the volunteer portion of this is vital to understand. Research is not manipulative and does not misinform (or not inform at all) the volunteers of every single detail of the study. The volunteers may not know the dosage of the medication or if they are getting a placebo, but they know the ins and outs of the study and its procedures.

Bottom line, the benefits of research outweigh any negativity by a mile! The medication itself is free of cost. You are closely monitored by a staff of research coordinators AND doctors. You get complimentary blood work, ECGs, exams, x-rays, and any other study related requirements that people usually avoid getting done because of money and lack of insurance coverage. Which by the way, insurance is not involved because research is voluntary and already paid for. Other advantages like disability claims not being affected is also something to keep in mind. And of course, the financial compensation is usually very satisfactory. People actually benefit more because of newer, advanced, and better-developed medications by participating in research. Side effects are typical and come with every single medication that has already been approved. In fact, did you know that Car Accidents is a side effect of Tylenol?? We all know and can understand that Tylenol does not cause car accidents. It just so happens that someone had a car accident while participating in the clinical trial when Tylenol was in its early stages of development. Study coordinators HAVE to record every single event that occurs while you are taking a medication in its research phases. That means if your cat scratches you on the arm and causes a skin infection, “skin infections” will be documented. Yep, seems kinda ridiculous to some degree. But, it is better to have too many specifics than none at all. These days, scientists want to be as vulnerable and honest as they can be, and well, the FDA demands it. 😉

Hope this helps clear up some bad vibes that you may have about medical research! Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments!

By: Mandy DaNelz


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