Tag Archives: lower

Being Firstborn Linked to Lower Heart Disease Risk

May 26, 2021 — Birth order and number of siblings may be tied to a person’s risk for heart disease and mortality, according to a study covering 2.68 million people in Sweden.

Being the oldest child may have benefits: For first-born men and women with one or two younger siblings, the risk of death and for nonfatal cardiovascular events is slightly lower than it is for those without siblings.

But, the study found that having more than two younger siblings may actually cause the benefit to fade or even shift to an increased risk. The findings were published online Tuesday in BMJ Open.

No one can change their birth order or their sibling status, of course, but Peter Nilsson, professor of clinical cardiovascular research at Lund University in Sweden, and first author on the study, said that the findings show that family history isn’t just about genetics — it’s also about social ties and early influences in life.

This post originally appeared on Medscape Medical News Headlines

Statins side effects: The ‘classic triad’ of symptoms indicating you need a lower dose

There are a “classic triad” of symptoms to be aware of, which are symbolic of rhabdomyolysis – a health complication of taking statins. Here’s what to look out for. Muscle pain in the shoulders, thighs or lower back is one of three warning signs of rhabdomyolysis, WebMD confirmed. Another typical sign of the condition is muscle weakness, or trouble moving your arms or leg.
Early diagnosis and treatment is critical to a successful outcome.

If caused by a high dosage of statins, the GP will either alter the dosage, the brand of statins, or prohibit you from taking the medication at all.

People at higher risk of rhabdomyolysis include:

  • Those over the age of 70
  • Having a history of liver disease
  • Regularly drinking large quantities of alcohol
  • A history of muscle-related side effects
  • Family history of myopathy or rhabdomyolysis

People who fall into this category that are prescribed statins should be monitored frequently for complications, said the NHS.

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Statins can also interact with other medications, such as antibiotics and immunosuppressants.

Not only that, side effects such as muscle deterioration, is more likely if you drink grapefruit.

Dr Ian Needland, an interventional cardiologist, said that the benefits of statins “greatly outweigh the risks”.

Speaking candidly in a podcast ([email protected]), Dr Needland added that statins provide greater benefits the longer you use them.

He added: “I always say that prevention is the best medicine.

“And statins are certainly one of the most important tools we have in cardiology to prevent heart attacks and strokes.”

Other lifestyle guidance to reduce the risk of heart disease includes decreasing saturated fat in your diet.

Food high in saturated fat:

  • Cakes
  • Biscuits
  • Sausages
  • Bacon
  • Cheese
  • Salami
  • Chorizo
  • Butter
  • Ghee

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed
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Beetroot juice shown to significantly lower high blood pressure

High blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack and stroke by causing your arteries to lose their stretchiness and become stiff or narrow. As the British Heart Foundation (BHF) explains, the narrowing makes it easier for fatty material (atheroma) to clog them up. “If the arteries that carry blood to your heart get damaged and clogged, it can lead to a heart attack,” the BHF warns.
Hypertensive patients who drank 250ml of beetroot juice a day were found to have blood pressure levels back in the “normal” range by the end of the study.”The effect is caused by the high levels of a type of chemical called nitrates, which is found in high quantities in beetroot, and other leafy green vegetables like kale and cabbage,” reports the BHF.

The study, involving 64 volunteers, points to the long-lasting reduction in blood pressure by supplementing the diet with nitrates in patients with high blood pressure.

The level of reduction was similar to that from some forms of blood pressure medication.

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What’s more, no adverse side effects were observed in people taking the daily dose of nitrates, in the form of beetroot juice.Commenting on the findings, the BHF said: “The results suggest that supplementing the levels of nitrate in the diet can be a simple and effective way to manage high blood pressure.

“But a study on many more patients is needed before this approach can become a recommended treatment for high blood pressure.”

Professor Amrita Ahluwalia, who led the research, said: “This research has proven that a daily inorganic nitrate dose can be as effective as medical intervention in reducing blood pressure and the best part is we can get it from beetroot and other leafy green vegetables.”

Potassium lowers high blood pressure

How to lower high blood pressure: Potassium lowers high blood pressure (Image: Getty Images)

Prof Ahluwalia added: “For those looking to work dietary nitrate into their daily diets, the trick is not to boil the vegetables – as dietary nitrate is water soluble – but steaming, roasting or drinking in a juice all has a positive effect.”In addition to increasing nitrate intake, potassium can also help to lower high blood pressure.

The American Heart Association (AHA) explains: “The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose through urine.”

Sodium (salt) causes blood pressure to rise so it is imperative to mitigate its effects.

How to assess your blood pressure reading

High blood pressure: How to assess your blood pressure reading (Image: Getty Images)

What’s more, potassium also helps to ease tension in your blood vessel walls, which helps further lower blood pressure, notes the AHA.Fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat dairy foods and fish are good natural sources of potassium.

Other key tips

In addition to eating well, you should also engage in regular physical activity to lower high blood pressure.

The NHS explains: “Being active and taking regular exercise lowers blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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Statins side effects: The one sensation you should not ignore – you may need a lower dose

Typically, the major health benefits of taking statins outweighs the minor side effects. The medication is used to lower cholesterol thereby reducing the risk of a deadly heart attack or stroke. Statins do save lives, but if you’re feeling generally achey all over the body, and it lasts longer than a few days, you might need a different dosage. The cholesterol charity Heart UK said: “If you experience this don’t ignore it, you should talk to your doctor.”
Be prepared to keep taking your statins until you get the most up-to-date advice on your situation from the doctor.

Trials involving more than 170,000 people have shown that statins reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.

In addition, the study revealed that for every 1mmol/L drop in LDL cholesterol there was “an important drop” in a person’s five year risk of cardiovascular disease.

What’s LDL cholesterol?

There are two types of cholesterol – low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

LDL cholesterol is the kind that can stick to the side of blood vessels (i.e. artery walls).

The arteries are responsible for delivering oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the tissues of the body, clarified Web MD.

When there’s too much LDL cholesterol, it can clump together and stick to artery walls, causing the blood passageway to narrow.

As a result, the heart pumps blood more ferociously, trying to force the blood to the body’s tissue (this increases blood pressure).

Should the artery wall become completely blocked by LDL cholesterol, tissues are going to die.

Furthermore, this can interfere with the blood flow to the brain and back to the heart, meaning the person could have a stroke or heart attack.

HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, picks up excess LDL cholesterol and transports it to the liver.

Once deposited at the liver, the LDL cholesterol is broken down and evacuated from the body.

Thus, the more HDL cholesterol there is, the better; the more the LDL cholesterol, the more risky life becomes.

The overall health benefits of taking statins is the reason why people might decide to just get on with any side effects.

However, the NHS wants people to discuss their symptoms with their doctor if they are bothering them.

Common symptoms can include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling sick
  • Feeling unusually tired or physically weak
  • Digestive system problems, such as constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion or farting
  • Sleep problems
  • Low blood platelet count
The NHS added that any muscle pain, tenderness or weakness that can’t be attributed to physical work needs to be brought to your doctor’s attention.

“Your doctor may carry out a blood test to measure a substance in your blood called creatine kinase (CK),” the NHS added.

Should the results show that the CK levels are five times their normal level, you may be advised to stop taking the statins.

Alternatively, the dosage or brand of statin you are taking might be altered.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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High blood pressure: One herb you can add to your meals to lower your BP reading

If you see any of the warning signs above, it’s time to call an ambulance on 999 immediately.

Stroke recovery can be lengthy, and the damage done will depend on how extensive the brain injury was.

Heart attack

The NHS highlighted the signs of a heart attack, which might include a “sensation of pressure, tightness or squeezing in the centre of your chest”.

This is known as chest pain, which may feel excruciating for some and feel like indigestion to others.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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Type 2 diabetes: One of the best diets to lower blood sugars and reduce risk

Type 2 diabetes means your body does not produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Blood sugar – the main type of sugar found in blood – can inflict damage on the body if left to rise uncontrollably. The resulting damage doubles up as the first perceptible warning signs of type 2 diabetes for most people. Fortunately, a person can minimise their risk by following the low-GI diet. What is it?

In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, low-glycaemic index diets for type 2 diabetes were analysed. 

The study searched PubMed, the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, and clinical trials registries for published and unpublished studies up until March 1, 2019 relating to GI diets and its ability on blood sugar levels.

The results showed low-GI diets were effective at reducing glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), fasting glucose, BMI, total cholesterol, and LDL, but had no effect on fasting insulin, triglycerides, or insulin requirements.

The reduction in fasting glucose and HbA1c was inversely correlated with body weight.

The greatest reduction in fasting blood glucose was seen in the studies of the longest duration.

“Low-GI diets may be useful for glycaemic control and may reduce body weight in people with prediabetes or diabetes,” concluded the study.

In another study with the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, glycaemic index in the diet of European outpatients with diabetes was analysed. 

The study said: “The relation of the GI to serum cholesterol (total, LDL, and HDL), and fasting triacylglycerol was analysed in 2810 people with type 1 diabetes.”

It concluded that the study in European patients with type 1 diabetes showed that a lower dietary GI is related to lower Hb A(1c) concentrations, independently of fibre intake.

What is the glycaemic index in foods?

The glycaemic index (GI) indicates whether a food type raises blood glucose levels quickly, moderately or slowly.

This means it can be useful for a person living with diabetes.

Certain carbohydrates are digested and absorbed at different rates, and GI is the ranking of how quickly each carbohydrate-based food or drink impacts the blood glucose levels.

The GI index runs from 0 to 100 and usually uses pure glucose, which has a GI of around 100, as the reference.

Slowly absorbed carbohydrates have a low GI rating and foods included in this are fruits and vegetables, unsweetened milk, nuts, pulses, and some wholegrain cereals and bread.

When it comes to foods which have a low GI rating and help keep blood sugar low, avocados are one of the best.

Medical News Today said: “Polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids are important components of a healthy blood sugar eating plan and avocados could help improve insulin sensitivity.”

Other foods include tuna and fish, sour cherries, leafy green vegetables, blueberries, almonds, whole grains and eggs.

Foods with a high GI and best avoided if living with type 2 diabetes include sugar and sugary foods, white bread, white rice and potatoes.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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High cholesterol: Can you eat cheese if you want to lower cholesterol levels?

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said “you don’t have to cut cheese out of your diet”, but it’s better eaten “sparingly”. Plus, certain cheeses contain varying amounts of saturated fat. Would you know the best and worst cheeses to eat if you had high cholesterol? Cheeses that contain the least amount of saturated fat (per 100g) include:

  • Quark (0.1g)
  • Reduced-fat cottage cheese (1g)
  • Cottage cheese (2g)
  • Ricotta (5g)
Some of the worst offending cheeses when it comes to saturated fat include:

  • Mascarpone (29g)
  • Stilton (23g)
  • Cheddar, Red Leicester, Double Gloucester and other hard cheeses (22g)
  • Parmesan (19g)

Brie, paneer, and soft goat’s cheese all contain 18g of saturated fat per 100g.

Then there’s Edam, which contains 16g of saturated fat while cheese strings, camembert, feta, and mozzarella all contain 14g of saturated fat per 100g.

Cheese can also be high in salt, which raises your blood pressure, further increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

READ MORE: How to get rid of visceral fat: Walking one of the best exercises to burn the belly fat

How to enjoy less fatty cheeses

Cottage cheese, one of the lowest fat cheeses you can eat, can be eaten by itself, with fruit or vegetables, or as a jacket potato filling.

Ricotta is also another healthier cheese option that can replace mozzarella.

This lower-fat cheese is ideal for pizza, warm pasta dishes, or eaten on its own.

How does eating saturated fat lead to high cholesterol?

Heart UK – the cholesterol charity – pointed out that research has shown that saturated fat interferes with the receptors on the liver cells.

This becomes dangerous, as cholesterol embeds on artery walls, and over time, more and more deposits clog the arteries.

Once hardened, the cholesterol deposits are known as plaques, and if they break off and block the supply of blood to the brain, a stroke occurs.

If the cholesterol continues to clog the arteries, the heart might need to work harder to push the blood through the fat to reach important organs.

This would increase blood pressure levels, which is one of the major causes of deaths around the world.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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Lower BMI Thresholds for Diabetes in Non-White Populations

Body mass index (BMI) cutoffs for obesity in people of Black or Asian descent should be redefined to lower levels than the current thresholds for Whites based on risk for type 2 diabetes, according to findings from the first BMI threshold study in these ethnic groups.  

Presented at this year’s online European Congress on Obesity (ECO) meeting, and simultaneously published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, the analysis determined BMI cutoffs for obesity based on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in adults from various minority ethnic groups in England, equivalent to the BMI cutoff for obesity of 30 kg/m2 for Whites.

Specifically, the study suggests age and sex-adjusted BMI thresholds of 23.9 kg/m² for those of south Asian descent; 28.1 kg/m² for Black individuals overall (26 kg/m² for Black Caribbeans); 26.9 kg/m² for those of Chinese heritage; and 26.6 kg/m² for Arab populations.

“We need to refine the BMI thresholds for ethnic minorities to prevent people in these communities from slipping through the net and missing out on early diagnosis and prevention opportunities for type 2 diabetes,” said lead author Rishi Caleyachetty, MD, from the University of Warwick, UK.

The current obesity threshold of ≥ 30 kg/m², used by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), is based on the relationship between BMI and mortality in exclusively White populations from research conducted back in the mid-1990s. In 2004, the WHO (and NICE) changed the cutoff to 27 kg/m² for south Asian and Chinese populations, but this decision was based on data from east Asia only and did not include Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshi, Black African, Black Caribbean, or Arab populations.

Caleyachetty emphasized that “Large numbers of people of ethnically diverse backgrounds are missing out on blood tests for type 2 diabetes or referrals for weight management services because of outdated BMI thresholds for obesity in ethnic minority groups.”

In the United States, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) already has guidance that recognizes the altered risk in Asians and has lowered the BMI threshold for overweight to 23 kg/m2 for the population.

But currently there is no different recommendation for Blacks or other racial groups. Asked why, an ADA spokesperson said the situation with Asian Americans is unique. “In terms of a lower BMI, American Asians store more visceral or abdominal fat at lower BMIs and therefore have an increased risk of diabetes without the usual definitions of being overweight at a BMI > 25 kg/m2 [or of having] obesity at a BMI of > 30 kg/m2.”

An accompanying editorial welcomes the new analysis but notes: “These ethnicity-specific BMI cutoffs apply only to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and might not apply to other obesity-related comorbidities [such as] cardiovascular disease risk factors, cancer, or mortality.”

David E. Cummings, MD, of the UW Medicine Diabetes Institute, University of Washington, Seattle, and Francesco Rubino, MD, chair of metabolic and bariatric surgery, Kings College London, UK, also highlight that the proposed thresholds might be limited by geographic and environmental scope.

“Because diabetes and obesity are influenced by genetic and environmental determinants, BMI cutoffs for obesity related to diabetes risk among various ethnic groups living in England could reflect interactions between genetics and local environments. Hence, the BMI cutoffs identified in this study might not be extrapolatable to the same ethnic groups living in other countries,” they observe.

Analysis Includes Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Nepali Populations

In the new analysis, 1,472,819 people aged 18 years or older registered with a GP practice in England were included. The spread of ethnicities was 1,333,816 White, 75,956 south Asian (Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, or Nepali), 49,349 Black, 10,934 Chinese, and 2,764 Arab.

Data were drawn from electronic health records across primary care (Clinical Practice Research Datalink) and hospital care (Hospital Episode Statistics).

In total, 97,823 people were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during a median follow-up of 6.5 years. Models were then used to determine whether adults from the different ethnic subgroups had an equivalent risk of type 2 diabetes at a lower BMI than the White European population.

Asked whether he thought type 2 diabetes was the optimum “measure” to define an obesity threshold to manage disease, Caleyachetty said that firstly, type 2 diabetes is the most specific obesity-related complication, and secondly, it is a serious, chronic condition that can lead to serious health complications.”

“Mortality [the basis for prior thresholds] isn’t a specific complication of obesity,” he observed. “However, there are of course lots of other obesity-related complications such as cardiovascular disease and cancer and so on, and we are due to publish on this too,” he added.

“In theory, these cutoffs shouldn’t really be limited to use in the management of type 2 diabetes because type 2 diabetes is also a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and mortality. There’s a clear rationale to apply these [the thresholds] to other cardiometabolic conditions given it often precedes them.”

Roadmap to Refine BMI Thresholds for Minority Populations

NICE recently considered revising thresholds but noted more evidence is required.

“We did this work to provide such evidence, so it would seem logical that they might re-think this now,” Caleyachetty noted.

He would like to see a roadmap to refine the BMI thresholds for ethnic minority communities. “NICE sourced its current threshold from WHO so we are going to start conversations with the Department of Health and Social Care, and NICE here in the UK, and [at] WHO.”

Such a revision should ensure the provision of appropriate clinical surveillance for patients in ethnic populations, commensurate with their greater risk of type 2 diabetes. That would help to prevent the future onset, and therefore facilitate early and effective treatment, of type 2 diabetes, say Caleyachetty and coauthors.

And given the COVID-19 pandemic and rapid pace of health policy change, Caleyachetty believes now is a good time to seek change.

“The [UK] Prime Minister is talking about addressing obesity because we know that [those with] obesity [and] type 2 diabetes and people belonging to ethnic minorities were disproportionately affected by COVID-19, both in the UK and US,” he observed.

“We would hope that there might be more expeditious movement in redefining these new BMI thresholds in these ethnic groups. “Any new thresholds would need to be incorporated into recommendations so healthcare practitioners are fully aware of the lowered BMI thresholds for these groups,” he added.

Of note, adjustment for socioeconomic and smoking status did not alter the BMI cutoffs, Caleyachetty and colleagues stress.

In closing, the editorialists say the study “has important implications. The differences in diabetes risk-related BMI cutoffs for obesity across different ethnic groups…support the notion that strict BMI cutoffs should not be used as standalone criteria to define indications for obesity therapies, especially bariatric and metabolic surgery.”

Caleyachetty has reported no relevant financial relationships. Disclosures for the other authors are listed in the article.

ECO 2021. Poster EP4-02. May 10-13, 2021.

Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. Published online May 11, 2021. Full text

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This post originally appeared on Medscape Medical News Headlines

High blood pressure: One of the best diets to lower readings and reduce hypertension risk

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is famously branded the “silent killer” because it is usually symptomless. If the force of blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels increases severely, you may experience marked changes which increases a person’s risk of heart attacks or strokes. Fortunately, numerous studies have found one particular diet will help lower your readings and reduce hypertension risk.

On this diet you eat:

  • Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • More wholegrain products (such as brown rice and wholemeal bread) instead of white rice and white bread
  • More fish, poultry, and nuts, instead of red meat
  • Less salt. Most of us eat more salt than we need. A low-salt diet means eating less than two grams of salt a day. Many processed foods such as bread and breakfast cereal contain a lot of salt.
  • Less saturated fat (butter, meat, cheese, and cream)
  • Fewer sugary foods, such as cakes and sweets, and fewer sugary drinks.

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In another study published in the National Library of Health, the health benefits of the DASH diet on blood pressure were analysed.

Scientists supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) conducted two key studies.

Their findings showed that blood pressures were reduced with an eating plan that is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat and that emphasises fruits, vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.

This eating plan also includes whole grain products, fish, poultry, and nuts. It is reduced in lean red meat, sweets, added sugars, and sugar-containing beverages compared to the typical Western diet.

Modifying your lifestyle is one of the best ways to help reduce hypertension risk.

Another added benefit of the DASH diet is its low salt content.

According to the NHS, a person should cut down on the amount of salt in their diet.

“Aim to eat less than six grams (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful,” advises the national health body.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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Wall Street closes lower as inflation jitters spark broad sell-off

Wall Street closes lower as inflation jitters spark broad sell-off© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People are seen on Wall St. outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks closed lower on Tuesday as rising commodity prices and labor shortages fed fears that despite reassurances from the U.S. Federal Reserve, near-term price spikes could translate into longer-term inflation.

While all three indexes pared their losses from session lows, the sell-off was fairly evenly dispersed across the sectors.

“Today feels like a catch-up in that tech has been weak so far this month and it’s finally spilled over into other areas of the market and we’re seeing broader weakness,” said Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial (NASDAQ:) in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Economic data released on Tuesday from the Labor Department showed job openings at U.S. companies jumped to a record high in March, further evidence of the labor shortage hinted by Friday’s disappointing employment report.

The report suggests labor supply is not keeping up with surging demand as employers scramble to find qualified workers.

Burrito chain Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:) announced it would hike the average hourly wage of its workers to $ 15, a further sign that the worker shortage in the face of a demand revival could add fuel to the inflation surge.

That worker shortage, along with a supply drought in the face of booming demand could contribute to what is seen as inevitable prices spikes, which the U.S. Federal Reserve has repeatedly said are unlikely to translate into long-term inflation.

“The inflation concerns continue,” Detrick said. “The supply chain issues coupled with record stimulus coupled with apparently a tighter labor market have all contributed to fears that inflation could trend higher over the summer months.”

“I don’t think (the market) believes the Fed when it says they won’t raise rates until after 2023,” Detrick added. “That could be where the market and the Fed do not see eye to eye.”

Market participants will scrutinize the Labor Department’s CPI report, due early Wednesday, for further signs of potential inflationary pressures. (Graphic on inflation) https://tmsnrt.rs/2SxpkST

The fell 473.66 points, or 1.36%, to 34,269.16, the lost 36.33 points, or 0.87%, to 4,152.1 and the dropped 12.43 points, or 0.09%, to 13,389.43.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, only materials ended the session green. Energy suffered the largest percentage loss, closing down 2.6%

The , a measure of investor anxiety, closed at 21.85, its highest level since March 11.

Boeing (NYSE:) Co lost 1.7% after the planemaker announced deliveries of its 737 MAX fell to just four planes in April due to an electrical problem.

Tesla (NASDAQ:) Inc continued its slide, dropping 1.9% following the electric automaker’s decision to expand its Shanghai plant owing to heightened U.S.-China tensions.

Mall REIT Simon Property Group Inc (NYSE:) fell 3.2% after the company said it does not expect a return to 2019 occupancy levels until next year or 2023.

L Brands Inc (NYSE:) announced it will split into two publicly traded companies, Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret. Its stock dropped 1.8%.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.85-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.62-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted seven new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 28 new highs and 224 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 11.78 billion shares, compared with the 10.33 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

By Stephen Culp

Author: Reuters
This post originally appeared on Stock Market News