Showing posts with label cardiovascular disease. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cardiovascular disease. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Ask an Expert: Which Drugs May Be Dangerous for Heart Health?

This post is part of our “Ask an Expert” blog series. In this post, Ken Majkowski, Pharm.D and Chief Pharmacy Officer at FamilyWize, identifies several medications that should be used with care by patients with heart failure. Ken brings more than 40 years of healthcare experience to the FamilyWize team, including 14 years of clinical pharmacy experience in retail, hospital and home care. Read his full bio, here.

In the U.S., more than 1 in 3 adults have cardiovascular diseases. On average, heart failure patients take 6.8 prescription medications per day, resulting in 10.1 doses a day. This estimate does not include over-the-counter medications or alternative treatments.

It is important to note, however, that not all medications are safe for those with cardiovascular diseases. Some commonly used drugs have specifically been identified as potentially dangerous for those with an existing heart condition.

Anesthesia Medications
We know that most anesthetics interfere with cardiovascular performance. While generally very safe for the average person, anesthesia for surgical procedures can be dangerous for patients with heart failure. A recent study observed a 63 percent increased risk of operative mortality and a 51 percent greater risk of being readmitted to the hospital among patients with heart failure compared with patients without heart failure or coronary artery disease. It is critical for all patients to have a comprehensive discussion about their health with their anesthesiologist before going under anesthesia, no matter how routine the procedure.

Pain Medications
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve, Naproxen), and cyclogenase-2 inhibitors (celecoxib, Celebrex) are used very widely in the United States and generally considered to be very safe. Unfortunately, they are less safe for people who already have cardiovascular disease.

NSAIDs can cause the body to retain sodium. Excess sodium causes the body to retain more fluid and forces your heart to work harder. This can be a major problem for people with heart failure, making it critical for heart patients to speak with a doctor before taking NSAIDs for any length of time. Additionally, chronic or heavy use of NSAIDs can also cause chronic kidney disease, another reason to monitor their use.

Diabetes Medications
There are a handful of medications for the treatment of diabetes that should either be avoided or carefully monitored by anyone with concern for their heart health. Specifically, Avandia (rosiglitazone) and Actos (pioglitazone) have both been identified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as potentially increasing the risk of heart failure, and their use is limited to people whose diabetes is not well controlled by other medications. Both drugs can cause fluid retention, similar to NSAIDs, which causes stress on the heart.

If you have a cardiovascular disease, please be sure to discuss each and every medication you use with your doctor, including over-the-counter medications or alternative medications. These conversations are important and can help to keep you safe.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Guide to the Best Foods to Boost Male Health

CDC stats tell us that, on average, women live 5 years longer than men. However, many foods are scientifically proven to support male health. Let’s take a look at the health issues that target men as they get older, and which foods you can add to your family’s diet to improve the health of the men in your family.

Health problems unique to aging in men

According to the St. Louis University Health Sciences Center, there are certain health conditions that target men as they age. These include:
  • Androgen deficiency syndrome – a deficiency of important male hormones such as testosterone.
  • Impotence/erectile dysfunction (ED) – the inability to achieve or maintain an erection during intercourse. ED can be caused by certain medications, but is more commonly caused by atherosclerosis, diabetes, prostate-related treatments, vascular or neurological disease,  or surgeries, according to Harvard Medical School and other sources. 
  • Benign prostatic hypertrophy – an age-related prostate gland enlargement that results in urination difficulty.
  • Prostate cancer – the most common cancer for men.  The prostate, a walnut-sized gland behind the penis, is statistically more prone to problems with age.
  • Baldness – Baldness occurs when hairs don’t grow back, or shed rapidly. Common causes include genetics, medications, stress, heavy dandruff, hormone issues, fast weight loss, and poor scalp circulation.
  • Gynecomastia – When hormone imbalance causes swollen breast tissue in men.
Other health issues more common to men than women include strokes (the second leading cause of death worldwide), respiratory diseasesheart disease (men die at twice the rate of women from cardiovascular health conditions), alcohol consumption, depression/suicide (the 8th leading cause of death in men, who are four times more likely than women to commit suicide), diabetes (which can lower testosterone levels and increase your risk for sexual impotence), lung disease (the leading deadly cancer in men) and skin cancer (men over 50 have twice the rate as women).

Foods to overcome or avoid male health issues

Many of these medical conditions require the influence of health professionals to treat or cure. But there are steps you can take to avoid these health issues in the first place, or to support your doctor’s efforts to improve your male health. Here are five:
1: Diet solutions to erectile dysfunction
A Male Aging Study found that a diet low in red meat, processed meat, and refined grains, plus high in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and fish lowers your risk of ED.  Also consider supplementing with vitamin B12. A deficiency of it can contribute to ED.
2: Dietary support in fighting prostate cancer
According to The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, men increase their risk of prostate cancer if they don’t get enough plant-based foods (vegetables, fruits) and get too much red meat and dairy. The latter, and a lack of the former, just about guarantees that your diet has little fiber and lots of fat, both of which contribute to testosterone health risks.

A plant-based diet also enriches your immune system with antioxidants – your ticket to a strong defense against free radicals. Look specifically for lycopene-rich foods, such as pink grapefruit, tomatoes, and watermelon, shown to fight cancer.

Read the research on fighting prostate cancer with diet.
3: Reducing cardiovascular disease and stroke risk with diet
Perhaps you’re noticing a pattern here? Once again, research shows that a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats protects you from many health issues, including strokes and heart disease/heart attacks.

Investigate the Mediterranean diet, which research indicates may specifically reduce your risk of stroke.  The Mediterranean diet is comprised of lots of plant-based foods, olive oil, poultry, and fish – with very little red meat.
4: Dietary solutions to testosterone deficiency
While you can rely on testosterone replacement drugs, a combination of the right foods and exercise can naturally increase your testosterone levels.  Some specific foods to add to your diet include:
  • Cheese
  • Fortified milk
  • Egg yolks
  • Mushrooms
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Oysters
  • Sardines
  • Beef liver
  • Beans (white, kidney, or black)
The reason: these are all foods high in Vitamin D, which this 2012 study shows can boost testosterone levels.
5: Fighting benign prostatic hypertrophy with diet
According to The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, eating meat every day triples your prostate enlargement risk. Changing your diet can help prevent prostate issues from arising. The short story – employ the same dietary changes noted above, eat less meat and dairy, and add more vegetables to your diet. Specifically:
  • Supplement your diet with vitamins E and B6, plus saw palmetto (an herb), zinc, and cold-pressed flaxseed oil. For a natural source of zinc, chow down on sesame seeds.
  • Some research also suggests that vitamin C specifically from vegetables (i.e., not from a pill) can reduce enlarged prostate risks. The best sources of vegetable-based C include peppers, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower.
  • Other research advises that you should boost your natural lycopene intake with foods such as pink grapefruit, tomatoes, and watermelon.
Summary – add plants to your diet!
While some specific diet recommendations vary slightly among common male health conditions (such as upping your intake of vitamin C, zinc, copper, beta-carotene, and silica for baldness), there is a common theme: a plant-based diet, a reduction in red meat, and an intake of healthy fats will go far in improving male health, and likely increase health and longevity.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer